A strategy to revitalise the Byron Bay town centre and foreshore has been unanimously supported by Council.
Mayor Simon Richardson said over the past few years Byron Bay’s reputation as a safe and vibrant place to visit and live has come under threat.
“The town centre needs a refresh and a complete revitalisation to ensure it retains its status as one of Australia’s iconic places to live, work and visit. It’s time to act and reclaim Byron Bay as a brilliant place to walk, cycle, meet and enjoy,” he said.
The Byron Bay Town Centre and Foreshore strategy will provide the framework for a completely revitalised town centre while ensuring Byron Bay’s character is preserved and enhanced.
In 2014 residents, businesses and visitors will have the opportunity to get involved, be inspired, have fun and share their ideas for imagining the future of the Byron Bay town centre.
Cr Spooner noted that the plan will focus on town centre opportunities that can be capitalised upon to benefit the whole community.
“The decision was a strong vote for progress. To see three key community stakeholders from differing shire localities speak with 100% support, was a strong signal that this project should go ahead,” he said.
Council was also informed at the meeting that the Tourism Industry Regional Development funding program under which Council had applied for $125,000 in matched funds to develop the Byron Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy has been withdrawn by the federal government.
Council has now allocated budget from the Crown Paid Parking Beach Reserve ($50,000), Main Beach Reserve ($50,000) and the Byron Bay Town Centre Upgrade ($150,000) to undertake the project. These reserve funds can only be spent on projects in Byron Bay.
VIA Byron and Byron Visitors Centre board representative, John Gudgeon applauded the report and Council endorsing the plan to be developed.
“It’s the missing link,” he said.
“What is desperately needed is a grand unifying plan for Byron Bay. A cohesive plan, with a forward vision, will make it a better place for our residents and visitors on which our economy significantly depends.
“The Strategy will frame the future and integrate the town. An investment in Byron Bay is an investment in dispersing the visitor economy throughout the Shire and beyond,” Mr Gudgeon said.
Kim Dowling from Business Ashored in Ocean Shores told Council that Ocean Shores had a strong visiting family and friends market that would benefit from the plan and she was excited that it is going ahead.
Bangalow Chamber of Commerce, Peter Mortimore, noted that Byron Bay is the gateway and relies on the Byron Bay visitor economy to come up the hill to Bangalow.
“We don’t see the Byron Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy as Byron centric, it has huge benefits for the whole region,” he said.
To read the Council report, see item 12.1 within the agenda http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/meetings/2013-11-21-ordinary