It is noted that the nine houses on the seafront at Elements, Belongil have been approved by Byron Council. The colonising of the High End ‘Byron Brand’ continues despite years of active resistance to beachfront development by the Byron community to save this highly sensitive area that is habitat to endangered species such as the little tern and migratory species of birds that are diminishing as their habitat disappears before our eyes. Put simply, developers do not respect the rights of nature as articulated by the ecological report on Elements by Dailan Pugh, which stresses the dire impact on species by the incursion of tourist development and unconscious tourists.
The ‘Byron Brand’ juxtapositions become more starkly obvious for anyone wishing to investigate. A ten-minute walk east on the stolen beachfront land, near the Tea House, one encounters homeless men sleeping in the dunes. Most recently a very sick First Nations young male with cancer was discharged from hospital. He was homeless, obviously very ill and in need of care. The Community Centre social worker is overworked and underfunded and this further impacts on the wellbeing of the very vulnerable, such as First Nations peoples.
Indeed, this lack of funding is really saying ‘We don’t give a damn, just get rid of the homeless and vulnerable, out of sight out of mind. Let the police impound the vans that people are sleeping in so they lack the resources to recover. Let them join the dispossessed sleeping in the dunes. First Nations people have no rights anyway. Just don’t blemish the Byron Brand!’.
Byron Brand society seems drugged in the narcissistic slumber and stupor of its own making, despite Byron Council recently ratifying the International Charter of Human Rights. It does not see that its ‘vision’ structurally and socially, is dominated by the imperial gaze.
Civil society has risen, and many folks are working hard to offer care and support and many thanks, but NOWHERE do I see a candidate articulating the collective principles of the Uluru Statement.
To my mind this confirms the power of the imperial gaze to dominate and drown any development of human consciousness addressing the REAL plight of First Nation peoples.
Byron used to be a happy egalitarian society. Now it holds the highest statistic of homelessness outside of Sydney. Read the Uluru Statement and be inspired for action. Cate Coorey and her team deserve the right to represent and lead Byron back to a progressive, caring, humane inclusive egalitarian society.