Byron Bay – an iconic destination in the State of New South Wales in Australia attracts 1.5 million tourists a year and is home to 9,420 shire residents. With such a profound celebration of place comes a strong passion to protect, leading to ad hoc decision making and a conflation of issues. The need for a holistic plan was clear, the challenge however was to capture the community’s passion while creating a benchmark deliverable masterplan.
Collaborating with Byron Shire Council, the project team led by McGregor Coxall employed the use of a bespoke community website called Byron Bay Our Plan, a 21 person ‘Community Bounce Group’ and over 30 interactive workshops. The ourplan website received over 8,750 unique visitors. This approach prioritised an inclusive and transparent masterplanning process that reinforced a sense of ownership for the local and visitor community.
The masterplan features a holistic array of actions that target a people prioritised centre, a redesigned foreshore parkland, a permeable network of biodiverse streets and the flexible programming of public space. Importantly these initiatives frame a fine grain village vernacular that supports increased live and work opportunities for locals.
The masterplan confirmed the community’s and council’s intent to see positive change to Byron Bay and the initiation of community led revitalisation. This laid the foundation to an implementation and delivery framework that includes the establishment of the Byron Bay Our Future Leadership Group, five priorities focused on locally responsive planning controls and 10 project priorities that catalyse immediate change to the centre.
The iconic Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan has been adopted by Byron Shire Council on 9th June 2016. Following positive feedback from the public exhibition period, the council voted 8-1 to endorse the masterplan. The 120 ha masterplan prepared over the past 18 months demonstrates an integrated, engaging and empowering consultation approach that connects the centre of Byron Bay with the spirit of its community.
Philip Coxall, Project Director said he hoped the plans endorsement would signify a proud moment for the local community, “I commend the whole community for participating in the process and providing such a rigorous engagement”
“The plan establishes a flexible and responsive strategic framework that has the capacity to evolve as the needs of the community change in the future”
Design Firm | McGregor Coxall
Client | Byron Shire Council
Image Credits | McGregor Coxall