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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

Love Byron – but how deep is your love?

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Dog roaming free on the beach. Photo supplied.

Alison Drover

Emblazened across his chest ‘nature’ and her arm ‘planet’ encircled with two pythons and an eagle. The dream-catcher bounces along the road swinging like a pendulum determining which beach they will cruise into for the night. A cactus-grown wetsuit hangs on the back along with the designer hoodie. They have chosen their camp spot in the nature reserve of course and now can afford their organic activated almonds.

Out jumps Rainbow, rescued from a dogs’ home and therefore entitled to free range all night on the beach. She can channel the endangered little terns and wallabies warning them she will chase them, but just for fun.

They sit and meditate next to their illegal fire and then send a pic to their friends on insta with a deeply earth-loving quote – nature so precious so blessed to be in Byron.

So many people are blessed to be in Byron. They are coming in droves. They all deeply love nature, have dream-catchers, are free spirits and, it seems, just can’t read signs.

Sunrise is #glorious as they head off after blessing nature with their ablutions. They know how to do this ethically and stack little sticks around their offering like a shrine. Shrines are popping up all over the Shire in carparks, nature reserves, locals’ front yards with their white toilet flags like the Tibetan silk flags.

Surf’s up – they speed up the road just missing the resident nature, a python and some plover birds.

At night around the carparks, shampoos in hand, they prowl, hair wash and conditioner blessing the ocean with their products.

Toilet paper shrines. Photo supplied.

Dave loves Byron. True Blue the dog is with him off to nature but he can’t get a park and after driving from Queensland he is entitled to a spot. He uses his entire grunt and pulls out the ‘No Standing’ sign and nudges ‘gently’ his love deeply into the rainforest.

If Byron were your partner you fell in love with her because of the trees, pristine rainforest, biodiversity, clean beaches, lack of commercialism, artisans, healers, nature, alternatives, give a damn people that kept it free of large-scale developments and highrise that makes it the same as everywhere.

Why then are you dumping on our true love? Our nature reserves are being trashed by the constant free camping and violation of rules designed to protect and respect them. Dogs where owners know they are not allowed, dumping of rubbish after a holiday or backpacking trip – yes mattresses all over the Shire.

It is greed beyond belief when trees are cut down to squeeze another few rooms onto a development. Do you really need to squeeze that fourth bedroom into your development at Suffolk and rip out the trees, or could you be blessed just to partake in such a lifestyle and perhaps give as well as receive?

Broken signs. Photo supplied.

No camping means no camping. Showers at the beach are for rinsing off and not doing your washing. No dogs means no dogs at all. Buy the dream-catcher made by a local rather than in China and consider your paid parking well worth it considering what you get. Take your joint butts with you rather than jamming them into the picnic tables. If a guest, consider that your neighbour might be a nurse or a parent and need to go to work tomorrow, so turn down the volume.

This is our home, we work hard to keep it Byron by sitting up late at night, when we could be with our partners or kids, writing submissions to stop West Byron, protect Belongil beach, slow down unthinking visitation numbers to our nature reserves – so we can protect and conserve what we have.

Show some respect. Engage, protect and point your white feather in the direction of true love for Byron’s sake.

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  1. Well said Alison and I share your angst on finding left over fires on the beach, bottles, cans and plastic litter found during a walk thru the reserves, roadsides, beaches and streets.

    The self indulgent mindset of some people who mould themselves into some new age stylist just infuriates me and my tolerance levels are peaking into the red zone.

    Yes respect the land you are standing on and clean up your shit.

  2. Excellent article Alison ! I wholeheartedly agree with every word….Byron is over-loved and disrespected, and unfortunately there’s no going back to what it was. It had become so 3 years ago when I decided to sell-up (living in the “Golden Triangle”…what a joke). I now live in Peregian Beach (Noosa) where the wonderful local community and nature are flourishing. We had a record number of turtle nests and baby turtles in the pristine dunes this year. We have a pro-active Council who really take pride and care of the micro and macro environment, and the needs of the locals without upsetting the tourism balance.

  3. great letter, thanks Alison ….I am pessimistic though about a change in this mentality
    when our own ‘green’ mayor fearures in a metropoltan newspapaper seemingingly bolstering his green (and once wild) credentials with ripping yarns of how he once lived in the dunes , how people still do and thats just Byron and isn’t it great?! Yes its depressing picking up others crap from our reserves, one that irks me is spring water bottles on the beach . Only purest of pure H2O good enough for some folks internal enviroments then they hurl the plastic into our shared enviroment

  4. So true! Living adjacent to Arakwal National Park we are confronted with all this on a daily basis. Dogs in a dog free National Park and beach, and off the leash – who cares if the exhausted migrating birds die right there. Fires in the National Park, on occasion getting out of control. Doof parties by the beach. Illegal camping. Mattresses, rubbish, toilet paper etc dumped in our yard. Stuff stolen from our place. Alison is not at all exaggerating, sadly. Please please visitors, behave, respect and preserve what you have come here for!

  5. I’ve just returned after a38 year hiatus.. Surfer in Paradise. It was just exactly described in the article. I expected change, but this was appalling. No high rises granted.. But the “guardians of the future”..what a joke. This shit was literally everywhere… Even soiled bedding and sheets. Have some respect and shower without chemicals in the provided free and fresh water showers, cleanse in the sea.. Take your shit with you and don’t poo in public places… Keep your dogs in the right areas.. NO doubt you will fill the offices of silks and judges and pontificate in the meantime clean up your freaking acts.

  6. FOrgot to mention,. The free food cafes and welfare centres for the drive through youth are commendable, much like the Krishna cafes in the 70’s in Sydney.. Whe isn’t anyone asking these lucky new flower children for an hours service in community parks and carparks as a payback to the kind usually elderly people manning these facilities… I actually heard some people “yeah man.. All this Heaven and free food and good coffee too”” Who’s on the smart money?

  7. I left Byron in 93 after growing up there in the 70s and 80s. I don’t know what your crying about the town has reaped everything it has sown. You planted rubbish and got trash. So stand knee deep in your own shit and smile.

  8. Can the Echo Net Daily please ask DESTINATION BYRON for their thoughts on this article … are they aware of this – and if so – what are their thoughts – and can they get on board with some solutions so Tourists can learn to respect the Paradise we live in … we need community response …
    I am also concerned that – apart from the 2.1 millions tourists we are boasting we already have – we may be having to deal with 840.000 extra Festival goers – who will add to these numbers – if Parklands get permanent approval for more… more … more …. is there any end to more …. ?


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