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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Bruns mural removed without notice

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Brunswick River Festival co-founder, Donny McCormack. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Aslan Shand

The actions of Reflections Holiday Park in reshaping the foreshore of Brunswick Heads have once again been questioned, following the removal of the Housie Shed walls and relocation of community art.

Organisers of the Brunswick River Festival, that ran from 1990 to 1995, were concerned over the relocation of the community art they facilitated, that had been on the Housie Shed wall.

The festival was a three day cultural and community event that brought the community together, with Indigenous culture, art, music and theatre over the October school holidays.

One of the founding members of the festival, Donny McCormack, said, ‘Following the 1993 festival, we worked with Mullumbimby High School art students and Indigenous artists to create a piece of artwork to decorate the Housie Shed for the community’.

Mural relocated without any community consultation

‘We were concerned that the artwork was removed from the Housie Shed in Banner Park, and relocated to the Shell in Terrace Park without any community consultation. It is important that Reflections consider the community before they make these important decisions,’ he told The Echo. ‘Reflections must remember that this space belongs to the community, and has long-term meaning for the people here’.

The importance of community consultation was also emphasised by another local Andy Graeme-Cook. He said, ‘These are public spaces, and Reflections haven’t asked the community if it is okay to remove the Housie Shed walls and move artwork etc’.

Playground not accessible for all abilities

‘Another example is the plans for the new playground that were not accessible [for all abilities]. It is only because I’m on Council’s accessibility committee that I saw them and was able to provide feedback. The rest of the community hasn’t had the opportunity to comment.’

Responding to questions from The Echo over the lack of community consultation, a spokesperson for Reflections Holiday Parks said, ‘Reflections Holiday Parks operates under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 and the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018. Under this legislation, Reflections is obligated to engage with its local communities and does so across the state of NSW.

‘As an example, The Echo would be aware of the community engagement and consultation process undertaken during the review of the Plans of Management (PoM) for both Ferry Reserve Holiday Park and Massy Greene Holiday Parks. Consultation for this project took approximately two years, prior to presenting final documents to the Minister for endorsement.’

Both the community and Byron Shire Council have, for many years, challenged the actions of Reflections, and their impact on the community and environment [see page 7].

The Reflections spokesperson added that they have redesigned the playground, based on feedback from Council consultation.  

Homeless problem

Regarding the removal of the walls of the Housie Shed, the spokesperson said, ‘Reflections is committed to community consultation, and most recently worked very closely with Council, local police and community social welfare representatives, to review the use of the Housie Shed’. 

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  1. I began to read:
    “The actions of Reflections Holiday Park in reshaping the foreshore of Brunswick Heads …”
    I am aghast. What right has a holiday park got in reshaping the foreshore of Brunswick Heads.
    Did the Holiday park buy the foreshore? In what multiple millions of dollars did they pay?
    For the people of NSW we have three levels of government, Federal, State and Local government.
    Which of those did not ask the community as each entity is elected by the people in a Democracy.

  2. Consulting with existing bodies may be easier and possibly helpful, but it is NOT consultation with the community. Those groups have their own role to play, but their selection processes did not include representing the community in park issues.
    It seems that Reflections seem to think they have the right to all foreshore planning.
    Removing the walls of the housie shed without real community consultation denies the history of Brunswick Heads that was created before Reflections came along – perhaps not as bad or as extreme as the miners treatment of indigenous heritage sites, but certainly similar in intent and impact.

  3. Donny, welcome to “Reflections” corporate management model. First they decide what they want to take and do with what they have been allocated to “control” and “manage”. Sometimes they consult, sometimes they do not. When they do consult, if the results do not fit their vision they have ignored overwhelming results of their own consultation process and, you guessed it, they do exactly what they always intended to do and the community be dammed. This is Reflections managing “prime NSW Crown land”: “Whether it’s coastal erosion management,”…. (there approved Plans of Management for The Terrace said, ‘nothing will be done over the term of this PoM’) “tree replacement,” (they systematically degrade the grounds around many of our parks trees, just recently felling trees, at least one likely healthy tree, on land they manage as well as on our Councils’ land….) “upgrading a playground” (no consultation at all in our village…) “or installing a boardwalk,” (community stopped one but the one that would protect The Terrace Holiday park foreshore they have refused to build…..) “our aim is to delight our visitors whilst also caring for these priceless natural treasures.” They are only interested in visitors happiness while they continue to manage and threaten like tyrants. They are not happy with us here though because until they took “control” here they’ve apparently been able to bulldoze their way through the consultation processes elsewhere at all the other parks with little or no successful opposition. Sadly for Brunswick Heads it’s more of the same and on it goes.


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