The notice outside Scinagro on its looming closure.
The notice outside Scinagro on its looming closure.

Restaurant the 'victim' of riverside suite dispute

IAN Paxton will shut the doors of his Ballina restaurant at the end of this month, placing the blame for about $180,000 in losses on the number of permanent residents being allowed to live in apartments above his business.

It comes as Ballina Shire Council assesses a development application to change the residential use of the Riverside Suites from tourist accommodation to also allow for permanent residency, after some permanent residents were found to be living in the building without proper consent.

Mr Paxton said his Scinagro restaurant was 'the first casualty' of permanent residents being allowed to live in the apartments, saying his turnover was down 70 per cent and he had been forced to get rid of six staff members because 'permanent residents don't use the facilities downstairs'.

He has engaged a solicitor to look into the matter, as well as seek financial compensation for the losses he claims his business has suffered as a result of losing trade from Riverside Suites' potential tourist occupants.

“For the past three years we've woken up every morning, business getting harder, and we wonder how we are going to pay the wages and the rent this month,” Mr Paxton said.

“We chose to come here because it was at a tourist facility and we could have in-house guests and room service, but as the permanent residents increased, our turnover started to decrease and so did our staff numbers.

“It is a massive disappointment that it has come to this.”

Mr Paxton said all the documentation he had seen showed permanent residents were not allowed under the original consent.

Council's strategic services group manager, Rod Willis, said while the facility was originally approved as a tourist facility, it also allowed for some element of permanent residency. How- ever, the issue was that it was never set down how many or which suites were allowed for permanent residents.

Mr Willis said staff were assessing a development application which sought approval to change the consent of the building to allow for permanent residents, as well as tourist accommodation.

“Council has not done anything that would have changed what happens day-to-day down there,” he said.



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