Businesses who say they would be adversely impacted by Council’s proposal to cap holiday letting to 90 days have gone on the offensive by launching a PR campaign and the website www.byrondeservesbetter.com.
The website, which does not say who the spokesperson is, or who is funding it, claims the figures that underpin Council’s assumptions are wrong.
The website says it is ‘Authorised by the Australian Short Term Rental Association [ASTRA]’, which is based in Pacific Palms in NSW, just south of Forster.
According to the communications consultant who placed The Echo ad on page 9, funding of the group’s promotion comprise five local business people who provide quotes on the website.
‘There are many more members who are contributing,’ the representative said, including Colin Hussey (Perfect Stay) and former Council employee, Sarah Workman.
The business owners named on www.byrondeservesbetter.com are Ben Kirkwood, Beach Byron Bay, Grant Moffitt, Away at Byron Bay, Nick [No last name supplied], Pool Professionals, Che Devlin, Byron Bay Weddings & Fig Tree Restaurant and Norm Black, TripADeal.
They say ‘According to Tourism Research Australia, when you remove families who stay in holiday homes in Byron Shire, as will happen if the 90 day cap is imposed, Council will jeopardise 1,448 local jobs and remove $267 million from the local economy.
‘Think of all the small businesses impacted – restaurants, cafes, builders, retailers, gardeners, electricians, cleaners, handymen, garbage removal, pool maintenance, the list goes on!’
The Byron Chamber of Commerce have also raised similar concerns, citing the same Tourism Research Australia figures.
Despite the clear and well-documented pressure on housing for essential workers and the community over decades, which is largely a result of self-regulated holiday letting, no alternative solution is offered by the group.
Mayor, Michael Lyon, replied to the the claims made by byrondeservesbetter and said, ‘We are not promoting incorrect figures. We have included reports in the appendix going back three to four years, and since those reports were commissioned, there have of course been changes owing to covid, flood etc.
‘We are also aware that some hosts are registering as hosted when in fact they are unhosted’.
‘What needs to be understood clearly, is that this policy will make short-term letting more unattractive as an investment, relative to long-term letting.
Policy intended to work this way
‘That is why the industry is upset… because the policy will work as it is intended to, which is to shift the use of properties from short-term rentals to long-term rentals’.