Byron?s big night faces legal threat
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
BYRON Bay New Year's Eve celebrations may face legal action from Bangalow's business leaders.
A development application for this year's family-focused New Year's Eve event is before the Byron Shire Council.
However, if approved, the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce has vowed to lodge a formal complaint with the NSW Minister for Local Government.
They are also considering reporting the council to the Independent Commission Against Corruption or applying for a Supreme Court injunction to stop the event.
The chamber has lodged an 85-page objection to the New Year's Eve plans with the council.
Chamber president Michael Molloy said their objection was based on claims the DA was invalid and the New Year's Eve Safety committee, of which mayor Jan Barham is a member, had not followed correct laws and procedures.
"All we want from this is for the council to learn they have to follow the same laws they insist everyone else follow," he said.
"For example, the crucial part of the DA was on exhibition for three days and the law says it should be on exhibition for 14 days."
Council's planning director Ray Darney said on Friday his staff were still wading through the objection to make sure they addressed all of the concerns that were raised.
In response to the short public exhibition period, Mr Darney said late changes to the DA meant it was held up.
He said a final decision on whether the DA could be approved or not would be made early this week.
"We've got to make sure we address each of the issues raised by the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce before the matter is determined either way," he said.
"My staff and council officers have been processing these DAs for the past five years, so they are quite well-experienced and able to do them very quickly."
Cr Barham said the committee had put a lot of effort into organising this year's event to appeal to local families instead of raucous party-goers. "Sometimes you have to step in, take a leap and try to steer events like these in a different direction," she said.
"It's not a commercial event, it's a community event. The reality is Byron Bay is an iconic New Year's Eve destination and we have a duty of care and responsibility to hold an event and do it safely."