Lions pull out of New Year?s Eve at Byron
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
BYRON BAY'S New Year's Eve organisers have been hit by the shock withdrawal of the local Lions Club.
After five years in the role, Lions Club president John Brophy has been replaced as chairman of the NYE Safety Committee by Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham.
Tension has been brewing over NYE after the Lions pulled the plug on public liability insurance earlier this year after a security fracas at last year's Bay FM dance party.
Mr Brophy maintained his support for the dance party as a means of keeping NYE crowds under control, but it was not a view shared by Cr Barham.
Last month, Cr Barham called for a ban on alcohol in Byron Bay's streets on the night and cancelled the dance party.
Mr Brophy says that before the start of last week's committee meeting he was asked to vacate the chair, and was also told it was no longer appropriate for Lions Club members to be on the committee now that they no longer insured NYE.
"The Lions met the following night and we have decided we will just stand back now," Mr Brophy said.
"It looks like Cr Barham will be running the event herself.
"You need a capable organising committee to do it, but best of luck to her.
"I'm quite happy to step back. I see some major problems with the way things are headed."
Cr Barham said she was disappointed the Lions had pulled out, but was confident other community members would join in.
"I feel it's a matter of how you present the night and the town's image," she said.
"The dance party attracts people to the town to party, and it alienates the locals.
"I feel this is a now-or-never time. We have to bring back the locals, bring back families to the town."
The Bay's Peace Festival organisers have been invited to help out, and a new entertainment subcommittee appointed by the NYE Safety Committee to 'engage' the community, Cr Barham said.