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Bangalow News

Get the Palm Springs vibe at Byron Bay

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The living room of Vali in Byron Bay with a person sitting on the lounge.

Get the Palm Springs vibe at Byron Bay

If you are in the market for a distinct style of hotel, then Vali Byron Bay should be on the list for you to check out.

Offered through JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group’s Andrew Langsford, Gareth Closter, Nick Roche and Taylor O’Brien, the hotel features 52 guest rooms, lobby with guest lounge and common area, conference facilities with balcony, co-working spaces and open-air courtyard.

It is also located in the Byron Bay town centre.

 “The hotel is offered for sale with vacant possession of management, for hotel companies who are looking to grow a branding presence across Australia’s coastal or leisure destinations, Byron is a must-have location, and there is only a small handful of properties with potential,” said Andrew Langsford, Senior Vice President at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group.

Whilst Byron Bay has been on top of the acquisition list for many investors and hotel operators, there has been limited opportunity to enter the Byron Bay hotel investment market – the majority of assets are held by long-term interests. Byron Bay has solidified its reputation as a highly desirable market, boasting excellent accessibility, a laid-back lifestyle, and an authentic luxury coastal experience.

The bedroom of the Vali hotel in Byron Bay

“The scarcity of new hotel developments and limited transaction activity in the past two decades highlights Byron Bay’s status as a thriving market, with exceptional growth and formidable barriers to entry. Byron Shire Council’s proposed changes to regulation to further reduce the number of short-term accommodation rentals, restricting nights available from 180 days to 60 days, is expected to place further demand on traditional hotel accommodation,” said Mr Langsford.

Vali has undergone significant rebranding and refurbishing, according to Gareth Closter, Senior Vice President at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group.

 “(This positions) the hotel as a leading lifestyle product together with the introduction of new conference, co-working and event spaces,” he said.

“An incoming purchaser has the opportunity to add exceptional value by converting the existing courtyard to a bar & entertainment area with outdoor swimming pool with poolside seating, creating an exclusive resort experience in the heart of Byron Bay, just moments from Main Beach. A Development Application has been put forward to Byron Shire Council.”

This unique investment opportunity is expected to generate significant interest from local and international investors, International Expressions of Interest close on Thursday 3 August (unless sold prior).

 

For more real estate news, click here.

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Byron Writers Festival 2024 Program Announced

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Byron Writers Festival 2024 Program

Byron Writers Festival 2024 Program Announced

 

Australia’s largest regional writers’ festival, the Byron Writers Festival, has announced its full program for 2024, scheduled for August 9-11. This year’s theme, ‘From the ground up,’ will be explored by 160 writers, including notable figures such as Trent Dalton, Richard Flanagan, Jane Harper, Melissa Lucashenko, Charlotte Wood, Bruce Pascoe, Bob Brown, Julia Baird, Nam Le, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Lynette Noni, Bryan Brown, Tony Birch, William McInnes, Chigozie Obioma, Caoilinn Hughes, Tayi Tibble, Meena Kandasamy, Louise Milligan, Kim Williams, Kerry O’Brien, and many others.

The festival, set in the picturesque Bundjalung Country in Bangalow, near Byron Bay, offers writing workshops, book launches, a children’s program, and events across the Northern Rivers region. Jessica Alice, the incoming Artistic Director, curated the 2024 program, emphasising the theme’s focus on community mobilisation and new beginnings.

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International and Bestselling Authors

Among the international guests are Chigozie Obioma, a two-time Booker Prize finalist; Caoilinn Hughes, a significant Irish literary voice; Leo Vardiashvili, a UK-based novelist; Meena Kandasamy, an Indian activist; and award-winning Maori poet Tayi Tibble.

Featured Conversations and Panels

  • Trent Dalton in conversation with Julia Baird
  • Charlotte Wood and Ailsa Piper on grief and forgiveness
  • Richard Flanagan on his memoir Question 7
  • David Marr on colonial myths
  • Steph Tisdell on writing with humor
  • Crime Writers: Jane Harper, Candice Fox, Matthew Condon, Bryan Brown in conversation with Jennifer Byrne

Memoir and Music

  • Kon Karapanagiotidis‘s Greek kitchen
  • Priya Nadesalingam’s Home to Biloela
  • Nicky Winmar‘s stand against racism
  • Gideon Haigh on his brother’s loss
  • Rebecca Huntley‘s memoir Sassafras
  • Jim Moginie and Kate Ceberano on the music industry
  • Suzie Miller on her play Prima Facie
  • William McInnes‘s memories of Australia
Byron Writers Festival 2024 Program

L-R (Row 1) Tayi Tibble, Trent Dalton, Kate Ceberano, Bob Brown, Meena Kandasamy, Bruce Pascoe. (Row 2) James Bradley, Steph Tisdell, Richard Flanagan, Jennifer Byrne, Chigozie Obioma, Julia Baird.

Climate and Environment

Special events feature Bob Brown, Richard Flanagan, David Lindenmayer, Ali Cobby Eckermann, and Sue Higginson discussing environmental topics. Other speakers include James Bradley, Joelle Gergis, and Daniel Harrison.

Politics and Media

  • Nick Bryant, John Lyons, and Meena Kandasamy on the ‘Mega Election Year’
  • Kim Williams AM and Kerry O’Brien on the ABC’s future
  • Amy McQuire, Louise Milligan, Nick Bryant, and Julianne Schultz on press freedom

Northern Rivers Writers

Over 40 local writers are featured, including Daniel Browning, Mykaela Saunders, Jodi Rodgers, Isabelle Reinecke, Mindy Woods, Annika Johansson, Mandy Nolan, and Rhoda Roberts AO.

Feature Events

Evening events include ‘Bob Brown in Conversation’ with Jan Fran and the festival keynote ‘Gala: From the ground up’. Other events feature William McInnes, Steph Tisdell, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Jim Moginie, and ‘Electric Poetics’ with Tayi Tibble, Meena Kandasamy, Nam Le, Jazz Money, Mitch King, and Nicole Smede.

Young Adult and Kids Programs

YA fiction fans can look forward to appearances by Lynette Noni, Lili Wilkinson, Steph Tisdell, and Graham Akhurst. The Kids Big Day Out program on Sunday morning features presentations by Bob Brown, Kate & Jol Temple, Peter Carnavas, and Matt Stanton, along with StorySpace workshops.

Festival Dates and Tickets

Byron Writers Festival 2024 will take place from August 9-11 at the Bangalow Showground and various venues.

Tickets are now on sale now.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Balloon-Free Byron Shire Initiative

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Balloon-Free Byron

Balloon-Free Byron Shire Initiative

 

We are committed to making Byron Shire a balloon and single-use decoration-free zone! To protect our environment and marine life, we are banning balloons and other single-use decorations from all Council-owned or managed sites and road reserves.

Our Goals:

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  • Protect Sea Birds and Marine Life: Preventing balloon debris from harming wildlife.
  • Minimise Landfill: Reducing waste that contributes to landfill.
  • Reduce Litter: Keeping open spaces and beaches clean.

What Does the Ban Include?

  • All Balloons: Including biodegradable, helium, latex, and water balloons.
  • Accessories: Plastic disks, ribbons, and strings attached to balloons.
  • Decorations: Glitter, confetti, streamers, tinsel, party poppers, and glow sticks.

Why Ban Latex and ‘Biodegradable’ Balloons?

Studies show that latex balloons do not degrade significantly even after 16 weeks in various environments. They persist in nature and pose threats to marine life.

Where Does the Ban Apply?

The ban covers all Council-owned or managed sites, including:

  • Parks and playgrounds
  • Community halls
  • Sporting facilities like the Cavanbah Centre and swimming pools
  • Road reserves (including letter boxes and street poles)

Alternatives to Balloons and Single-Use Decorations:

It’s easier than you think to celebrate sustainably. Here are some creative, reusable, and eco-friendly alternatives:

  • Bunting: Reusable and can be made from scrap materials or recycled paper.
  • Plants and Flowers: Great for table settings and arches, and can be composted afterward.
  • Fairy Lights, Festoons, and Lanterns: Use them year after year.
  • Bubbles, Kites, Pinwheels, and Ribbon Wands: Fun and colorful alternatives.
  • Chalkboards, Artwork, and Paintings: Make your event visible and artistic.
  • Leaf and Flower Confetti: An eco-friendly substitute for plastic or paper confetti.
  • Party Kits: Borrow reusable party kits from local libraries or community groups. Learn more about Party Kits

Why Are We Banning Balloons?

Balloons are among the most lethal debris for ocean animals and the biggest killers of Australian sea birds. Turtles often mistake burst balloons for jellyfish. This issue is prevalent in our community, with local wildlife frequently affected by balloon and plastic debris.

Local governments across Australia are taking the lead by banning balloon releases and the use of balloons on Council-owned sites. Reducing waste is a crucial step in minimising our environmental footprint and keeping Byron Shire clean and healthy.

This initiative supports our Single-Use Packaging and Materials Policy, emphasising our commitment to environmental sustainability.

For more information about reusable and waste-free alternatives to single-use decorations, see here.

Let’s work together to make Byron Shire a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful place for all!

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

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A koala being treated at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

 

By Sarah Waters

Koalas are becoming an increasingly rare sight in NSW and the one organisation that is dedicated solely to their care in the Northern Rivers is desperately trying to keep operating as normal.

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The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, operated by Friends of the Koala, has made an urgent plea for financial support.

A decline in donations and available funding has threatened the hospital’s ability to operate effectively.

The hospital is specifically designed for the medical treatment of koalas and is the only wildlife hospital in NSW licensed to vaccinate all treated koalas against Chlamydia – the number one cause of death for koalas in the Northern Rivers.

General manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers said more than 350 Koalas are treated at the hospital each year.

“From July last year we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in koalas coming in, versus the year before,” Ms Everaers said.

“It will continue to increase as the threats to koalas are increasing with climate change, natural disasters, habitat being destroyed causing more koalas on the road, which leads to car hits, dog attacks and more diseases due to stress.

“So that’s obviously concerning, and it has been really, really busy for our volunteers rescuing and caring for them,” she said.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital was formed in 2019 and is part of the wider Friends of the Koala (FOK) organisation.

The FOK organisation receives government grants for certain projects including a recent grant to vaccinate 300 koalas against chlamydia.

But no government money is received for the operational cost of the koala hospital.

General Manager of Friends of the Koala and Northern Rivers Koala Hospital Silva Everaers

General Manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers

Half a million dollars needs to be raised by Friends of the Koala each year to cover the hospital’s annual operating expenses.

It is set up with diagnostic and treatment tools including ultrasounds, x-rays, a blood bank, as well as surgical and pathology equipment to provide specialised 24/7 veterinary care to koalas.

Until more funds become available the hospital may not be able to continue in its current capacity.

Ms Everaers said the priority was to keep the hospital funded and veterinary staff paid.

“That really is where the research and the magic happens,” she said.

“We work with over 300 volunteers, who do an absolutely incredible job rescuing and rehabilitating the koalas treated in our hospital, and because of that we are able to keep operational costs really, really low.

“But we can’t do it without financial support, in the end, there’s medicine, veterinary staff, the equipment we need, research facilities – it’s not free.”

Friends of the Koala have set up a special donation drive, appealing to the public’s generosity to help keep the hospital in operation and maintain their high standards of care.

Anyone with a heart for wildlife, including business owners and philanthropists, can become a ‘Friend of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital’ at: friendsofthekoala.org or support by donating to the organisation.

Friends of the Koala are a grassroots organisation with more than 35 years of experience working on critical, on-the-ground activities to conserve habitat and protect koalas individually and as a species.

It originated as a charity focused on planting trees but has evolved into a multifaceted organisation that also provides 24/7 koala rescue, medical treatment, research, advocacy and community education.

Friends of the Koala has successfully rehabilitated and released over 2000 koalas back into the wild since its inception.

The Northern Rivers is home to one of the last significant, genetically diverse koala populations.

 

For more local news, click here.

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