1 Candidate details
Council: Byron Shire
Town/city: Resident of Main Arm
Number of years in shire: I have lived here 18 years
Current councillor? No
If yes, how many years?: 2 years 2002–2004
Clubs/sports/interests: Richmond River Sailing & Rowing Club (Ballina), dinghy sailing, friendly tennis, environment, people, society and cultures, motorcycling, canoeing.
Are you a member of a political party or an organised ticket? Yes
If yes, which party or who else is on your ticket?: The Greens
Brief description: Civil Engineer specialised in Hydrology; grandparent; environmental campaigner; proud of Greens principles; lived in Africa, Europe, Asia; enjoy representing and want community involved in getting the best out of BSC.
2 What has motivated you to stand?
I don’t have the skills to be a rock star but I do for councillor. I wasn’t able to continue on council at the end of my term in 2004 but my life now has room for me to do so. I believe in the fundamental objectives of The Greens – to promote social, economic and political change in accordance with four principles: (i) ecological sustainability, (ii) social equity and economic justice, (iii) grassroots democracy, and (iv) peace, disarmament and non-violence. On council, I want to represent people who share those objectives. That way they become the paradigm and not some lesser set of values.
3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA?
My vision of the shire is simple and I hope represents that of most residents and landholders. Byron is a part of a bigger world but with special values that should be preserved. Those values include its people, groups, culture, community networks and environment. We can share all that but without getting swamped and without being homogenised like so much of our host nation.
4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment?
Yes, it’s a balance. Supply and demand are key factors. Here in Oz high demand leads to high land values and pressure on the delightful and creative alternative folk who don’t base their lives on wealth. Housing supply lowers prices but also lowers quality of life, and can cost the environment dearly when development is poorly located or poorly constructed. I think we need a radical rethink. Urban expansion is not the answer – it taxes the environment but hides the information. I’d like to see rural housing limits relaxed and lifestyles promoted that allow people to reduce their ecological footprint.
5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about?
The community has basic expectations of its council and these should be addressed, even if it means explaining what can’t be done. I want the community through its councillors to get on top of major controls such as council’s budget and management plan. I want us to set the council machine fewer, clearer and more easily monitored tasks and then review the results. As per my letter to The Echo of 31 July, we Greens want to employ a different type of general manager this time round. I’d like the GM contracted on a shorter term and not selected from the local government pool of what used to be called ‘public servants’.
I want council to get the long-awaited LEP done and have it respect our shire’s biodiversity plus all of life. I would like us to sort out the beachfront so that real estate doesn’t have priority over the beach itself. Likewise, rental profits shouldn’t happen at the cost of residents getting a good night’s sleep. I’d like to see better value in our road patching and less erosion of unsealed roads, public and private. I support music and its creators but don’t agree with mega-festivals being tied to real estate interests. Behaviour in downtown Byron should make it a delight for all comers at all hours – council does have a role. The Newcastle approach is reported to have been effective. Let’s do the same here or better.