Menu

Don’t mess with Byron Bay markets

The current Byron Bay markets discussion is being painted as a left v right council brawl.

That might be true I don’t know. However, it is an opportunity to understand Byron Shire Council’s relationships with the shire’s markets and the dangers and opportunities that this relationship poses.

The Butler Street Reserve is not council land. It is NSW Crown land held in Trust. Council are the current managers of the Trust.

The implications of this are: that unless the minister expressly approves otherwise, all fees and charges council imposes on users of Butler Street has to be spent on Butler Street.

Meaning, any increases in market fees do not go to general council revenue, they must be spent on the Butler Street Reserve.

Council has already made the decision to tender the licence to use the reserve for the purpose of operating the market. The price/fees council receives has already been set.

There is no genuine economic argument for messing with the markets.

Even if the minister did approve revenue from the Butler Street Reserve going into council’s general revenue the additional amount would mean less than a 0.00027 per cent towards Councils $60 million budget.

It might fix one or two potholes (literally). By way of contrast paid parking is expected to generate around $2 million in revenue for Council.

My guess is paid parking is the reason why council Staff recommended to councillors they hold off tendering out the Butler Street markets.

The reality is: there is a lot going on, and around, Butler Street Reserve at the moment (ie. parking trial and the bypass) and no one is really sure of what the future holds.

That being said, market management thought they had agreement to the principle of co-existence from council.

That seems to have been thrown out the window with the suggestion that council wants to move the markets to Belongil fields.

Of course the irony of the Belongil fields suggestion is that council will derive no revenue if that move is forced by council.

The bigger question for our community and councillors to think about is: what happens if the community centre loses the revenue from managing the market?

Will council step-up and fund the revenue shortfall? Or would they want to come down to the centre and work through with us which vital community services we should close down?

For some councillors this might be their first visit to our wonderful community asset.

David Sweet, secretary, Byron Bay Community Association

 


One response to “Don’t mess with Byron Bay markets”

  1. I notice David Sweet does not mention the amount of money raised each year from the markets being managed by the Community Centre ( 100s of Thousands actually) . Butler St Reserve has been without funding from Council as it is the responsibility of the Market Managers to maintain, improve and re-invest the monies collected from the stall holders back into the Publicly owned section of land. I am of the belief that was stipulated as part of the Licence approval.
    The only beautification I am aware of has been done by Volunteer market stall holders and some volunteers from the BBCC.
    I have no problem as to who runs the markets, as long as that person / group returns something back to the site and the market stall holders that turn up and work through weather, off season and long hours to display their goods in the hope they will get a return for their efforts.
    As David said: ‘The Butler Street Reserve is not council land. It is NSW Crown land held in Trust. Council are the current managers of the Trust.
    The implications of this are: that unless the minister expressly approves otherwise, all fees and charges council imposes on users of Butler Street has to be spent on Butler Street.’ Is that so Mr Sweet? So why is it ALL going to the Community Centre?

    The lease price set by Council for the markets was revised in August last year. It is a minuscule amount when compared to the income generated from stall fees, even taking into account running costs. The Community Centre also has the weekly revenue from the Artisan markets in Apex park as well as the 3 Beachside Markets held each year. Quite a tidy sum!
    When you visit the market toilets ( Wasp nests, dark and often very dirty ) and sit in the hot sun on market days, don’t blame Council. Revenue from stallholder fees is going direct to the BBCC with a 4% donation to Council for use of the land.
    As for the ‘left vs right council brawl’ I personally see this as a smoke screen for the validation of keeping the income that belongs to the Whole community to be then used for the select few relying on handouts at the BBCC.
    If I am not mistaken Byron Council some years back graciously moved a motion and paid the Community centres Tax bill with rate payers money to get them out of trouble and continue to help the community. Was that repaid?

    This article from David Sweet seems to be biting the hand that gives the licence to feed!!

    For David to now state. ( The reality is: there is a lot going on, and around, Butler Street Reserve at the moment (ie. parking trial and the bypass) and no one is really sure of what the future holds.) to be incorrect as Belongil Fields would not work for safety , traffic, and aesthetic reasons as Butler St works due to the proximity to town and that point can be argued before Council.
    This is my personal view as a stall holder and a local resident that is a bit tired of Finger pointing and blame as to who should pay for what. If they licence states the money goes back into the public land that generates the profit then so be it and Butler St reserve should be a show piece for a market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor  Falls Festival