The bete noire of Byron Shire politics, Greens defector and realtor Rose Wanchap, has announced she will contest the upcoming council elections as an independent.
But in what looks to be a heated contest, one of her chief detractors, Bryon Residents Group president Cate Coorey, has also announced she will run as part of the ‘Community Byron’ group
Ms Coorey was vocal in her condemnation of Ms Wanchap’s decision to resign from the Greens early in her term after regularly voting against her party colleagues, and several incidents in the chamber, during one of which Ms Wanchap threw her shoe at an onlooker in the gallery.
Ms Coorey’s group protested a number of council decisions in which Ms Wanchap’s vote was critical in endorsing the (until then) pro-development minority on council.
Byron Residents Group even went so far as to protest outside Ms Wanchap’s real estate office in Byron Bay, demanding her resignation from council, to no avail.
Community Byron is made up of all first-time candidates, who Ms Coorey said would bring, ‘a new and vibrant energy to the council fray.’
She added it was, ‘no accident that Byron is special and unique – it’s the result of a vigilant and defiant community protecting what we value and nurturing it.’
‘Byron is a welcoming place but increasingly we are being squeezed by demands placed on us by outside forces.
‘Our group will make community wishes and the environment the top priorities in the whole shire.
‘We support sensible development and we are interested to hear what people can give to this place not what they can get from it,’ Ms Coorey said.
Also on the ticket are permaculture design studen Ben Mallinson (Mullumbimby). scientist and ecologist Caitlin Weatherstone (Suffolk Park) and former policeman Byron Rogers (Byron Bay).
Other new faces to nominate include Tina Petroff (Ocean Shores), Brian Grant (Byron Bay), Gail Fuller (Byron Bay), Cerise Gollogly (Byron Bay), Leah Kapral (Ocean Shores), Kirsty Harland (Ocean Shores), Peter Doherty (Bangalow) and Matthew Hartley (Byron Bay).
Sitting councillors typically renominate late in the day. Those who have yet to renominate from the current council include Basil Cameron, Chris Cubis and Sol Ibrahim.
Greens councillor Duncan Dey and conservative councillor Di Woods have announced they will not be standing.
Nominations close at 4pm today. Following the closure a draw will be conducted for positions on the ballot paper.