Sport the winner in Byron Bay
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
AFTER decades of competing against each other, Byron Bay sporting groups have come together to turn the town into an athletes' mecca.
And they're on a winning streak.
The Byron Shire Council on Tuesday approved an upgrade of the Byron Bay recreation grounds, bordered by Tennyson, Carlyle and Cowper streets.
Plans for the upgrade were developed by the Byron Catchment, Community, Sporting and Recreation Working Group.
President Paul Irwin said the group was formed two years ago to address the lack of sporting facilities in the shire after at least 40 years of clubs clashing with each other over space.
"The hockey and soccer clubs had a history of conflict, but we have now recognised we all have needs and something in common," he said.
"We have come together to achieve this, and this is the first council in 40 years that has come up with the goods."
The upgrade, to be complete by next summer, will include more lighting, extensions to buildings on the site and a larger hockey field.
But it is just the first step in a broader plan to transform Byron Bay into a sporting haven.
The group's next major projects will be establishing multipurpose sporting fields and skate parks in Ewingsdale Road and at Suffolk Park.
Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said she hoped work on both those sites would be under way by this time next year.