New plan to put shine back on Byron CBD

It may well be the so-called 'jewel in the crown' of the Byron Shire, but even its most ardent admirers would have to agree that Byron Bay's CBD is not exactly a sparkling diamond.

'Shabby' and 'dirty' are just two words often used by locals and tourists alike to describe the town, especially at peak holiday times.

With limited resources and having to deal with the impacts of more than a million visitors a year, Byron Council battles to keep ahead of the game.

As does the town's peak business group, Byron United, which has, for several years with a small band of volunteers, worked hard to clean up and beautify the town - and continues to do so.

Which is why it has welcomed new plans put forward by the council for a CBD makeover to create a 'new' Byron Bay.

They have been developed by the council's parks superintendent, Andy Erskine, whose draft 'landscape analysis and renovation' plan and recommendations went before the council last week.

In his report, Mr Erskine said rather than making extensive changes, the aim was to 'improve upon the existing landscape, adding more trees and gardens and revitalising elements such as surfaces, garden surrounds, lighting and street furniture'.

He said there was a need for a 'softening' of hard architectural lines through additional tree planting and up-lighting of trees to produce a more liveable CBD.

The plan aimed to make Byron Bay more environmentally friendly through a range of measures including public art and providing more secure bicycle racks, he said.

Mr Erskine said while there were many talented artists in the town, there was very little public art.

He said there was room in the streetscape and parks for 'evocative' sculpture.

Once locations were picked, work could either be commissioned from sculptors, or a competition held, he said.

Mr Erskine said to create a unified theme, key elements such as dominant trees, furniture and pavement should be repeated throughout the CBD.

He estimated it would cost between $150,000 and $200,000 to implement the major works in the plan and there were Section 94 - developer - funds available to finance the works.

Byron United vice-president, James Lancaster, said he was pleased to see the plans put forward and now wanted to see them executed.

Mr Lancaster said visitors came to Byron Bay looking for a 'green' town and all they saw was concrete and dirt.

He said all business people and residents wanted to see was 'a bit of love' put into the town.

“We need our town cleaned up,” he said.

Visitors came to Byron Bay looking for a 'green' town and all they saw was concrete and dirt

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