A liquor bottleshop development application (DA) that was ultimately rejected by the Office of Gaming and Racing (OLGR) is again before Byron Shire Council.
Located behind the Palace Cinema on Jonson Street, it is roughly half the floorspace area of that in last year’s liquor licence application by Dan Murphy’s.
While Council approved Dan Murphy’s DA in May 2011, a full day of public hearings before a OLGR panel in 2012 heard almost unanimous calls for its rejection.
Remarkably the renewed application was missed entirely by the public and media: public exhibition for the DA closed July 8, 2013.
The applicant is Nerang-based Global Centres Australia Pty Ltd, which, according to Cr Duncan Dey, never withdrew its original DA.
So who is the applicant?
A search with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) shows that that company is what is commonly termed a ‘two-dollar company’. ASIC records say Global Centres Australia has issued two shares, valued at $1 each, to GTM (Aust) Pty Ltd. GTM shares the same Australian Company Number (ACN) as the Azzura Group, and is now the new company name.
The site’s property owner, Robert Badalotti, is the sole officeholder of GTM.
Cr Duncan Dey told The Echo that Council’s Planning Review Committee (PRC) last Wednesday looked at two applications for the area below the Palace Cinema on Jonson Street.
‘The meeting was mainly to determine who would manage the applications. It’s at a very preliminary stage of considering the DA,’ he said. ‘Both were directed on Wednesday by the committee to be determined by Council, not staff.’
‘One of the applications is to build a restaurant in the block nearest to the street,’ he said, ‘and another is a section 96 application for a building refit where the rear building has been demolished.’
As for the front plans for the restaurant, Cr Dey expressed concerns that the applicant planned a very small kitchen while the dining area and bar area appear much larger.
Meanwhile Paul Waters, president of the town’s business chamber, Byron United, told The Echo, ‘I expect the applicant will run into the same problems with OLGR over density of liquor licences in Byron Bay, especially with the focus on alcohol-related issues that have been evident in the past year in Byron Bay and in fact around the state.’
But he did add that he was, ‘quite impressed with the long-overdue renovations of the shops and carpark and credit should be given to the owners. However, it looked like a few carparks had disappeared at that end of the development.’
Darren Pearson, the operator of The Cellar bottleshop located in the northern end of the Woolies carpark, told The Echo he was very concerned to hear of the plans.