My wife and I have operated a tourism micro-business on our property on the Barrington River outside Gloucester since 1999.
We built the house ourselves and, though we live in Newcastle, we spend a lot of time at Water Gums. The property was purpose-built as a tourism rental and it provides a large portion of our income now that we are retired.
Recently we were shocked to read in the council’s draft regional strategy the following words:
“MidCoast Council is proposing the following rules for tourist accommodation in rural zones: “By establishing clear and consistent planning framework that enables a diverse range of tourist and visitor accommodation, events and facilities, Council can also partner with communities and land owners to ensure tourist services and facilities are effectively managed for long-term sustainability. A key principle for this will be that in all rural and environmental zones, tourist and visitor accommodation, events and facilities will only be permitted where there is an existing dwelling on the site, that is occupied by managers of the facility or event. This ensures that any tourist and visitors unfamiliar with the area and property, can be provided with a great visitor experience during our peak seasons, and a safe visitor experience, even during our worst weather events.”
This amounts to a death sentence for our little business and the loss of the livelihood we have carefully planned for and created. There is no way we can live on-site and rent the property, and no way we can afford to hire a caretaker. We think it is totally unfair and completely unreasonable.
Sad to say, this is the second time the council has posed an existential threat to our business. The first time was when we discovered, purely by chance, that an extremely high-impact development proposal was about to be approved nearby, with no advice to us. Only last-minute action saved us. Now we discover, again purely by chance, that our livelihood is to be extinguished with the stroke of a pen. Our low-impact and demonstrably sustainable microbusiness will be destroyed, while high-impact facilities will be encouraged to become even more high impact.
Greg and Sylvia Ray