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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Due process on holiday letting

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On Wednesday night, 11 June, I heard Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson speak most convincingly at the West Byron meeting about the need for ‘due process’, ‘democratic process’, ‘community engagement’, and the need to inform community at the beginning of a process and not after the event.

I couldn’t agree with him more. But I wonder whether he and his fellow councillors are applying those same principles when it comes to the Proposed Holiday Letting Precincts Plan? Few residents seem to be aware that large sections of areas currently zoned residential are to become approved holiday letting precincts.

The time for the community to be fully informed is now, not later in the year as proposed by Council. Council should be publishing the maps of proposed holiday letting precincts so that residents of the Shire can see just how they will be affected and can then make informed decisions. That is true  ‘democratic process’.

Louise Andrews, Byron Bay


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Holiday letting precincts were first tried back in 2004 ?? but the idea was knocked back by the community. Since then the community has not been protected and has been crying to either completely stop holiday letting, or for it to be regulated.So if we knock back the “holiday letting precincts” then there will be no protection for residents and we will be stuck with the same problem again.Holiday letting needs to be regulated by council ,the same as is happening (successfully) in Western Australia .The problem will not go away even with the new LEP stating that “tourist accomodation” is prohibited in R2 zones. In Ballina Shire I have a holiday let in an R3 zone but their LEP does not prohibit “tourist Accomodation” in these zones.My parents built and have lived (since 1958) in a holiday letting hotspot in the old part of Byron Bay and are slowly getting surrounded by holiday homes, which saddens me. They are in their late 80s and require permanent neighbours for safety and social contact. With the existing “voluntary” code of conduct the holiday homes can be a real cancer in a neighbourhood but the HLO is working hard to eliminate these cancers. Without a proper legal framework the HLO cannot stop a recalcitrant holiday home owner. Grab what is offered (precincts and regulation) or we will be in the same boat for another 10 years.

    • Geoff, I would like to correct some of your assertions .Holiday letting precincts were developed in 2006 and were not “knocked back” by the community! They were significantly smaller than the potential precincts that have recently been presented by the Byron Planning Dept. In 2006 the original proposed precincts were sent to Sydney but have sat on someones desk in the Dept of Planning. The former Labor State Govt. said they would d a statewide policy, but nothing happened.
      I agree that strong rules and regulations need to be developed by our council to stop the large number of “recalcitrant” holiday let owners because the voluntary code developed by HLO during the past 9 years has been a failure and has not solved the problems.
      I disagree with the holiday let potential precinct overlay maps that have been published, as the areas are too large, covering streets that have minimal or no existing holiday letting. Council will have to adjust these.
      If the current attempts to control this problem are a failure then the only recourse will be legal action.

  2. Geoff Bensley in his comment above states that “HLO is working hard to eliminate these cancers” ie the problem illegal holiday lets. This is contrary to the perception that the community has. Prior to May, 2013, HLO said that holiday letting was legal and they would take legal action against the council for loss of income if the council tried to shut them down. The council was trying to undertake its legal obligations, although it was very ineffective. HLO’s approach was based on faulty and flimsy legal advice from a Sydney law firm. The May 2013 Land and Environment Court judgement finally gave HLO an accurate view.
    The HLO former approach was reprehensible. What does HLO actually want now? I would be interested to know. It is difficult to comprehend that the representatives of illegal commercial operations have been invited to the same table as councillors and staff

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