The final stage of the installation of Corey Thomas' 12 metre tall lighthouse sculpture on the new Bayshore Drive Roundabout at Byron Bay.
The final stage of the installation of Corey Thomas' 12 metre tall lighthouse sculpture on the new Bayshore Drive Roundabout at Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Disco dong, three-storey carpark loom over council meeting

BYRON Shire Councillors return to the Thunderdome aka Council Chambers at Mullumbimby next Thursday from their mid-year meeting haitus.

There are some big issues looming at the meeting including: a decision on the fate of Byron Bay's controversial Lighthouse sculpture known by many as the disco dong; an idea to periodically switch off Byron Shire's street lights to save power; and a motion to knock the idea of a three story carpark on the Butler Street Reserve on the head.

In regards to the Disco Dong, a report from June's meeting of the Byron Shire Council Arts Panel lays out some stark choices for councillors.

They either decommission the sculpture or commission further work to be carried out. Both choices involve spending more money.

Council has already commissioned an $8000 structural engineering inspection as a result oif people climbing on the structure and hanging flags and teddy bears on it.

The report notes that birds have been substantially damaged by the climbers already.

It also says it will cost between $11,000 and $13,000 to decommission the sculpture with up to $25,000 required to reinstate the roundabout.

The artist has also offered to return to complete the sculpture for free but with additional costs on top of up to $35,000.

Chair of the Art Panel, Councillor Sarah Ndiaye has previously told the Byron Shire News she believes the sculpture may be doomed.

Why Byron's disco dong may be doomed

In other business Mayor Simon Richardson will introducing a motion to explore the idea of turning off the shire's street lighting during certain non-critical periods of the night as a way of reducing energy wastage and light pollution.

He also suggests council could look at replacing the old High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) light bulbs with new and energy-efficient Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

Echoing advice given to Cr Richardson by his father to turn off the lights when he left the room the mayor said, "Consider how many street lights are permanently glowing across our Shire, consuming electricity when there is absolutely no-one in the vicinity of them; wasting electricity and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

Cr Richardson sad lowering street light use and the resultant emission reduction, "sits perfectly within Council's Net Zero Emissions Strategy for Council Operations 2025."

"We have already identified that within council's total emissions for 2017-2018, electricity used by streetlights amounted to 633 tonnes, or 3.5% of the total," he said.

"I am sure that many residents would love the opportunity to participate in any trial being proposed.

Councillor Michael Lyon has a motion up to knock the Masterplan idea of a three story car park on the Butler Street Reserve on the head and instead retain the space for passive recreation and community uses.

Cr Lyon told Byron Shire News the idea was to re-assure the community the markets, both farmers and community would ultimately return to the site and that the three story commercial development would not spread to the area.

To have your say on these or any other issues on council's agenda go to Public Access