Hundreds rally to demand axing of West Byron development
HUNDREDS turned out for the Protect Byron Rally yesterday with organisers hoping the event will help inspire young people to take a political stand against over development in the tourist town.
The rally started with a march from Railway Park to Apex Park at Byron Bay's main beach, where several bands then entertained the crowd.
The event was organised by the Byron Young Residents Alliance and member Caitlin Weatherstone said the main aim was to motivate young people to get involved in politics, and to make sure they are enrolled to vote before the next state election.
"Young people need to get informed about the unsustainable developments planned for the area, and how it will affect our town," she said.
"West Byron in particular is very concerning to us."
Ms Weatherstone said one of the main concerns was a housing estate planned for Ewingsdale. She said the "mega development" could increase traffic along Ewingsdale Rd by 6000 car trips a day.
She said the traffic would cripple the town and the tourism industry that supports it.
Ms Weatherstone said the proposed development also posed a threat to koala habitats while building on a flood plain would have implications for water run off into Byron Bay.
Ms Weatherstone said the development plan could still be stopped as only the rezoning for the area had been approved.
The rally was timed to put pressure on politicians ahead of the state election on March 28.
"We are just trying to get Byron youth educated. They need to enrol to vote so they can have their say," Ms Weatherstone said.
Labor candidate for Ballina Paul Spooner last week made an election commitment to scrap the West Byron development as it currently stands.
Greens candidate for Ballina Tamara Smith has been fighting against the development proposal for close to 18 months she said.
Ms Smith attended yesterday's rally and said it was empowering to see all the younger people getting involved in political issues.