TOTALLY LOCKED OUT: Volunteers at the Total Environment Centre in Railway Park Byron Bay arrived for work on Wednesday morning to find the rotunda surrounded by a fence. Pictured are: Nino MacDonald and John Lazarus.
TOTALLY LOCKED OUT: Volunteers at the Total Environment Centre in Railway Park Byron Bay arrived for work on Wednesday morning to find the rotunda surrounded by a fence. Pictured are: Nino MacDonald and John Lazarus. Christian Morrow

LOCKED OUT: Complaints about 'utterly dysfunctional' process

Update 1.45pm: VOLUNTEERS were shocked when they turned up to open the Byron Environment Centre this morning, only to find it has been completely fenced off.

Convenor John Lazarus said he has no idea who put the fence up, saying whole Master Plan process was "completely and utterly dysfunctional".

"No one seems to know where this process has come from, who is doing what and it comes down to the governance of the committee and the governance of council for this multi-million-dollar project," Mr Lazarus said.

TOTALLY LOCKED OUT: Volunteers at the Total Environment Centre in Railway Park Byron Bay arrived for work on Wednesday morning to find the rotunda surrounded by a fence. Pictured are: Nino MacDonald, John Lazarus and Marie Hayes.
TOTALLY LOCKED OUT: Volunteers at the Total Environment Centre in Railway Park Byron Bay arrived for work on Wednesday morning to find the rotunda surrounded by a fence. Pictured are: Nino MacDonald, John Lazarus and Marie Hayes. Christian Morrow

Meanwhile, the Master Plan committee is insisting they have had no part in the eviction notice or the fencing off of the Rotunda in Railway Park.

Chairman of the Byron Bay Master Plan Committee, Chris Hanley, said he was certain that up to this point there had been no decision made about this structure.

"At the committee level, there has been no decision or discussion about the fate of the Byron Environment Centre in Railway Park," Mr Hanley said.

"On behalf of the committee I can say I don't know where the story has come from, I don't know why people would be saying what they have."

"If Byron Shire Council have issued a notice, the Master Plan Committee were not aware of this."

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said council was now up to a stage where they needed to make some decisions having received funding to start the establishment of decent toilets and a playground at the popular park.

"Part of that, which we have done now, is to fence of the area so we can start to finalise some of the works, some of the design and get cracking," Cr Richardson said.

"I think from council's point of view it is unfortunate some of this has happened in the way it has happened, without the notice to the Environment Centre."

He said he has since approached the Environment Centre to propose a meeting between them and the committee to address concerns surrounding the centre's eviction.

"I have asked for a meeting with the Environment Centre to sit down with the committee and find out exactly what the needs are," Cr Richardson said.

"I've got a few ideas myself where we might get a better outcome than what is currently existing there."

In the meantime, Mr Lazarus said the volunteers have set up camp just outside the rotunda.

"We have set up some chairs and a table with a new petition to save the rotunda," he said.

"We have put up two flags on the fence and we are in the process of drafting a big banner saying we've been locked out which we are going to hang on the fence."

 

Update 11.15am: BYRON Environment Centre volunteers who turned up to the rotunda today were surprised to find they couldn't get anywhere near the building.

A fence has been erected around the building.

The Northern Star is attempting to find out why the fence has been put up.

More to come.

 

Original story Wednesday 5am: THE plot thickens around the future of the Byron Environment Centre, after they received an eviction notice last Friday.

The rotunda at Railway Park has posted a sign stating they are set to be gone as early as December 13 this year.

The sign reads: "The Byron Environment Centre has been served an eviction notice from Byron Shire Council to remove this rotunda by December 13".

"Apparently we are not compatible with the Byron Bay Master Plan commercialisation of this park."

Convenor John Lazarus said he received the phone call from the Town Centre Master Plan Committee informing him of the notice.

"I put a lot of questions to council on how this has come to pass and no one has actually talked to us about it," Mr Lazarus said.

Byron Shire Council's General Manager Ken Gainger said the plans for the park do not include retention of the small kiosk occasionally utilised by the Environment Centre.

"Accordingly, council has signalled plans to remove the kiosk from the park and has sought feedback from stakeholder groups about this prospect," Mr Gainger said.

"The park upgrade was widely supported within the Byron community and council is committed to delivering the Railway Park project in accordance with the time-lines agreed to as part of its acceptance of the government grant funding package."

However, according to Mr Lazarus his email correspondence with other members of the council state there has been no recorded decision linked to this.

"The committee on Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan has not agreed to this - has not even been shown this to consider this potential eviction of the rotunda," Mr Lazarus said.

"Someone within the Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan leadership team is running their own agenda, it has not been passed by the committee and a councillor has written to me and said she doesn't believe it has come past council either.

"I am questioning where this has come from and indeed the Byron Bay Master Plan should be rechristened as the Byron Bay Master Race Plan because they are going to get rid of the Environment Centre and the market store holders and surly up the town like the Gold Coast.

"There is a whole issue with where this process is coming from and the governance of this committee, so it raises a huge concern."



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