New plan needed: Byron United Chamber of Commerce vice-president Paul Waters says last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Byron Bay were “an embarrassment”.
NEW Year’s Eve celebrations at Byron Bay are an embarrassment says the vice-president of the Byron United Chamber of Commerce, Paul Waters.
He said local businesses planned to form a committee that would discuss an event that was more in line with celebrations around the world.
“At the very least we need some fireworks or a laser show,” he said.
“What about some music, on a sound stage, a compere and a countdown to the New Year?”
He added that the current “family friendly” entertainment that included a street fair was “rubbish”, “so last century” and “an embarrassment” for Byron Bay.
This year the family theme included a performance by the Samba Blisstas, market stalls and children’s rides.
“We want a really nice, celebratory event that leaves everyone with happy memories,” Mr Waters said.
“It would still include an alcohol free zone, but it would be entertaining.”
He said Byron United planned to work with other organisations in the area to devise a plan for a New Year’s Eve celebration that didn’t necessarily involve the council.
When contacted about the chamber’s plans, mayor Jan Barham said: “New Year’s Eve at Byron Bay is a difficult issue. It’s a time of year when we are full up with visitors and entertainment just draws additional people.”
She said previous celebrations,before the current family friendly arrangements (that have included fireworks, a laser show and DJs), had seen antisocial behaviour and damaged premises.
“Our priority is to keep the streets safe,” she said.
In 2002 the number of revellers in Byron Bay peaked at 40,000.
Celebrations at Lennox Head have involved up to 16,000 people and, at Evans Head, 20,000 people gathered to welcome 2006 when Byron and Lennox cracked down on unruly behaviour.
Mr Waters said local residents who wanted to see more “appropriate” celebrations for a town with Byron Bay’s international reputation did not need protecting.
“We’re grown-ups,” he said
source: Lismore Northern Star
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