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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Too bright, too ugly… Byron Bay meets Las Vegas

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I’ve been in Byron over three years now, so I’m definitely a long-term local. I love the beaches, the nature and most of all the people in their chilled, relaxed and laid-back lifestyle.

I was riding into town the other night and on passing Kendall Street, noticed the beach-side of the street has spotlit fences and light boxes proclaiming in a simple-minded manner, the qualities of amenities therein. Too bright, too ugly, too on-the-way-to-Las Vegas.

As I do all of my intrastate, interstate and international accommodation bookings – as everybody else does – over the net, I ruminate the validity and necessity for these advertisements.

On Ewingsdale it starts with the jukebox-like Cavanbah Centre sign advertising the latest events, then a massive halogen blasts up a sign for a caravan park which blinds and distracts drivers negotiating the new roundabout.

On Shirley Street, after Kendall Street, the new boyscout-hut-like accommodation is boundaried by a 100-metre fluorescent-lit stone fence.

The next luxury apartments also have their fences lit and one sign has its address, phone number and web address, so while you are driving past, you pull over and book it on your phone. Don’t bother, its No Vacancies is also illuminated.

More lit-up fences, more signs; some so bright they light up the road. Sixteen of them, not including the final repair shop one.

Over time it can only get worse.

Canberra has no commercial roadside signs except for bus shelters. Brazil’s Sao Paulo banned billboards to preserve its cultural heritage by not blocking views to its buildings.

The same goes for Vermont [US} which banned billboards 40 years ago allowing the landscape and cityscape to be free of ‘visual and intellectual pollutants.’

Cuba has no advertising. You can see the beautiful colonial, Spanish influenced buildings; and drive to towns without any ads distracting travellers from their thoughts and feelings.

I guess I should be upset by these bright ads and signs. I should be stressed and anxious as it seems the council or authorities don’t take much notice of our letters to the editor. But being a true local I remain chilled and loving.

I wonder if anyone has a workshop where I could untangle from the mindfulness and meditational peace I endure. I could then have more angst and anxiety to agitate for aesthetic change in our lovely shire.

If anyone runs one, please put your sign up near Kendall Street. Put a light on it because I only go into town after dark.



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  1. The distress caused by light pollution is genuine for not only people but wildlife including plants. I would like to see a review of not only Ewingsdale Road but other night lighting throughout Byron Bay.
    There are too many spotlights on large trees, lighting fixed much higher than people and nearly all lighting without covers to direct light downward.

    Curbing light pollution is eco-nomic as well as eco-logic



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