Tourist facility travesty
An open letter to Don Page MP: Dear Sir, I have recently had a conversation with Ralph James, lawyer for Byron Shire Council. We discussed the prosecution of the owners and operators of the tourist facility at 57 Shirley Street, Byron Bay.
It is obvious to all and sundry that a tourist business is being operated from these houses. This is in a residential zoning. I understood after talking to Ralph that the owners are contesting not that they cater to tourists but the definition of the word ‘facility.’ Ralph explained to me that he understands that these people, from Melbourne, will maintain that they are not operating a tourist facility because there is no concierge or on-site resident.
If this is true, this would be a travesty of justice being sought. Indeed, it has been the intention of the community to support bed and breakfast businesses that specifically have on-site resident persons as their operators. The continued operation of the business would be a slap in the face of the community and the intent of the law, which is to keep residential areas for permanent residences and tourist businesses within zonings that specifically permit them.
You can do something about this. The Byron Shire Council will spend a lot of money to test a definition, a term in a paragraph in a subsection of the law. Well, you are in the government. You can save us a lot of money and trouble by passing a brief amendment to the law. You can do this quickly and of course easily as you guys control both Houses. Why not? Indeed, why not ask a local council exactly what an effective amendment should say? I am certain Mr James can tell you at a reasonable price. People need housing. We also need justice.
Matthew Hartley, Byron Bay