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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Railway Park’s future

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John Lazarus, Byron Bay

Byron Shire Council’s Railway Park Plan of Management up for comment article (Echo August 1) fails to explain the ramifications of changing Railway Park’s classification from the present classification of Park, to Council’s proposed reclassification to General Community Use.

The present classification of Park requires that the site is basically used for passive recreation, with casual use of licensed events, markets etc.

The proposed reclassification to General Community Use would allow a higher intensity of permanent commercial use and the construction of buildings (eg the Masterplan’s proposed construction of an art gallery on the park, but also buildings for cafes etc).

The Byron Environment Centre (BEC) opposes Council’s proposal to reclassify Railway Park from the present classification of Park, and calls on the community to put in a submission rejecting Council’s proposed change.

The BEC says keep the present Park classification to enshrine this park as a passive recreational green space in the centre of town, that will continue to be a place for rallies, protests, events and markets, not for increased commercial activities, nor for construction of buildings.

There will be a public hearing held on the proposed change of classification category, at the Council Chambers, Station Street, Mullumbimby on August 21.

Any person wishing to make a verbal or written submission to the public hearing should send their submission (to speak register their interest) to [email protected] by 4pm 14 August.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, John, for bringing this issue to our attention. The draft PoM is something of a mystery. What exactly are the purposes envisaged that aren’t available in the current zoning as parkland – and who is driving them?

    The draft states: ‘ Railway Park provides economic value in the form of capacity for small-scale commercial use, consistent with the core objectives and this Plan, community/ artisan markets being an example. Such use can generate economic benefits for the town and provide an important opportunity for Council to offset operational costs.’

    But we already have the artisan markets so what is the problem? If the aim is offsetting operational costs it is unusual that Council recently agreed to waive fees fduring closure over quiet periods. Wouldn’t other businesses love to have that?

    Could the other small-scale commercial use be a circuitous way of achieving the circus of pop-ups, start-ups, stalls, markets etc. that were part of a proposal for changes to the LEP for the ‘activation’ of the rail corridor? The one that has been amended and recently re-exhibited due to negative submissions from the business community and the masterplan leadership group among other concerned residents. Where Council conceded that 52 days a year was neither ‘one-off’ nor ‘temporary’?

    The draft plan also specifies that it expressly authorises any building development and/or work ancillary to the purposes (including commercial) it encompasses.

    It’s not a large area. Surely we can preserve a quiet green sanctuary in the middle of the chaos. The draft plan states that ‘The Park upgrade will also provide a public space in the middle of town where users of all ages can engage directly with nature’. If this is what is desired then leave the current zoning. I personally think I will be better able to engage with nature without amplified music or commercial traders surrounding me.

  2. John,I fail to see how your vision of a passive recreational green space can be also be a place for rallies, protests,events and markets. Plus, the BEC has already constucted a building in this park, so whats with the non construction demand. I am sure you could find another suitable site for your rallies and protests, maybe the entry to mullum near the totems. At least there you cant bother people trying to enjoy a nice day in the park.

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