The Butler Street Community Network strongly opposes the proposed Byron Shire Council acquisition of the Crown lands, Butler Street Recreation Reserve and its intended development as a bus terminal, 24-hour carpark and central business district (CBD) expansion zone.
Only green space
The Butler Street reserve is the only open green recreation space on the western side of the railway tracks in our township. It is bordered by ever increasing residential density and acts both as a wildlife corridor and buffer to the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve.
Developing this green open space as a highrise transport infrastructure removes forever this amenity for our residential community and natural environment.
Excuses that the Butler Street Reserve is just a hot dustbowl merely highlight the neglect the Crown Reserve Trustees, Byron Shire Council, has shown the reserve over the years, despite many years of lucrative leasing of the reserve for the Byron market and other activities.
The reserve holds a special place for our Bundjalung community; it has been mapped and the stories have been recorded as central to their marriage ceremonial space. Nobody has consulted the Bundjalung community in this respect. In fact the Byron Shire Council has not consulted a single resident of our community with regard to the acquisition of the reserve and its development as a bus terminal.
The proposed bus terminal, car park and CBD development are totally inconsistent with the Plan of Management (POM ) in force and prepared for the reserve in 2002.
The POM acknowledges the limited open space passive recreation areas available in Byron Bay and the high value the community places on this contribution to the recreation and social life of the people of Byron Bay.
It is also valued for its scenic qualities, as an area of green open space in the heart of Byron Bay, and is important owing to its proximity to significant environmental sites.
Despite all of this Council as development proponent sees fit to establish a bus terminal directly adjacent to a medium-density residential area of approximately 50 households.
This is completely inappropriate land use within such close proximity of residential areas and lacks appropriate buffers.
Exhaust fumes from buses and cars and light and noise pollution impacts have not been considered or addressed owing to a lack of community consultation. The mayor conveniently explains that Transport for NSW has decided to plonk themselves there.
Once again, we must politely insist that this is not progress or positive change. This is a regressive proposal for our town, it is destructive, out of character and unnecessary.
Save Butler Street Reserve because truly many don’t seem know what they’ve got till it’s gone.
♦ Paul Jones is the president of the Butler Street Community Network.