A working group has formed after a recent meeting between Byron Bay’s stakeholders wanting to address alcohol-related crime. Held at Council’s chambers in Mullumbimby, it was chaired by mayor Simon Richardson and included representatives from Council, Byron United, Last Drinks at 12, VIA Byron, local police and hospitals, Byron Bay Liquor Accord, Byron Youth Service and Save our Night Life.
Byron’s chamber of commerce (Byron United) president Paul Waters said the forum was a recommendation by his board to bring all stakeholders together and ‘begin a process by taking into account everyone’s position in the community.’
‘It was very clear that we all want the same result, and it’s also clear that more needs to be done on the streets where most of the trouble occurs.’ Additionally he’s calling all CBD businesses to light up the streets and back lanes around their businesses and to install their own CCTV around their businesses.
‘I also urge Council and state government to commit the resources that will make our streets safer.’
Mayor Simon Richardson told The Echo, ‘We all agreed we need to create a working group to develop a whole-of-town response, rather than fighting over individual aspects, eg opening/closing hours, lighting, CCTV, activation of laneways, diversifying the demographics etc.
‘Instead, we need to consider all of [the issues] in a strategic and considered manner.
‘Cr Paul Spooner has put a notice of motion to Council outlining this.
‘It may be slower and more “committee-ish” than many want, but it is the only way to take the discussion away from a self-interested, black- and-white view currently shaping the debate.’
When asked if Council is close to receiving state and federal funding to improve lighting and CCTV, he told The Echo Council was, ‘not really any closer at the moment, but staff and I are still working on it.’