Jo Faith, Newtown
Late last century (over 30 years ago) a cluster of cronies and pollies from NSW government had a neo-liberal thought bubble. Revamp Byron Bay. Give it the glitz of the Gold Coast. Solution: more roads and development!
It was a country cousin place at the time. The traffic on Ewingsdale Road flowed with ease to the township. One could slow their car down as farmer Tom ambled on his horse to town. So pleasant was the pace, atmosphere and general vibe that one’s heart slowed down; breathing slowly, one could view the many enchantments of Byron township.
Farmer Richard had a Yak, a sleek graceful ballerina. As one approached the roundabout on Jonson Street, they sat on a seat watching the traffic. Music played and Earth protectors danced on the streets and in Railway Park. But lurking in the underworld and shadows was Mr Market, with his twin brother Mr Progress. They did not fit into the ambience. That would have to change!
So it was that the narratives of ecological sustainability were hijacked into one word ‘sustainability’. No one seemed to notice that this concept had morphed into ‘market sustainability’. Developers and Council representatives continue to espouse the term.
Sustainability is on everyone’s lips as we witness the demise of the Butler Street wetlands. Stage One has been completed, the asphalt has been laid over it. How little we know or understand the role of this life-sustaining gift of nature.
We live in the worst times of climate change with more tragedies to come. Wetlands sustain nature – sustainability does not!
More to the point, we note that the claimed Green council has contributed $4 million of ratepayers’ money and other monies from ‘growing economies’. They are not named. The state government has donated $20 million. How Anthropogenic!