Byron’s chamber of commerce has reacted positively to news that the council plans to hold quarterly informal meetings between Byron Shire Councillors, staff and business and community members
A motion supporting the meetings got the green light at last week’s council meeting.
Byron United (chamber) president Paul Waters told Echonetdaily, ‘This is a welcome development and in line with my effort to communicate and work better with Councillors and staff. I would hope that this doesn’t turn into another talk fest and we can actually see some positive action taking place with some of the key concerns of the chamber of commerce that have already been outlined and discussed such as traffic, parking, cleanliness and presentation of the town, graffiti removal etc.
‘Then of course there are the more recent topics such as branding and marketing campaigns, the community market policy and the formation of an LTO (Local Tourism Organisation) that would handle a lot of the current work that BU does.
‘That may include the Byron Naturally marketing campaign and helping run the new year’s eve festivities.’
The Byron Shire Business Roundtable proposal was put forward by Cr Simon Richardson and Mayor Jan Barham and was passed with all in favour except Cr Tom Tabart.
Cr Richardson told the chamber it would be an informal meeting that would provide an opportunity for business and community members to mingle with Council staff and Councillors.
‘It was a request from the Byron chamber of commerce (Byron United) and Council’s general manager. It’s to build bridges and would not be an impost.’ During discussion, Cr Ross Tucker was cautious, saying such a roundtable had been tried before but didn’t last. ‘People would come with a bee in their bonnet.’
He claimed staff could potentially be accused of inactions and then eventually the GM would be blamed.
Cr Tucker regaled a story when a former business owner used the platform to air his grievances and then became a councillor and endured the same treatment.
Cr Diane Woods sought to find the humour in such an encounter. ‘I think it would be funny,’ she said. ‘The numbers that would turn up would be dependent on the issues at hand… It’s good to have a go.’
Cr Tom Tabart kept his response short and to the point: ‘I am against it. It is the triumph of hope over experience.’
The Mayor, however, was more positive and pointed to recent public meetings. ‘It’s not about being liked, it’s about listening to our community. We’re in this together and it would serve us well.’