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December 9, 2021

Ballina Council B Ward candidate profiles

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These candidate profiles are written by the candidates themselves and are provided here as a service to our readers. They have not been vetted or fact-checked by Echonetdaily editorial staff.

Note, the profiles are not posted according to the AEC’s draw but based on when we received them (top to bottom). All candidates were contacted simultaneously, except those for whom the AEC did not have contact details.

Ballina Council B Ward Greens candidate Nathan Cooper. Photo contributed
Ballina Council B Ward Greens candidate Nathan Cooper. Photo contributed

Nathan Cooper

Number of years in shire/LGA: 7

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: Ballina Greens, Lismore Community Solar, Bangalow Gym, permaculture, creative writing, bush regeneration, sustainable living, solar and health technology, philosophy.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  Yes. The Greens.

Brief description: Ballina Greens is a fun and active group supporting progressive candidates in all levels of government. We work effectively with all stakeholders on local issues. We have a presence at all local markets all year to ensure our community consultation is second to none.

2 What has motivated you to stand? Ballina needs to flip from old school to progressive. Successive lacklustre councillors have missed many opportunities for Ballina and failed to listen to the community effectively. Ballina needs councillors who reflect the progressive and engaged nature of it’s constituents. As a dad and caring citizen I’m standing with the Greens apparatus behind me to make this happen.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? Solar on steroids and serious habitat repair in rural areas get me excited.

Ballina needs to adopt tried and tested innovation to provide market driven habitat repair, truly affordable quality housing, 100% renewable energy and jobs growth. I want to see Ballina in healthy competition with Byron for lifestyle and tourist attraction along with a pretty financial balance sheet so we are not at the behest of the state government.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? We can achieve both with innovation. Our areas have mandated population increases we have to absorb. I have a plan for appropriate rural dual occupancy to provide dwellings that reflect the growing diversity of our region in exchange for enhancements to the natural environment. The result will be large scale ecosystem repair at no expense to the taxpayer, a jobs boom and affordable housing. This is already happening in other areas and is a no brainer for a progressive council.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? Climate change and habitat loss break my heart. All other issues will seem insignificant if we don’t address climate change seriously. It upsets and motivates me to action knowing we have the technology to address this now yet many with the privilege of power are apathetic or actively working against the common good. These types shouldn’t be representing us.

6 What is your/your groups policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballinas beaches? After the most recent cock ups observation is the only pragmatic approach at this stage. This includes the use of drones, towers, planes, helicopters, phone apps and lifesavers to monitor and warn. It’s an on going and evolving issue so stakeholders need to be flexible as new information comes to light.

Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson.
Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson. Photo contributed

Jeff Johnson

Council: Ballina Shire Council

Number of years in shire/LGA: 15

Current councillor? Yes, 8 years

Clubs: Lennox Surf Club volunteer Surf Lifesaver,

Sports: Squash, surfing, diving

Interests: natures beauty, music, gardening, reading, bush walking

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  No

2 What has motivated you to stand? My desire to progress environmental and social policy in the Ballina Shire and the Northern Rivers in general. To change the culture of Ballina Shire Council to one that is more open and transparent, has greater community engagement, a focus on the lifestyle and amenity of local residents, to contribute to building a more connected and resilient community.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? A community that is inspired, connected, active and engaged. Where our political debate is both civilised and respectful. Where powerful interest groups and developers have no more access to Councillors and Council resources than community groups and well-meaning individuals. Where economic development is encouraged but occurs in a way that contributes towards the above.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? Unfortunately, when Council tries to ensure major developments pay a fair share of contributions or provides adequate community infrastructure our pro-development State Government calls the planning proposals in and the community gets an even worse outcome. Our political system doesn’t treat everyone fairly nor does it look after the best interests of our community.

For a start, the environmental zones that were endorsed by Ballina Shire Council 4 years ago could be supported by the State Government. Planning decisions and rezoning matters should be returned to local government.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? The construction of a Ballina Ocean Pool, open and accountable local government, less waste on consultants, improved community facilities and public spaces that enhance the lifestyle and opportunities of existing residents. Supporting small businesses who bring skills, knowledge and jobs to our region while at the same time hopefully enhancing our sense of community and not degrading our already degraded environment.

6 What is your policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? I’m in favour of the Council or Government subsidising personal protection devices such as the ‘shark shields’ so that our surfers feel safer no matter where they are surfing. I support the construction of a large Ocean Pool on the rock shelf between Shelly and Lighthouse Beaches so provide a safe ocean swimming experience for our community and the many tourists/visitors who will come to Ballina as a result.

I support more research into technologies that can deter sharks from interacting/attacking surfers and swimmers.


Ballina Council mayoral and B Ward candidate Keith Williams. Photo supplied
Ballina Council mayoral and B Ward candidate Keith Williams. Photo supplied

Keith Williams

Number of years in Ballina Shire: 9

Current councillor? Yes
If yes, how many years?: 4

Clubs/sports/interests: Vice-President, Australian Seabird Rescue; Founding Committee Member, Shark Watch NSW; Member, Richmond River Chapter, OzFish Unlimited; Member, Australian Association of Bush Regenerators; Member, Tintenbar Up Front.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?   I am leading the Balance for Ballina team of independents, as candidate for Mayor and Ward B, standing with Nathan Willis in A Ward and Ron Birch and Vanessa Barrett in C Ward.

1 Brief description: Balance is committed to supporting and listening to our community, growing our economy and protecting our environment. To get the balance right.

2 What has motivated you to stand?

When I first stood 4 years ago, it was the deteriorating state of the water in North Creek, that I was pumping up for the turtle hospital at Seabird Rescue, that got me going. Today it’s about restoring the health of the whole Richmond River system.

3 What is your vision for the shire? To be the best place in the world to raise a family. We’re already pretty close, but we need a stronger economy to ensure there are enough jobs to enable families to stay, to be able to afford houses to live in and to enjoy the natural wonders that are around us.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? North Coast Councils have been severely hampered by the abolition of all environmental zones from our Local Environment Plans by the State Government. Changes to Biodiversity legislation are likely to make matters worse. We will need to strengthen Development Control Plans to ensure effective environmental protections remain in place, especially in areas such as the Alstonville urban buffer zones and the scenic escarpment.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? Ballina was once one of the busiest sea ports on the East Coast. We have allowed the mouth of our river to silt up, our marinas to fall into disrepair, our marine industries to wither and our fish stocks and water quality to decline. I formed the Port Ballina Taskforce 3 years ago to pursue these issues. We have made progress, but we still have a long way to go. If I am elected Mayor, the River could not ask for a stronger advocate.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? I support a mix of non-lethal shark deterrence and detection technologies, but I have been frustrated by the Mayor’s fixation with the technology and his unwillingness to consult Councillors on key issues. I did not support the barrier at light house beach, its proximity to the mouth of the river never made sense. The Mayor seems fascinated with drones, but not about who is going to fly them. I became so frustrated with Council that I volunteered my own time to assist the formation of Shark Watch NSW, because I believe a community based response will prove the most effective. We need people keeping an eye on our surfers.

Ballina Shire Council B Ward and mayoral candidate Sharon Cadwallader. Photo supplied
Ballina Shire Council B Ward and mayoral candidate Sharon Cadwallader. Photo supplied

Sharon Lesley Cadwallader CMC JP

Number of years in shire/LGA: 18 years

Current councillor? Yes
If yes, how many years?: I have served three consecutive terms. In total 12.5 years

Clubs/sports/interests: Family/ bush walking/ reading/ youth/small business

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?   No

2 What has motivated you to stand? I find serving the community is a great honour & privilege, one that I have enjoyed over the last three consecutive terms. There are far too few council representatives that are women and sadly they come and they go, so I decided from day one that I would not add to the gender imbalance of representation on council. The best decisions come from having diversity around the decision making table. Even after 12.5 years there is so much more that I want to achieve on council.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? That Ballina is a vibrant and prosperous regional centre that is known for maintaining and protecting its natural beauty. A place where jobs are plentiful, housing is affordable and the population diverse.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? Council negotiations with developers need to always be based on best outcomes for the community. Where the dedication of land for community infrastructure/ compensatory plantings are involved these need to be provided up front before building approvals are advanced. Habitat regeneration also requires careful attention. Green buffers need protecting so that our lifestyles are protected and the environment remains the best that it can be.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? Jobs. If people are gainfully employed it solves a number of issues that the community has to deal with. It injects money into the community instead of needing money to prop up it up. Affordable housing is also an issue I feel strongly about. It is a real concern that we have a number of homeless people living in and around our shire. As the Vice Chairman of the Australian Coastal Council’s Association beach erosion continues to be a problem as it threatens community infrastructure, local homes, lifestyles and tourism.

6 What is your policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? Continual education, drones and closely working with Surf Life Saving Clubs, shark alert apps and aerial patrols and community shark spotters. My policy is that more needs to be researched on what is working and has worked best at other beaches that are similar to Ballina Shire.

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