Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and extra street lighting to help improve safety are set to be installed in the Byron Bay town centre from August.
Up to 22 new cameras and the lighting, funded by a $200,000 federal grant, will be in place for the peak summer holiday season later this year.
Byron Shire Council plans for the cameras to be installed in eight locations from Apex Park at the beachfront, down Jonson Street to Railway Park and the transport hub (ending at Marvel Street).
The project is expected to help improve public safety in identified hot spots and address anti-social and unlawful behaviour.
But opponents say the cameras are an intrusion of privacy and would not prevent violent alcohol-fuelled assaults which the town has gained a reputation for.
Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson said the program would also build on recent lighting upgrades in Apex and Railway Parks, around the Byron Bay taxi rank and extra lights installed on the corner of Bay and Jonson Streets.
‘CCTV can help identify the perpetrators of crime and will assist the police in conducting their duties after a crime has been committed,’ Cr Richardson said.
In May 2014, council was invited to apply for the federal government’s Safer Streets Program for up to $200,000 for CCTV, and was subsequently successful.
Mayor Richardson said the camera locations have been based on crime statistics provided by NSW Police and results of the 2008 and 2013 Community Safety Audits of the Byron Bay town centre.
Tenders for the cameras have been received and an evaluation report will be provided to the council meeting on 16 July.
A CCTV Code of Practice has been completed and is available on Council’s website www.byron.nsw.gov.au/cctv.
Council’s director of corporate management and community services, Mark Arnold, said the code states that no personal information collected by the CCTV cameras will be disclosed to third parties, unless allowed under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act).
A yearly audit of the system will be undertaken by Community Safety Camera Program Working Group and includes Byron Shire Council and representatives from NSW Police (Tweed-Byron Local Area Command), Byron United (local chamber of commerce) and Byron Bay Liquor Accord.
Council has estimated that maintenance costs could be up to $50,000 each year, but Mr Arnold says partners to help fund the cameras’ ongoing cost were being investigated.
‘The business community has been requesting CCTV for a significant number of years and with the Australian government funding support, council looks forward to CCTV being installed to help deter anti-social behaviour, reduce the fear of crime and improve public safety and the perception of safety in the area,’ Mr Arnold said.