Booze plans in La La Land
BYRON Bay could become a 24-hour party town if a nightclub succeeds in its bid to extend trading hours until 4am.
The town's other businesses and community leaders are overwhelmingly opposed to La La Land's application before the NSW Casino, Liquor & Gaming Control Authority amid fears it will have a snowball effect and force other clubs to extend their hours in order to remain competitive.
“Everyone's going to go, well I need to get it too,” Byron Liquor Accord chairwoman and Cheeky Monkey proprietor Monique Phillips said.
And if they didn't, then the streets would fill with people just before the town's voluntary 2am curfew, rushing to get to Lawson Street's La La Land where they could stay later, she said.
“There'll be street issues. Other bars will empty out to get to La La Land,” she said.
Local police would have to deal with the fallout.
“These resources (police) are not ours to use. They belong to the community,” Ms Phillips said.
Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham agreed.
“I think there'd be problems for police who are already pressured under the existing conditions in Byron,” she said.
Cr Barham said there should be a new debate about whether the existing closing time for clubs should be put back to 1am.
But there are also concerns longer opening hours would alter the popular tourist town's image and culture.
“For the community, it's a case of why would we want to have even more risk associated with commercial operations in Byron?” Ms Barham said.
“Any focus on being a party town could endanger our attraction to a wide range of people.”
Ms Barham was also worried local accommodation providers could be short-changed as early morning revellers could be inclined to sleep in their cars or on the beach, rather than book a motel room.
Byron United president Ed Ahearn said La La Land's proposal was not in the town's interests.
“We're trying to get a community that's not based on a party image, for one,” he said.
“We want to be a sunny, day-time, health and wellbeing destination.”
La La Land's application, dated June 15, states local police already oppose the plan.
“The police have indicated that they object to the application, how- ever have not detailed the basis of the objection,” the application says.
La La Land last night was preparing a response to questions.
The Byron Liquor Accord will meet to discuss the application on Tuesday night.
Submissions are open until July 17.