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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Rural weddings

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When I started on Council I received many emails each week from upset and angry residents affected by rural weddings. These days, through the work of staff, a lot of these problems have been resolved and I don’t get any. 

Some impacts included cars dangerously parked, loud music and fireworks causing cattle to run out onto roads – it was terrible. If weddings are going to exist (which they are – and are arguably permissible in RU1, RU2, and RU5 as a temporary use under the current LEP), they need a strict registration system, wiping out inappropriate sites and leaving a very limited number of well-managed venues that have the least impact on local residents. Otherwise, they’ll keep happening, neighbours will still struggle, and there will be no security for the industry that employs so many locals such as caterers, photographers, celebrants, florists, hairdressers, make-up artists, musicians, wait staff, and more. 

Apparently Byron’s the second biggest destination for weddings in Australia. 

Many locals rely on our wedding industry, and households find it hard enough to keep their heads above water as it is. 

The wedding industry does not have to compromise the environment or rural amenity. 

The RU1 option may not make it through the DPI but I think interested people should have the chance to make their case.

RU1 properties are generally much larger lots so less likely to impact on others and weddings can provide a secondary income to support the farm. 

I would like to add that so many fantastic things passed in the last council meeting that the community would be really interested in knowing about – the former Byron hospital, bike paths, support for our homeless, a bioenergy facility, and a public discussion about 5G to name a few. 

It seems strange these stories weren’t covered by The Echo as well.

Cr Sarah Ndiaye (Greens)


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  1. None of this justifies the position taken by some councillors on this issue (including the Green bloc).

    If staff have worked hard to eliminate all the problems you mention then it must be under the existing regulations so what is the need for change? Why bend over backwards to encourage more commercial development in rural areas by a change to the LEP which, by necessity, isn’t just about the wedding industry. What the LEP terminology must be changed to include is ‘convention centre’ which opens up a whole Pandora’s Box.

    Have you considered there may be other explanations for the cessation of your emails? When the proposal was on exhibition the locals told Council in unequivocal terms that they didn’t want this change. Council not only disregarded this but expanded the proposal to include RU1. They could well be forgiven for seeing the powers that be as not giving a stuff.

    The LEP change is unlikely to stop rogue operators and the message given is: break the rules and we’ll change them for you. The “well managed” registration system you refer to will become extra burden to a small council’s resources with no way of introducing, in these zones, any fees that may compensate. Who pays for enforcement? We do.

    Yes, jobs and income are great but it’s not particularly Green to see them as an overriding argument. I’m sure people will still want to get married here and that the industry can be accommodated within our existing legitimate facilities or with well planned, zone appropriate and infrastructure supported expansion.

    I had the impression the Echo did cover the other items you mention. Your constituents however, expect sound judgement on all issues and have every right to express their disquiet.

  2. Consider getting married in Tweed Shire instead. We have some great wedding locations up here. Too many to list and right next door to Byron.Byron,s loss can be Tweeds gain.Why not?


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