I spoke to the Byron Shire Council on June 22 in public access against the motion that council should proceed with plans to purchase the part of the Butler Street Reserve that is home to Byron Community Market and gazetted open space Crown Land.
I do have a different vision of the Butler Street area than many councillors, council staff and many others, I’m sure.
I would like to see the market area retained as parkland of the future, a green space, a continuing part of the larger Butler Street Reserve, still available for markets and other gatherings, exercise and relaxation.
I believe the plans for any bypass should provide increased parking, spaciousness and amenity to the area.
If you remove the assumption that you can just take Butler Street Reserve for the town’s traffic woes then you will look differently at town’s assets and creative outcomes.
Though the mayor denies it, the market remaining on Butler Street Reserve is clearly incompatible with council’s plans for a full-time car park, bus station and reduced alternative parking in the area.
The council has no developed idea where to send the market and we do not know if any site would meet our needs or require changes in the market structure.
Also there is the monumental task to move 300 stallholders happily to a new site.
The market has had a legal lease on this land for over 25 years and the council forgot to talk to us about any of this. In fact, I would say, they withheld information and have already passed many resolutions injurious to the markets.
Council is buying Butler Street Reserve for the expressed purpose of developing it into a car park and bus station.
In this situation the council is the developer. Council has to deal with the land owners, Crown Lands, who are largely represented by the Reserve Trust Board.
However, the Reserve Trust Board is the councillors. There is a clear conflict of interest here, especially as Crown Lands have instructions not to interfere in local politics.
There is no DA submitted to set this in process and this combination, of council and Reserve Trust Board, has already put a trial car park on land gazetted not to allow car parks and then extended the trial even though only zero to two cars used the car park most days. Now they want to take full control.
As the Reserve Trust Board the councillors are entrusted with the care of the Reserve. I bet their brief does not suggest they sell it for a use that is presently not allowed.
Gyan Purno, Tyagarah