A shrine to the humble sausage was erected this week on one of the most highly visible and iconic sites in Byron.
On the grassy knoll at main beach park, the revered BBQ is proudly mounted on a large concrete slab and protected by a prominent timber and colourbond roof that slopes shoreward, following the contour of the sandbank.
It successfully manages to look functional and attractive, while it also intrudes and obscures the beachfront views. Its location provides an incredibly open and exposed, windswept venue for all enthusiastic Masterchefs who love sizzling those kebabs and prawns while checking out the waves and the babes on the beach.
Many in the community might see this new shrine to our beloved BBQ, placed in such a visible prized location as a blight on our attractive foreshore precinct.
Just a few metres to the right of the BBQ installation is the new futuristic toilet experience.
The two unisex fully automated toilets have replaced the suite of male and female ablutions that until recently adjoined the surf club.
These new public toilets are totally reliant on a steady supply of power just to open the door, so the prospect of being trapped inside provides that extra thrill! The toilet cubicle talks and plays music and may even offer encouragement if you linger too long or praise for a job well done.
It’s called a self-cleaning toilet because instead of the patron pushing the button, it automatically flushes when you wash your hands or open the door.
However, no sexy robot appears to wipe up the spills and near misses – and I’m not sure how the voice machine will respond to vomit, drug use or sexual activity. Perhaps there’s a CCTV camera or emergency phone linked to someone who cares?
Another interesting feature is the prominent location, around 50 square metres of once grassy parkland is dedicated to these ablutions.
Everyone entering and leaving the toilet is fully exposed to all the parents and kids, swimmers and picnickers hanging in the park.
I’ve noticed a few of the more theatrical patrons bow on the way out, but hopefully it will deter the perverts. We won’t ponder where all the punters go on a busy crowded day, but we may find a lot more floating snags baking on the seashore.
No doubt we have Byron Shire Council to thank for these recent ‘improvements’ to our public facilities. While the new facilities are very welcome, the location of these structures demonstrates why we need inclusive, effective consultation and planning before they are erected on our public parklands.
The failure to protect and appreciate the value of open space and unimpeded breathtaking views reflects poorly on our land managers and leaves our beautiful iconic beachfront precinct once again blighted by inappropriate development.
Michele Grant, Foreshore Protection Group, Ocean Shores