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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Byron Bay farmers market fears eviction

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Hugh and Heather Armstrong from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes.
Shoppers at the Coopers Shoot Tomatoes stall at the Byron Farmers’ Market. Market organisers fear it may soon have to move to make way for a car park.

Hans Lovejoy

The Byron Farmers’ Market says it has been given its marching orders to move from Butler Street Reserve in preparation for paid parking in the town.

But the claim has been hosed down by Byron Shire Council’s general manager Ken Gainger; who said yesterday that there has been ‘no decision’ on relocating the market.

Yet at a recent parking forum, hosted by the town’s chamber of commerce, mention was made that Council is preparing a parking scheme where business owners and staff would use Butler Street Reserve for all-day parking, while the rest of town would be metered paid parking.

Additionally, council will debate a report this Thursday that looks at paid-parking exemptions and the Butler Street Reserve as a parking lot.

Collateral damage

Byron Farmers’ Market treasurer, Kaye Shadbolt, told The Echo that market representatives asked for a meeting with Ken Gainger last Thursday, and were informed that council, ‘will not compromise to accommodate us’.

‘They want a re-location to the Ewingsdale Sports Complex,’ she said.

‘The farmers’ market conducted a recent survey which showed that 30 per cent of customers, both locals and tourists, either walk or cycle to this market, so many people would be affected by any move out of town.

‘Having to move our market would have a massive impact on the 60 local, small-scale farmers that depend on the farmers’ market for their livelihoods.

It appears that we are collateral damage so that businesses in town have a parking space, and the council can raise more revenue’, Ms Shadbolt said.

She added that the market organisers were still ‘trying to get up to speed’ with the council’s plans, and see no reason why the farmers market and the paid-parking trial cannot co-exist.

‘Like all markets in Byron Shire, we have been operating on a temporary licence, and our licence expires early next year, so we are very worried about our future’, Ms Shadbolt says.

Byron Farmers’ Market members Liz and Bob Gray added, ‘The current, central location with ample parking is the key to the success of the weekly market, and a forced move will inflict an enormous, needless economic and social shift.

‘This callous disregard of community in favour of cars is shocking and appallingly brutal’.

The Echo asked Mr Gainger to confirm claims by Ms Shadbolt, but instead he said, ‘Out of respect, we wanted to keep them informed about the projects and hear their concerns.’

‘Bringing the elements of the additional needs for town centre parking, the proposed bypass, business and community together is challenging.

‘There are many competing factors and talking with the market organisers is part of the process.

Integral: GM

‘The markets are integral to Byron Bay and council recognises the contribution they make to the economy and the social hub they provide.

‘Council is committed to ensuring that the markets continue to prosper within Byron Bay,’ he said.

Meanwhile the monthly Byron Market manager Tess Cullen told The Echo she is concerned that surfacing Butler Street with gravel for car parking would affect stallholders.

She also said she believes both parking and markets can co-exist.

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  1. By moving im not sure the farmers market would suffer or lose out, as many come from ocean shores etc and would welcome somewhere closer without the traffic congestion also re the cyclists they would become fitter and the bike path would actually be in use ( God forbid) plus Sunrise residents could walk there…To limit parking to “business owners” is a bit fascist to say the least..The market grounds IMO should be used as a bus terminus and tourist centre for the arrival of busses to ease congestion within the CBD but this is a no brainer and that obvious that the ‘pot hole’ council will never see that.Lets face it it is the least pretty market site in the shire and doesnt really work aesthetically..I know a lot of people have tried beautifying it but sorry to say they have failed. .

    .The farmers market are a wonderful venture and the least of Byrons problems although Thursdays can be a bit troublesome getting in due to terrible road planning or lack there of…cant we just join Ballina council for a few terms just to fix the roads then get back to our green roots because basically this council is not working regards the roads…they have to be the worst roads in Australia if not the western world as far as pot holes and congestion are concerned ..seriously Byron Council have to get off their assets and do something..no matter what they do people will be affected not all of them for the better…but to idly do nothing can only herald the advent of a brand new council…IMO long overdue.

    • To be fair Andy, relocating the bus station to the Butler St side of the railway is part of the Masterplan, as is the car park at Butler St Reserve. Its the Nats who have promised to spend millions rebuilding the bus station at the current location.

  2. I do like the idea of farmers market and community gardens etc.
    But there is something that puzzles me about this Butler Street site – and please correct me if I’m wrong – Many years ago the cosmic ravers and others kicked up a stink about the beach sand being ‘poisonous, radioactive,’ due to sand mining.
    The sand was removed and spread on low land at Butler street which was quickly recognized by the cosmic ravers and others to be a great place for a market and the market is there now – I must be wrong.

  3. I predict large numbers of people taking silent anonymous committed direct action sea shepherd style against parking meters as the only way to get council to listen to the community they are attempting to destroy

  4. So what you have a great sports field on the way into town. Why not use that. A Great venue, plenty space to park and move around in AND GUESS WHAT no traffic congestion into Byron. YEAH

  5. The Farmers Markets are small enough that they could move to the foreshore, Railway Park or the rec. grounds with minimal disruption. Its the monthly Sunday markets that are the problem.

  6. Why are we even discussing this? There is NOTHING wrong with the farmers market or its location. What we have here is a narcissistic council extorting money from a community and to hell with who or what it destroys in the process. I wish we could file a civil suit or class action
    I suggest any interested ‘sea shepherd approach’ fans do an internet search for whats happened in many other places in the world when a council forced pay parking machines upon a refusing community. Hint it ended in tears, but not for the residents. Only for the legally sanctioned mafia. What else can you call it? We’ll destroy your buisnesses by driving away all your customers. We’ll wipe out your farmers market to claim the space for racketeering. We’ll spend all your money on private projects for our wealthy beach living friends. And you need to pay us protection money if you want to put your car on OUR roads that used to be free public places -but now we’re stealing them and charging a tax. Sound like the mob?

  7. 30% of market goers walk or ride. How about the other 70% that drive and cause congestion on Ewinsdale Rd. Put the markets out at sports field – win / win.


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