LIVING IT UP: During a previous schoolies week at Byron Bay.
LIVING IT UP: During a previous schoolies week at Byron Bay.

Schoolies are on their way

BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham is shaping up against the business community as the debate over Byron Bay schoolies reignites.

With schoolies week celebrations fast approaching Cr Barham has expressed alarm over the number of websites promoting schoolies accommodation in Byron Bay.

“I'm a bit disappointed none of them has included anything about respecting the town and the local environment,” she said.

“Accommodation providers are attracting a lot of people and charging big rents.

“The business community has got to face up to the fact their economic opportunity is impacting on the whole community, and they need to be more responsible.”

Last year's schoolies celebrations caused major headaches for the council which spent more than $13,000 cleaning up rubbish and broken bottles, mainly from the beaches.

Cr Barham said schoolies parties also disrupted local residents and it was time the business community chipped in.

But Holiday Letting Organisation president John Gudgeon said Cr Barham was 'stepping outside her rights' in commenting.

“This is normal commerce,” he said, referring to the accommodation websites.

He said the mayor's call for businesses to help pay for the impact of schoolies was 'an arrogant, draconian demand by someone who doesn't know the first thing about economics'.

Mr Gudgeon said the local business community was actively involved in managing schoolies issues, and Byron United had just last week convened a meeting of organisations including the police, security personnel, community groups, the liquor accord, youth service and hospital.

“We're aiming to come up with a complete community plan to minimise the impact and maximise the benefits of schoolies week.”

ARE SCHOOLIES WELCOME GUESTS TO THE REGION? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948


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