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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

LEP changes would benefit opportunists

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Liz Levy, Suffolk Park.

Byron Shire Council is advertising its proposal to amend the LEP to allow additional temporary commercial uses on the rail corridor etc AND to increase ‘temporary’ from 14 days to 52 in 12 months.

A huge array of new summer businesses in the heart of Byron’s CBD? A colourful, eclectic vibe or money-makers in a temple to the tacky that will exacerbate the increasingly unattractive vibe for locals frequenting their town centre?

We all know that Byron’s two million odd visitors a year make it a commercial honey pot but there’s a perception that the permanent businesses are patristic profiteers while anyone who sets up under some canvas is a struggling battler nobly eking out a living.

Time we gave some recognition to the benefits our permanent businesses bring: year round commercial rates, ongoing employment, donations etc to local events and organisations, year-round services.

These businesses pay some of the highest commercial rents in the state and rely on the peak season trade to cover the rent and wages bills that don’t go away in the winter.

They need to have ABNs, cash management systems, and income accountability. It’s about time the council offered some support to them, especially the locally owned businesses that are disappearing in the homogenised trend of the ubiquitous franchise.

I look forward to seeing the Chamber of Commerce taking up the cudgels as well.

There are already a number of threats to the legitimate businesses pulling their weight: holiday renters or front-yard traders paying residential rates, happily ignored by council; street and roadside traders paying nothing. They are the ones really cashing in on tourism and not adding their share for the consequences.

Most people would concede that monthly markets and intermittent special events add to a community, but defining as ‘exempt development’ a 52-day period would realistically, in this shire, only offer temptation to set up for the school summer holidays, or for every weekend of the busiest six months. What are the arguments for a nearly fourfold increase and what will be the real impact?

Submissions close 30 March.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. There’s little detail about this. Is there an upper limit proposed on the number of stalls, pop-ups, start-ups? There will likely be no shortage of takers.
    Who will administer the scheme and monitor compliance with a constantly shifting set of occupants? Council? – yeah right!
    Has any other area, apart from capital cities, installed a permanent market place in the heart of their CBD?

    • A pity Council can’t concentrate on the real issues, i.e. illegal holiday letting, traffic congestion and the need to raise revenue from sources other than our ever-increasing rates. Seems they’d rather promote Byron as tourist mecca and not worry about the locals.

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