Nine Byron restaurant owners told by council ?put up or shut up
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
NINE restaurant owners in Bay Lane, Byron Bay, have been asked by Byron Shire Council to defend their right to continue trading.
The restaurants in the laneway behind the Beach Hotel have been issued with letters from Byron Shire Council asking them to outline their case against suspected compliance breaches.
"Byron Shire Council has observed that the subject premises may not be complying with their relevant development consents and building approvals," the letters state.
The operators have until August 26 to respond and state their case.
The council claims many of the restaurants have approval to operate only as takeaways, not seated restaurants, while at least one may have no approvals in place at all.
If they were required to upgrade to an approved restaurant status it could cost each owner as much as $100,000 in council charges, Byron Shire Council planning director Ray Darney said.
The issue reached a head after Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham was contacted by several restaurant owners in Byron Bay demanding a level playing field and claiming the Bay Lane operators were undercutting their approved businesses.
"They have been competing with all the legitimate refreshment-room establishments and even causing some to go bankrupt," claimed one restaurant owner who asked to remain anonymous in a letter to the mayor.
Another restaurateur who claimed to represent a further eight Byron restaurants told The Northern Star the Bay Lane operators were: "Acting unlawfully and jeopardising legitimate businesses due to excess competition."