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Byron Shire
June 20, 2021

Byron Environment Centre rotunda under threat of removal

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Byron Environment Centre kiosk. Photo supplied
Byron Environment Centre kiosk. Photo supplied

A council plan to move the Byron Environment Centre (BEC) kiosk – located in Byron Bay’s Railway Park – by December 13 has sparked outrage from founding members.

Council’s Project Officer said in an email on October 16 that Council had received ‘community feedback via the Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan Leadership Team that the BEC kiosk in Railway Square would best be located elsewhere.’

The Project Officer said, ‘Relocating the kiosk would improve community and visitor use of the park by increasing access and egress through the park and increasing visibility and community safety in line with CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) principles.’

But Nino MacDonald says the reasons cited are ‘petty and not insurmountable.’

‘There is no evidence for this contention and the BEC would argue that quite the opposite is actually the case; that there would be strong support in the community to keep the Rotunda in its current location as part of the Master Plan.

‘Since its inception in the late 80s (former mayor Jan Barham being one of its founding members), the Environment Centre has represented the environmental aspirations and values of the Byron community, with a physical presence in locations including the Visitors Centre, at various shops in Byron Bay, the North Power building, the Mullum Railway Station and up to its present incarnation in Railway Park.’

MacDonald says the rotunda is a tourist attraction and has auspiced many community events over the years. 

‘In the past, Council has given the BEC access to the power box and water infrastructure in Railway Park, as well as later connecting the rotunda to the grid, and laying down pavers around the kiosk that indicated a level of acceptance by Council.’ 

While council staff say they are ‘willing to assist BEC with the physical relocation of the kiosk structure to a new location,’ no alternate site has been suggested.

Catalyst site

Byron Shire Council GM Ken Gainger said that ‘as one of the catalyst sites identified in the Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan the Council recognises the importance of pushing ahead with the refurbishment of Railway Park, Byron Bay, so as to embrace and embody recently adopted place-making design principles.’

Supported by a budget of $500K including a $260K Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure grant and revenue derived from Pay Parking, the Railway Park upgrade plans have been developed following a design Charette conducted with a Council appointed landscape architect and a group of 22 prominent members of the Byron community (Master Plan Leadership Group) who were appointed by the council to guide the implementation of key Master Plan projects.

Final draft plans have now been developed which will be placed before the Leadership Group later this week for sign off and preliminary works are now under way to prepare the Park for the extensive upgrade.

The design plans emanating from the Charette do not include retention of the small kiosk utilised by the Byron Environment Centre.

Accordingly, Council has signalled plans to remove the kiosk from the Park and has sought feedback from stakeholder groups about this prospect.

Mr Gainger said that the Park upgrade was widely supported within the Byron community and Council is committed to delivering the Railway Park project in accordance with the timelines agreed to as part of its acceptance of the government grant funding package.”

See also: Market stallholders call for location certainty

 


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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is just mindless corporate gentrification masked by the weasel words so beloved of unelected bureaucrats like Ken Gainger.

  2. Imagine the stunned shock horror of volunteers on Wednesday morning when they turned up to open the rotunda and found themselves “Locked Out” by high fences encircling Railway park. No warning or consultation from council. Nothing! The BEC rotunda is an iconic piece of Byron culture. That the GM in collusion with the Mayor no doubt, should take this unilateral action is shameful. That the rotunda and BEC couldn’t be incorporated in the Byron Master Plan is ridiculous. Where will it end up ? Tucked away somewhere and forgotten, just like the Green credentials of our so-called Green council, to make way for the corporatisation of our town.
    Clearly the GM and Mayor couldn’t give a flying fruit cake for the opinions or feelings of our community.

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