Liz Levy, Suffolk Park
Noticed the Byron Shire Council’s call for submissions on the licensing of the bus shelter building as a ‘kiosk’? Notice there is no licensee identified?
If anyone would like to have access to this great little spot to run a business for a year (or who knows how long given the bus transit centre saga), I’d contact the council because I can’t see why, according to the Plan of Management for that land, you can’t put in an expression of interest.
Councillors at Thursday’s meeting spoke of threats to local small businesses, including the problem or run-away commercial rent. Their response to doing anything about what’s happening at the Visitors Centre, however, shows any concern is little more than lip service.
I put in a submission opposed to the Byron Visitors Centre being given a five-year lease after the council showed little interest in the ancillary kiosk and rental businesses that are operating there in competition to the dwindling locally-owned businesses in town – businesses that are paying these runaway rents (which contribute to rates) and trying to compete with the BVC in its prime, highly subsidised location.
Gobsmacked, I read the council’s repeated responses to me that there were no worries about uneven playing fields and undermining of the businesses the centre is there to support because: ‘BVC is required to use the premises in accordance with the lease and the Plan of Management, to operate the premises as a professional Visitors lnformation Centre only.’
Despite the fact that the council has promised me an answer to my follow-up enquiries about why they think I am hallucinating, I haven’t received anything over two months later.
They have responded though with some other interesting developments. The new BVC lease will not include the bus shelter area, hence the council advertisements for submissions about the licence. But the ad doesn’t stipulate that they are planning to just hand this now separate facility to the BVC without any competitive tender process. As well the council are simultaneously considering ‘Local Government Act Section 68 application 55.2017.1078.1 (to engage in a trade display and hire of bikes and operation of kiosk).’
Rent, if any, is yet to be determined!