Low-key NYE a goer Final approval Byrons?family night
By WILL JACKSON and SAMANTHA TURNBULL
BYRON BAY'S low-key New Year's Eve celebrations have been given final approval, despite attempts by Bangalow's business leaders to thwart the plans.
Byron Shire Council planning director Ray Darney said the development application for the family-focused celebrations were 'well-laid out and comprehensive'.
He said it dealt with all security, fire, safety and evacuation, parking and infrastructure issues.
"Some people might have the impression that this is a party," he said.
"Last year was a party ? this is an event more orientated towards families."
Mr Darney said there were four objections to the plans ? three from Byron Bay business owners and one from the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce ? but they had all been addressed.
Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham rejected criticism from the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce that the council was spending money on celebrations in Byron Bay, while refusing to contribute to similar events elsewhere in the shire.
"The money allocated for New Year's Eve is explicitly tied to Byron Bay because it was raised from footpath dining and parking fees in Byron and is being spent to deal with an issue in Byron Bay," she said.
However, Bangalow Chamber of Commerce president Michael Molloy has maintained his objections to the proposal.
"Those funds were collected to be put into infrastructure for the town, not a slush fund," he said.
"Our primary objection is that Byron Shire Council is spending $140,000 to put on a party in Byron Bay when they refuse to spend money on events elsewhere in the shire."
Mr Malloy said the chamber was also still considering lodging a complaint with the State Government or taking the matter to the NSW Land and Environment Court.
"The DA is invalid for a variety of procedural reasons," he said. "The whole process is a sham, but nothing can be done before New Year's Eve. Whatever is going to happen will happen."
New Year's Eve Safety Committee head Debra Turner said it was time to forget criticism the plans had received and for the community to support the event.
"We're really focusing on creating a family-friendly event where everyone is welcome," she said.
"I'm doing this job because I want to create something so beautiful it makes everyone go 'wow'."
Entertainment on the night will include a church choir, amusement rides, outdoor cinema, a street parade at 8pm, market stalls and tent with drummers.
Alcohol is banned on the streets and there will be no fireworks or dance party this year.
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