Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Plenty More Fish in the Sea

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Plenty More Fish in the Sea

Article excerpt

Byline: Sue Gardiner news@northernstar.com.au

BYRON Bay, we need to talk.

After years of defending you, it hurts to have to tell you that my heart's not in it anymore.

We've slowly drifted apart to the point that it's time we called it a day.

Oh, we'll still see each other from time to time, but the days of a few visits a week are history now.

I'd like to let you down gently by telling you that it's me that has changed, but the truth is it's you.

But I probably should have foreseen that the cracks in our relationship would inevitably end in tears.

After all, since the late 1990s I've stomached the Ewingsdale Rd traffic torture and the inflated prices and the often shabby appearance of your streets.

But until now I've brushed these off as the price of living in paradise.

I know what you're thinking, that it was the recent introduction of paid parking that finally pushed me over the edge.

Well it didn't help, of course.

But Byron Shire Council didn't have many options after grappling with the disparity between the impact of the Bay's visiting hordes and their injection of revenue for decades.

And that brings me to what is the true underlying cause of the breach in our relationship.

You see, Byron has reached a point where it is so overly reliant on a niche segment of a single industry that it's not even pretending to cater to the people who live in the area anymore.

I know there will be locals and outsiders alike who believe I'm unfashionably late to the party on this conclusion because Bay bashing has been a popular sport for years.

But I can pinpoint the moment when I reluctantly concluded that the hassles now out-weighed the town's attractions.

After an absence of several days, I recently discovered another couple of shops offering products and services useful to locals had been swallowed up by more retailers targeting tourists, including another backpacker booking agent on Lawson St. …

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