Byron Bay might be a town that attracts more than two million visitors a year but on Saturday 2 November at Railway Park in the heart of town it was all about the locals.
Arakwal Elders, dancers, residents, business owners and families gathered to celebrate the re-opening of the upgrade of Railway Park, a $2.1 million project to refurbish a public space that has a long history of being a meeting and gathering place for the community.
Eleven Indigenous artworks have been sand-blasted into the paths in the park, sitting alongside a fabulous new children’s playground and boardwalk through the Cottonwood trees which have been climbed on by thousands of children over many decades.
“It’s terrific to see the Cottonwoods retained as a feature of the park and to see our local Indigenous culture featured so strongly via the artwork and the plaque acknowledging the Native Title history of the area is a wonderful thing for our whole community,” Byron Shire Deputy Mayor, Sarah Ndiaye, said.
This project was all about bringing some spirit and life back into Railway Park, as the first project to emerge from the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan, which was adopted in June 2016 and is now overseen by the Masterplan Guidance Group which has been working alongside Council for the last four years.
“Railway Park was looking very tired and this project has brought it back to life, rekindling the spirit of the local community at the same time,” Deputy Mayor Ndiaye said.
Chris Hanley, Co-chair of the Byron Bay Masterplan Guidance Group, said Railway Park is the new green heart of town and all families are invited to come down and try out the new play equipment.
“My thanks to Council staff, landscape architect Dan Plummer, and all members of the Byron Masterplan Guidance Group for all the work that has gone into this project – what a gift to the community!” he said.