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June 18, 2021

Byron masterplan

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Amanda Walton, Wategos Beach.

Whilst I fully support the concept of developing a masterplan for the Byron foreshore and using an expert to do it, I can only hope that the brief for McGregor Coxall is to tread very lightly on the landscape.

Whilst they are internationally recognized and do some amazing work, their redevelopment of Acland Street St Kilda makes many of us cry every time we walk down there with appalling shopping-centre style fake palm shelters dotting the street.

Maybe they should also have a look at the recent Wategos remediation works where we should have had native grasses and plants instead of half dead grass/weeds along the boardwalks, a more natural surface instead of a yellow concrete for the walkway, ideally meandering and softened around the edges with plants, and a less visually obtrusive solution to keeping cars off the walkway than a dense line of unattractive bollards.

Some weed control and replanting on the foreshore would help as well.

Some of the Wategos charm has been lost.

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  1. These concerns around the remediation work in Wategos may have some merit but I would like to clarify a few things for the record.

    The Byron Bay town centre masterplan team undertook extensive community engagement resulting in:
    – Over 2,500 individual comments received during the 5 engagement periods Oct 2014 to March 2016
    – 32 formal face to face community interactions
    – 6 Community Open Days

    – The Byron Bay town centre masterplan by McGregor Coxall was endorsed in June 2016 at which point our engagement concluded.
    – The masterplan was a strategy / framework document and since then McGregor Coxall has had no involvement with development or implementation of the plan.
    – The masterplan received several accolades on the merit of it’s planning and consultation including the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (NSW) – Communities Award of Excellence, 2016; Local Government Association of NSW – NSW Govt. RH Dougherty Award, 2016; Architecture Media Pty Ltd – Shortlisted: Australian Urban Design Awards , 2016
    – Since endorsement it has been reported that aspects of the masterplan have changed
    – McGregor Coxall has no association with the recent Wategos remediation works and have had no input into the boardwalks referred to in the letter.
    – The new Acland Street has achieved 25% increase in pedestrian space + 25% increase in footpath trading space + a new 500 m2 public plaza. In the 10 months since construction facebook likes increased by 6% from 8,826 to 9,359 and retail vacancies have dropped by over 50% (source Acland Street Six month post-construction evaluation)


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