BEACHED: The three marquees set for the New Zealand Insurance Gala Dinner on Friday night near Clarks Beach at Byron Bayon. The largest Marquee measures 20x10metres.
BEACHED: The three marquees set for the New Zealand Insurance Gala Dinner on Friday night near Clarks Beach at Byron Bayon. The largest Marquee measures 20x10metres. Christian Morrow

Booze on beach concerns locals

BYRON Bay locals have expressed concern that a large private function serving alcohol will go ahead tonight on the beach front just south of Clarkes Beach.

Three marquees have been constructed to host a gala dinner for 150 New Zealand Insurance employees who have also booked out the Byron at Byron Resort.

Social media sites were alive with comment with many calling the event inappropriate and wondering if large events like these may become a regular occurrence.

Local community group last Drinks at 12 also expressed concern, writing to council asking,

"Can you please let us know the criteria for allowing private functions to be held on the beach, how often this might occur and the criteria used for lifting the alcohol prohibition?"

"We certainly trust that Council would not support private parties and the service of alcohol on the beach in Byron."

Event organiser Ben Kirkwood from the Beach Cafe Byron has defended the event saying the gala will pump between $300,000-$400,000 into the local economy at a quiet time of year.

"The event has provided economic benefit to around 20 local business and employment for around 50 locals," said Mr Kirkwood.

"This economic benefit will see some of these businesses through the next couple of months.

BEACHED: The three marquees set for the New Zealand Insurance Gala Dinner on Friday night near Clarks Beach at Byron Bayon. The largest Marquee measures 20x10metres.
BEACHED: The three marquees set for the New Zealand Insurance Gala Dinner on Friday night near Clarks Beach at Byron Bayon. The largest Marquee measures 20x10metres.

Mr Kirkwood would not be drawn on the fee charged by council but said it was in the thousands.

"We worked with Council over a period of six months to satisfy all of their requirements," he said.

"This event has the most stringent restrictions in terms of safety, security, environmental impact and noise.
Byron Council also issued a statement on their Facebook site saying,

"Council has issued a temporary license for a private function for this Friday night and includes lifting the no-alcohol ban for the dinner event.

It will only be an occasional activity to support Byron as a conference destination and Council will not allow this to become a regular occurrence.

The community can be assured that Council strongly supports the beach remaining primarily for public use and will ensure that it is not spoilt through function usage.

Fees received from the function will go back into the Crown Reserve and the improved maintenance of the iconic beachfront for everyone in the community."



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