Byron Shire Council has moved to reassure sporting teams that they won’t be pushed off the Byron Bay Recreation Ground despite a plan to rezone it from sports to general community use.
Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said suggestions that sporting clubs would be forced off the fields are ‘simply untrue.’
He added that sporting fixtures remained the ‘number one priority for the future management of the Rec Ground’.
‘Byron Shire Council has no intention of limiting or changing the use of the Rec Ground for sports activities and rumours that the playing fields will be downgraded so they are unable to be used for regional competitions and fixtures are incorrect,’ Mayor Richardson said.
‘The Byron Bay Rec Ground is a wonderful community asset; it has been the gathering place for people for more than 90 years and the council has no plans to change this.
‘The council is aware the Rec Ground has very strong ties to the community particularly as a memorial to the local men who died in World War 1 and World War 2 and recognises this important history.
‘The council will not be doing anything to disrespect this important part of local history,’ Mayor Richardson said.
Concerts, festivals, outdoor cinema
The Rec Ground is currently categorised as sports ground and the council says its proposal to rezone it to general community use ‘will allow the area to be used for a broader range of activities’.
‘The Revised Plan of Management for the Byron Shire Recreation Ground is looking at retaining the area for sport but to also allow the community to use the space for a range of different activities such as an outdoor cinema, a festival, or for a one-off concert,’ Mayor Richardson said.
‘The council is proposing that user agreements be signed with all sporting clubs and this will mean that any extra activity on the Rec Ground will only be allowed if they are complimentary to the needs of the clubs and users,’ he said.
‘The contribution local sports clubs make to the Byron Bay community is immense, not just in terms of getting people active and moving, but the friendships and social interaction they inspire for people of all ages is equally important,’ Mayor Richardson said.
‘I spent my childhood in and around sporting clubs and I understand the value of these organisations and the value they bring to the Byron Bay community.
‘I love the benefits local sporting clubs provide – they are community centres, provide mentoring across generations, foster fun and activity for families and long may this be the case at the Byron Bay Rec Ground and everywhere else in the Shire for that matter.
‘There are also no plans to move the monthly market to the Rec Ground or any other regular market for that matter,’ he said.
‘This Draft Plan of Management for the Byron Recreation Ground is about being able to use that community land, when there is no sport being played, for some other occasional uses.
‘The council is committed to not only maintaining and supporting the grounds for current and future sports activities, but we want to improve facilities and put in more water bubblers and enhance the playground.
‘The Byron Bay Recreation Ground has been used for sport for generations and that will continue to be the case in the future,’ Mayor Richardson said.
‘I urge anyone with questions about this Draft Plan of Management to contact the council and a staff member will be available to talk to them,’ he said.