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Byron Shire
March 4, 2021

It’s official: farmers market relocating to Cavanbah

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The weekly Byron Bay Farmers Market, which has operated at the Butler Street Reserve for 17 years, is set to temporarily relocate in July to accommodate the construction of the Butler Street bypass.

Councillors voted last Thursday to not only move the markets to the Cavanbah Centre on Ewingsdale Road, but to pay $69,969 for the facility to become an operational market ground. 

Hugh and Heather Armstrong from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes at the Farmers Market.

This is despite the monthly Community Market stallholders previously stating they do not want to temporarily relocate to the Cavanbah Centre.

In August  2017, The Echo reported that Council staff took it upon themselves to prepare a development application (DA) to use Cavanbah Centre on Ewinsgsdale Road as a primitive camping and market site. 

It came without informing councillors, and the community, or the agreement of stallholders who operate on Butler Street.

Mayor Simon Richardson told The Echo at the time, ‘There is no move to move current markets out to the Cavanbah Centre.’

Uncertainty 

Despite that, the project comes with a lot of uncertainty. 

David Farmer, representing the Farmers Markets, told the chamber in public access there are 80 members. 

‘It’s their livelihood’, he said, ‘and all are nervous’. 

Farmer added, ‘We haven’t even talked about coming back to Butler Street’.

Acting mayor Michael Lyon’s motion was eventually adopted, with only Cr Basil Cameron voting against. 

$20,000 will be offered towards relocation costs before and during the bypass construction period, as well as $4,914 towards admin support. 

While in their report Council staff suggested $5,000 be offered for the Farmers Market towards relocation costs, it became clear in the meeting that it would cost the markets around $25,000.

Funding sources will come from the Butler Street bypass project, say staff, where the state government have committed $10.5m and Council $4m.

During debate, staff said relocation would be six months while the Butler Street section is constructed. 

Additionally, staff said the successful tenderer for the roadworks would not be liable if they go over the time alloted for construction.

Cr Lyon said, ‘We can revisit this’.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like every single permanent stall holder of Byron Markets needs to be paid a compensation relocation fee for every week they need to spend at Cavanbah Centre, taking into account costs of moving, ongoing expenses and lost income. If not immediately forthcoming, a Class Action would be appropriate.
    That might help make it clear what happens when a wholly destructive action (the bypass) is forced upon a town, with concomittant secret ‘unintended consequences’ that directly impact livlihoods of working people

  2. Stallholders have a LOT more rights in this situation, financial and otherwise, than they probably realise. Council is hoping the stallholders don’t cotton on to this fact. How about permanent stallholders approach local law firms to review pro bono options for redressing the gross imbalance in this equation? I’m sure some of those stallholders have been on site longer than some of the council members, the same ones enforcing power of life and death hand-wavy decisions about stallholders livlihoods and domestic circumstances, have been in politics.
    If you get the ball rolling now, there’s a chance to leverage a decision in your favour before July. If you are forced to move come July – then you’ll automatically be awarded damages a court gets involved for the damage will be done. Just don’t wait till after the move as you will have less influence legally. Lets not allow these invisible members in their ivory tower, who are employed to serve and represent us, to keep making decisions about our lives behind closed doors, without our say, leaving us to pick up the pieces.

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