Simon says no to CCTV in Byron
SUFFOLK Park musician Simon Seven is waging a one-man campaign against the push for security cameras in Byron Bay's CBD.
In three weeks Mr Seven has gathered 300 signatures against CCTV on a petition by setting up an unmanned sign and information desk on the main street of Byron.
He plans on sending copies of the petition to Byron Shire Councillors to pressure them to reverse their in-principle support for it.
Mr Seven said he would have been willing to accept CCTV if he believed the majority was in support of it, but said everyone he spoke to was also alarmed at the prospect.
He supported outgoing council Mayor Jan Barham's stance of a 1am venue lockout instead.
And he believes the estimated $200,000 per annum cost of CCTV would be better spent on a team of "council peacekeeping rangers" walking the beat at night, preventing trouble.
"CCTV does not prevent spontaneous crime such as acts of violence. That was proven by the recent happenings in Kings Cross," he said.
"You even had one of the top ranking policemen stating that clearly in a public interview."
While admitting that in 30 years of playing pubs and clubs, alcohol-related violence was getting worse, Mr Seven said security cameras undermined everything Byron stood for.
"We promote forward thinking and community values. Not a place that invades our privacy and human rights.
"It totally sends the wrong message to the world about who we are as a community and what we value."
In February Byron was rated the fourth-worst area for alcohol-related violence after Sydney CBD, Kings Cross and Newcastle.
After repeated calls from business group Byron United and police, in June a majority of councillors voted to give in-principle support for CCTV.
Byron United president Paul Waters said an anti-CCTV petition was a waste of time as it was a foregone conclusion.
"We know the majority of people support it," he said.
Mr Waters said they were aiming to have it installed in town by next summer after agreeing with police on specifications.