Byron surf schools dumped
BYRON Bay surf school operators yesterday united to take a stand against Byron Shire Council's controversial surf school tendering process.
A group of surf school operators dropped in on Byron Shire Council's General Meeting to voice their discontent on the tendering process that has resulted in two of the area's most seasoned operators losing their licences.
Jayme Edwards from Byron Shire Surf School, who was one of the operators to have their licences revoked, said he couldn't understand how two coaches with extensive local experience could miss out in favour of operators with no local experience.
"By doing this they are disregarding local expertise," Mr Edwards said.
Mr Edwards labelled the tendering process as 'unfair' as it favoured tenders that offered more money over local knowledge and safety records.
"It appears this council, through its duplicitous and invented tender scoring system, lets itself be bought by the highest bidder."
Mr Edwards said by simply awarding licences to the highest bidder, the council would be putting lives at risk.
Acting general manager Ray Darney said Council had received six tenders for the operation of commercial activities on Byron Bay beaches.
"As per Council's policy, only four operators could be successfully awarded a five- year licence," Mr Darney said.
Mr Darney said the tender specifications, selection criteria and weighting evaluation where adopted by council at the end of last year prior to council calling for tender applications.
Mr Darney suggested that while tender applicants cannot appeal a decision, council would review the tender process which would be undertaken by an independent person.
Mr Edwards said he had received legal advice that suggested that the tender process may be illegal and would pursue all his legal options if his licence to operate was not renewed.