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This Is Northern New South Wales

Protect Byron – Winston McCall

Byron Bay is a community that faces change on a weekly basis. Development and expansion is ever-present…but at what cost to our community and lifestyle?

BYRA (Byron Young Residence Alliance) was formed a few months ago as a voice for the Byron Bay communities youth, on the eve of Byron’s biggest development to date, The West Byron development (read our previous story HERE).Moving to the Byron Shire in 89, Parkway Drive frontman and spokesperson for BYRA Winston McCall is just one of the communities next generation voting to have our next era of development done in a sustainable and thoughtful way. “Anyone that lives here knows why it is a special place. I’ve seen more of this planet than I ever thought was possible, and I still have yet to find a place that resonates with me in the same way Byron does. I caught my first real waves at The Pass, and love our coast more than anything. A couple mates and I started our band Parkway Drive in Ewingsdale and watched it grow out of the Byron Bay to stages worldwide. People have asked when are we going to pack the band up and move to the USA and make it big, and I answer never. This is our home and we have taken it with us the whole way. Byron Bay has fuelled and inspired our travels and welcomed us home with open arms ever time we return… So now it’s time to give a little back and think about our communities future”

Being young in Byron Bay, it’s easy to take things for granted, and not realise what those before us have done to preserve what we have enjoyed in our adolescence. For Winston, and members of BYRA it’s time to be a part of the change. “The catalyst for me has been West Byron. I have been part of protests going back to the Club Med march, but this is literally 100 times the size of anything this town has seen and I believe it will be lethal. Basically the reality of the situation has forced us to take action and not just settle for apathy, and that is why I wanted to be part of BYRA. We have an amazing younger generation in Byron, and it can be easy to become disenchanted with the large systems of governance, but there comes a time when we must rally the rights we have and use them to fight for what we believe in – For our future and for our home.”

BYRA stands as a hub for information and a conduit for young minds that aims to gather everything relevant and break down what certain outcomes will mean for the town and community we all live in. “I feel the main issues facing us is a combination of modern world apathy and the perception it creates between generations”, Winston says. “If you look at social media (or most youth culture for that matter), rebellion and social transformation has been replaced with a feeling of hopelessness and the idea that an online social post is the most powerful statement a person can make. Everywhere you look, its ‘fuck the world’ ‘fuck the system’ ‘zero cares’. The problem is, we can’t fuck the world, its the only one we have and we all need it, we can’t fuck the system when you don’t take part or use your voice, and having zero cares amounts to zero change and condemns young vision to the sideline. Byron has had it’s struggles over time, and the wonderful people who have kept the integrity of our town won’t be here to protect it forever. Its time to step up and take responsibility for the place we love. You want to call this area home, you want to hold your head high, you want to call yourself a local, then you HAVE to give a fuck. Because if you don’t, then who will. McDonalds? KFC? West Byron? the ongoing CSG threat? No, these aren’t the biggest issues, the issue is mobilisation of a massive local youth culture, and a focus on our habitat that is under threat. The issue is all of us, but we can take control, and we need to start now” says Winston.

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This Sunday on March 1st, BYRA along with the Byron Residents Group are organising a rally to put across one simple message… PROTECT BYRON. “Byron Bay as a community stands at crossroads. With an election being called so quickly, and the fate of our town hanging in the hands of our elected officials, we have called a rally to highlight everything we love about the place we live. We need to focus our voices and galvanise our stance. There have already been too many smoke and mirrors put up about the West Byron development. There is no sugar coating of what this will mean for the town. For every positive you will find ten negatives, and for every dollar going into local hands, millions will go into the hands of a select few. I don’t want an overcrowded gridlocked suburbia. No one deserves this. Not our community. I would hate to say that we were the last generation to witness Byron Bay as it is today, let alone be the first to usher in Byron Bay as a suburban wasteland.”

This rally on Sunday March 1st (3pm March from Railway Park) is an invitation for everyone, from anywhere, that has ever cared about Byron Bay, to stand with us and speak out.

For more info about BYRA –
For information on the West Byron Project –
Also visit the Byron Residents Group –

Thanks to Ming Nomchong for the surf/beach imagery –