Cost of schoolies: Byron seeks to share the load

Love 'em or hate 'em, Schoolies are not going away.

Each year, the number of Schoolies coming to Byron Bay to let their hair down is growing - and it seems those numbers will just continue to grow.

While the town's pubs and clubs, accommodation outlets and Woolies are the big financial winners, there is a cost to the community in cleaning up rubbish from beaches, parks and streets.

And, of course, there is a major impact on the lives of families who may be unfortunate enough to live next door to a house let out to partying Schoolies.

Last year the Schoolies' clean-up cost Byron Council $13,674, which came from the parks maintenance budget and for which the council says there was no budget.

Which is why it is looking at 'cost-sharing opportunities' with those who benefit most from the influx of Schoolies, and also taking on management of the 'event'.

A report to today's scheduled strategic planning committee meeting said that while there was no specific organiser of Schoolies Week at Byron Bay, the council had a duty of care to maintain areas under its control.

It said there was a high level of public expectation that the council would take a leading role in managing the issue.

The report said it was common for large groups of partying Schoolies to gather on Main Beach and in Apex Park late at night, or early in the morning, with the widespread use of glass containers creating public safety issues.

It said there were numerous complaints about glass on beaches and there were cases of people suffering cuts.

The council had to do the bulk of the clean-up work with no financial help from 'those that obtain the financial returns'.

The report recommends the council establish an inter-agency and community focus group to develop policies to manage Schoolies Week and explore cost-sharing opportunities.

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