Byron Council asked and you answered

BYRON Shire Council have been listening to feedback from their residents, and now they can initiate the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan.

For the last three months Council been busy sifting through the Big Ideas and community's comments received for the Masterplan while the consultant team McGregor Coxall has been conducting analysis to gain an indepth understanding of Byron Bay Town Centre.

The aim of this Masterplan development stage was to understand whether the built fabric of the town centre currently aligns with the aspirations of its unique community, Council said.

They've had 10 engagement opportunities, over 1450 community comments and reviewed a broad range of criteria including; Environment, Culture, Built Form, Public Domain, Access and Movement, Economics and Governance and now the first Stage: Project Understanding of the Masterplan has come to a close.

Michael Cowdy from McGregor Coxall said the findings were unanimous ranking Access and Movement as the biggest overall issue for both members of the community and the consultant team.

"Community responses highlighted traffic congestion, high parking demand, minimal public transport opportunities and a lack of pedestrian only street and cycle routes as their main concerns," he said.

This was followed by a strong push within the "big ideas" feedback for opportunities to prioritise pedestrians over cars.

Two of the most popular ideas included "A vehicle free town centre that connects the foreshore to the town." and "Less cars - by removing cars for more people, space to hang out, riding bikes, skating and street performance."

Other significant issues brought to light during the engagement process was the need to upgrade Railway Park as the central hub of the town centre and provide modern facilities at Apex Park that allows the foreshore to be a celebrated as a valuable local treasure.

There was strong feedback about the decreasing number of local business with the advent of national franchises as well as a desire to see a restoration of the native vegetation and connections to the surrounding wetlands.

What happens now on the project is all of the community ideas and detailed analysis from the consultant team, informs the development of a future vision and place principles that form the foundation blocks and the Masterplan will begin to take.

The community's next opportunity to be part of Masterplan is at a Community Roundtable on Saturday March 7 at 1pm at Byron High School Hall.

A Community Roundtable, is like a workshop but is more interactive, innovative and fun! Numbers are limited and registration is a required by going to the project dedicated website

At the project website OurPlan you will also find other ways to provide your input into the Masterplanning process.

The Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said "what we want is to produce a considered holistic plan, one that the community has had every opportunity to engage with, I really encourage you to get involved and tell us what you think."

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