David Morris, Byron Bay
‘In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/A stately pleasure-dome decree’, Coleridge. Lines penned supposedly after being woken from an opium-induced daze for a ‘slight indisposition’ (no analgesics then). There seems to me in my despair-induced musings something of a comparison. If Byron Bay is now a pleasure-dome of greed and sybaritic indulgence, who might the Khan be?
A ‘loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires’ perhaps, allied with those local officials, who may possibly have been ‘duchessed’? Who really knows?
But one of my nightmares unfolded on the weekend – when the bypass was opened to funnel traffic along what used to be Butler Street and is now a small stretch of motorway. They will surely shatter what remnants of peace there may have still remained at the swamp end of Butler Street.
I predict that this stretch of mini-freeway will encourage joy riders and other dangerous speeding and noisy users.
It is another delusion to pretend that these shared paths are somehow safer. They are not! One is continually dodging cyclists, or skateboards, or electric vehicles. This town is the only place I’ve lived where one must look both ways to cross the pavement!
I have no doubt that there were police sufficient to guard the invited guests at the bypass opening. But on Monday night (22nd) I called the police about amped buskers in the park. I understand the mayor has approved their playing till 10.30pm. The officer said they had only one car and that was ‘away on a job’. I got out of bed after 12, when it was still going. I walked into town looking for the source. An ultra-loud popup concert was well under way – no covid restrictions observed. I walked back to the station. The patrol car had not returned. I walked home. The noise finally stopped at 1am.
I suspect there will be more of this now the covid restrictions on buskers have been lifted. These Council encouragements are urged by those who do not live in the zone I would bet! ‘Why this is hell. Nor am I out of it’.