Let tourists in
By BELINDA SCOTT
BEACHSIDE holiday houses are under attack as coastal councils look at options to limit holiday rentals.
Byron Bay Council has indicated it is preparing to ban property owners in residential areas from leasing their houses next summer.
Byron mayor Cr Jan Barham said she was challenging holiday home rental because it had become so commercial it was having a negative impact on the community and putting at risk the town's legitimate tourism industry.
Next month she is planning to push for compliance letters to be sent to the agents of all property owners known to be using homes for holiday letting, asking them to stop or face fines of up to $1500.
Six coastal councils are also look-ing to impose limits on investors who buy houses and then let them for weekends or short breaks.
But Coffs Harbour City Council is among a group of councils taking the opposite view, saying such action would affect local economies and be impossible to police.
Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said Coffs Harbour City Council had never considered such a plan.
"From what I've heard, Byron Bay (Council) is trying to shut Byron Bay up for the locals and keep visitors out," he said,
"There should be freedom of the individual to do what that individual wants to do.
"How would it be governed. How would you police it?"
Coffs Harbour real estate agent Damien Campbell said he could see the scheme going nowhere and it would be very vexatious. He also would love to know how the councils proposed to police such a rule.
"How can they suddenly start limiting it after thousands of people have bought houses. There would be a lot of anomalies you would have to get past."
The manager of the Coffs Harbour Visitor Information Centre, Brian Bowers, said holiday house rentals could become a problem for the industry if there were many of them, but in Coffs Harbour the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) handled relatively few. He said there had been no complaints from neighbours in the last three years.
The moves by councils come as the Federal Government has announced it wants a greater say in the control of coastal development.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell says he wants the Commonwealth, State and local government to draw up joint 30-year plans for coastal development to stop the Australian coast dying 'the death of a thousands cuts' from unbridled development and short-term planning by local and State governments.