A $500,000 grant application by Council to improve Byron’s lighting and to fund youth initiatives was knocked back by the former federal Labor government just days before its leaving office.
Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson said that it was ‘extremely disappointing’ that the National Crime Prevention Fund application was unsuccessful.
According to the mayor, the application included $350,000 towards lighting improvements in Byron Bay town centre and working in partnership with Byron Youth Service to deliver $150,000 worth of youth programs.
‘Byron Bay has received national media attention because of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour,’ he said. ‘To have left us with no federal funding, when we acknowledge that we have a problem, is devastating.
‘Our area is a key international and local tourist destination and we need additional infrastructure support. While we are grateful for the economic input from tourism, as a local government we are left to struggle with ageing infrastructure.
‘We need the improved street lighting for upgrading environmental design as a key strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour. It’s a lot less inviting to get up to no good when you are under a spotlight and likely to be observed.
‘We also need additional funding to educate and support our local youth about binge drinking and harm minimisation. Cr Richardson did not tell The Echo, when asked, the reason given for the rejection and what options are now available to improve lighting. He did say, however, ‘Council will apply again at the next round and in the meantime will look at other options for funding the lighting upgrade’.
Cr Richardson said that next time a more ‘developed cost breakdown for the lighting upgrade would strengthen Byron’s case even further’.