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Byron Shire
March 4, 2021

Councillor’s storage business defended

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I note with concern the multiple inaccuracies about our storage business from Graham Mathews in his letter to the editor, printed in the last edition.

Firstly, Mathews is not a ‘long suffering neighbour’ and he doesn’t ‘live next to Alan’ but instead is an occasional weekend visitor in the short street of seven houses.

We have never been a ‘StorMan Franchised mini-storage operation’. Our storage units have not been purchased from any franchise, or other storage business – so his rant about some other business and their impact on their environment has no relevance in this issue at all.

In respect to the claim of excessive legal costs; Byron Council has reported the cost of the court to ratify our agreement was nil. How does that now become an enormous expense? Mathews’ imagination seems to have run wild in his personal pursuit of me.

Besides all the rhetoric it seems his concern is increased traffic to the street. So let’s explore that.

We have recorded the traffic to the storage business – as requested by council. Over a 14-day period there were eight vehicles movements – that’s less than one a day. That is not a serious traffic impact. Especially when the RTA Guide to Traffic Developments (Sec 3.2) for dwellings (and permissible on the storage site) without public transport access is nine vehicle movements per day.

Storage is one of the greenest and least impacting businesses we could have on the farm.

If it’s so bad living next to me – why have two other neighbours written letters to the editor of this paper – saying exactly the opposite?

It is incredible to see such persistent hostility from 3-4 neighbours, and the amount of airtime this issue gets in this paper. It’s just storage units. Perhaps Mathews would be much less confused if he concerned himself less with the council processes and more with the impacting traffic, or is it not impacting enough?

Alan Hunter, Myocum

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  1. Some interest in this councillor’s business activity could be due to the introduction of paid parking. Did he vote yes for the introduction of paid parking? If so, the question some people will be asking is would he have voted no if he owned a cafe in the CBD? Wrongly or rightly, my guess is that as the impact of paid parking becomes apparent a spotlight will increasingly be cast on the business activities of councillors. This may take several months because the council has carefully calculated the time frame of its paid parking roll out. Had it been introduced during the winter months a sharp drop in business revenue and visitor numbers would quickly have been noted. Who knows, perhaps paid parking and the council would have been quickly binned. As it is, thousands of visitors on a tight budget (like me) who avoid Byron in school holidays but spend $20 or $30 per week on weekly (out of high tourist season) day trips will no longer be able to afford to visit for a leisurely stroll, swim, burger, coffee or a movie. The council is well aware of this and that is why they have introduced paid parking a few days before Xmas. After all, the councils stated aim is to cut back the number of day trippers However, as tricky as the council has been, I think they may have underestimated many of us. If so, opposition to paid parking will slowly grow as its negative impact on the business community and social fabric of Byron Bay is felt

  2. You might be right Pete. Take the time to scroll through a number of comments ridiculing paid parking and the council which were posted at the foot a story about the visit of Princess Mary to Byron Bay in the weekend Australian edition of the Daily Mail online.


    The invasion of this family’s privacy during their visit to Byron Bay was awful. But at least by the humorous comments about paid parking a little good came out of it. You can never say if, or how, a social media will spread. But one thing is sure. People in big or small positions of power hate being laughed at

  3. Pete,
    Parking is in everyone’s interest as the car is the main transport into Byron and out of Byron.
    The question is why did anyone vote for paid parking because the council is short. It is ludicrous that even one councillor voted for it, let alone more than one.
    So now Council goes into another direction instead of increasing rates. It now taxes the car user. Byron is just one town on the NSW Coast from Tweed Heads to Bega so outside Sydney, tourists have plenty of towns to choose from.
    Just why did not Gold Coast Council put parking meters in Coolangatta?
    Because drivers would park in another state, NSW in Tweed Heads and the taxes and other taxes are then redirected to the NSW government and not the Qld government. I also take note that you write “thousands of visitors on a tight budget”. The main aim of tourism is to attract the tourist who is not on a tight budget, the ones with folding money in a fat wallet. And that takes marketing to market to the tourist who has the money to spend, and to stop marketing to the lower classes. To install parking meters means the Tourism market has to change and go upmarket to meet the spender with the money. The rich people can afford parking meters as is seen in Surfers Paradise where the high rollers are.
    Parking meters in Byron will change the whole industry of tourism in Byron and the lower classes will go somewhere else. Maybe Mullumbimby? Then that town is then changed.

  4. The first 3 comments have moved away from the subject of Cr Hunter’s business. He has not received DA approval for a storage business. His only approval has been for a transport terminal. In the December Council meeting all councillors unanimously voted not to approve his latest application. He should be a role model and follow the law. He still hasn’t complied with the Land and Environment Court instruction to remove the containers from the property.

  5. Neil,

    I guess your concern is that once a precedent is established over time the containers will grow into a full grown self storage depot. And before you know it, Bobs your uncle, your street has been rezoned as an industrial area. A bit like the growth of paid parking if you think about it, which started in the CBD beach foreshore car park 15 years ago and has now spread everywhere.because of the precedent established by the foreshore car park years ago

  6. Len,

    You made some good points and were refreshingly forthright. Especially with the comment that you foresee paid parking making the ‘lower classes’ go somewhere else. I hadn’t really thought about the issues surrounding paid parking in terms of social class. Maybe you are right. I suppose Marx would have agreed you. He reckoned that capitalism pits one class against another in a struggle over resources, wealth creation and property. You seem to be saying that Byron Bay involved in a class struggle and the working classes are the losers. Marx went further. He argued that classes also struggle among themselves. This supports your thesis Len. As the middle class CBD Byron shop owners (against paid parking) seem to be pitted against the middle class councillors who, like Alan Hunter, have different business interests. I suppose the stoush between Alan Hunter and his neighbor Neil also supports your thesis. But I like to think that Marx was a bit of a pessimist and Australia is better than that. Preferring instead to hope that most of us remain committed to the core Australian value of egalitarianism. Still you could be right Len. I guess the council was never going to come out and say that after paid parking the lower classes can hop it somewhere else.

    The thing is Len that I am not entirely against paid parking. I can see that it makes sense in business hours during high season, E.g. summer and Easter school holidays, as well as long/festival weekends. My guess is that not many people would oppose a plan like this (as long as residents were not slugged). My hope is that common sense will prevail and a compromise such as the above can be reached before any shops or cafes are forced to shut down due to declining visitor numbers during the mid and low tourist seasons


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