Fed up with a lack of action against the organisers of illegal doofs in in Arakwal National Park, a group calling itself Friends of Tallow Creek has formed with the specific intention of saving the site from continued destruction.
On Monday a group of 30 ‘frustrated and determined residents’ met to discuss a co-ordinated plan to ‘stop forever the abuse of this precious site,’ according to spokesperson Jeanette Krohn.
The Friends of Tallow Creek say they have developed ‘a range of strategic objectives that will effectively fight back against the menace of all-night illegal mass gatherings and dogs in areas that are clearly marked as dog free.’
Ms Krohn says that because of ‘the accelerating threats’ the group will be looking at creating ‘a lot more carrot and lot more stick’.
‘This, we hope, will involve tighter regulations, more effective policing responses and monitoring of the site’s inappropriate activities, especially after hours and at peak times,’ she said.
‘We also will launch an innovative and engaging community awareness campaign that targets locals, visitors and businesses, and finally an effective “neighbourhood watch” approach that utilizes all the technology available today,’ Ms Krohn added.
‘We realize that it is critical to nip these events in the bud; early warning and prompt action from regulatory bodies is essential.
‘We in the community are the eyes on the ground and we are calling for a zero tolerance approach to this ongoing assault on our natural environment.
‘We need the whole community behind us on this or we are at dire risk of losing what makes Byron special forever,’ Ms Krohn said.
Byron Shire councillors Cate Coorey and Jan Hackett attended the meeting, with Cr Coorey offering to to promote a call for increased compliance positions.
She added that she believed ‘effective action by extra officers [would] more than adequately cover the costs of new positions.’
Also represented at the meeting were many community groups that work to protect Byron’s natural values, including the Arakwal corporation, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Clean and Green Awareness Team, and Dune Care, the Suffolk Park Progress Association, Byron Bird Buddies and Byron Residents’ Group.
Ms Krohn said that next steps would include appeals to the state government for increased funding to cope with the impact of mass tourism and an appeal to Byron Shire Council to convene a meeting of stakeholders to re-examine rostering and resources, and to investigate where closer community engagement would deliver benefit.
‘Whilst Tallow Creek is almost a case study in people and habitat management, we know this is a shire-wide problem. If effective protocols can be developed along with new and collaborative ways of working, it will be useful for other resident groups who are sharing the burden of being loved to death,’ Ms Krohn said.