Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Save Byron Bay Australia

Another project I’m working on is   I’ve been catching up with my Byron Homies on facebook and doing some research and my poor little hippy home town has gone to the dogs, figuratively and literally, as in real estate developer dogs. The locals, especially the youth are at great risk and starting to form gangs and get violent. 

The local town population is only 6,000 where as it’s stated at 30,000 because of the constant tourist swell, and during peak season and festivals it swells to 200,000. The whole shire/county population is only 15,000 to 25,000.

When you take into account that not all the population or businesses or security are there to cater to tourists, it’s like 300 to 400 people to handle a 12 month long festival of 30,000 heads, and maybe 300 to 500 extras for when it swells to 200,000. Any festival producer will understand the problem and need for real concern. 

Locals can’t cope, but it’s their home and of course they don’t want to leave, and shouldn’t have to.  The teens are acting up cause the local gov won’t address their need for facilities to keep them out of trouble, not even a skate park. The parents probably are letting their kids act out, because the kids take it out on the tourists and all the locals hate the tourists. There have already been deaths.

I do have locals on the ground at some of the older non-profits and in and on the local media. But they are eyes and ears for now, I can’t put them at risk. Can’t go to Byron and work from ground zero, because it’s very politically hot, they are also fighting developers with money who don’t care about the communities and people they hurt.

The developers are all outsiders who don’t live in Byron and don’t understand and don’t care about its delicate human, artistic, and environmental nature. They also don’t care that it is a living cultural museum. Think Haight Ashbury pre 1967 during the counter culture glory days but alive and well today in a beautiful little beach town where the streets in the old town are named after poets. Yes that is where I come from, but it is dying, killed off more thoroughly than Haight Ashbury, so I’ve decided to seek help to buy it to save it while it is still doable.  The locals and the culture are still there, but hidden and waiting for help to get their town back.

Is not as big money as you would need to save Haight Ashbury but it’s still going to take a couple of hundred mill to secure majority of real estate and build some community facilities, such as a skate park for the teens and arts studios center to bring back the good artists, and to vote in a solid community and green conscious local government.  About the same as what it cost to build the De Young museum, only we won’t have to wait years for a total rebuild, the buildings are already there and nearly all are renovated and to code.

The population is small enough so that once the real estate is secured it won’t take much to subtly rehabilitate the locals back to peaceful law-abiding ways.

More later, meantime check out and please help.

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