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Byron Shire
May 20, 2022

Why BandBs need support

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The floods are leaving people homeless and families split

There was a housing crisis on the Northern Rivers, then we had the floods of 2022 and the issue has left increasing numbers of people homeless and struggling to find alternative accommodation.

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Richmond candidates strut their stuff

With the federal election looming Saturday, candidates put themselves before the public at the Echo/BayFM ‘Meet the Candidates’ on Monday night in Byron. All candidates were present, except ‘ghost’ One Nation candidate, Tracey Bell-Henselin. 

Everyone reads The Echo

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don't be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

$17m in funds for work on crown lands in NSW

If you are involved in managing crown reserve land and facilities then now is the time to get that application in for a share of the $17 million that is available fro the 2022-3 funding round. 

Saffin seeks $7.5 million for Lismore townhouse developments

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has made a special request to the NSW Government for $7.5 million to enable two townhouse developments in East Lismore and Goonellabah, which she says would add 66 flood-free, affordable units to the city’s housing stock.

This letter is in response to the article on B&B rates that appeared in Echonetdaily last week.

I would like to correct the piece by stating that the 11 B&Bs I represented acted on a proposed motion put forward by Cr Jan Barham our Mayor. We decided to support her proposal of a reduced rate for B&Bs by requesting public access for that particular meeting and giving our side of the story.

We strongly believe that the B&B industry is a small and non-intrusive way to provide overnight accommodation. The hosts are the ambassadors of our Shire as diverse as the people who live here, contributing to the community as a person, an employer, as a tourism operator.

In these times when the tourism industry – so important to our Shire – is struggling there can easily be concessions made for us as we are a small-scale industry, which has so far been made to well and truly pay its way. We feel there is unfair competition with holiday letting and other unapproved accommodation places, which do not comply with any of the processes or inspections we deal with on a regular basis, do not pay GST or increased rates.

The decrease in rates would only come to maybe a couple of dollars for the community, but it would be a substantial amount for the individual B&B operators, a small reward for doing the right thing.

The process to obtain and maintain the approval to run our business is onerous and expensive. Requirements include, but are not limited to, hard-wired smoke detectors, fire blankets, extinguishers and other fire safety regulations, disabled access, car parking within the boundaries of your own property with enough space to turn cars, signage or no signage depending on your neighbours, manager living on site, restriction of size of the building, a significant S94 contribution (up to $5000 per bed) and of course business rates.

This has resulted in a small, dedicated and professional industry – maybe 25 shirewide – that offers high quality, unique accommodation places with a wide range of pricing. Our guests receive personalised service and advice on what to see and where to go. Our guests are generally looking for low-key and nature-based experiences.

Additionally, we obviously contribute to the job market as we all need electricians, plumbers, cleaners, (relief) managers and buy our supplies and consumables mainly locally.

One of the important requirements of a B&B approval is the fact that a manager has to live on site, which has the added benefit that noise and intrusion on the surrounding area is kept to a minimum. There is someone on site to contact, someone the neighbours know, and someone who lives on the property.

There is no problem like two people booking a room and ten staying, no night after night partying, no late night pool parties. We strongly believe our place has less of an impact on our neighbours than if there was a 5-bedroom share house or if we would decide to holiday let our house.

Wandy Hochgrebe, Planula B&B, Byron Bay

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Richmond candidates 2022: Informed Medical Options Party candidate Monica Shepherd

Monica Shepherd is an organic naturopath based in Ocean Shores. She is running as a candidate for the Informed Medical Options Party in the federal seat of Richmond.

Storylines – Stop the rot and take action

Having spent a long time reflecting on the last 13 weeks since the floods devastated our region, many important issues have come to my attention – loss of homes, possessions, safety, schools suspended from flooding, chaos, death, loss of animals, extreme anxiety and desperation, and so much more.

Review of community response called for as challenges recognised

Local community members stepped forward to help coordinate and respond to the disaster; from people getting into boats and kayaks recusing strangers in Lismore to coordinating local response hubs in the hinterland and local towns. But it wasn't all a bed of roses.

$17m in funds for work on crown lands in NSW

If you are involved in managing crown reserve land and facilities then now is the time to get that application in for a share of the $17 million that is available fro the 2022-3 funding round.