Guests’ friends are not invited

HOT air was plentiful, but no amount of it could elevate a proposal for two Seelands bed and breakfast operators to extend their ability to serve refreshments to their guests into the realm of consent.

More than two months ago the owners of Clarence River Bed and Breakfast, Terry Hill and Greg Alderson, attempted to modify a development consent to allow them to serve alcohol and their restaurant to serve food to guests of people staying at their establishment.

The consent granted in 2005 and updated in 2010 only allows paying and staying guests to dine at the restaurant, but the October application sought to remove an ambiguity in the description of a 'patron/guest' to 'patrons or a guest of a patron'.

Councillors and staff at Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting debated the issue at length, but eventually accepted the council staff's recommendation to refuse the proposal because the council does not have the legal authority to grant it.

Director environment, planning and development Des Schroder told the meeting the council could only be allowed modifications to development consents that were essentially similar to the original development.

He said the council's legal advice was this modification was outside its authority to grant.

Cr Andrew Baker made several attempts to clarify the description by asking if the definition of patron or guest matched the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing definition of a 'resident'.

But Mayor Richie Williamson would not allow the question because it did not allow staff adequate time to find an answer.

After an exchange with Mr Schroder and deputy mayor Craig Howe, Cr Baker changed tack and spoke against the motion.

He argued the council should defer making a decision on the proposal until it had clarified what he characterised a 'mis-description or ambiguity' in the description of a patron or guest.

"The legal advice the council has received does not mention 'clarification'," Cr Baker said. "We're not doing what we've been asked to do in the application by the applicants."

Cr Howe also spoke for the motion, saying the proposal was a radical change from the original consent.

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