Byron Bay on the NSW north coast is not just an iconic holiday destination but a highly green one. It’s also a bit of a “canary”. If Byron can’t make good planning and a healthy environment stick, with its lush history of hippies and deep greens, then it’s going to be a lot harder for anyone else.
So it was instructive and maybe slightly unnerving to call in there (briefly) to chat with some locals and find that not all is well in Paradise. Lurking beneath the glamour and natural beauty are stories of the stifling by-products of success, left unchecked.
Former long term mayor of Byron Bay Jan Barham renowned for her feisty defence of the town’s inhabitants and its green agenda says Airbnb and its forebear homestays are a scourge, robbing the town of affordable accommodation and putting enormous pressure on services and development.