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Byron Bay News

Indigenous community fight to save sacred site in Brunswick Heads from development

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Wallum black cockatoos

Indigenous community fight to save sacred site in Brunswick Heads from development

 

By Sarah Waters

Young Bundjalung/Bama man, Jahvis Loveday, 23, was one of the many Indigenous community members who spoke about the cultural, environmental and spiritual significance of Wallum at last Thursday’s Byron Shire Council meeting.

Jahvis grew up ‘living and breathing’ his culture on Wallum country, in the Byron Shire.

He spent his weekends with his family, camping by the Brunswick River.

It was where he learnt to fish and was told the stories of the people of Brunswick River and Tweed Heads River.

The unique, coastal habitat in Brunswick Heads, known as the Wallum heathland, is considered sacred ground to many clans.

It holds many stories for the people of the Bundjalung Nation and sits closely to Aboriginal bora grounds.

The site contains Aboriginal middens, is home to a host of wildlife, including the vulnerable Wallum froglet and the Wallum sedge frog.

Ecologists have dated old growth, scribbly gums in the area to be more than 200 years old.

Among the Wallum heathland, adjacent to Simpson’s Creek, where Jahvis spent his days as a child – and still lives today – is where bulldozers could soon start to line up.

Property developer Clarence Property plan to construct a major residential subdivision, consisting of 124 residential lots, three medium density lots and supporting infrastructure on the precious site.

Last week, Byron Shire Council approved a subdivision works certificate, subject to conditions, for stage one of the development.

The Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) had already approved the developer’s proposal in May last year.

Wallum campaign.

Indigenous dancers at Brunswick Heads. They are among the thousands of people involved in the Save Wallum campaign.

Jahvis said he did not want another sacred site lost to development.

“I remember the generation before us fighting for Roundhouse Place (in Ocean Shores) one of our men’s initiation sites, which I was supposed to go through, but never got to, because this Shire decided to sell it to pay their debts,” Jahvis said.

“I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I don’t want to show them 128 houses sitting there (on Wallum) just like I’m going to show my kids Roundhouse Place and all our other different sacred sites around this place that have been lost,” he said.

Jahvis said his major concern with the development was how close it was to the Brunswick River.

The same river he grew up spearfishing on with his family.

“I live on a 16-foot boat, so I understand the need for housing development, I do,” he said.

“But I would still rather live on my boat in the rain, than see this development go through.

“You’ll never be able to stop people washing their cars, washing their driveways, emptying their mop buckets straight into the streets, that all goes straight into the sanctuary zone in that river, which you’re not even allowed to drive a boat through.

“So, if I can get fined for spearing one fish, but the developers – who have the potential to wipe out an entire sanctuary zone gets nothing – I think that is an issue for me.”

Local indigenous elder Mark Cora said it was his job, and responsibility to the area, to look after its culture and teach young people.

“When we teach young people, we need land to teach them,” Mr Cora said.

“I know this is all in response to housing shortage, and I get that.

“I also get that there’s other blocks of land to develop – other than one that holds a lot of cultural significance and holds a number of artifacts.

“We as cultural keepers, it is our responsibility to stand up and protect the land.”

Wallum black cockatoos

Glossy Black Cockatoos (vulnerable NSW) pictured here feeding on trees that are in the firing line if the Wallum development proceeds

Mr Cora also spoke about the environmental significance of the area, which is home to old growth, pre-colonial scribbly gums, with shield, fire and witchetty grub scars.

“It’s not just what’s happening at the top of the tree, what those root systems are doing are drumming into the ground and holding water at a particular level.

“It’s a whole filtration system.

“I’m sure you all know about acid sulfate soils, so when we release that little monster, we’ve got nothing.

“We’ve all seen what salt does when it comes up out of the ground, all it does is kill everything,” he said.

An application for an Interim Heritage Protection Order (IHO) has been made with the NSW government in a bid to help protect Wallum, 15 Torakina Road, Bayside, Brunswick, from development.

The application is sitting with Heritage NSW in a preliminary assessment.

The Minjungbal people, original custodians of the Brunswick River and Tweed Heads region, and non-indigenous community members have repeatedly raised deep concerns about the ‘Wallum development’ taking place on traditional lands.

In a statement to council, they wrote ‘we as a collective have worked tirelessly to draw attention to our local shire council that the Wallum development is detrimental to our native flora and fauna.

In December last year, independent Elders, cultural leaders and cultural educators who undertook a preliminary site-walk advised council that a Cultural Heritage Assessment (CHA) undertaken in 2010 was missing important and vital content.

 

For more Brunswick Heads news, click here.

Byron Bay News

Know of a community project that needs a funding boost this year?

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Community Initiatives Program

Know of a community project that needs a funding boost this year?

 

Applications are set to open for two streams of Council grants on offer for 2024-2025 community projects and creative activation of public space.

The two grant streams are:

  • Community Initiatives Program – grants of up to $5,000 per organisation on offer (with a total pool of $57,500) for investment into inspiring community projects.
  • Creative Public Spaces Small Grants – seed funding of up to $5000 (with a total pool of $15,000) for new temporary or permanent art works in public spaces in the Byron Shire.

Applications for these programs open on Monday 8 April and close on 30 June 2024. Further information, eligibility details and the application forms are available from Council’s website.

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon said the purpose of Council’s investment in the funding programs was to deliver small grants that could make a big difference to community groups and creatives and help them to generate amazing outcomes.

“Last year Council supported a Japanese language play group, environmental initiatives through Mullum Seed, creative youth projects and lighting up the Love sign in Mullumbimby. Council’s grass roots funding programs have been running successfully for many years now and have been proven to help make outstanding projects happen in our community,” Mayor Lyon said.

“It’s one small way we can help to enrich community life and build connections to one another,” he said.

“Our grant application processes have improved over recent years – there is no longer a need for matching contributions from applicants and the assessment criteria have been simplified.”

“We encourage applications for any event or project that supports the environment, the creative life of the community or that improves access and inclusion and opens up ways for more people to participate,” the Mayor said.

To find out more about the Community Initiatives Program and the Creative Public Spaces Small Grants program, go to Council’s website. Eligibility criteria vary for each grant program so please read the terms set out on Council’s website.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Byron Bay News

Byron Comedy Fest 2024 Laughs at The Hotel Great Northern

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Bev Killick Byron Comedy Fest 2024

Byron Comedy Fest 2024 Laughs at The Hotel Great Northern

 

The legendary Hotel Great Northern’s Backroom opens its doors to laughter when it welcomes The Byron Comedy Fest with 8 big headline shows.

With audiences packing out shows every year, Festival Directors Mel Coppin and Zara Noruzi have decided a new venue with increased capacity was in order. It also means the festival is an all weather event!

Expect all your favourites!

With perennial sell out favourites Best Of British headed up by UK comic Dan Willis. Willis welcomes his favourite Brit funny people, this year’s crop include Bob Franklin, Matt O’Neill and Gillian Cordiner.

Sri Lankan born Comedy super star Dilruk Jayasinah left the world of finance as a sit down accountant and started working as a stand up comic. While his parents may have been a little dismayed at first, Dilruk has become an award winning face of Australian TV. He’s guested on Network Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention?, Would I Lie To You, and Hughesy We Have a Problem, ABC’s Spicks and Specks and Question Everything, and showed off his mercurial acting abilities on Channel Ten’s How to Stay Married and ABC’s Utopia. Dilruk has also appeared as a contestant on renowned reality shows including I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Celebrity MasterChef and the Amazon Prime comedy game show Last One Laughing hosted by Rebel Wilson.

Bringing bites of the Bold and the beautiful is Bev Killick. A non-stop joke fired power plant of comedy gold. Newly Australian insights come from Venezuelan born comic Ivan Aristagueita – performing comedy in a second language more expertly than most would do in their first.

With his critically acclaimed show ‘Weed C#nt’  full of drug references and suitably strong coarse language, John Cruckshank is funny in a way that is raw and sometimes brutal.

Byron Comedy Festival is also featuring two of Melbourne Comedy Festival’s finest, Lewis Garnham and Scout Boxall. Unique, insightful, and pushing into the zeitgeist of the younger gen.

And for those who prefer not to choose, there’s the Comedy Showcase, Gump’s Big Box of Comedy Chocolates.

With shows able to be bought as single tickets, or one day or 3 day passes.

Don’t miss a relentless weekend of laughs with Byron Comedy Fest.

30, 31 May and 1 June. Byroncomedyfest.com.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Bangalow News

Rifle Range Road Upgrade Commences: $4.1m Project Set to Enhance Safety and Connectivity

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Rifle Range Road Upgrade

Rifle Range Road Upgrade Commences: $4.1m Project Set to Enhance Safety and Connectivity

 

The highly anticipated upgrade of the Rifle Range Road intersection in Bangalow is set to commence on Monday, April 8th, marking the beginning of a three-month project, weather permitting.

During the upgrade, traffic will be redirected to Raftons Road via Keith Street or Leslie Street, with comprehensive traffic management and signage in place throughout the duration of the project.

Cameron Clark, Acting Director of Infrastructure Services at Byron Shire Council, emphasised the significance of the upgrade for Bangalow. He highlighted key features of the project, including the widening of Lismore Road, drainage enhancements, the installation of new bus bays and shelters, and the creation of shared paths connecting bus bays to Tristania Street.

“This project represents a significant enhancement for Bangalow, promising improved safety for motorists and pedestrians alike,” stated Mr. Clark. “It will serve as a lasting asset for the community, addressing crucial infrastructure needs for years to come.”

Acknowledging the inevitable inconvenience caused by road closures and detours, Mr. Clark expressed gratitude to the community for their patience and understanding during the construction period.

The works program will involve the closure of the Rifle Range Road and Lismore Road intersection to all traffic except buses and emergency services. This temporary closure will facilitate road elevation, intersection reconstruction, and the installation of culverts under Lismore Road.

Funded by contributions from the NSW Government, Australian Government, and Byron Shire Council, this major project underscores a commitment to enhancing local infrastructure and connectivity.

For updates and further information regarding the project, residents are encouraged to visit the Rifle Range Road upgrade page on the Council’s website.

 

For more Bangalow news, click here.

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