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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Will Byron be the next Venice?

Latest News

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some...

Other News

Music fest aims to be COVID-19 recovery event

Byron Bay could host a two-day, beachside music and arts festival in June this year, after an application to hold the event was lodged with Byron Council.

TGA obstructs prescription psilocybin, MDMA

Imagine that some crazy professors convince a bunch of participants at a five-day mindfulness retreat to agree to take part in an experiment where half of them are given magic mushrooms, and half of them a placebo.

Tweed mayor and rail trail

Richard White, East Ballina I watched a Facebook video of Mayor, Chris Cherry, addressing a meeting, organised by the Northern...

Update: Main Arm raids… The police are in Mullum!

After several reports today from readers that there is a 'massive drug operation' and a 'gun and drug unit from Parramatta!', an intrepid Echonetdaily drudge wandered over to Barry Lomath Oval next to the skate park and netball courts in Mullum.

Lismore urges REX to reconsider service cancellation

The regional airline Regional Express (REX) announced yesterday that five services, including its Lismore service, would cease once government support through the RANS program is discontinued at the end of March.

Housing affordability on agenda at Ballina

With the housing crisis worsening in Ballina and across the Northern Rivers, councillors agreed that something had to be done about the problem at their meeting yesterday.

This morning I took a walk on the Lighthouse Track, thinking that the National Park, at least, would be unchanged. Alas, no. The terrace by the cafe near the lighthouse is being torn up, so the cafe is closed. If you are thinking about enjoying a reviving beverage while calmly enjoying the view, forget it.

This caused me to review in my mind all the changes that are going on in Byron. A new hospital is going up, with a new roundabout in front of it, and another roundabout is planned for McGettigans Lane. The route to town will soon be wild and whirling as well as gridlocked. Soon there will presumably be construction on the old hospital site too.

Half of the Wollie’s car park is becoming a deluxe shopping centre with underground parking. The old council chambers in Lawson Street is being extensively renovated, as is the corner shop near the clocktower.

West Byron seems destined for huge changes, and in an effort to cope, the Shirley Street entrance to town is being reconstructed, we all hope for the better. And who knows where the markets are going?

Soon nothing in Byron will be the same except the beaches. Oops, sorry, no, I forgot Belongil.

After all these changes, will the town be better?

To be honest, as far as the tourist business is concerned, I think the answer is yes. Tourists love to squander their money on overpriced goods of little value. Witness the number of clothing shops in the main street. Why should the whole Byron experience be any different?

As far as being a place where real people live, however, I think the answer is no. I think Byron will follow the fate of Venice, a beautiful city which used to have about 160,000 residents, and now has only about 60,000 — most of the buildings are occupied by tourists, about 55,000 a day.

Byron’s fame, like Venice’s, will keep it going a long time, but I predict tour groups before too long.

Charles McFarland, Ewingsdale


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