Designer's legacy continues after tragic surfing death
A new Byron Bay landmark aimed at creating a better future for marine environments will also serve as a memorial to one of its makers.
Ian Harrison, a designer who was involved in the concept of a new sign erected at Main Beach this week, tragically lost his life while surfing at The Wreck the same day Byron Shire Council was meeting to approve the sign.
"I remember waiting for Ian at council," said Positive Change for Marine Life CEO Karl Goodsell.
"(He) was supposed to be presenting on our pitch for the sign.
"I later found out that he had tragically passed away surfing The Wreck that very same morning.
"I'm honoured that this piece has finally come together, and I can't think of a more fitting way to honour Ian's work, his memory and his two now adult children who still live in the Shire."
The sign was instigated by PCFML, a locally-founded non-profit with the support of Byron Shire Council and the Arakwal Corporation.
It calls for more awareness and collection action on the issue of marine debris and pollution.
Designed by the late Mr Harrison, it features art by Bundjalung woman Kaitlyn Clark and also aims to raise awareness about Arakwal custodianship of the Cavanbah region.
PCFML Northern NSW co-ordinator Dane Marx said the piece, located at Apex Park, aims to bring attention to just one of many issues facing our marine ecosystems.
"Considering that, by 2050, the amount of plastic in the sea is believed to outweigh that of fish, this could not be a more pertinent call to action for our ocean," Mr Marx said.
He said littering has a huge impact on the Marine Park and that PCFML has collected more than 500,000 pieces of rubbish during their Main Beach surveys since 2012.
The group hopes the sign can help to encourage locals and visitors to the town to be better stewards of the ocean.
Aboriginal Cultural Educator and Bundjalung woman Delta Kay said this was a matter of caring for country.
"For me and my people, respecting country is key to our culture," Ms Kay said.
"I feel like many people have forgotten the importance of this and the fact that Cavanbah (Byron Bay) attracts them here because of its beauty, its pristine coastline and the range of incredible marine animals that it supports.
"We hope that this sign inspires people to think more deeply about the 22,000 year history of the Bundjalung traditional custodians in the region, the way that we have lived in harmony with this land to protect it and the responsibility that we all have (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike) to be stewards of this land and sea so that we can preserve it for generations to come."
The sign is solar-powered and made mostly from recycled materials.