Tourism woes go national
By JANN BURMESTER
Byron Bay residents fed up with the 'hooligan' behaviour of tourists in the town have taken their campaign to a national level.
Byron Residents Against Community Erosion (BRACE) has spoken out about the problems the town faces in peak holiday periods on Channel 9's Today Show last Thursday.
Spokesperson for the group Sonya Wright was interviewed by the show's co-host Steve Liebmann.
Ms Wright stressed the fact the group was not against tourists.
"What we are against is the type of tourists this town is attracting and the way many of them are behaving," she said.
"Byron Bay is such an expensive place to visit now that families can longer afford to come here.
"So what you get is large groups of young people, some times as many as 10, are renting holiday houses, splitting the rent, and the result is chaos.
"They have no respect for neighbours.
"They drink and party all night, they have their stereos full bore and they are hooligans."
BRACE now intends to publish a 'survival' guide for residents detailing the steps that can be taken by people who are having problems with anti-social behaviour.
The group also wants to survey residents on the impact that tourists have on their lives.
Ms Wright said the use of residential premises for tourist accommodation was illegal.
"It clearly states in the local environment plan that 'tourist facilities in a 2A residential zone are prohibited,'" she said.
"We want this law enforced. We will lobby the State Government and the Byron Shire Council. We are not going to give up and it's got to the stage where people will have to dob in their neighbour."
One long-time Byron Bay local who would like to dob in his neighbours said he had experienced the 'worst' New Year ever.
The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, lives on a permanent site at the Byron Bay Tourist Park.
He said he had had things stolen from his caravan and someone had even smeared 'shit' all over his car.
The resident said he had complained to the people involved, to the park management and the police.
"The police say they can't do anything which is really frustrating," he said.
"I don't blame the park manager.
"He tries his best butthe revellers in question had been drinking all day and all night and the filth they left behind was unbelievable.
"I have lived in Byron Bay for 40 years and have been living on the caravan park for six and this was the worst New Year's ever.