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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

Security guard drags man from council meeting

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Photo Eve Jeffery
Photo Eve Jeffery

Chris Dobney

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.

Photo Eve Jeffery
Photo Eve Jeffery

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.

Photo Eve Jeffery
Photo Eve Jeffery

‘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.

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  1. I attended the council meeting yesterday (my first ever) and was myself warned by the security guard for engaging in a quiet chuckle with the stranger seated next to me at the back of the room. My mirth was as a result of Cr Woods asking what was obviously a leading question on the subject of Belongil rocks, something along the lines of “Was it true that the geo bags were slashed last week and their sand washed into the ocean, thereby intensively damaging the marine park?” Maybe I’m uninformed, but the thought of sand intensively damaging the ocean was new to me.
    Cr Rose Wanchap will surely not hold that title for long, and I am one of many novices to civil protest who have been provoked to action by her seemingly fraudulent behaviour. Byron Bay is to many of its inhabitants one of the last remnants of Eden, and a snake with forked tongue did by tradition cause much suffering. Councillors are elected to represent the residents, not their own business interests. From what I observed at the meeting, many elderly citizens and housewives are mobilising against the development faction.

  2. Well said Jim. I fully support your statements. Yesterday, an ordinary week day, I watched in amazement as
    the traffic crawled into Byron in the middle of the day from Ewingsdale and beyond. I wondered how it will be if another few thousand people are also trying to get into town. Its not a matter of the by-pass either.. its just that we don’t have the infrastructure to handle the traffic, so far as I can see.

  3. In ’70-’71 Jim was probably manning the barricades in anti-war demos and this baby boomer guard was probably the cop standing opposite him. Great stuff.

  4. Good on you Jim for speaking out. Cr Rose Wanchap should resign. Many of us voted for her because she was with the Greens and now her reversal and seemingly siding with developers is absurd that she could continue being a councillor without a by- election.

  5. Who arranged for the security guards at Council? They are not usually there. Were the councillors afraid the people might attack them? Or was it because they thought Rose might slap someone? Wanchap, Woods Hunter, Cubis and Ibrahim should be afraid — for their future as councillors.

    Rose should put us out of our misery and resign now before Byron Bay is ruined forever – we will not let her forget it.

  6. Go Jim Beatson , a man of principle unlike Ms Wanchap for whom I also voted We must have a by-election to clarify the murky and divisive political situation we have now. The financial cost will be minimal compared to the loss of amenity that Byron Bay will suffer if Ms Wanchap is allowed to continue betraying her supporters with her voting pattern..

  7. The alarm bells are ringing, there is an obvious conflict of interest and Rose Wanchap should resign. It would be the only honourable thing to do. She does not represent the people as she was booed and heckled by most of the council meeting public attendees. I’m sure she is hanging in there for as long as she can to make the most buck out of it.
    Jim has a right to be angry, Rose should resign! Our Byron Shire is under threat by Rose a fake Green elected councillor. She does have the balance of power to ruin everything and create more traffic. Her business is REAL ESTATE. No doubt she will keep representing her own interests. Diane Woods was the go between at this meeting whispering from developers mouth to Rose’s ear. Who knows what they are planning.
    Everytime the traffic is banked up in gridlock and you are waiting to get to the doctors, bank , post office, beach, work or school etc etc. remember it is Rose who wants to make this place more like Nerang on the Gold coast. At the anti Club Med rally back in the day we had 5,000 people there and it was stopped. The controversial West Byron and Ewingsdale Mega-developments are much bigger. Its actually CLUB MED ON STEROIDS. We are overwhelmed by developers dreams. The develops are here people and they have pro-development council assisting them. I wonder where all the people are who care about the Belongil – West Byron and the effect this will ultimately have on our Marine Park and Byron Shire. In times of danger head to hills. Oh! but wait they want to change Rural Landscape LEP RU2 into concrete jungles, high density unaffordable housing. 94% of Ewingsdale Residents do not want this mega development, masses of double storey rows of town houses along Mcgettigans Lane. You can see the developers concept plans for lot 101 on facebook page “Save Ewingsdale Village” We need a by-election to sort council out!

  8. If I had a friend who asked me to help them get elected and they told me they loved the natural environment like me (and Bob Brown,) and I helped them and then they voted against those same values and nearly all that I care about, I would feel horrified, sad, cheated, frustrated and responsible(and more). I would probably explode more than Jim Beatson.

    Rose Wachap [should] ask for a by election, only then can she clear her name and see if the public want her on her own merit. Those who hold her there do so for their own ends and don’t give one toss about her or what they are doing to her and this town too. Why does she hold the power that is not rightly hers but for a fear that she would not win on her own merit. In which case she should not be there.


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