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Byron Shire
December 1, 2022

Community bar – not

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Liz Levy, Suffolk Park

I couldn’t believe what I was reading in The Echo: a plan to turn an ‘iconic’ part of the ‘Community’ Centre into an exclusive members’ bar, five nights a week!

The Centre’s website homepage declares: ‘We work together to provide Byron Bay with a platform that encourages both social and cultural inclusion… inspiring a sense of community’. Is this really achieved by ushering Byron even further down the path of being an exclusive haven for the well-heeled and famous?

What a dangerous precedent to cater for a select, privileged clientele in a community owned facility. Whether the space is currently used or not, it could be. Access should not be dependent on large outlays of donations and therefore presumably out of reach to many.

I understand that the Centre’s income has been hit by the pandemic, but find another way. The area is crying out for a relaxed venue providing a range of music genres at a civilised volume. What if the area was used for some ticketed performances from some of our less exposed but equally talented musicians, with takings apportioned between artists and Centre – with the real money being made behind the bar? There could be a set genre per night. We must have students from SCU Conservatorium in our area.

Something of this nature would, in itself, be an arts program; much more inclusive, showcasing and genuinely supporting local talent while simultaneously catering for a real community need.


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  1. I felt very disturbed when I read the announcement. I felt gladdened that someone put into words my misgivingings and discomfort with the proposal. This is a Community Centre. That must mean something about embracing all people within its spaces. Great alternative suggestions too Liz. Thank you.


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