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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Clarkes Beach event concerns mayor

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The appearance of this structure on Clarkes Beach ahead of a function has concerned locals. Photo Chris Brady
The appearance of this structure on Clarkes Beach ahead of a function has concerned locals. Photo Chris Brady

The appearance of a substantial temporary structure erected on Byron Bay’s Clarkes Beach yesterday ahead of a planned corporate event tonight has concerned locals, not least mayor Simon Richardson.

The function will involve the consumption of alcohol, something that is normally banned at the beach, and has been approved by council officers under delegation.

Echonetdaily was informed of the structure by local resident Chris Brady, who came upon it during his morning walk yesterday.

‘Morning walk at Clarkes beach,’ he wrote.

‘Just wondering is this a beginning of a new predicted to pay “what you like to be able to do as you like” era? Very sad to see such a construction. Concerned local money speaks all languages.’

Cr Richardson said he was also concerned about the precedent it might set.

‘It was a bit of a shock for me too, to be honest. It’s quite a large structure, so we need to … look at it and make sure we have a clear policy direction on how often something like that might happen, who might be eligible, what sort of size and where the appropriate place to hold it might be,’ he told ABC North Coast this morning.

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  1. WTF!!! Has Simon Richardson lost control of the council? What is this “under delegation”rubbish? … Council staff for crying out loud, … are not elected nor do they [necessarily] act in the interests of the residents.

  2. I saw it this morning on my morning beach walk and it’s a complete eye sore, Weddings are one thing, people come onto the beach, have the ceremony and then leave.

    This is a completely new thing and we need to nip it in the bud, it’s inappropriate for our town. We pride ourselves on the natural beauty of the bay not for having huge marquees on the beach for corporate events.

    Once this happens once it will keep on happening. I’m amazed it got through council, how did it not have to go to public display like everything else does? It impacts on our residents and tourists.

    Police have the right to stop people from having a quite drink on the beach so why when it’s suddenly clad in a white corporate marquee is it OK? Being a corporate function where the booze flows freely is likely to make it less responsible drinking than in the pub.

    Very disappointing to see council let this through.

  3. I suggest we all write an email to Ken Gainger, BSC GM, subject Tents on Beach, to [email protected]
    Dear Mr Grainger
    I wish to voice my dismay at the erection of large tents on Main Beach for a corporate function.
    I understand a DA was granted to permit this.
    Please assure me and others that any future similar intrusion into public amenity would be refused.

  4. What a bunch of bellyaching whingers, Its clearly a very temporary structure,and provides colour and life in the town346692

  5. For Pete’s sake. This is a one-off, professional function of mature-aged people, erecting a tent on sand.

    And I am sure they are paying our Council a fee for the privilege.

    There’s nothing long-term, no access issues for this guy to take his morning walk, and no environmental impact.

    We cant all live off apples we pick from trees! Locals need jobs to buy food and put their kids through schools. Local businesses need to keep income coming in during a long winter.

    We should be applauding this sort of appropriate and professional function. Well done to Council and the locals for helping support our community!

  6. I don’t have a problem with this, so long as they leave the site as they found it and make a substantial contribution to Council coffers. We’re always complaining that our small rate payer base can’t maintain the facilities used by visitors, who contribute very little. This is an opportunity for visitors to make a direct substantial contribution. Is it so very different to the weddings held on our beaches, or the sprawling beach front markets?

  7. … public beach- private function? OR private beach – private function?
    mmm… public beach – PUBLIC function?

  8. A temporary structure it might be but it has all ready caused significant damage to the sand dunes behind the south side of the structure with the laying of the electrical cable and the carrying of equipment down to the beach. I really worry what it will look like after the function has been held. The dune was a nesting place for a pair of rainbow bee-eaters last summer,I worry about them returning next summer. I cannot believe that a structure of this size would be allowed to be constructed on the beach.

  9. WHAT IS THE POINT OF MAKING POLICY RULES, if they are going to be so blatantly ignored ?

    “Paying Council a fee” over the counter is not as worrying as a possibility of what could have passed under the counter to break such a clear policy rule. A proper investigation would not be out of order. Otherwise this can set a precedent, and when the beach is littered by broken bottles – a lame lament of “this wasn’t meant to happen” is too late.

    Rate payers certainly have a right to know exactly how this could have come to pass.

  10. I find this structure very ugly. Perhaps if NSW followed what QUEENSLAND LIFE SAVING / SURF ClUB VENUES do and use their buildings as license premises and restaurants we would not be having this conversation. Think About it.

  11. Poor reporting Echo – Where’s some details about who is running this event – and who has said Yes to this ?

  12. What concerns me is the secrecy surrounding exactly who this corporation is.

    Upon being asked directly who they were I was told that there was a directive not to tell. The young lady I spoke to on the beach last night (who was involved in organising the event) only said that they were a part of a much larger organisation but refused to say who they were.

    An event of this size on delicate beachfront land can be given permission just by the decision of the General Manger? What happened to all the regular hoops? What about due process?

  13. This conference group has bought much needed dollers into our town . Dollers desperately needed by local businesses . Stop your whining about progress people , if you wanted a quiet coastal existence then you should of been here in the 70s & 80s before the place was ruined . We need more of these events in our town .

  14. Bellyaching whingers? The amenity we have in town has been protected and developed by those with broad community interests and concerns. Dune careers have spent 18 years rebuilding these dunes but don’t get told of this major change in activity, how come? We happily volunteer a Sunday a month to regenerate the dunes, (and raise funds to pay for it), why would we not be included in the conversation about this?

    No conversation, and as Peter F says below, impacts on dunes and wildlife nesting in the area as a result. This “experiment” needs a follow-up, is this a practise the community supports? Clarke’s Beach is the holy grail of Byron tourism, no cowboys in Council should be determining such exceptions to the norm.

    Temporary structure it is, but a precedent which rightfully has many in the community concerned.

  15. The temporary lifting of the “No Alcohol” ban on beaches and parks is a smack in the face for the Byron Bay Liquor Accord and Last Drinks in Byron who have been working hard to stop the alcohol violence and the “Party Town” image. There is plenty of green space for these events without having to encroach on the delicate dunal area and creating a precedent for any event management company to erect structures and have parties on our beaches above the high tide mark.A Development Application should have been a prerequisite for this event ,the same as is required for most other events in Byron Shire.Sure it injects a large amount of money into the local economy but why so secretive and under “delegated authority” by the General Manager.A regulator for the regulator comes to mind.Please think carefully of all possible outcomes or downfalls for our community Mr GM before using your delegated authority to quietly approve events.

  16. Is this Byron’s true colours showing through. Money matters before natural habitat?
    One would hope not. Byron’s image and heartfelt intentions used to be natural habitat first, with human cohabiting and nurturing along-side.
    Can we be alarmed as a town to be sure this is at best a symbolic aberration of error? Never to be repeated . . .
    The dunes are indeed delicate, and working hard against the odds to attain viable breeding sites for creatures we blundering humans are mostly unaware of.
    Come on Byron. We are better than this, aren’t we?

  17. Are they going to have a party on the beach for dole bludgers ? Large Marque ? Champers ? A current affair would love that , Murdock press , shock jocks , they’d all be bashing that one around . People can’t sleep in their van overnight in the car park , which I don’t disagree with . But they can erect a large Marque actually on the beach and party till their hearts content . Is this going to become the norm for Byron ? Public spaces being leased out for private functions which the Public i.e. the people that actually own that space , Council manage it not own it , will be bared from using . Will the public get to join the party ? I don’t think so . Just another example of how there is one rule for the wealthy and a different rule for the rest of us .


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