A market stallholders’ association has told The Echo that they are happy to move from the Butler Street Reserve and support Byron Shire Council’s push for a carpark and possible transit hub on the location.
As reported previously, the Rainbow Stallholders Association have been against the move and strongly critical of the process and negotiations by Council.
Suzie Mylecharane represents the North Coast Market Stall Holders Association and says her group has been representing stallholders since 2005 and has 189 members.
In a recent letter to local state MP Tamara Smith, she says the changes have been talked about over the last few years.
‘One of the main aims of the masterplan is to remove cars from the town centre,’ she wrote.
‘In order to do that, they suggested that the Butler Street Reserve become a carpark.’
‘With the farmers market using it weekly as a carpark, the front end of the market has become a dust bowl and because of that has made half the market area very shabby.’
‘We are sure you realise by now that our council are not trying to get rid of the community markets or the farmers market. They are in fact trying to find a wonderful new venue to support the masterplan concepts.
‘We have been aware that Butler Street would become a bypass and realised during this time, so to maintain the markets there would be almost impossible.
‘Most have embraced the ideas for progress and hopefully positive change.
‘I personally feel that if this is done properly, it could be a great boost to both the markets and the town.
‘I have been a stallholder, among other career initiatives, for more than 30 years. I love it.
‘Some people find it hard to embrace change; however, we feel that the majority of the stallholders are welcoming this new and exciting direction for the markets.
‘Many markets around the world are in town centres and this is where we ultimately hope to end up.
‘The existing Butler Street Reserve is hot, flat, dull and dusty.
‘It is really the market itself that is iconic and definitely not the Butler Street Reserve.
‘We want the buses off the streets of Byron, so we also feel that this site as a carpark and bus station could be a good thing.
‘We hope that you see and support our position to move Byron Bay forward into a new era.’
Ms Mylecharane added that the Rainbow Stallholders Association are securing signatures on a petition by telling people the markets are at risk.
‘Most people signing have no idea about what is really going on and they are signing because they are being told their livelihood is about to be threatened.’
‘There are people signing who don’t even have a stall or are just workers at a stall. It is unfortunate because Byron is full of people who react without knowing the full story.’
But another stallholder, Ian Brown, challenged the numbers of the North Coast Market Stall Holders Association.
‘We approached approximately 280 stallholders and received 256 signatures from the owners of the stalls. The North Coast Stallholders Association is roughly ten people at most.’
‘They are threatened with the fact that we are the majority of the stallholders.
‘We asked stallholders if they wanted to stay on Butler Street Reserve. Simple.
‘Most said Yes.
‘Suzie doesn’t realise what mayor Simon Richardson is up to and is being bluffed.
‘The move to the beachfront is a temporary move?
‘Where to from there for 350 small business owners?’