PLANS for a topless bar in Byron Bay have hit a major hurdle with the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority announcing it would not approve the bar's licence transfer until a community impact statement had been assessed.
The new Bay at Byron, located in Fletcher St in premises previously operating as La Playa Tapas Bar, caused controversy when plans for topless female staff were revealed
Authority chief executive Micheil Brodie said the body had decided an impact statement was appropriate in light of community debate about the application to transfer the La Playa Tapas bar licence to the Bay at Byron.
"Under the liquor laws, the authority must not grant a licence, authorisation or approval unless it is satisfied, having regard to the community impact statement and any other matter it is made aware of, that the overall social impact will not be detrimental to the well-being of the local or broader community," Mr Brodie said.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson welcomed the authority's decision, saying he would put forward an urgency motion at today's ordinary meeting asking the council to make a submission to the authority that the bar was not in the public interest.
Cr Richardson has said topless bars, like jelly wrestling or wet t-shirt competitions, are demeaning to women and lower the town's reputation.
A potential link between the topless bar and outlawed motorcycle gangs was also raised at yesterday's Byron Bay Liquor Accord meeting, said Senior Constable Grant Seddon, licensing officer with Tweed/Byron Local Area Command.