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Hundreds rally to ‘Protect Byron’

Video by Sharon Shostak

Hundreds of people rallied in Byron Bay yesterday to protest against the proposed over-development of the town sparked by the recent controversial approval of rezoning of West Byron for hundreds of new homes.

The rally, themed ‘Protect Byron’, included a march down main street, speakers, a concert at the beach and a drive for young people to register to vote at the upcoming election.

Lead singer for internally-acclaimed band Parkway Drive, Winston McCall, led the march and told the crowd that the very reason people loved and cherished about Byron Bay were set to be destroyed by the over-development of the town.

Arakwal spokesperson Delta Kay spoke passionately about her love of country and noted the loss of species from the region.

The Protect Byron rally moves down main street. Photo supplied

The Protect Byron rally moves down main street. Photo Oliver Rudloff

Video by Sharon Shostak

Ms Kay’s key message was that the land it’s not ours to destroy and we should be caring for country’.

The protest was organised by the Byron Residents’ Group (BRG) and Byron Young Residents Alliance (BYRA) with crowd estimates ranging from around 500 to just over 1,000.

BRG spokesperson Cate Coorey said ‘what was amazing was the number of younger people coming out to stand up for the town – it shows the extent to which they want to “Protect Byron”’.

‘The developers promoted the West Byron project as a place where young people could buy homes yet these young folk recognise that, like so many developments in Byron, they won’t get a look-in,’ Ms Coorey said.

‘They know from experience that the houses at West Byron will become holiday lettings like the majority of new homes built here.

‘These young people also love the natural environment and the ambience of Byron they grew up with; they don’t want to lose it.

‘Maybe the young people of Byron will be heard in this election and they won’t see their town ruined in their lifetime,’ Ms Coorey said.

Mana Aloha Hula kicking off the Protect Byron rally yesterday at Railway Park.

Mana Aloha Hula kicking off the Protect Byron rally yesterday at Railway Park. Photo Sean O’Shea

Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd said the West Byron development would inevitably cause environmental
damage, while local pro-surfer Dave Rastovich said it would impact strongly on the Belongil Estuary and adjacent Cape Byron Marine Environment.

Ms Coorey said the rally was timed in advance of the upcoming state election ‘to convey community feeling about the over-development of Byron Bay, in particular the recent rezoning of 108 hectares at West Byron for intensive development’.

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West Byron protest organiser, Parkway Drive's front man, Winston McCall rallys the troops as more than 700 supporters march through Byron on Sunday.

West Byron protest organiser, Parkway Drive’s front man, Winston McCall rallys the troops as more than 700 supporters march through Byron on Sunday.

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11 responses to “Hundreds rally to ‘Protect Byron’”

  1. VivKay says:

    This is a “planning issue” but the real problem is that our economy has evolved to have high population embedded, by default, to keep our GDP running! The housing industry, with the fading of our mining boom, has become a prime industry in Australia. It means higher rates of immigration to boost our low natural population growth rate! It’s myopic, and creates a cash flow at the cost of our living standards, national debt, our hip pockets and environmental heritage. Our cities are clogged by congestion and high costs, and high rates of unemployment. The more people that access the precious coastal hideaways, such as Byron Bay, and other environmental gems, the less they will retain their natural beauty and native flora and fauna.

  2. Len Heggarty says:

    Pick up your feet, pick up the slack, and pick up that placade and put in a whack, as what we want is that local people come before development.
    Ring it out loud and clear, and give it a mighty big cheer, before the land is cut up and rises in price to be sold. The people outside the shire, and in Sydney they want to retire, and bring their traffic with them right up to here in Byron Bay.
    We have our own traffic congestion, and we don’t need the cityites palid faces and chesty indigestion, for them to give us their city’s disease of shoulder to shoulder people and bumper to bumper traffic.
    Byron has enough clogs as it is in this place of New Holland. We don’t want a four-hour trip by car from Ewingsdale to Byron Beach. Open the door as I do beseech that that walker there is walking faster than the car. Where is that bloody bar?

  3. Serge Killingbeck says:

    Call me cynic but one suspects that the promise from the local Labor candidate’s undertaking will be little more than Labor getting the jump on the LNP in the broken promises stakes. With the greatest respect to Mr Spooner and I am sure he comes from the right place, Byron’s community needs to get undertakings further up the party food chain, the shadow planning minister and the opposition leader at a minimum.

  4. Len Heggarty says:

    Pick up your feet, pick up the slack, and pick up that placard and put in a whack as what we want is that local people come before development.
    Ring it out loud and clear and give it a mighty big cheer before the land is cut up and rises in price to be sold. The people outside the shire, and in Sydney they want to retire and bring their traffic with them right up to here in Byron Bay
    We have our own traffic congestion and we don’t need the cityites pallid faces and chesty indigestion for them to give us their city’s disease of shoulder to shoulder people and bumper to bumper traffic.
    Byron has enough clogs as it is in this place of New Holland. We don’t want a four-hour trip by car from Ewingsdale to Byron Beach. Open the door as I do beseech that that walker is walking faster than the car.

    • meg wilkinson says:

      20 years I lived in Byron Bay, last year I sold up and left, what Byron Bay is today is not a place i want my 4 year old son to grow up in. 500-1000 people at the rally sorry that is NOT a good turn out, there are 15000 rate payers in the byron shire where are they all. Sadly the community that made byron great is not there any more. Just looking at the images of the crowd walking up the main street, all chain stores, yuck, the capitalist hippies as I refer to them, those who moved there in the 60’s and were lucky enough to buy real estate in Byron town have made it impossible for many people to open businesses in town, the rents are rude, Sydney rents in a seasonal town. also all is see in the crowds are the old die hards, what happens when they get tired and move away. There will be no one left to fight for the bay. Good luck, I hope you win, but sadly Byron for me has already lost its sparkle!

  5. lois vickery-hall says:

    What an inspiring Rally. Delta Kay’s words made my heart sing and the presence of so many younger residents fighting for their town and their way of life has given me hope for this towns future. I say no to the developers of west byron and no means no.For over 30 years we have fought the very development that would destroy the very beauty of this town from club med to macdonalds and it made me realise at this rally that this town is blessed by a population that really, really cares for their town and is willing to protect it and our way of life. 30 years down the track and I still love my hometown.

  6. Gary Ainsworth says:

    I agree with every one of those signs! the traffic and transport must be fixed instead of the ‘rail trail’!

  7. Tony B says:

    This is a “big Australia” issue, a policy with bipartisan poltiical support. Australia’s population is projected to double to 46 million by 2075, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Population projections are based on assumptions of future levels of fertility, life expectancy and migration – which as quietly increased over the last decade. Tens of millions more people crowding into Australia’s capital cities over the next 50 years, overwhelmingly due to overseas migration. There will be a spillout onto our Eastern coast, and it means more land clearing and destruction of native species habitats for housing growth! This is just the beginning, and local communtiies should become more forceful to protect our iconic landscapes and coastal communities.

  8. Mary G says:

    Where are the Greens when it comes to protecting our environment, our native animals and our coasts? Surely that’s what their political agendas encompass? It seems they are missing in action against over-developments, and population growth issues. Without a consistent and implementable population policy, the Greens stand hypocritically silent!
    With so many objections and reasons against this “development” – a euphemism for a community’s destruction – where’s our so-called democracy? This issue is all about governments caving into the whims of Big Businesses, mortgage lenders and property developers, who have deeper pockets than the public.
    If we are to really protect our land, our natural resources, native species, our living standards and head towards a sustainable future, we must address our unsustainable population growth, driven mainly by overseas immigration that John Howard ramped up over his years as PM.

  9. Sorry State says:

    I left Byron in 1998 and I’m so glad I did, there is nothing left to fight over in Byron. It’s gone. I’m with Meg Wilkenson.

  10. Cassandra says:

    Only the Sustainable Population Party sees population (numbers) as a central and critical part of sustainability and environmentalism. The Greens dodge questions on population numbers, and their policies actually support Australia’s current rapid population growth.

    The Greens’ denial of the population growth issue has led to the establishment of SPP. If you are concerned at the steady destruction of the natural world in Australia, consider putting your weight behind SPP — as I have! http://www.VoteSustainable.org.au

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