Byron Shire Council Governance Manager Ralph James.
Byron Shire Council Governance Manager Ralph James. Jay Cronan

Holiday lets facing court ‘test

WITH the busy summer holiday season just around the corner, the long-running holiday- letting wrangle is set to heat up again, with Byron Shire Council pushing ahead with a "test" case in the Land and Environment Court.

The case, based on the definition of a "tourist facility" and the wider issue of holiday letting, was initiated by the council against a Byron Shire property owner and is due to be mentioned in court tomorrow.

Ralph James, the council's governance manager, said it was considered the best approach for the council to "test" the issue of holiday letting with a single court case.

"This would result in a precedent one way or the other," Mr James said.

While it is unknown how long it may take to reach a conclusion on this case, once it is completed, the council will consider taking action against other known properties that do not have consent to operate as a tourist facility.

The council believes holiday letting is a tourist and business operation in a residential zone, a stance strongly opposed by the Holiday Letting Organisation (HLO), which represents holiday-let operators.

Mayor Simon Richardson said the council, along with other councils in similar positions, needed legal clarity on the issue.

Cr Richardson said he wasn't aiming to get rid of holiday lets, but it needed to be properly managed.

"We are not foolish enough to think it's not a crucial part of our tourism infrastructure," he said. "But we need to manage it in such a way that it doesn't destroy our suburbs.

"I'm still getting calls on a weekly basis or meeting people whose lives are hell."

Noisy neighbours

THE Suffolk Park Progress Association has issued an information sheet suggesting ways to deal with offensive noise from neighbouring holiday lets.

For details on where to get the information sheet email the association.



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