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Byron Shire
June 17, 2021

Paul Spooner – Byron candidate

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1 Candidate details

Paul Spooner

Council: Byron Shire

Town/city: Byron Bay

Number of years in shire/LGA: 10 years

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: Surfing, kayaking, music, reading, writing and films. Member of Byron Bay Community Association and a Bay-FM subscriber.

Are you a member of a political party or an organised ‘ticket’?

Yes, Community Independents

Brief description:

A graduate of economics, politics and sociology who has managed community, cultural, legal and youth organisations. In 2008 Paul instigated the Byron Social Forum. Currently, general manager of Byron Community Centre.


2 What has motivated you to stand?

I am passionate about keeping it real in local politics. I believe it is time for the elected councillors to work collaboratively with residents to achieve the outcomes our shire deserves. I want to ensure we live in the best community in the world. I believe I have the necessary skills and experience to guarantee the next elected council provides responsible, ethical, accountable leadership for the whole community.


3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA?

Byron Shire to be known as the best community in the world. By developing strong collaborations between council, residents, business and community groups we will create an inclusive community serving the needs and wishes of residents through the adoption of community values, the encouragement of cultural activities, support for our local economy and guaranteeing environmental sensitivity in all that we do.


4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment?

We need to ensure housing options within the shire are appropriate for the future needs of our changing population and environmental constraints. Priority should be given to encouraging greater housing densities within close proximity to local facilities and services. Sustainable and low-energy housing developments should be seen as a signature for the shire to be encouraged and supported by council. At the same time affordable housing should be established as a priority to ensure local residents can afford to rent or buy locally and are not forced out of the shire from economic pressures. To this end council should work more closely with community housing organisations to guarantee all avenues and strategies for funding or investments in affordable housing are actively pursued.


5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about?

a. Creating people-friendly towns through better traffic management, the adoption of inclusive public space designs that encourage community activities, safety, and the opportunity for the expression of diverse public art forms.

b. A festivals policy that supports creative expression and celebrations while ensuring direct benefits flow to all sections of the community and the local environment.

c. Better management of public facilities including roads, bikeways, council buildings, and waste-disposal services.

d. Support for local economic initiatives that promote local markets, small business, and positive youth employment strategies.

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