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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Selling off Byron’s public land

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Rounding the corner of Butler Street near the railway crossing, I noticed that a little patch of land tucked into the swamp is currently posted for sale by the NSW government (by online auction). It is advertised as being ‘zoned low density residential’ (no mention of any bypass of course).

The area for sale is 373m2. I suppose many front lawns are larger; but in Byron Bay today any handkerchief of land is as desired as Naboth’s vineyard.

One can only speculate what it is imagined this land may be used for. Or is it the first of a series of land sales in the area as older residents are driven out? (And it is mostly older people who are being shafted by this – stressed and subjected to anxiety; but what do the perpetrators care? ‘It’s Money that Matters’, as Randy Newman sings.)

Doubtless, we’ll see photo opportunities for the next mayor in the spurious Seniors Week – ‘See how much we care for our community’s elderly’.

But not when there’s a buck to be made. Then they are simply an inconvenience and can fend for themselves. Or they can be subject to literal emissions and noise pollution and traffic hazards.

‘Blockbusting’ was wherewhere residents were driven out by being surrounded by inappropriate developments. I have witnessed this in Byron Bay. Why is this not considered criminal?

In John Lazarus’s letter to The Echo (17 April), he suggests that the bypass is for the development of the Butler Street neighbourhood, for the ‘massive proposed commercial expansion of the central business district etc.’

It is arguments such as this that demand an honest response from the council and state government; not equivocation. But what do they care when there’s money to be made?

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