Support to curb Byron’s image

DESPITE Byron Bay’s reputation as a party town where alcohol fuels violence in the streets, some nightclubs have pushed to extend their trading hours to 4am.

But many in the business community would prefer to market the town’s beautiful and natural assets in order to bring back families and the cultured tourist.

This push for reduced access to booze follows a difficult week in the courts for Newrybar man Samuel Buultjens, who was involved in the death of Irish backpacker Colm Kenny two years ago.

Mr Buultjens’ mother Melinda spoke out against alcohol-fuelled violence at her son’s hearing, saying she would like to see nightclubs in Byron Bay close earlier.

While Byron United president Ed Ahern was careful not to talk about licensing, considering many of his members are involved in the liquor trade, he did promote the push for less emphasis on booze and more on Byron’s better attributes.

“To promote Byron as a party town is nonsense,” he said. “We want to promote the town for other reasons.

“We want families to come back and we want high yield, low impact visitors who are into music and art and poetry.”

Byron mayor Jan Barham backed calls for a reduction in nightclub trading hours.

“We have to question what benefit there is to the community (in keeping nightclubs open longer), except for individual businesses,” she said.

Cr Barham has written to the NSW Minister for Police and the Minister for Gaming and Racing asking them to look at a trial which would monitor reduced trading hours.

“Newcastle has completed a year-long trial and saw a 50 per cent reduction in crime,” she said.

Cr Barham said that the proposal had generated huge support from the Byron Bay community.

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