Proposal riles hotel operator

ALLOWING the Ramada Hotel's two penthouses to become permanent residences will be like having a "cancer in the building".

That's the view of the Ballina Booking Service, the business which operates the hotel.

BBS spokesman, Jordan Stotter, said they were furious with Ballina Shire Council's recommendation to approve the application.

The issue will be debated at tomorrow's council meeting.

"For the council to even entertain setting a precedent here is unbelievable," Mr Stotter said.

"Ratepayers need to demand better from their council."

The staff report to councillors acknowledges the application "does not comply" with certain requirements of the Development Control Plans or the Residential Flat Code.

But staff have recommended the application be approved, subject to various conditions.

"These units last year accounted for a total of 1600 visitor nights," the report states.

"It is considered that the loss of these units will have an overall minimal impact on the economy of the area."

The report also states the application, if approved, would contribute to the "diversity and availability of dwellings in the shire" and "add to the mixed development in the Ballina town centre".

But Mr Stotter said it was "unbelievable" that council was considering changing even one unit, and that it would set a precedent for the hotel's other units.

"It is the thin edge of the wedge," he said.

"For the council to think they will not receive another 50 applications from the same building alone is ridiculous," he said.

"This is the beginning of a cancer, not only in this building, but the entire tourism community."

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