A staff recommendation to ‘activate the Byron Bay rail corridor’ that is due to go before Byron Council this week includes a recommendation to allow ‘development for markets with development consent,’ much to the consternation of the Byron Environment Centre and some stallholders.
But the monthly Byron Bay community markets have no plan to move either permanently or temporarily to the railway corridor according to their ultimate manager Paul Spooner.
The GM of Byron Community Centre and Byron Shire ALP councillor was batting back concerns expressed by Byron Environment Centre’s John Lazarus about the appearance of the option on the staff recommendation, which also includes the option of ‘development for the purposes of a community facility, including commercial activity undertaken by a not-for-profit organisation or social enterprise… with development consent within the station building, previously used as a ticketing office for the rail station, and the adjacent railway platform.’
But Cr Spooner said the use of the site would be a fall-back option only if use of Butler Street Reserve became untenable during the building of the Byron Bay Bypass.
He told Echonetdaily that the Byron Bay Community Association was ‘committed to the community markets staying at Butler Street Reserve’.
‘No approach is proposed or has been made by myself (or anyone else) to facilitate a move of the community markets to either the railway corridor or the beachfront,’ he said.
‘As I understand it, the proposal for the corridor enables one-off events (e.g. Soul Street or the like) and if any circumstance arose where it is required to move the markets, eg: for the temporary relocation of the existing markets due to Butler Street Reserve not being useable. Without this option the only other viable location would be the beachfront.’
Cr Spooner also pointed out that ‘the planning proposal does not provide any approval for ongoing markets to operate in the corridor. A formal DA would still need to be lodged and the community given the opportunity to make submissions. Under what is proposed this could only happen when existing markets need to relocate. No new markets could be established there’.
He added the BBCA was ‘committed to working cooperatively with stallholders to ensure the Butler Street Reserve is the home of the Community Markets’.
‘I will work both as a GM and as a councillor to ensure Council keeps the community informed of any issues that would impact on the operation of the markets at the Reserve.
‘This includes ensuring the current council investigations into the historical ground contamination is fully understood by stallholders and the community,’ he said.
Acting GM Mark Arnold made similar points in responding to Mr Lazarus’ concerns, saying, ‘The intention of the amendment is to provide for the community use of the corridor for local events, exhibitions and the like; facilitate the upgrade and beautification of the corridor; provide for the adaptive use of the station building for a community purpose; and to facilitate the temporary or permanent relocation of existing markets.’