Jury out on Byron's holiday hotline

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

BYRON Bay's holiday hotline trial has ended with conflicting views on the success of the attempt to curb holiday noise in residential areas.

Byron Tourism has released survey results taken during the three-month security hotline trial, where residents could call to dob in rowdy holidaymakers who would then face eviction from security guards if they didn't quieten down.

Out of 600 holiday rental prop- erties in Byron Bay, just two houses and two apartment blocks were causing most of the headaches for neighbours, says a report from Byron Tourism.

Grant Hawkins, chairman of Byron Tourism, said he was encouraged by the results showing only 14 per cent of 600 properties were causing the problems, and that the problems were being concentrated in two streets ? Alcorn and Lawson.

As well as the valuable statistics the trial provided, Mr Hawkins said the hotline had reduced the number of noise complaints police received.

"The police have indicated that for the trial period there was a reduction in the overall number of complaints compared with previous years," Mr Hawkins said.

Not so, according to Byron Bay police.

Insp Ian Fitzsimmons said the trial had not necessarily helped police, with noise complaints increasing last summer compared with the previous year.

"From November 2003 to February 2004 we received 126 noise complaints. This summer, from November 2004 to February 2005 we received 137 complaints," Insp Fitzsimmons said.

"Our figures certainly don't show a reduction in complaints. I don't know if the holiday hotline has actually helped residents."

Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said she would continue her push to regulate holiday lettings though a licensing system.



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