Return to Butler St Reserve hits a snag
Byron Farmers Market moved from its home at Butler Street Reserve to the Cavanbah Centre almost two years ago to accommodate construction of the Butler Street bypass. While the bypass is now open, the return of the farmers’ market has been delayed owing to ongoing contamination testing on the reserve.
‘We were originally working on the premise of the farmers’ market being at the Cavanbah Centre for about six months while the bypass was being built,’ said Byron Farmers Market manager Tom Carey. ‘We are now coming up to two years, which unfortunately has frustrated a number of our customers. While the delay has been beyond our control, in the meantime we have made the best of the situation and we are still planning to move back to Butler Street Reserve as soon as we can.’
Mr Carey said it was difficult to put a time frame on when the return would take place, but he has been in regular contact with Byron Shire Council about the matter and that they are working towards the old site becoming useable as soon as possible.
Claire McGarry, Place Manager Byron Bay, at Byron Shire Council said that Council, in partnership with the NSW Environment Protection Agency, is continuing to investigate contamination on the reserve.
‘When the markets originally moved to the Cavanbah Centre, Council undertook testing on the site under an EPA voluntary investigation order to determine the type and extent of contamination on the reserve due to its use as a former landfill,’ said Ms McGarry. ‘When this testing was completed and submitted to the EPA, they requested a second round of testing specifically looking for PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances).
‘This additional testing found that PFAS is present on the site. The EPA has requested further soil sampling on the site to determine the cause and extent of the PFAS contamination, as well as the risk it poses.’
Despite this, Ms McGarry said that Council is still planning for Byron Farmers Market to return to its original home at Butler Street Reserve.
‘The site investigations to date have shown that the future use of Butler Street Reserve for its former uses as a public recreation space, car park and market will hopefully be suitable uses if they are managed under an Environmental Management Plan, endorsed by the EPA, which we are in the process of developing now.
‘Getting Butler Street Reserve operational again, including for the Byron Farmers Market, is a high priority for Council and we are doing everything we can within our control to get to that point.’
Until then, you can still find all your favourite local farmers at the Cavanbah Centre on Ewingsdale Road for Byron Farmers Market every Thursday from 7–11am.