Want to have a photograph with Santa?
You could get one for free if you spend too much time in Byron Bay’s Railway Park this Christmas – or one of 27 other sites around the town, as Byron Shire Council gets set to install controversial CCTV cameras.
Opponents of the cameras have included privacy advocates but the chief concern of council had been the costs for installing and maintaining the service.
Now Council has received federal funding for the cameras, as part of its strategy to reduce drunken and antisocial behaviour in the Bay after hours.
The cameras are being installed in locations from Apex Park at the beachfront, down Jonson Street to Railway Park and the transport hub (ending at Marvell Street).
Installation will start this week and council advises there may be ‘minor disruptions to pedestrians and car parking as installers move along the street installing cabling.’
Disruptions of one or two days may be expected in some locations, and safety barriers and signage will be in place.
Council’s director of corporate management and community services, Mark Arnold said the Australian government funding for the cameras and lighting was provided ‘to help improve public safety in identified hot spots and address anti-social and unlawful behaviour.’
‘The program builds on recent lighting upgrades in Apex and Railway Parks, around the Byron Bay Taxi rank and includes additional lighting on the corner of Bay and Jonson Streets,’ he said.
Mr Arnold added the camera locations have been based on crime statistics provided by NSW Police and the results of the 2008 and 2013 Community Safety Audits of the Byron Bay town centre.
He said 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′.
A yearly audit of the system will be undertaken and a CCTV Code of Practice is available on council’s website.