7 things Byron Council wants you to know about
THERE'S no shortage of things happening and issues to follow in the Byron Shire.
From celebrating NAIDOC Week to planning to protect the shoreline from devastating erosion, we've put together a list of some key things you might not want to miss.
1. NAIDOC WEEK
NAIDOC Week has been celebrated this week (November 8 to 15) under the theme 'Always Was, Always Will Be'.
Byron Shire residents have been encouraged to use this time as a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and their connection to country.
Byron Shire Council's project officer for social and cultural planning, Rob Appo, said this year's NAIDOC theme was due recognition that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for more than 65,000 years.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were managing the landscape, caring for country and maintaining cultural practices long before European settlement and NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for everyone in our community, and across Australia, to recognise this," Mr Appo said.
A flag-raising was help with representatives of the Arakwal people, the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council, Byron Shire Councillors and the council's executive team on Monday.
"Byron Shire Council has also extended an invitation to surrounding Local Government Areas to host similar events as a symbolic acknowledgment of NAIDOC Week in the Northern Rivers," Mr Appo said.
"While it is unfortunate we will not be able to have community representatives at the flag-raising event, as we normally do, I hope people take the time to mark NAIDOC Week in their own way."
2. PLAN OF ATTACK ON EROSION
The council is consulting with the community on concept designs that aim to protect the Byron Bay CBD from coastal erosion and climate change impacts.
The Main Beach Shoreline Project consultation is on exhibition from November 11 to December 9.
"We've prepared seven concept designs that depict a wide-range of different protection structures and scenarios along Main Beach, Byron Bay," the council's coast, biodiversity and sustainability co-ordinator, Chloe Dowsett said.
"The seven options include everything from simply improving the structure as is to redesigning or removing groynes, to building a stepped concrete sea wall or a sloping rock seawall, or moving the entire structure more landward.
"The options are presented in a survey and the community's responses will help us identify what people value most about the Main Beach shoreline and what, if any, improvements they'd like to see made to the shoreline protection structure. We've seen the impacts of natural coastal erosion most recently on Clarkes beach and the science is telling us what is coming with climate change."
The Main Beach Shoreline project survey is online at www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/mbsp
3. NEW PLAYGROUND
WORK has begun to update the old playground at the village weir in Bangalow.
The council will retain the swing set and spring toy but there will be new additions to encourage social, creative and physical play.
As part of the $75,000 project, a tower-type structure will be built including nets, bridges and play panels as well as a musical feature.
There will also be a carousel with seats and a new swing with a bird's next that can be used by children and adults together.
Dismantling of the old playground and installation of the new additions is set to be finished early next month.
4. VISITOR STRATEGY
The council's Sustainable Visitation Strategy is still on public exhibition and you can have your say until November 27.
The strategy has been designed to help encourage the shire's visitor economy to exist in harmony with local residents and their values, to protect the shire's natural environment, celebrate its cultural diversity.
Learn more about the strategy here.
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5. FOCUS ON ROUGH SLEEPING
THE Byron Shire will be the first NSW region outside of Sydney to pilot a project aimed at tackling rough sleeping.
The project will begin for Connections Week next week, November 16 to 20.
"We are really excited to be the first area outside Sydney to take action using this approach, which is also part of the NSW Premier's Priority Commitment to reduce rough sleeping by 50% by 2025 and end rough sleeping by 2030 - that is a target we have made for the Byron Shire now too," the council's director of corporate and community services, Vanessa Adams said.
"During Connections Week, trained local volunteers and community workers go out to where people are sleeping rough and connect with them to conduct surveys and understand which types of support could enable people to transition out of homelessness - that is our goal.
"The idea is that rather than counting people who are sleeping rough, as we have done in the past through the Street Count, we will be taking it a step further.
"We will be inviting people sleeping rough to talk with us and share their story and carefully recording the information - and this only needs to be done once.
"This evidence - based approach has been a successful method of helping people in need to move out of homeless successfully, and permanently."
The project will involve a real-time database to help to better co-ordinate support services.
"In the bigger picture, data patterns and trends inform policy innovation and systems change so our community can work together toward ending rough sleeping," Ms Adams said.
6. CONCERNS ABOUT BIODIVERISTY IMPACT
The council will be objecting to the state government's Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020, citing concerns it could have an impact on the shire's biodiversity.
The council recently said in a statement it would make urgent representations to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Minister for Energy and the Environment, Matt Kean and other members of the NSW parliament.
Deputy Mayor Michael Lyon, said the bill was a concern for shires with significant koala populations.
"This bill was introduced after a recent, highly publicised, dispute in the Coalition about the Koala State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)," Cr Lyon said.
"My concerns, and that of other Councillors, are that the changes proposed by the Bill will remove important protections for koala habitat and will further facilitate excessive and inappropriate clearing.
"Of particular importance is that the proposed Bill broadens the use of allowable activities to include E-zone land in a rural land use zone and is used for primary production.
"The bill is lacking detail on this and there really needs to be clarity on time frames in reference to how land in E-zones was and is being used for primary production.
"We owe it to our community and our biodiversity to not support this bill."
7. SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT WORKS
WORK has begun on the remediation of the old Mullumbimby Sewage Treatment Plant.
The facility was built in the 1970s and decommissioned in 2011 with the opening of the New Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant at Vallances Rd.
The old infrastructure will be demolished and work will also involve excavating, stockpiling and removing contaminated soil, sampling and validating the remediated site and landscaping.
The recycled effluent pond and associated infrastructure, part of the Main Arm recycled water scheme, will remain.
The water treated there as part of that scheme is reused for irrigation.
Remediation is expected to be complete in April, 2021 and the council has not yet determined a future use for the site.