Byron’s weekly farmers’ market may return to its traditional home in Butler Street Reserve after detailed soil testing found that the park was less contaminated than was feared.
After months of discussion and debate over the future of the site following the discovery of acid sulphate soils, consultants hired by Council have found that it is, in fact, suitable for certain community uses.
‘No polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) of public open space health-based criteria were reported in all the samples collected from the former site surface and/or landfill material,’ the consultants, Cavanbah Consulting, said in their report.
‘The site is considered suitable for the proposed community use for open space, market place and car parking.’ These findings have been forwarded to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for a final review.
However, in the meantime, Council staff are developing a proposal for the staged return of community uses to the reserve, including the weekly farmers’ market.
Stage One of this proposal would see a return of the weekly farmers’ market to a small grassed section of the reserve. Stage Two would see a return of the entire reserve to community use for a ‘mix of markets, parking and green recreation space, factoring in any constraints or exclusion zones required by the EPA’.
In a press release issued last week, interim Byron Mayor, Michael Lyon, described the latest consultant’s report as ‘positive news’.
Meanwhile, Council staff are preparing a development application (DA) for the monthly Community Market to be relocated to Railway Park in the centre of town.
This market is currently located in the park next to Byron’s Main Beach. The Community Market was only meant to remain in this temporary home until October.
However, Council staff have now indicated that 90 days is needed to assess the DA, meaning that the relocation will be delayed until at least December 2021.