End of the battle
CELEBRATION: The library celebration cake. Jann Burmester
IT'S been a 20-year battle, but a new page was turned this week in the construction of the new Byron Bay Library with the first sod being turned on site.
To the delight of the small crowd gathered on the new library site at the corner of Lawson and Middleton streets, Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham and president of the Byron Bay Friends of the Library Bob Levett used a gold spade to turn the first sod to mark the start of construction on the $3.75 million library.
"The delivery of a new library was one of my election priorities," Cr Barham said.
"For 11 years I have sat on committees tyring to bring this library to fruition and now we have started construction.
"It's an exciting day, and weather permitting the library should be opened by late June next year."
The new library will have a five-star green environmental rating - the only building to achieve the rating on the Northern Rivers.
"While we will have to remove some of the trees on site, which are not native, we will be replacing them," Cr Barham said.
"When completed, the library will become a lifelong learning centre and feature a dedicated exhibition area to display and celebrate the talent of artists and craftspeople within the shire."
A designated room for Indigenous research and archival material has been included to recognise the assistance the Byron Bay Arakwal people played in making the land available for the library.
Describing the existing Byron Bay Library as a "shoebox", Cr Barham said the new community building would bring considerable opportunities for social connectedness and lifelong learning.
"This has been a long time coming and I would like to thank the Friends of the Library for keeping the dream alive," Cr Barham said.