In an effort to stop overnight camping and anti-social behaviour Byron Shire Council will be locking the Butler Street Reserve in Byron Bay every night from 25 March 2019.
Steel gates have been installed at the entrance to the Reserve and they will be locked daily at 9pm and reopened at 6am.
For many months there has been an increasing problem with people camping illegally, partying and dumping their rubbish either in the Reserve or in nearby bushland.
“Local residents have told Council they are tired of the constant noise from parties in the Reserve carpark at night and they have also said the rubbish, including human excrement, is intolerable,” Acting Mayor, Michael Lyon, said.
“This waste is degrading and polluting the environment that borders on the sensitive Cumbebin Swamp.
“Council has spoken to the managers of the Byron Bay monthly market and the weekly farmers market which operate from the Butler Street Reserve and they are supportive of its closure at night,” Acting Mayor Lyon said.
Penalties will apply for people whose vehicles are still parked in the Reserve after 9pm.
There will be a telephone number on signs at the Reserve that people can call if they do get locked in but a fee for this service may apply.
“The aim is not to disadvantage our local residents and workers who park in the Butler Street Reserve because they are respectful of the neighbourhood and the environment, but to change the behaviour of van packers and illegal campers who are using the Reserve as a free campground and party spot,” Acting Mayor Lyon said.
People should be aware that from July 2019 the Butler Street Reserve will be closed when work starts on the Byron Bay bypass.
Both markets will be relocated while the bypass is being built and Council is working with the market managers to find alternative locations.
“Council is very supportive of the monthly community market and the weekly farmers market and our priority during the construction of the bypass is to get them back to the Butler Street Reserve as soon as possible,” Acting Mayor Lyon said.