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Byron Shire
May 19, 2024

Byron markets stay put as DA prepared

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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.

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  1. Stallholders are also left out of the Council largess to the licensees market organisers as well – $80,000 Council gift to the Monthly market licencee and $40, 000 to the Farmers market licencee (both payments allegedly for relocation costs) and now again abolishes Council market licence charges for both licencees since moved, but the stallholders got nothing to help with their new set ups (which included such things as marquee weights as they were prohibited from using pegs),and stallholders have been, and now will continue to pay the licencees for their market stall spot. The stallholders are the market, and their small business also need all the help they can get in this time, and it is they they who need to be consulted on any proposed new venue for the market.

  2. An attempt to protect the foreshore or empty virtue signalling? Not allowing stallholders to park behind their stalls will result in more impact to the ground, not less. There will be two car movements instead of one per stall. Traffic chaos will be created. If the council was genuine in their concern, they would spend some of the money collected from us on the environmental improvements. Planting Lomandra ( known as mat rush) around the foreshore and the remaining vegetation could improve the dune overnight. The Beach Cafe seems to be protected by a lonely band of mat rush. Why is this technique not used immediately to protect the Denning Park? Council has neglected the park, has not planted any trees to replace dying casuarinas and it is not replenishing the loans despite of the abundance of recycled water on site. Do not be fooled by the charade. It is all part of moving pieces in the Monopoly game that this out of date and out of mandate administration is trying to play with our lives.


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