A veteran Byron Shire Council watcher was dragged from the chambers at the conclusion of the morning session yesterday after calling ‘once too often’ for Cr Rose Wanchap to resign.
Byron Bay resident Jim Beatson had earlier been censured by mayor Simon Richardson for making similar calls during the session and was told he would be forcibly removed if he interrupted the meeting again.
So Mr Beatson watched the proceedings in silence until the meeting was declared adjourned, whereupon he took to his feet once again began shouting his demand of Cr Wanchap.
As councillors including the mayor looked on, a private security guard hired by council began to forcibly remove him from the chamber.
Cr Wanchap shouted back, ‘why is he allowed to shout this abuse at me and I’m not entitled to reply?’
Mr Beatson later told Echonetdaily he was shocked that the security guard had ejected him without the mayor specifically requesting it.
He has subsequently issued a statement about the incident to the media.
‘I spoke out loudly denouncing Rose Wanchap’s voting pattern on Byron Council. I called on her to resign and have a by-election since she now acts on opinions contrary to the platform on which she was elected,’ he stated.
‘Thousands of Byron voters elected her only because she was on the Greens ticket. Because of her reversal she now holds the balance of power. Simon Richardson may have been elected mayor, but in fact Rose’s vote determines council’s outcomes,’ he added.
‘Her total personal vote was 31 votes. She has turned our caring environmental community into a developers’ gold mine.
‘I am not prepared to sit silently while Rose destroys 14 consecutive years of hard won community achievements. I have worked diligently on some of these,’ Mr Beatson said in his statement.
A spokesperson for Byron Shire Council told Echonetdaily it was not the first time it had hired private security for a council meeting.
Mayor Simon Richardson was contacted for comment but did not return Echonetdaily’s calls ahead of publication.