Byron told to respect schoolies

AS BYRON Bay residents brace themselves for the annual schoolies onslaught, the co-ordinator of this year’s event has asked the community to show their young visitors some respect.

“If the community is aggressive towards schoolies then we’re going to cop it back,” schoolies hub co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said.

She agreed that schoolies were often the target of bad press and negative feelingsin the community, but said troublemakers were in the minority.

And the benefits of schoolies, including the financial boost it brought to the town and the ‘youthful vibrance’on the streets, were notalways recognised.

Ms Yazdi said many schoolies who came to Byron were looking for a ‘chilled out’ alternative to the Gold Coast, and were therefore not as interested in partying hard.

“They haven’t come here for that, because they know there’s nowhere for them to go,” she said.

But local resident Doug Luke, who lives next to rental accommodation used by schoolies, is unconvinced.

“We’re on a quiet edge of town and have had problems with schoolies in the past, kids shouting and swearing badly, even by my standards.”

He said he did not want to denigrate the efforts of people like Ms Yazdi, but said this approach was treating the symptoms rather than the cause.

Mr Luke does not believe the council should be spending $35,000 on facilitating schoolies and would like to see the whole thing put to a stop.

His main objection is to holiday letting to schoolies in residential areas, where many residents feel they have no choice but to put up with the noise and annoyance.

Letting to schoolies in residential areas was also unfair to schoolies as they were out of the main part of town.

The only answer to this was to cut off the supply of accommodation in these areas.

He disagreed that schoolies were good for tourism: “We’ve seen evidence in other places that having schoolies in town actually deters other tourists from coming.”

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