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Bangalow News

A new name: long time coming!

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Piccabeen Park

A new name: long time coming!

 

After 99 years, the 2.67ha park located on Deacon Street, Bangalow, finally has an official name! On 1 March 2024, the park’s name was gazetted. It’s now called Piccabeen Park – after the indigenous name for the Bangalow Palm tree and the baskets made from its fronds.

In January 2022 – the hardy group of volunteers who have met weekly since 2011 to maintain the park’s gardens and raise funds to improve its facilities – wrote to Byron Shire Council requesting that the park be officially named. “That the park has had no official name for so long has been bewildering to newcomers to the area, and confusing to locals and tourists – to say the least,” explained a spokesperson for the group, formerly known as the Bangalow Parklands team, now Team Piccabeen. Byron Council’s Aboriginal Liaison officer recommended using the Aboriginal word ‘Piccabeen’, used by the Bundjalung Nation.

The request initially passed through the lengthy administrative processes of the Arakwal Corporation and the Byron Council, before landing at the NSW Geographical Names Board for final advertising, approval and endorsement. The naming process has taken 26 months.

Ever since members of the local community got together in 1925 to build a swimming pool within Byron Creek running through the park, the area has been known by many names. It’s been called the Weir, the Pool, Bangalow Parklands, Pool Park, Weir Park, and many other variations – even Byron Council’s website has referred to it by different names.

Piccabeen Park

Piccabeen Park

Accessed via an informal roadway next to Heritage House, home of the Bangalow Historical Society and Museum, “the park is a unique non-commercial greenspace, a haven of well-cared-for native trees and plants, in the heart of town,” the spokesperson added. “It provides a retreat from the bustle and commercial focus of the town – a rare and highly valued place where anyone can come, sit peacefully by Byron Creek and soak up nature – free of charge. With house lots decreasing in size in recent years, local families in particular are happy that Piccabeen Park is available to everyone, as it creates a vast natural, screen-free area for kids to enjoy.”

Piccabeen Park is maintained and enhanced year-round by Team Piccabeen. It is well used throughout the year by locals and visitors of all ages. Its two playgrounds are popular with families with young kids, and busloads of the elderly are also frequent visitors. Others who enjoy the space include musicians, dog walkers, special interest groups such as singing, tai chi, art, fitness and yoga groups, with the location also attracting birthday and wedding parties. It’s also a popular destination for local workers on lunch or morning tea break. And that doesn’t include the park’s convenient amenities block: the mural on its outer walls depicting the last 2000 years of Bangalow’s history, is itself a much-photographed attraction.

A recent addition to the park has been Team Piccabeen’s establishment of a number of ‘pods’ of plants native to the area, inspiring local residents in their garden design choices. Most popular is its Bush Tucker Garden, now a feature of park tours by local indigenous identity, Delta Kay.

Team Piccabeen works closely and cooperatively with Byron Shire Council’s Open Spaces team, Bangalow Land and Rivercare and Bangalow Historical Society on many parkland projects.

 

For more Bangalow news, click here.

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Bangalow News

$750,000 ‘laundered’ for social enterprise business

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Steve and Shanti Torrens, father and daughter and employees of Beacon Laundry

$750,000 ‘laundered’ for social enterprise business

 

By Samantha Elley

“We are loving each other back to life.”

These were the words of Mel Sass, an employee of Beacon Laundry, which officially opened last week when visited by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Mel is one of 75 employees whose life had taken a turn for the worst due to declining mental health and a drug and alcohol addiction.

“In 48 hours I lost my job, my wife and I drove 3,000km to the Northern Rivers and a recovery program,” she said.

“I had only $50 in my pocket when I heard about Beacon Laundry.

“I used my last $50 to put petrol in the car and threw my hat in the ring (for a job) to find the process was so simple.

“The team here met me where I was at and I am now six months and 25 days sober.”

PM Albanese with Richmond MP Justine Elliott meet staff from Beacon Laundry

PM Albanese with Richmond MP Justine Elliott meet staff from Beacon Laundry

Beacon Laundry in Bangalow is an operational, commercial scale social enterprise laundry providing job and development opportunities (including transition to mainstream employment) for disadvantaged people within the community.

Thanks to a $750,000 injection by the Federal Government, the project was an election commitment by the Labor party.

“We know that social enterprises do amazing work in creating and providing meaningful opportunities for more disadvantaged Australians to access the workforce,” said PM Albanese.

“It is a privilege to be invited to visit and officially open the Bangalow Social Enterprise Laundry on the North Coast.”

Mel Sass tells her story at Beacon Laundry

Mel Sass tells her story

Father and daughter team, Steve and Shanti Torrens, had lost everything in the 2022 floods when their homes on Cabbage Tree Island were inundated.

“We are still living in emergency accommodation,” said Shanti.

Since joining Beacon Laundry, Steve has been doing the truck driving while Shanti does laundry processing.

“The people here are great,” said Steve. “They give everybody a go.”

Beacon Laundry CEO, Luke Terry said the purpose behind the business was to create jobs for people who want to get back to work, but for various reasons, whether homelessness, addiction or mental health, are finding it difficult to be employed in the mainstream.

Steve and Shanti Torrens, father and daughter and employees of Beacon Laundry

Steve and Shanti Torrens, father and daughter and employees of Beacon Laundry

“There is also a need at the moment for laundry services in the local area,” he said.

“Businesses are sending their laundry to Coffs Harbour or the Tweed.”

Now, according to Mr Terry, some of the major hotels in the area are using Beacon Laundry and keeping jobs local.

“We have Elements of Byron Bay, Byron Bay holiday hire and Sunseeker using our services and they get a top quality product,” he said.

“We are currently doing 30 tonnes a week but are planning for two to three times more than that.”

 

For more Bangalow 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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Bangalow News

Finally… the Rifle Range Road upgrade is about to start

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Rifle Range Road upgrade

Finally… the Rifle Range Road upgrade is about to start

 

It’s a project that has endured many delays but finally the upgrade of Rifle Range Road at Bangalow is poised to start in early April.

All the approvals for the work have been signed off by the NSW Government giving Council the green light to start work.

“We were expecting to start in July last year but because the project involves work on Lismore Road, which is a major regional road, we were waiting on special permits from Transport for NSW,” Phil Holloway, Director Infrastructure Services, said.

“These are now in place, the contractors have been engaged and staff are working through the final details and timing,” Mr Holloway said.

“I thank Bangalow residents for their patience because there have been so many delays because of COVID, the floods, increases in the cost of materials and finally, the approvals process,” he said.

The Rifle Range Road upgrade is funded by the Federal Government, NSW Government and Council.

“The delays have resulted in additional costs, and we would like to thank Transport for NSW for its continued support of the project and allocating another $1 million to ensure completion,” Mr Holloway said.

Rifle Range Road upgrade

Rifle Range Road upgrade

The project includes:

  • Widening Lismore Road to allow for a right turning lane into Rifle Range Road.
  • Drainage upgrades, including a new culvert under Lismore Road, to reduce flooding.
  • New bus bays and shelters on Lismore Road and Rifle Range Road.
  • Shared paths connecting the bus bays to Tristania Street.
  • Signage, safety barriers and line-marking.

For more information visit councils website.

 

For more Bangalow news, click here.

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