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.
Long overdue, just in time to the Xmas hooligan season.
Good. Stop targeting end users of weed with dogs and start clamping down on violent behaviour. CCTV will no doubt aid in getting convictions on violent offenders in court.
Byron at night time is very dangerous. More needs to be done to return it to a peaceful and nice place to visit.
Opponents cite costs and loss of privacy. Supporters claim crime reduction and increased safety. I can tell you that over time the costs will disappear into a balance sheet, crime and bad behaviour will remain at existing levels or increase (bonus: now you will be able to watch it rather than just read about it) and the biggest loser? Byron Bay. Why? Because it now inches closer to being like everywhere else and we all know the reasons for BB’s success don’t we? It is different to everywhere else – but slowly that point of difference is being eroded.
The real answer?
More Police patrols at the peak trouble times.They are already paid for and are available 24/7.
I think they should relocate the police station to Jonson street so that there is a permanent presence in the centre of town to discourage late night trouble makers. Its the drunks that are making Byron like everywhere else, not CCTV cameras.
The only places where you get a higher concentration of young drunken aussie’s are Kings Cross, Phuket and Bali!