New start for New Year?


NEW Year's Eve veteran organiser Tony Narracott, the former Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce executive officer, has a no-frills solution for end-of-year celebration.

He suggests council close the town down to all cars on New Year's Eve, with strict policing of entry stickers, move the dance party out of town and crack-down on illegal and overcrowded holiday lettings for that time of year.

A return to the Woodford Folk Festival-style celebrations of 1994, when hundreds of school children and community members were involved in the parade and performance events also would be desirable, he said.

Mr Narracott, who became involved with the organisation of festivities after the disastrous 1993 NYE riots, said the whole town was needed to rescue the event.

He entered the debate about the future of the NYE celebrations after the Lions Club announced last week it was ending its organisational role.

"After 1993 we had a public meeting and 600 people turned up and elected the New Year's Eve Safety Committee," Mr Narracott said.

"It's time to go back to that level of community involvement.

"But I think people are too frightened and too swamped now," he said.

"I fear the community won't rally behind NYE because they feel the town is out of control."

Tomorrow night Byron Bay's community has another chance to change the direction of the troubled event at a public meeting at Byron Shire Council's depot at Bayshore Drive Arts and Industry Estate from 6pm.

"Something really drastic has to happen," Mr Narracott said.

"You can't whack a dance party in the middle of the street and expect that will work."

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