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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Byron market stallholders call for location certainty

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Byron Bay market at Butler Street Reserve. Photo contributed
The future of Byron Bay markets at Butler Street Reserve is under a cloud after the council has announced a plan to build a bus interchange there. Photo contributed

Butler Street bus interchange to be built in 2018

Byron market stallholders are up in arms over what they say is a lack of engagement or articulated plans for Butler Street Reserve after Byron Shire Council announced – on behalf of the state government – that a bus interchange will be built on the location.

A press release on Monday from council GM Ken Gainger says it will be significant for the community, ‘because it will take large passenger buses out of Jonson Street, a key target in the Byron Bay Masterplan, which is aimed at progressively making the town centre more pedestrian and cycle friendly.’

While no plans or costings were provided, Gainger says the project will be undertaken by Transport for NSW, who are ‘developing plans which will be shared with the community when they are completed.’

Gainger says the Masterplan identified improved pedestrian access and movement as priorities, ‘and this involves getting traffic out of the central business area and reclaiming it for locals and visitors.’

He says, ‘Council sees the markets as valuable contributors to the economic and social fabric of the Byron Shire and is committed to finding alternative venues for them while the bus interchange is being built.’

Meetings with market operators and stallholders have been held, he says, ‘and we are working together to activate the rail corridor and surrounding areas as potential interim market venues.’

But stallholder representative Gyan Moyes is yet to be convinced; he said, ‘the only proposal from council is spreading the market over the area of the disused railway tracks, adjacent car park, Railway Park, the carpark behind The Railway Hotel and more unspecified areas on the main streets of Byron.’

He said, ‘The proposal lacks any permanence, as most of the area will remain a transport corridor and as such it can be reclaimed at any time in future.’ Other problems with the plan, he said, include uneven ground, exposure to sun and heat along the tracks and inadequate stallholder access that would contribute to traffic gridlock.’

Mr Moyes continued, ‘We believe that Butler Street should be retained as the market grounds for the community and the farmers markets and as a valuable recreational space for the growing town.

‘We value the Butler Street Reserve as a place that has provided many with sustainable incomes for decades, contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of Byron Bay’.

Masterplan amended

Remarkably, the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan has been amended to include plans for a Butler Street bus interchange (page 90). This was confirmed by council staff.

Mr Gainger added that moving the bus interchange that is currently on Jonson Street will reduce the number of large vehicles in town. ‘Council has exciting plans to activate the Railway Park precinct, Byron Street and the nearby rail corridor.’

See also: Byron Environment Centre rotunda under threat of removal

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  1. I met my Partner Christina on the Butler Street Reserve at a Byron Bay Market 16 years ago. How many other great stories are there about people meeting at the Byron Bay Market.
    Christina started selling her hemp seed oil skin and hair care in 1995 and has been trading at the Markets ever since. I joined up with her and we use the market as the best way the showcase our brand at little cost. Around 300 local Businesses operate out of the local markets.
    Thursday Plantation started there and many other small businesses have gone onto bigger and better things.
    We have finally secured extra parking for all the Stallholders to park off the local streets to allow for visitors to park and come and enjoy a day at the Markets.
    Compulsory acquisition of the Crown Land at the Butler Street Reserve by the State Government can be stopped if the Community rise up and get vocal about saving this valuable Community Asset. Public Recreation area for the Community is our desire. In the words of Joni Mitchell Big Yellow Taxi, Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone, they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.
    We want to emphasise that we are working hard to save this site for all the Community.
    Everyone I talk to can’t understand why the Bus Terminal can’t be located on the Existing Train Line area?
    The Master Planners might think that the Market should be located in the middle of town but don’t realise the logistics of getting all the stalls in and especially out at 3 p.m.
    Thanking you Ian Brown. Save Byron Community Markets Committee. Please help us to get the word out there!

  2. All for the tourists .
    Could our community needs get priority for once ?
    Exchange the buses at the cavanbah sports car park
    Hardly ever used !
    Or at the island quarry site .what is happening there anyway ?


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