The Last Days of The Disco Dong
The phallus-shaped silver sculpture at the Bayshore Drive roundabout is at the beginning of its end. After much public outcry, Council has voted to have it removed. Two mistakes were made. After choosing the Disco Dong for the site, Council’s Public Art Panel was warned by independent local artists that translating the Melbourne artist’s on-paper concept to a real-world installation would be difficult. Then the artist cut corners and made the metal birds out of aluminium instead of stainless steel. This gave the Dong a tinny, gaudy look. But these errors of judgement do not justify the intense attacks the poor guy has received. He has stopped working, taken down his website and gone into hiding to recover from the relentless attacks from the ‘laid back, tolerant residents of Byron Bay’.
Lots of people hated the Eiffel Tower and Jackson Pollack’s Blue Poles when they were first unveiled. It’s probable that this humble contribution to global art was never destined for such esteem, but I think we could have lived with it and given time, allowed it to mellow into our hearts and minds. My concern is that as Council gets so much flack on so many fronts, the idea of mounting any new venture will get harder for them. Already, the planned public art installation has been removed from the new Railway Park landscaping. This was to be the $80,000 brushed metal pandanus palm that was funded as part of the Mercato shopping complex on Jonson Street. When the naysayers get their way, that’s what we get: nothing!
Time For a Mortgage Health Check?
If you have not been paying attention, you may have missed lots of activity in the finance sector. Interest rates are at a record low, and while some banks have passed on the rate reduction, others haven’t. Pundits are predicting another rate drop in October. The banks’ compliance requirements have changed. The movement to ‘Open Banking’ is slow but moving forward – this will give borrowers the ability to transfer their loans and personal banking from one bank to another online. Competition is increasing and many banks are doing deals to attract customers.
Questions: Do you know what your current interest rate is? Has your income or financial situation changed? If your answer is NO to the first and YES to the second, it may be time to do a mortgage health check. I was a mortgage broker for ten years until I realised how much I hated it. But I still have strong relationships in the industry and am a licensed referrer. Call or email me to see if you do need a Mortgage Health Check and I can refer you to the right broker for your needs.
Agriculture is back
The Northern Rivers is experiencing a lot of interest in agricultural and farming businesses. There is a surge in food hubs, farmers markets and paddock-to-plate dining. Organic food production and specialty produce are starting to snap at the heels of the local tourist industry. Have a read of “Back to the Land” in this issue, in which property research company HTW reports on the growing demand for small farms and agricultural businesses.
Byron Council has received a $50,000 grant from the federal government’s National Landcare Program, to be used to develop a Rural Land Know-How Package for new and existing land managers. This will focus on supporting the local agricultural sector, which employs more than 500 people in the area. The grant will allow the Council to develop new resources to increase awareness, knowledge and skills of land management best practice and educate in ways to mitigate risks associated with climate change. To learn more or if you wish to participate, visit here.
Big Scrub Day
If you are not an advocate for farming but still keen on the great outdoors, have a look at this one. The 21st Big Scrub Rainforest Day is on the 19th-22nd of September. The weekend features guided rainforest walks, nature connection workshops, landholder field days, community tree plantings, science and ecology talks, and fun family activities. Most activities are free. Events are located across the Big Scrub and beyond, from Nightcap National Park to Booyong Nature Reserve to Heritage Park in Mullumbimby. You can download the program here.
Our local community radio station just had its annual subscription drive. Every August, the station requests subscriptions from listeners. I was amazed to hear that there are only about 500 annual subscribers. This is not good enough! If you are a resident and regular listener to the Most Easterly Station in the Nation then you need to get on to it. You can still support them even though the Radiothon is finished. Go here to subscribe.
Enova Energy is expanding
As regular readers know, BPS is a big supporter of Enova Energy, our Byron-based community-owned energy distributor. Enova works to support sustainable green energy sources, as well as lowering energy costs. From October 1st the company will be open for business in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. If you live in these areas or have friends there, you can go on the website to register here. If you include my name, Michael Murray, or my customer number, 1000012, I will receive a $25 deduction on my next power bill, which I will donate to the animal welfare group WIRES.
Sample Food Festival
The ever-popular Sample Food Fest is on again in Bangalow. Remember to arrive hungry and be prepared to sample many of the fabulous food treats our shire has to offer. This event has been getting better attendances each year so expect to rub up against many other local foodies. At the Bangalow Showgrounds on September 7. More info here.
Shearwater Spring Fair
Also on this Saturday, is the Shearwater Steiner School Spring Fair. The Mullumbimby school went through some hard times and nearly closed down a decade ago. It is now doing very well and along with Cape Byron Rudolph Steiner School in Ewingsdale, has a long waiting list for prospective students. The Shearwater Spring Fair is open to all and you will be able to veg out on as many gluten-free, plant-based, organically grown, stress-free, vegan lentil and sprouts burgers as you can eat. (Agent declares interest – I am a proud Shearwater dad.)