Mayor raises concerns over DA

A development application for a massive liquor store under the Dendy Cinemas at Byron Bay has not set the champagne corks popping for Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham.

She questioned whether the town needed another liquor outlet and raised concerns about its proximity to the cinemas, which attracted a lot of young people.

While the application was lodged before Christmas by the Gold Coast-based construction company, Azzura Holdings Pty Ltd, which owns the property, it is believed the tenant is likely to be the Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy’s.

At the time of going to print, the Byron Shire News was still waiting for confirmation from Woolworths.

The application lodged with the council seeks a $650,000 conversion of most of the retail space on the southern border of the plaza complex from the Jonson Street frontage, including the big space once occupied by a video shop, into a 1090 square metre liquor store.

Cr Barham said from a community safety aspect, the proximity of the planned liquor store to the cinemas was ‘inappropriate’.

She said it needed to be defined whether a liquor outlet could be approved in that area.

“There will be a lot of concern about its impact in an area that is an attractor for young people,” she said.

“I would say the location would not be a good one, and then there’s the question of whether Byron needs another bottle shop.

“You have to wonder.”

The application also has attracted a quick response from Darren Pearson, the general manager of The Cellar, which has two liquor outlets in the town.

Mr Pearson, who said the floor plan for the Byron Bay application almost matched an application for a Dan Murphy’s outlet at Ballina, said he had no problems with one of the supermarket giants wanting to put a liquor shop in the town, but he did have a problem with the ‘massive’ size of the planned outlet in the plaza.

“We think it’s completely out of character,” he said.

By way of comparison, Mr Pearson said, The Cellar store on the northern side of the plaza was 100 square metres and the Woolworths supermarket was 2000 square metres.

He said the planned liquor store would replace seven small shops with one ‘superstore’.

The opening of a ‘super’ liquor store at Byron Bay could see jobs lost at the existing six liquor outlets, he said.

The new store would almost certainly launch a heavily discounted ‘predatory’ pricing campaign which could force businesses to close.

Cr Barham said the development application would go before the full council for determination.

But she said the council had no role in relation to commercial issues.

“The only thing we can look at are planning issues,” Cr Barham said.

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