Byron Council has sought to limit the impact of Byron’s Community Market on the town’s fragile foreshore park by imposing new restrictions on stallholder parking there.
The popular monthly market has been taking place in Dening Park since August 2019, when it was relocated from its traditional home in Butler Street Reserve owing to the construction of the Byron bypass. The ongoing presence of the market in the park has raised concerns about its impact on the adjacent Main Beach sand dunes, which are in an extremely fragile state as a result of ongoing coastal erosion.
Councillors recently voted to again relocate the market, this time to an area in and around Railway Park in the centre of town.
But this move has been delayed by the development application (DA) process that must be completed as part of the relocation.
At last week’s meeting, a majority of councillors voted to extend the market’s licence at Dening Park.
In an attempt to reduce the impact of the market on the park and adjoining fragile foreshore, they also voted to restrict stallholder parking on the reserve itself to no more than 50 vehicles.
Stallholders will also be limited to parking in a triangular area on the western side of the park.
‘This will allow the markets to continue, and I think it’s fair that we limit the access of vehicles to Dening Park at the same time’, Labor Councillor Paul Spooner said.
Earlier, during Council’s public access section of the meeting, Byron Markets Manager, Kate Hardman, emphasised the crucial role that both the Community Market and the weekly Farmers Market played in providing income for more than 300 local stallholders.
‘These are our people, your people – local businesses that need your support’, Ms Hardman said.
‘We didn’t have a choice to move that market to the beachfront. There was no other option. We don’t want to stay at the beach any longer than we have to, and we will continue to do everything we can to minimise the impact. We need clear directives about what we can and can’t do from the councillors’.
Yet stallholder, Walter Halvorsen, told the meeting that he and his fellow stallholders had been left out of the decision-making process.
‘We’ve been moved from Butler Street to Dening Park, and now it looks like we’re being moved back into the centre of town’, Mr Halvorsen said.
‘That site is unworkable for us right now’.
‘Right now, our members are fearful of the outcome of this. They feel very vulnerable – certainly not heard, and certainly not communicated with.
‘We’ve had to push hard to have a meeting with Council, just to talk about what’s happening’.
The motion, passed by a majority of councillors, also included extending the tenure of the weekly Farmers Market at the Cavanbah Centre, ‘until such time as Butler Street Reserve becomes available’.
Crs Sarah Ndiaye (Greens), Basil Cameron (Independent) and Jan Hackett (Labor) voted against the motion.