RED TAPE: Bangalow Heritage House Museum volunteer Wendy Grissell is upset the tearoom has been closed down.
RED TAPE: Bangalow Heritage House Museum volunteer Wendy Grissell is upset the tearoom has been closed down.

Storm in a teacup

SERVING up some tea and cakes has landed the Bangalow Historical Society in hot water with Byron Shire Council. Wendy Grissell and other volunteers with the society began serving light meals in July as a way of fundraising and attracting more people to their exhibitions at Heritage House Museum in Bangalow.

The tearoom operated on Saturdays and Sundays, and according to treasurer Vivienne Gorec increased their income from $40 a month to about $150.

“We were putting on exhibitions and it was costing money to do it,” she said.

“This was a way we could attract more people to the museum and raise some money too.”

But someone in the region has decided to be a grinch. Byron Shire Council received a complaint about the tearoom operating without a development application and has shut it down.

According to John Rushforth, team leader of environmental services at Byron Shire Council, two complaints have been made by the same person, someone who doesn’t even live in Bangalow, and council was obliged to investigate.

“They need to operate the kitchen in accordance with the development consent conditions and comply with the food standards code,” he said.

Mr Rushforth said the cost of lodging a DA started at $220 and went up from there. “There have been no fines or punitive action, and we have given advice to the historical society and would like to see it resolved,” he said.

Wendy Grissell said they knew they would have to put a DA in ‘somewhere down the track’, but wanted to test the waters and see if it was viable first.

“We are all volunteers. It’s not like this is a major business venture for anyone,” she said.

“We’ve worked so hard.”The tearoom will be closed until the historical society is able to lodge a DA and have it approved, but the museum will remain open. A special Anzac Day exhibition opens on April 12.



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