PUB PLAN HAS THE LOCALS FROTHING
By CRAIG McTEAR
MERILYN Horton says she doesn't want Woolgoolga to become 'another Byron Bay'.
The Woolgoolga resident is campaigning against a hotel proposed for Beach Street on the Ocean Beach Motel site, across the road from the Woolgoolga Beach Caravan Park and reserve.
"Woolgoolga is being smothered by too much development," Mrs Horton said at the site yesterday.
"Also, we have a problem with drunks here. They abuse the tourists at the beach reserve.
"And it is inappropriate to have a pub across the road from an alcohol free zone, especially with plans for a town green."
She said Woolgoolga didn't need more liquor outlets, with up to nine already on the Northern Beaches, while parking in Beach Street was already at a premium.
Hotelier Ben Kelsall, from Safety Beach, is the man in the firing line ? he's applied for a liquor licence governing the planned Beach Hotel.
The application describes the proposal as 'an upmarket, boutique-style hotel catering for the 35-plus (age group) locals who are seeking a more sophisticated and quieter establishment than is currently available in Woolgoolga'.
The building would have four levels: an underground car park; a licensed area with a lounge, bar and restaurant, with ocean views; and two levels of ac-commodation on top, consisting of 10 serviced apartments.
The complex would employ up to 30 staff, and the proposed opening hours are 7am to 12am Monday to Sunday to include breakfast. No alcohol will be served until 10am.
The Liquor Administration Board is assessing the application, and Mr Kelsall has not yet lodged a development application with Coffs Harbour City Council.
He refused to comment yesterday.
Owen McCosker, from Nana Glen, said he moved to the area 18 months ago, and he'd found Woolgoolga a 'laid-back and quiet family place'.
"I'm not anti-pub, but I don't think this (site) is the place for it (a hotel)," he said."
"Development is good within reason, but does Woolgoolga need another liquor outlet?"
Woolgoolga caterer John Arkan said he was not against 'another nice, stylish establishment' for the town.
"However, there will be a negative social impact having alcohol across from a children's area and alcohol-free zone," he said.
Woolgoolga Chamber of Commerce president, Steve Moody, said the chamber was studying the proposal and had not yet reached a position.
"There are benefits, and some concerns," he said.
The chamber has called a meeting of local business owners and the community to air their views.
It will be held on Wednesday at 6pm at the Visitor Information Centre in Boundary Street.