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Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

The overselling of Byron

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The Shire is overwhelmed with tourists. It’s more like a war zone. On top of a massive influx of people coming to Byron for holidays, the Falls Festival is the last straw. Aerial photos of the Yelgun site demonstrate much the same level of patronage as the last Splendour which was acknowledged to be well over 30,000. Who checks the numbers ? No one. North Byron Parklands does what it likes.

Because of the heat, patrons from the site flooded into Brunswick ensuring that there were no parking spaces, big queues outside cafes and fast food joints, crowded footpaths, hundreds and hundreds of people crowding the river banks, hundreds if not thousands of people on the beach, Torakina looking more like a stuffed pond than a beach . Gridlock is still happening around Brunswick with locals having zero chance of finding a place to park.

We live near Devine’s Hill in Ocean Shores. Illegal camping has been happening every night for the last week and more. My husband on his early morning walk came across a couple having sex on the grass. They had to be careful because the site is littered with turds, toilet paper, empty bottles and rubbish. He and other neighbours regularly clean up the lookout as its a popular destination, Picking up turds is not a chore that neighbours will undertake nor should Council staff be obliged to do so.

Mountains of rubbish litter the walkways around Brunswick. Ocean Shores shopping centre is similarly overwhelmed with festivalgoers who park their cars there overnight if they have local accommodation. No rangers come to check the status of vehicles. No rangers come to Devine’s Hill lookout. Illegal camping is happening all over the shire.

The amenity of ratepayers and people who live in Byron is completely destroyed. Byron has been over-sold by the tourist industry and the festival cartel. We have been continually disturbed by the noise from Falls as has our neighbourhood.

If Council does not take immediate steps to object to the efforts of North Byron Parklands to gain approval from the State Government to be designated a State Significant Development with 12 events allowing 50,000 people and eight events allowing 25,000, it is clear that Byron will be completely transmogrified into an appalling place with an infrastructure and a community that cannot cope. It is incomprehensible that North Byron Parklands should have the right to turn Byron Shire into their ‘playground’ whilst the community not only pays for the damage but is driven from the Shire because of the appalling invasion.

Given the efforts of council to persuade ratepayers to cough up a 12.5 per cent increase to cover the cost of this invasion, it is clear that councillors and council staff hold the community in contempt.

In all the years I’ve lived here, I have never seen such a shocking situation. Byron is not a ‘green shire’. Money, greed and a complete inability of council to protect the natural assets and the beauty of this place will ensure its ultimate destruction.

Councillors have an obligation to take action or be regarded as complicit in the sad destruction of the shire.

 


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Byron Bay was the same on NYE. Restrictions kept crowds away from Main Beach and town but illegal campers invaded all the streets bordering the National Park. There were large illegal parties on Paterson Hill and at Tallow Creek with masses of rubbish and turds left and vegetation trampled. It would seem that a lot of these people are foreign travellers. They seem to come here because its advertised as some “Magical Place” then proceed to trash it and disrespect the locals. There seems to be some belief that normal rules of society don’t apply here and you can do as you like without consequence. The” Magic” left years ago. (Probably took up basketball!)
    The Council and tourism authorities need to work urgently on changing these attitude and Council needs to employ a lot more rangers. Surely increased fines would more than cover their wages and overtime.

  2. Ease of access also is a factor here. Years ago, the Paterson Hill area was much quieter (along with Paterson Street), and then Council decided to join the streets in that area by putting a road through a small patch of remnant coastal heathland. It significantly increased local traffic, whom used the new road as a short-cut. Whereas Tallow Creek are has a M1 sized bicycle path pass right alongside it, and there are adjacent parklands and residential areas. On top of all that, these areas are within easy walking distance of the main Byron CBD.

    Responsibility needs to be shared by both Council, and Tourism authorities, along with the State Government in dealing with this rapidly increasing problem.

    I personally cannot believe how some people can do this to the natural and community environment of the area. Defies comprehension, really…

  3. Let us face facts. Any town does not want tourists, they want their tourist money. Tourists and the shear volume and mass of tourists taxes the town and deteriorates the infrastructure. It costs money to have tourists in any town.
    What you do is to send all the tourists a letter, tell them to stay home and for them to put their purse and wallet in a parcel and for them to post it to you. When you receive the parcel, you take all their money out of there purse and then send the empty purse and wallet back to them with some “happy snaps” of the town their money just visited.
    It can be called legitimate business as the tourists knows what they are doing.

  4. Make a submission to council by the 18th of January to halt the rate rise plan for at least the next 12 months in order to consider equitable alternatives. We won’t go broke in that period, but once implemented, the massive rate rise will be there forever. Every progressive councillor should support this.

    • And say to council get the state government to allow a rate sliding rate on each ticket purchased. $25.00 for big festivals to lower amount for smaller festivals like the Mullum Music Festival. User pays council is a business so are festivals and we are being loved to death.

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