Jo Faith, Newtown
The slaughter of mature trees in Railway Park approximately ten months ago was a developer’s stance with three objectives. Use tyranny to reclaim the park for development, ‘get rid of the hippies’ and remove the Byron Environment Centre (BEC) rotunda.
This strategy was hasty and backfired creating community outrage. General manager Ken Gainger put his hand up claiming responsibility.
Ken claimed ‘there was confusion in Council’. Council employed consultants to investigate, costing ratepayers $21,000. The conclusion reached was ‘Yes there was confusion’. No more facts!
The legacy of this ‘confusion’ has resulted in ongoing attacks by some Council representatives on the BEC rotunda as to its fate in Railway Park, which still is to be addressed.
The BEC evolved over 30 years ago when the rights of nature and human rights formed a prevalent principled universal discourse that defined the aim of an enlightened inclusive egalitarian democratic society. BEC has a very strong constitution that addresses the rights of First Nation peoples and ratified legal principles that have maintained a successful green movement that upholds human rights.
Council’s recent draft plan of management for Railway Park reveals their desire to change the classification from ‘park’ to ‘general community use’. A neat crony strategy. The ‘general community use’ definition allows for commercial development in the park. Commercial development is not permissable in the ‘park’ classification. No doubt there will be more cafes and no rights for nature. Indeed, proposals exist for the old ticket office, near The Rails pub to be commercialised as a restaurant and bar.
Where to now ask rate-payers? Council was relatively happy with its trust being restored by the Community Solutions Panel. But democracy in Byron is being dollied up again with more weaszel words and neo-con social technologies. About to be birthed and implemented on the Byron ratepayers and community is ‘The Byron Model’ of ‘deliberative democracy’. NeoCon attempts and concepts to manipulate and transform inclusive democracy continue.
Furthermore, we learn that the Community Solutions panel idea will be rebranded as the ‘Co-design Group’.
It seems that Ken left his mould behind when he left Council. Who has picked it up?
Mark Arnold, the new general manager, has a hard job and appears reasonable and open to community concerns. We wish him luck!
Many folks prefer the old inclusive democratic model where all folks gather in a town hall or suitable space and really democratically speak. Let the park remain a very green park.
Come to the Byron Council Chambers on August 21, at 4pm and have your say!