Council backs down on Railway Park rotunda
UPDATE: IN a victory for the Byron Environment Centre (BEC), Byron Shire councillors voted on Thursday to withdraw the relocation notice to the BEC from the rotunda inside Railway Park.
Council also voted to receive a report regarding the decision making and approval process around undertaking the works in the park including the controversial tree removal.
Any landscaping or infrastructure work in the park will be halted until council formally adopts any beautification works at an ordinary Council Meeting.
Councillor Sarah Ndiaye took to Face book on Thursday evening saying: "The events of last week in Railway Park were a real low point for us as councillors."
"This motion should help unpick what happened and stop it happening again."
ORIGINIAL STORY: MAYOR Simon Richardson is due to meet with Byron Environment Centre (BEC) volunteers ahead of lodging an urgency motion at Thursday's council meeting to rescind the original eviction notice served on the group.
The BEC had been using the rotunda as their Byron Bay information stand previous to an eviction notice being issued by council almost two weeks ago.
The meeting comes after last week's events centred around the park with BEC volunteers locked out of the rotunda and trees cut down in railway park by council followed by an apology from council's GM to the community and councillors for not consulting over the tree removal.
The original dispute surrounding the rotunda in Railway Park, saw Byron council, Byron Bay Masterplan Committee and Byron Environment Centre at odds with each other over the fate of the structure.
The council had initially announced that the rotunda was to be removed, and the BEC evicted, to make way for an upgrade of Railway Park.
On Wednesday morning BEC volunteers were shocked when they turned up to open the Byron Environment Centre to find it fenced off.
Convenor John Lazarus said he had no idea who put the fence up, saying the whole master plan process was "completely and utterly dysfunctional".
Meanwhile, the master plan committee members insisted they had no part in the eviction notice or the fencing of the rotunda.
Master Plan Committee Chairman Chris Hanley said he was certain that up to that point there had been no decision made about the structure.
"At the committee level, there has been no decision or discussion about the fate of the BEC in Railway Park," he said.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson had initially said the council was up to a stage where it 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 off the area so we can start to finalise some of the works," Cr Richardson said.
Then, on Thursday, council workers removed two trees and a Bangalow palm tree from the park, sparking further controversy before the council's general manager, Ken Gainger, was forced to issue an apology saying:
"Council staff recently removed two trees and a Bangalow Palm from Railway Park in Byron Bay in preparation for imminent Park redevelopment works, a Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan project funded under a State Government grant and pay parking revenue.
"In removing these trees without adequate consultation or communication we have underestimated the level of community concern at such action and for this I sincerely apologise. I also apologise to our councillors for any embarrassment that the tree removal may have caused."