By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
DON'T come to Byron Bay this New Year's Eve ? that's the plea going out to partygoers across the nation.
Byron Shire Council plans to launch a national media campaign to deter 10,000 revellers from turning up this year.
Police say 20,000 holidaymakers will already be staying at the coastal mecca come December 31, but it's the 10,000 onenighters they want to convince to head for another party town.
However, few options exist for them on the Northern Rivers, with Ballina Shire Council this week banning alcohol on the streets of Lennox Head ? the only other traditional open street party site.
The Byron Bay New Year's Eve Safety Committee has announced it is dramatically scaling back plans because the $135,000 budget was not enough to pay for road blockades, extra security and entertainment.
Entertainment has been cut from three stages to one, there will be fewer security guards and traffic will be able to pass through town with no main road closures.
Byron Shire councillors Ross Tucker and Bob Tardif called the situation a 'crisis' and 'potential disaster.'
"I do not support the plan that's there," Cr Tardif said.
"This plan has been hacked together over a weekend because they needed to save some money."
Cr Ray Kestle also criticised the plans, but said it was because they included nothing for people aged under 75.
"I think we're targeting the wrong demographic," he said.
"I wonder what the 15,000 people between 16 and 25 are actually going to do at this event."
The organising committee, police and mayor Jan Barham assured the community the cheaper proposal would result in a safe, family-focused event.
Safety committee co-ordinator Debra Turner, who was employed in mid-October, said if the event was to be successful it needed local support.
"I understand the councillors' concerns, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have any of my own," she said.
"But we need the sup- port of these councillors and the community. My intention is to create an ambience so magnificent with a real community spirit and with enough police, security and volunteer support to hold the space in an open and friendly way."
Byron Bay duty officer Insp Owen King said the same amount of police patrols as previous years would be on duty.
"We're trying to deter the people who have no accommodation booked, no plans and who want to come to town with eskies full of grog," Insp King said.
"For the people who do come, there will be entertainment and it will be low-key."
Cr Barham said council press releases would be sent to media outlets across the country with the message Byron Bay would not be the place to party this New Year's Eve.
She said she hoped the campaign would also contribute to a troublefree event.
"In recent years, what we've been doing is attracting a lot of young people because we've been sending the message that we are a party town," she said.
"We want to send out a clear message Byron Bay is not a party town."
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