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Byron Shire
August 6, 2021

Byron market relocation proposal divides opinion

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Community opinion appears to be starkly divided over the proposed relocation of the Byron Community Markets from the foreshore at Main Beach to Railway Park, which Byron councillors will vote on this Thursday.

A report from staff states that ‘there is fairly even support for and opposition to the proposal, with very strong sentiment on both sides’.

The report, based on around 300 responses, states that 49.1 per cent of respondents support the permanent relocation of the market to the centre of town, while 39 per cent oppose the move.

Just under 12 per cent of respondents said they were unsure. Staff have recommended to councillors that they vote in favour of the relocation, which they say is the only viable option.

The most vocal opposition to the move appears to come from the owners of businesses in the immediate vicinity of Railway Park, who are concerned that the partial closure of Jonson Street will impact their operations.

Returning to Butler Street Reserve has been ruled out, as contamination investigations continue, while the current beach location has been described by staff as, ‘not a sustainable option’.

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  1. So the dodgy survey now is enough to dictate our community. The Butler Street Recreational Reserve has been taken away from the people. After a short honeymoon at the beach, the stallholders are told to set up on the concrete on the Main Street and along the railway tracks and forget their legal home for almost 40 years at Butler Street. The survey was selective, anonymous, conducted from a random 300 people and probably doctored. Most stallholders that I have spoken with would like to stay at the Beachfront and some would like to contribute to protect and improve the council neglected Denning Park with its dying casuarinas. Before the move the stallholders overwhelmingly supported plan to improve the Butler Street Reserve. Despite paying stall fees ,in my case for 27 years, no money was directed to improve the grounds. We did some voluntary tree planting, only to have the Reserve turn into a carpark contrary to its Plan of Management. Now the Reserve is locked away under some “vague contamination investigation’. Obviously council is in no hurry to publish the results. I guess you can find anything that you want to find on the old tip. You just have to dig deep enough. My three kids grew up on the Reserve playing on the grass during the market days. I could not bring them to play at the railway tracks ( probably asbestos) or have them crawl on Johnson Street. Many stallholders will not be able to park and carry their stall to this site. Should they be forced into retirement?
    We demand a proper vote among the stallholders, whose livelihoods are at stake. Whose agenda is driving this “permanent” move without permanent rights on the very contested Transport corridor? This might be a great idea to some at the council, but it not a democracy if you did not ask the people about their will.


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