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Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Byron Environment Centre saved – for the time being

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Volunteers outside the Byron Environment Centre rotunda that was fenced of yesterday, with no notice, by Byron Council. Photo supplied.
Volunteers outside the Byron Environment Centre rotunda that was fenced of on October 25, with no notice, by Byron Shire Council. Photo supplied.

The eviction notice handed to the Byron Environment Centre (BEC) by Byron Shire Council on October 16 was officially revoked at the extraordinary meeting of Byron Shire Council last Thursday, November 2.

On Monday, November 6, ‘formal advice of the revocation from Council has been received,’ said BEC convenor, John Lazarus.

‘The eviction of the Byron Environment Centre (BEC), and our Information rotunda, from Railway Park, Byron Bay, has been stopped, for now. Agreement on our long-term tenure, which has enjoyed at least tacit council approval for the last 15 years, is still to be clarified.’

Apologies from both the Mayor and the General Manager have been made publicly over the mishandling of the Railway Park upgrade.

‘It is unfortunate that the Byron Bay Master Plan has fallen at its first project,’ continued Lazarus.

‘The reasons for the failures of governance are yet to be revealed. What is clear, is that the Byron Bay Master Plan has major problems.’

Byron Masterplan Team

However, the Byron masterplan team have not been idle since the Byron Shire GM claimed the work being carried out in the Railway Park and the removal of the BEC was ‘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).’

Donald Maughan, Co-Chair of the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan Team categorically denied that the community members of the masterplan team had any knowledge of the plans being carried out by council.

Mr Maughn told Echonetdaily that, ‘Following the actions of council on October 25, when we found out about it (the removal of tress and the eviction of the BEC) the Byron Masterplan Team sent a letter to the Mayor and General Manager requesting a review of the process of how the community members of the masterplan team can work together with council so things are worked through in a logical and open process.

‘When the community consultation process was set up with the masterplan team the concept itself was a good concept but because it didn’t have a formal structure that was clear or concise regarding the process. We are having a special meeting of the masterplan committee with both council and community members on November 13 where we will review the process.

‘We want to create a formal process that is open and transparent so that everyone knows what is being planned and the sequence of events of any particular project.

‘That is the structure that we came up with as a suggested operational plan that we included in the letter to the Mayor and GM.’

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