Byron's stand eroded
THE STATE Government wants Byron Shire Council to rethink its controversial stance on coastal erosion and the restriction of holiday letting, but mayor Jan Barham is refusing to back down.
In a letter leaked to The Northern Star, the NSW Department of Planning deputy director-general, Tom Gellibrand, has told the council the department would not support proposed coastal erosion controls.
He said the controls would include the demolition of beach-front properties threatened by the sea, as they 'remove new housing potential and further restrict opportunities for current land owners to reasonably use their land'.
Mr Gellibrand also warns against restricting holiday letting to certain precincts, saying it 'limits opportunities for low impact based tourism, and is likely to result in economic impacts for individuals and the local community'.
The letter suggests the 'current model of self-regulation management through the letting agents and land- owners as a means of minimising any impacts' be continued.
Byron Council has been working towards incorporating both policies into its new local environmental plan, but needs the approval of the department before it can progress the LEP through to certification.
Holiday Let Organisation Byron Incorporated president John Gudgeon said Mr Gellibrand's comments vindicated his group's stance, adding that the council had wasted 'a huge amount of time, money and resources on the holiday let policy to no avail'.
But mayor Jan Barham disagrees and says the department simply needs more information about why the policies are valid.
She said the letter presented an opportunity to open up a dialogue and she remained confident both polices would be included in the final LEP.
President of the Belongil Progress Association, Geoff Tauber, said the association was 'heartened' by the approach the State Government had taken, but disappointed by the mayor's response.
He warned that if the council continued to push ahead with its coastal erosion policy it could face millions of dollars in litigation from property owners.