Sue Gardiner
Sue Gardiner

It’s a battle bringing balance to biased bagging of Byron

COMMENT:

BYRON Bay residents have only just cleaned the tourist turds off their front lawns when they're hit by another mound of excreta - this time from a Sydney travel journo waxing lyrical about why she doesn't like their town.

It's true that some of the town's excesses leave you shaking your head.

And having grown up in Byron and now reporting on it for The Northern Star, it often feels like groundhog day as I write stories about issues that were troubling Byron back when I was at school.

It's true Byron faces some big challenges, the most worrying of all, the alcohol-fuelled late-night violence.

But it's also a town that punches above its weight in so many positive and unique ways that are worth celebrating.

Try and name another regional town, for example, that has produced so many internationally renowned cultural events, the most established of which are the East Coast Blues Festival, Splendour In The Grass and the Byron Bay Writers' Festival.

The success of these events is in part due to a strong community spirit and volunteering culture which also underpins many charitable efforts like food banks, aged-care homes and environmental initiatives.

Byron still has a natural beauty combined with a bohemian and crackling energy in its streets I've experienced nowhere else. It's a point of difference that's worth defending as much as the haters try to deny it. Some are here in the Northern Rivers.

Alison Godfrey, I suggest you avoid Byron because with 1.5 million tourists every year, you won't be missed.

A strong police presence in Byron Bay over NYE did not quell the hooigan behaviour that has disgusted locals.
A strong police presence in Byron Bay over NYE did not quell the hooigan behaviour that has disgusted locals. Mireille Merlet-Shaw


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