14.6 C
Byron Shire
October 19, 2021

Byron Shire council candidates 2016 Q&A

Latest News

Lake Ainsworth Cyanobacteria Update – RED ALERT

Ballina Shire Council has just issued a Red Alert for Lake Ainsworth. Water should NOT be used for primary recreation. Users should obey all signage erected by Council.

Other News

A concrete solution to carbon capture

A newly developed concrete – made from recycled construction waste and industrial exhaust gases – could reduce construction emissions.

Lismore landmark saved as Skimmo’s site DA knocked back

Lismore residents watch avidly last night as the drama of a development application for 135 Union Street South Lismore, played out on their little screens.

Lismore Council votes to naturalise Browns Creek

At Tuesday’s Lismore Council meeting, Councillor Vanessa Ekins moved a motion to begin the Browns Creek Naturalisation Project, which involves the removal of the existing concrete stormwater drain that traverses Lismore Park from Brewster Street through to Uralba Street, and reconstruction as a more natural watercourse.

Satvik Foods simply: sauté, simmer & serve

Easy. Delicious. Healthy. Satvik Foods ready to go packs will have you coming back for thirds! Their range includes...

Mediterranean artisanal food

S Haslam There’s something very romantic and appealing about Provence, about French and Spanish food, about eating the sort of...

Tweed Mayor tries for 180 short term holiday letting limit

At the Tweed Shire Council (TSC) meeting (October 7) a late Mayoral Minute by Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry...

Hans Lovejoy

Let’s vet! Herewith are questions posed by The Echo for all lead candidates.

Now it’s over to you, the conscious, intelligent, discerning and incredibly good looking public to read and digest.

It all helps to make the difference between the electorate drinking from the goblet of democracy or slurping from the open drain of tyranny.

Four questions are included that were not in the print edition – they are whether candidates would support the community charter for better planning, a new rail report, the tender process and general suggested issues from the candidates. They are at the end of the article.

All about you 

What’s your inspiration – can you please list your favourite author, philosopher and political/business leader, musician/band (genre okay) and artist (of any discipline)?

Our Sustainable Future: Malcolm Price, Judith D'Abbs, current councillor Basil Cameron and Ash Stennett
Group A: Our Sustainable Future: Malcolm Price, Judith D’Abbs, current councillor Basil Cameron and Ash Stennett

Group A – Our Sustainable Future (Basil Cameron)

Peter Carey, E.F. Shumacher, Nelson Mandela, Funk/Soul, Picasso.

Group B – The Greens (Simon Richardson)

Muhammad Ali, Jean-Paul Satre, conscious hip-hop and soul artists.

Group C –  Country Labor (Paul Spooner)

Author Isabelle Allende, philosopher Paulo Freire, political leader Paul Keating, musician Bob Dylan, artist Frida Kahlo

Group D – The Middle Ground (Rose Wanchap)

At the risk of showing my age – Nana Mouskouri, and my political persuasions – Tony Windsor, Robb Oakshott and Julia Gillard.

Group E – James Wright

Author Tom Robbins, philosopher Bertrand Russell, political/business leader Scott Ludlum/Abraham Lincoln, musician Prince, artist Norman Lindsay.

Group F – Gail Fuller

Simply, favouritism does not work in any fashion. I am inspired by people who stand up for truth, against the odds, uniting people to bring back balance in our society, like Lincoln.

Group G – Byron In Balance (Alan Hunter)

I take inspiration from the people right here in the community, whether they’re working, looking after their family, their employer, their employees or active in the issues that matter to them. They more often than not have a ‘can do’ attitude and talk about what is working and uniting us rather than focus on what is not working and dividing our communities. In terms of music, art and politics, I am a long-term farmer who has spent many all-night shifts on the tractor listening to the radio and enjoy a variety of music from the 60s to the early 2000s. I admire many political leaders from across all factions including Sir Robert Menzies, Doug Anthony, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Anderson and John Howard. In business I admire the many friends and family who have taken the risk and given it a go to build something for themselves and not rely on others or handouts to get by. In art, Pro Hart was an inspiration with his innovative simplicity in depicting the rural cultural landscape.

Group H – Community Byron (Cate Coorey)

Patti Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, jazz, Andy Goldsworthy, Xanana Gusmao, Marx Brothers.

Independent – George Graham

Author Jonathan Franzen – chronicles the underbelly of society that pretends to be invisible. Philosopher Nietzsche: ‘what makes people great is not the content of their beliefs, but the act of valuing.’ Political leader Paul Keating; still has the fire and maintains the rage. Business leader Tim Costello (World Vision; social justice champion). Music: Anything since Jimi, Janis and Santana etc comes a mere last.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

Authors Spike Milligan, Dostoevsky, P. G. Wodehouse and Douglas Adams. Philosophers Socrates, Gautama, Jesus, and Lao Tzu. Business leader? Elon Musk is doing great things with Tesla and SpaceX. Musician Jimi Hendrix. Artist Haydyn

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Charles Darwin – Eclectic music taste. 

Rural Land Use Strategy

The Rural Land Use Strategy was adopted with last minute additions to the number of properties that would receive special consideration. Additionally, criteria were added to allow additional uses on land other than agricultural. These appeared ad hoc; they were not in line with staff and state government recommendation and were not presented to the community for consideration. The state government also advised that a residential strategy be completed first or at the same time as this important policy. If a motion is brought to Council to revisit or review the Rural Land Use Strategy will you support that? 

Greens candidates for Byron Shire Council at the upcoming elections, L to R: Sarah Ndiaye, Jeanette Martin, Michael Lyon and current Mayor Simon Richardson. Photo Jeff Dawson
Group B: Byron Greens, L to R: Sarah Ndiaye, Jeanette Martin, Michael Lyon and current Mayor Simon Richardson. Photo Jeff Dawson

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

I would move with amendments to restart consultation and look at a broader range of ‘uses’ including changing the LEP to provide more options for young, new and small-scale farmers to get onto land.

Group B – The Greens

Yes

Group C – Country Labor

Yes

Group D – The Middle Ground

The properties in question had been ‘on the books’ for more than a decade waiting consideration under a new strategy. Their inclusion demonstrated that this council will be true to its word and give due consideration to all applications. [Regarding the added criteria]: The rural land use strategy is not just an agricultural strategy. It is primarily looking at alternative lifestyle and business opportunities in our rural lands that do not negatively impact on viable farming land. [Regarding the claim of it being ad hoc]: This is incorrect. The changes were all presented to the community in the public exhibition of the draft. Most changes were supported by staff. Councillors do not always simply follow staff or government recommendations, and the community expects this from us. The residential strategy is on exhibition now. It has been developed by the same staff as the RLUS. The two documents are well aligned and complement each other. There is no need for further delay.

Group E – James Wright

Yes. Without exception the only way to ensure a viable and sustainable relationship (in the broadest sense of the word) between residential and rural land use strategy is careful long-term strategic planning based on comprehensive community, council staff, government and scientific consultation.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I would have to listen to the whole debate before I decide about reviewing the RLUS. On the surface, it appears to be a moving document, which on reflection will change over time anyway. If this is the case then consideration will be given priority to address community concerns. It’s also about providing alternative use on rural land outside viable farmland.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Your assumptions in your question are wrong. The properties considered in the motion were all properties identified earlier by council staff in need of consideration in any revised strategy. They certainly weren’t ad hoc, and have been inspected and on council’s wait list, some for many years. There were no additional uses in agricultural zones permitted that weren’t supportive of agriculture and the environment. I will support any improvement in the strategy that better meets its aims and objectives.

Group H – Community Byron

Totally

Independent – George Graham

Yes

Independent – Matthew Hartley

I will revisit the Rural Land Use Strategy, and also the Byron Bypass, which belongs in the rail corridor.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. I will.

Holiday Letting

Are you satisfied that Council’s recently adopted Short Term Holiday Accommodation Strategy reflects the community’s aspirations and wishes? (It is yet to be gazetted by the state government.)

The Byron Labor team (L to R): : Monika Wheeler, Peter Doherty, Joe Dawson, Jan Hackett, Paul Spooner and Will Constable. Photo: Jocelyne Pegoretti
Group C, Country Labor (L to R): : Monika Wheeler, Peter Doherty, Joe Dawson, Jan Hackett, Paul Spooner and Will Constable. Photo: Jocelyne Pegoretti

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

It is an improvement on an unregulated system. I believe that the community would like to see Council undertake more robust compliance.

Group B – The Greens

It is not perfect but when the victims of holiday letting say it is the most stringent management model in Aust and HLO has accepted it we are in the right path, though much is out of our control.

Group C – Country Labor

Yes

Group D – The Middle Ground

Yes, it as an amazing body of work, carefully articulated with extensive stakeholders input. I have advocated successfully to have a substantial security deposit held that will see costs associated with the callout of security guards and enforcement of the code of conduct charged out of the security deposit. When holiday makers stand to lose a substantial security deposit of $2,000 to $4,000 the issue of bad behaviour will be seriously reduced. This risk should be taken by the guest or the landlord, not council or the neighbours. Previously a deposit of $250 per property rather than per person barely covered breakages. (I did push for $400 per person) but the compromise position is still a substantial win for neighbours of holiday let homes.

Group E – James Wright

My current primary point of concern revolves around the 90 days or less classification as this falls just short of three months of letting per annum or almost every weekend of the year. The complete implications of this strategy/resolutionare not yet clear enough for me to make a fully educated response. I require more background and modelling information to understand the impact these decisions are likely to make.

Group F – Gail Fuller

The state government has always been unwilling to step into the debate on holiday letting. I strongly support clear governance regarding holiday letting across our shire, and having control measures in place for letting, including AirBnB. This is an issue I am very interested in discussing with my colleagues on council.

Group G – Byron In Balance

I am not convinced we have it right yet but think it is better.

Group H – Community Byron

No. Many people are concerned about the corrosive effect that holiday letting is having on their neighbourhood. 

Independent – George Graham

Not satisfied that it reflects community aspirations and wishes. It is at least a step in the right direction. The gate was left open a long time ago and the horse has bolted. We cannot reverse the current situation. We can always do a better job managing it with respect to community amenity.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

Holiday letting in residential zonings is killing Byron Bay, and as it spreads it will kill every town, just as it infects more and more communities in NSW. I am far from satisfied with the dead council’s decisions, and I will eliminate this cancerous, corrupt racket.  The community has rejected it, and in public forums has called for less, not more tourism. It’s a nasty crooked game and I will smash it.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

No. I am not satisfied.

Secondary dwellings

Staff say that 491 secondary dwellings have been approved since April 2011. Do you consider there may be issues in the future where infrastructure pressures (or a lack of infrastructure funding) will result from not receiving any rates from these dwellings?

Group D, Rose Wanchap's Middle Ground.
Group D, Rose Wanchap’s Middle Ground.

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Yes, I flagged this as an issue in the past. It is time for a review to determine how effective this has been as an affordable housing measure.

Group B – The Greens

Losing rates is a cost we bore in order to provide cheaper housing options, and we should look to see if allowing the back of large blocks to be subdivided to provide cheaper housing purchasing option, rather than just rental, could provide increased rates.

Group C – Country Labor

Possibly. This needs to be reviewed by the incoming council. I understand the intent of these rates exemption decided by a previous council was to create some cheaper housing for residents but it is unclear how many of these dwellings are being used for that purpose and how many for holiday letting purposes. The approval process needs looking at to clarify this point. 

Group D – The Middle Ground

The limit of no more than five bedrooms in total per property (including any secondary dwellings) means that the impact on infrastructure will be not much more than adding a bedroom and bathroom to a house. Council does not receive any more rates for a one-bedroom house or a five-bedroom house (rates are based on vacant land value).

Group E – James Wright

If such a trend continues then yes, very likely. Infrastructure demand modelling would likely indicate the best way to assess the viability of this ‘infill’ style development.

Group F – Gail Fuller

Rates are based on land value. The size of a house whether three or five bedrooms on a said block of land are the same. No secondary dwellings can be built if the total bedrooms exceed five rooms. Anyone can add another bedroom or bathroom, which is equal to a secondary structure equating to the same infrastructure pressure.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Yes. As mentioned I don’t think we have the planning mechanisms right just yet but we have made progress.

Group H – Community Byron

Yes – I can see this could be a problem.

Independent – George Graham

Secondary infill is a great way of contributing to housing stock while making use of existing infrastructure. The question is: Has this contributed to extra affordable housing or just greased the palms of those making money out of holiday letting? We need a compliance audit and a survey of rents being charged. And yes, Council does seem to have foregone considerable contributions and rates.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

They have sprouted in a haphazard, unplanned manner, and it’s no surprise we don’t have the infrastructure to handle the reality.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. There will be issues.

West Byron DCP

From left Blair Beattie, James Wright, Liam Munday and Bradley Wodiske
Group E, James Wright team: from left Blair Beattie, James Wright, Liam Munday and Bradley Wodiske

The West Byron DCP will come before this Council for adoption, possibly very early in the term. If a motion comes before councillors to review it – rather than adopt it in the form in which it was exhibited – would you support that? 

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Yes

Group B – The Greens

Yes

Group C – Country Labor

My support for any proposal to review the DCP would depend on the submissions received during the exhibition period.

Group D – The Middle Ground

Councillors were granted our request to prepare the DCP locally. The DCP that council put on exhibition was the result of much public consultation and careful deliberation. It is certainly not what the developers would have preferred. I am hopeful that this development will be an award-winning, state-of-the-art, sustainable eco-friendly subdivision where people from around the world will come to see how new estates can be developed from the ground up.

Group E – James Wright

Unequivocally yes.

Group F – Gail Fuller

The West Byron DCP and its control was lost to Council when the mayor at the time (Jan Barham) refused to deal with it and handed it over to the state government. She instructed the director of planning at the time to write a letter to the proponents refusing their offer of a planner of Council’s choice and at their expense. This forced the state government to take control. My understanding is that the state government has directed Council to accept certain changes to the draft DCP, and I would not like to see council lose any more control over its progress.

Group G – Byron In Balance

The DCP has been adopted on its merits. I will wait until I am confronted with a further decision and judge those on their merits, not emotional outcry or misinformed propaganda.

Group H – Community Byron

Yes. Will also not support the current application to put infrastructure into the environmental zones. 

Independent – George Graham

Happy to review it.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

I will knock it back.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. I would support a review.

Affordable housing

What is your affordable housing vision and how will it be implemented?

Cerise Gollogly, Gail Fuller, Kirsty Harland and Leah Kapral. Photo supplied
Gropu F, Gail Fuller team. L to R: Cerise Gollogly, Gail Fuller, Kirsty Harland and Leah Kapral. Photo supplied

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

More social housing partnerships for true affordability. A better planning system that encourages smaller dwellings and land sharing.

Group B – The Greens

Providing many varied responses, more dwelling in our towns and villages, diversity of housing types, advocating for systemic change that makes it as easy for the current generation to buy their first house as it is for older generations to buy their fourth. I’m also working on local solutions: putting sustainable, cheap and transportable housing on council land. If successful, this can be scaled up and replicated across the shire.

Group C – Country Labor

I will work towards ensuring locals can afford to live in decent housing while maintaining secure employment in the region. This requires council to change its planning regulations to ensure new developments guarantee a percentage of affordable housing. I would like to see 30 per cent of new developments meeting these requirements. Council needs to work in partnership with other levels of government, community housing providers and private investors to ensure changes to housing policy occur that see locals not forced out of their homes and the region. Some local proposals to act on are: shared-equity purchases, community land trusts and small housing developments. I will call to establish a housing summit within the first three months of the next council to consider these and other actions. 

Group D – The Middle Ground

Affordable housing is a byproduct of past councils saying NO to all development for decades.  Supply of future housing needs is nonexistent. Rents are the highest in the state. Many who work here and whose children have been born here have had to move out of the shire because of the lack of supply. Saying YES more often will address much of the angst around affordable housing.

Group E – James Wright

The rezoning and transformation of council and private land in close proximity to town centres (ie Mullumbimby) under strict DA guidelines that see the implementation of small-house, sustainable community settlements supported by microfinance models that enable low-income earners the ability to find security outside of the volatile and unrealistic rental property market and skyward cost trend.

Group F – Gail Fuller

Housing affordability is an issue for all of NSW and requires more assistance and input from state and federal governments. Byron is unique and will probably never be affordable unless more infill development (such as secondary dwellings) are allowed and housing diversity, including small one- and two-bedroom units, are built.

Group G – Byron In Balance

To provide affordable housing we must either provide more houses or subsidise the cost of providing them. I don’t think it’s Council’s role to do this nor are we in a position to do either.

Group H – Community Byron

Depends on what you call affordable housing. If we have to allow overdevelopment just to get a small percentage of lower-cost housing via the Affordable Housing State Environment Planning Policy then I wonder if the price is too high to pay. I think there are models of cooperative housing and different ways of selling/building houses that could be trialled. I think it’s unrealistic to expect to deliver affordable housing in a place where house and land prices are so high. As long as owners can generate profit way higher than normal rental returns via holiday letting that will never change. I fully support any attempt to provide genuine social housing. 

Independent – George Graham

Definition of affordable housing? Who knows but housing affordability is out of the reach of average wage earners. We need to find council land where affordable houses can be built. DCPs should invoke a minimum number of affordable dwellings at a set discount to market rates. How do you decide who gets these? A very difficult area.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

I will punish the holiday let scammers, forgive locals but seize the property of corporates, take their houses and money.  I will retain 500 houses as council-owned affordable dwellings, and build 500 multi-bedroom units.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

As long as human greed is present, any attempt to provide affordable housing in Byron Shire will be a battle. I am open to suggestions.

Byron Line

Do you support mayor Simon Richardson’s suggestion for the Byron Line (bringing Council, NRRT and TOOT together to aim for multi-track use in Byron Shire)? If so, do you believe the Butler Street residents can be included in the process? 

From left – current councillor Alan Hunter, Marc Patten, Tina Petroff and Brian Grant.
Group G, Byron in Balance, from left: current councillor Alan Hunter, Marc Patten, Tina Petroff and Brian Grant.

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

The formation of the friends of Byron Line is a step forward to dialogue and a shared understanding of how our community could best benefit from the use of our tracks.

Group B – The Greens

Yes

Group C – Country Labor

No

Group D – The Middle Ground

The mayor’s proposal requires yet another feasibility study costing $200,000 to $300,000! It offers nothing tangible. Any further delay in joining Tweed and Lismore Council to implement a rail trail puts the corridor at risk of sale to private interests.  I believe this has become a political football bounced around to capture votes from both sides of the tracks. Having one foot on the train and the other on the track can leave one face down in the mud.

Group E – James Wright

Yes, I see a great symbiosis of this initiative  and its potential to relieve the concerns of the Butler Street residents and the proposed bypass. We take affirmative action and ensure the rail corridor is secured for local use before it is squandered by the state government and sold.

Group F – Gail Fuller

Trains are not coming back to Byron any time soon. The federal and state governments are not going to fund its return, neither is the private sector at present.

Group G – Byron In Balance

I don’t support a train in the mix of multi-track use.  There is only one option and that is to utilise the rail corridor in the most environmentally friendly and best-use scenario – a rail trail.

Group H – Community Byron

I support any attempt to try to use the rail corridor to provide transport options across the Shire and to get as many cars as possible off the roads. Of course the Butler Street residents could be included in the process – as should the whole community.

Independent – George Graham

I support any valid proposal that preserves the rail corridor. Even if initial use is low key we can still maintain the dream of a future light/electric rail connecting us all the way to Qld. Preserving the rail corridor does not include putting cars on it.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

‘Smiling Simon’ Richardson just represents big-money tourism.  His corporate-sponsored rail is intended only to inflict on Bangalow, Mullum, and Billinudgel the same mass-tourist nightmare he inflicts on Byron Bay. Butler Street residents have been sidelined, and the only rational plan ignored.  It’s a scam.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. I support Simon and Butler Street residents should be consulted.

Paid parking

Recently Council voted to progress with paid parking at Wategos. Are you in favour of paid parking expanding to Mullumbimby, Bangalow and Brunswick Heads?

L to R Ben Mallinson, Caitlin Weatherstone, Byron Rogers, Cate Coorey. Photo contributed
Group H, Community Byron: L to R Ben Mallinson, Caitlin Weatherstone, Byron Rogers, Cate Coorey. Photo contributed

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Paid parking should only and can only (according to RMS guidelines) be used for traffic management where it is demonstrated to be an effective measure.  Necessary studies have yet to be completed. The traffic study to be undertaken in Mullumbimby is to be extended to a human-movement study to inform the Masterplan on all types of human movement, a positive step for the long-term decongestion of our towns.

Group B –  The Greens

Any decision will come after thorough traffic studies are complete. If they recommend paid parking, community will be engaged, though shorter times and more spaces also need to be in the mix.

Group C – Country Labor

I am in favour of Council undertaking parking studies in each of these locations to determine the demand for parking. This data will determine my response in regard to paid parking along with consultation with the community and businesses in each location.

Group D – The Middle Ground

I am not in favour of paid parking anywhere, but now that the fire-breathing dragon has come to town, I believe we need to address its flaws and improve on the delivery. Extending it to Wategos was bound to happen, but I will vigorously fight any move to implement it in other towns in our shire. Paid parking fell between the cracks in that the right-wing councillors were focused on securing the money generated by it and the left just want Byron to become a sleepy little village again, eliminating all cars. Both sides disregarded the right of the businesses who support our economy and employ our people. They are suffering now.

Group E – James Wright

No, I am not and will work to reverse this process across the shire and Wategos.

Group F – Gail Fuller

Council needed to raise funds to be sustainable and stay fit for the future. Paid parking was voted in to support this. The residents of Wategos are all in favour of paid parking. Council are currently undertaking studies in further areas to see if it is viable or not. We are still waiting to receive data on the system and impact on local engagement from council for Byron Bay paid parking.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Council is currently reviewing the parking needs in Bangalow and Mullumbimby. I will wait for those reports before I make any decision or express any opinion.

Group H – Community Byron

I think paid parking is the only way to generate revenue from tourists at this point. If residents don’t have to pay for parking I can’t see the problem. As long as we are forced to deal with the impacts that tourism places on us then I think an extra revenue stream is a good thing. The burden on our infrastructure by tourism is very significant.

Independent – George Graham

Paid parking has proved a bonus to local Byron Bay residents re availability of parking. Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads and Bangalow residents need to be consulted about their needs.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

It’s a mess in Byron Bay, heaven preserve the rest of the Shire from more of the incompetent, grasping disaster that is paid parking.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. I support paid parking in the locations mentioned.

CZMP BBE 

If a motion is brought to Council to withdraw and redraft the CZMP BBE before the planning minister certifies it, would you support that motion? Also, a Belongil landowner has openly threatened to take Council to court with any CZMP if planned retreat is included, despite their being granted a private out-of-court settlement. How do you see this playing out?

Independent George Graham
Independent George Graham

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Yes, a better CZMP needs to be based as much on the values of a wild biodiverse coast as on problematic economic assumptions. Planned retreat continues to be the policy as in Part J of the DCP and should be considered as a viable option in a new CZMP.

Group B – The Greens

Yes

Group C – Country Labor

I am in favour of the CZMP being amended. [Regarding Belongil court action threats]: Planned retreat should be considered on its merits, not in relation to one individual’s attitude or possible legal action.

Group D – The Middle Ground

Given the recent Supreme Court endorsement of a settlement that recognised the effect of the Jonson Street headland on Belongil it would be foolish to attempt to reintroduce planned retreat at Belongil. Council has signed off on a binding agreement never to try to remove the protection works that have been there for more than a decade. The agreement requires property owners to maintain their protection works at their own expense, and allows them to be upgraded. It is time to end this pointless and wasteful conflict with the residents of Belongil. Our CZMP should be embraced by the community so that we can work with the residents of Belongil to improve the beach and public access. 

Group E – James Wright

Yes, I stand to withdraw and redraft the CZMP BBE. My research to date indicates that sections of the CZMP BBE in their current state are not in the long-term interests of the shire.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I believe that there should be no more development allowed in the immediate impact zones. Council has signed an agreement to not remove current existing walls. We need to work together to improve beach and public access at Belongil. Planned retreat will be an extremely costly process to any council and I don’t feel it would be endorsed by any state government.

Group G – Byron In Balance

I would not support a motion to withdraw and redraft the CZMP BBE. As I understand it the settlement was only made possible by the adoption of the Byron CZMP. It is in the community’s best interest to have and keep the CZMP in its present form.

Group H – Community Byron

Of course I would support a re-drafting of the CZMP. As for the  Belongil landowner who was threatening legal action, all the others who have tried to challenge Council have lost.  It was a great travesty that Council’s insurers caved in to the recent legal challenge. What was even more galling was that Council made a decision in secret to settle with these people. We had no say in what was a total undermining of the will of the community. 

Independent – George Graham

Yes. If wealthy Belongil landowners could not have foreseen the current problems before they purchased then they have rocks in their collective heads. It was well predicted 40 years ago in the Byron Bay – Hastings Point Erosion Study. This report was after Council had dumped rocks in front of the pool and carpark and also reflected the erosion problems caused by this action. Sadly Council made little attempt to cease all further development at that time. It is Council’s job to expect the worst-case scenario for the next 40 years and put a binding plan in place.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

Yes, it needs to be withdrawn and redrawn with some sanity and reality involved. 

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

I support a withdrawal and redraft. I don’t know how this will play out.

Chemical Free Byron Shire

Despite a courageous announcement by Mayor Richardson that the Shire will be chemical free in five years, there appears little has moved forward since it was announced in November 2013. Yet there is steam-weeding taking place now in children’s playgrounds and most Council-managed sports fields. Is this an area of interest to you and, if so, how will you facilitate Council moving towards this goal?

Matthew Hartley, from Byron Bay, is again running for council.
Independent Matthew Hartley

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Recently Council supported my ‘small steps to healthier roadside vegetation’ initiative to actively replace weeds with self-sustaining native vegetation on rural roads, which will reduce chemical use as native plantings expand. Supporting residents and community groups who do this already is key to the program.

Group B – The Greens

Yes and we will continue to increase steam-weeding to replace the use of chemicals.

Group C – Country Labor

Yes, I believe where it is possible and effective steam-weeding should be pursued by Council.

Group D – The Middle Ground

While I recognise the mayor’s work on this issue, he has had eight years and a green majority in the previous term to progress it, in which little was done.  His past council actually approved aerial spraying of our dunes and beaches with glyphosate until I lobbied to have it halted.  Without my support this term and the unanimous support of all councillors, progress would not have been made. There is still much to do and I will be pressing to secure not only a chemical-free council but a chemical-free shire. This is the very reason I put my hand up for council four years ago and a strong motivation to run for mayor this coming election.

Group E – James Wright

Yes, it is. It is only common sense to progress the removal of destructive and harmful agents like these from our immediate environment. With only a limited understanding of the current initiative, I propose the combined use of GIS systems and soil analysis to determine the areas that are putting water and food-producing areas of the shire at the greatest risk from run-off and those public spaces at risk of direct exposure. These stats should identify the areas most needing immediate attention and change. From these a further wind-down process can be scheduled and indeed carried out toward this courageous goal.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I would support any attempts by council to look at chemical-free weed control. It must begin with ourselves first on our own land though.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Any attempt to reduce the chemicals used in daily life should be encouraged; however, the reality is that they will always be needed in some form. Steam-weeding in playgrounds, sportsfields and public spaces is a good start; however, how are macadamia farms going to be insecticide free? We need to be realistic with some of these initiatives and not use them as political point-scoring mechanisms.

Group H – Community Byron

I would encourage chemical-free weed maintenance but I’m no expert in this area. I imagine it is a big job and will take a lot of personnel and time to achieve. 

Independent – George Graham

Yes

Independent – Matthew Hartley

Actually I recall Richard Staples pushing this idea in the 90s, and I supported it then. Unlike Simon, I believe in a methodical process where you examine, step by step, where chemicals are used, then seek alternatives. Next you test, evaluate, and decide if an alternative is effective.  It needs a week-in, week-out steady process.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

It is of interest to me as I myself am clearing grass on steep slopes to continue planting Big Scrub rainforest species on my property.

Public submissions

Do you believe the current reports from staff regarding public submissions are adequate? Could they carry more weight? Currently submissions are just noted. An example was the sale of the Ocean Shores Roundhouse land, which saw overwhelming submissions against, yet it was sold mostly to pay for roads. 

Jack Sugarman is running for mayor, but not a councillor.
Independent Jack Sugarman

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

It is the duty of each councillor to consider all submissions. Every submission needs to be considered and councillors should not rely on the comments summary in the report from staff. It is up to individual councillors, rather than staff, to decide what weight to give submissions. 

Group B – The Greens

Yes and I have convened two meetings with progress associations across the shire to improve our consultation processes – including strategic decision making, times of submission periods, and a stronger commitment to gaining from our communities ideas, skills and knowledge.

Group C – Country Labor

Councillors are given access to submissions and need to take the issues presented into consideration. Decisions require evaluation of all the information available. Submissions are one way of consulting. I believe Council needs to broaden how it consults with the community on larger issues to provide better quality feedback. Local precinct committees and citizen panels have a role to play in this regard. 

Group D – The Middle Ground

Public submissions are only one part of the totality of considerations. Council acts on behalf of the whole community, as well as for future generations. Submissions often reflect the desires of people directly affected. While this is important, there are always overarching legal and financial considerations that must also be weighed up. Nevertheless, public submissions are always a factor in every decision I make, no matter how a staff report presents them. 

Group E – James Wright

Only naturally and of course. The fundamental basis of my entire platform for Council is based upon a massive upscale through technology of community engagement on such matters. The decentralisation of decision making lies at the core of democratic evolution, transition and change. Please contact me to discuss in greater detail at [email protected]

Group F – Gail Fuller

There are state planning laws regarding public input into any council dealings. I would like to wait and see how things go when I get into Council but in essence I fully support listening to the community.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Unlike the objectors, Council has to make decisions in the interest of the broader community. The revenue from the Roundhouse site has built the Shara Boulevard sportsfield as well as road repairs. It’s one thing to object on idealistic grounds, but another to have the courage to get on with the job of managing the shire for the benefit of all residents.

Group H – Community Byron

Yes public submissions should carry weight. The recent capital Land Use Strategy had 840 submissions. The staff report noted the number but didn’t note whether they were in support or in opposition to the strategy. 

Independent – George Graham

Councillors should be aware of the full nature and extent of public submissions. It is still up to Council to make the decisions.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

The council works for the people, is owned by the people, and must be controlled and directed by the people.  Those who write submissions are often far better informed than any councillor on a particular issue.  They have more time and a more specific focus.  I regard submissions as golden in value for the information and guidance they provide, and a good indication of public will, which should decide all issues.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Public submissions should carry much more weight. 

Biodiversity levy

Almost a decade ago, Council got special permission from the state government to charge – on top of rates – a biodiversity levy. In the last term of Council, that money was spent on non-biodiversity projects, including the Belongil rock wall (IBAS). If a motion were brought to Council that proposed to direct all that levy money back into only supporting biodiversity projects, would you support it?

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Yes

Group B – The Greens

Yes, and we have largely done this now.

Group C – Country Labor

Yes

Group D – The Middle Ground

There is nothing environmentally friendly about thousands of geobags disintegrating after each storm event into our oceans, entangling our marine life for decades and being swallowed by our bird life.  This horrific degradation of our oceans had to stop so I believe the levy monies were well directed in this case.

Group E – James Wright

Yes, and I will work to ensure this takes place, elected or not. Such actions lie at the core of the widespread disdain and apathy that pervades society and its attitude towards government at all levels.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I fully support the levy going on biodiversity issues. I am not responsible for past decisions but will ensure future decisions are made very carefully.

Group G – Byron In Balance

One of the stated aims of the strategy is to ‘protect, restore and maintain ecosystems and ecological processes through the delivery of on-ground works and planning controls’. I believe we are doing just that.

Group H – Community Byron

Definitely – and I would like to learn more about how our Biodiversity Strategy is actually being implemented.

Independent – George Graham

Yes

Independent – Matthew Hartley

There’s no moral justification in spending it any other way than on biodiversity. Anything else is dishonest.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes

DA notification 

Are you satisfied with the current process with advising neighbours of DAs that may affect them? Complaints suggest there isn’t enough time provided and letters arrive close to the day public exhibition ends. 

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

No. I have already committed to a review of these processes.

Group B – The Greens

Yes – see answer for public submissions 

Group C – Country Labor

Improved access to information through Council’s online webpage would be good for residents. Notification of exhibition periods should occur immediately before it starts to ensure residents can access information and have enough time to provide considered feedback. 

Group D – The Middle Ground

Neighbours should receive timely and detailed notification of DAs so that they can make submissions well before the decision is made.

Group E – James Wright

No I am not. At the very least I would like to take part in a council committee that explores how this could be expanded.

Group F – Gail Fuller

Immediate neighbours are always the ones most affected by development proposals. I don’t believe there is a need to go further than that unless it is a very large development which could impact on more than just the immediate neighbours.  Yes, a slightly longer period would be ideal.

Group G – Byron In Balance

The current process is in line with best practice for councils; however, I would support notices being sent by email as well as post but not extending the exhibition time.

Group H – Community Byron

I do not believe it is any way satisfactory.

Independent – George Graham

Advice of a neighbouring DA should allow at least two weeks from date of receipt of notice (not the date it was sent).

Independent – Matthew Hartley

It’s true, things are rushed through.  It’s sick and it’s wrong.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

I believe there should be more time.

Transparency

Would you support the publishing of confidential information, such as legal, that has been deemed no longer in need of confidentiality? Apart from obvious sensitive tender information needing to be kept confidential (for commercial advantage etc), what else do you see as needing to be kept confidential?  

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

This must always be a case-by-case basis. There are tests in the legislation that councillors must consider. Ultimately for me this amounts to whether it would be in the best interests of residents and the community.

Group B – The Greens

We need to keep pushing to be as open and transparent as possible. Over the last four years we rejected confidentiality quite often, and will continue to do as often as possible. 

Group C – Country Labor

Yes. The default position of Council should be for transparency. Any non-disclosure of information needs to be justified and carefully considered. This needs to occur on an individual basis and may relate to personal information or legal proceedings. 

Group D – The Middle Ground

It is my understanding that once a decision is made, it is on the public record. Where legal or financial information is deemed no longer confidential by ALL parties, then that can be released. The community elects nine councillors to make decisions. A certain degree of trust is inherent in the democratic process.

Group E – James Wright

Of course, and on all levels of government. Personal, family, medical matters should be separate from public matters. I support the introduction of legislation that protects the privacy of the private lives of public figures from the media (on matters that are unrelated to public life, duties and conduct). 

Group F – Gail Fuller

Confidentiality in anything, must be maintained under certain conditions. We need to discern very carefully the impact of releasing any information outside of this. If it is of no benefit to the wider community and simply personal agendas at task then absolutely no.  Any decision is on public record that is made by Council.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Yes, I support releasing past confidential information provided it is no longer or can no longer put at risk Council’s best interest.

Group H – Community Byron

I would have to consider this on a case-by-case basis.  I believe we should err on the side of transparency. 

Independent – George Graham

Yes. Nothing should be kept confidential that I know of (perhaps the cost of staff toilet paper).

Independent – Matthew Hartley

The more public scrutiny the better. The council is the tool of the people, and whenever possible, the public should have free access to information.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. I support this.

Community charter for better planning

If elected as a councillor, are you prepared to endorse the charter for good planning, which was endorsed by the previous Council in 2014? 

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Already endorsed and will reaffirm.

Group B – The Greens

Yes

Group C – Country Labor

Yes

Group D – The Middle Ground

I was not a party to that endorsement but I am open to taking a closer look at it. The Charter also requires Councillors to consider matters fairly, transparently and consistently. People should be sure that their projects will be treated in a professional and non-partisan manner which has not occurred consistently in this past term of council.

Group E – James Wright

Yes 

Group F – Gail Fuller

The charter asks for transparency and consistency when applying law and policy. Yes I endorse that completely. All matters should be treated with respect and professionalism.

Group G – Byron In Balance

The charter is again being revisited and I will be supporting it if it appears to deliver on community expectation.

Group H – Community Byron

Yes

Independent – George Graham

Yes

Independent – Matthew Hartley

I absolutely endorse the charter for better planning.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

No

 

Rail report

Northern Rivers Tail Trail (NRRT) says that the Arup rail study report was ‘met with criticism and disbelief from certain parties.’ Do you support their call for a ‘full transport study… to address major transport needs of the community, other than just focusing on the corridor’?

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

The Arup document left many questions unanswered on expenditure, funding and usage. It also recommended that over $30 million be spent to remove the tracks.  Our Shire and the region desperately needs a decent transport study with terms of reference developed by our communities.

Group B – The Greens

Yes

Group C – Country Labor

No, not by Council. This needs to be addressed at a state planning level.

Group D – The Middle Ground

Yes. It is my understanding that NRRT have never accepted that the 100+ year old rail corridor can meet the transport needs of this area. It is a one-way winding track which does not link the majority of people to employment and education centres.

Group E – James Wright

Only Naturally. Such a process should be the core principal that shapes the relationship between community consultation and comprehensive and long term strategic planning.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I would rather see funds directed to making sure that the rail corridor is not sold off and support for the rail trail to get off the ground. The current corridor is not structurally supportive for any trains as it stands.

Group G – Byron In Balance

There have been a number of transport studies done. How many times can we ask the same question and expect a different answer? Further studies, at more cost to council, are only being promoted by those who don’t want to accept the facts.

Group H – Community Byron

I would support a study that was more comprehensive than the Arup study, which was clearly flawed in its methodology. I think in Byron Bay itself it is pretty important to focus on the corridor as the options for road based solutions are very limited. It is a simple question of volumes. The more people you can get off the road the better.

Independent – George Graham

Yes

Independent – Matthew Hartley

I’d support a full report.  I’d like to see and read it.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

Yes. I support a Full Transport Study.

 

Suggestions

Are there issues that have been left out here which you think should be canvassed with the community?

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Public transport

Group C – Country Labor

I support the following 10 year action plans being adopted by the next council: Renewable Energy Plan, Roads Recovery Plan, Employment and Economic Development Plan and Establish a Community Infrastructure Fund from any proceeds from tourist related revenue like paid parking to be used to fund playground upgrades, road renewal and other infrastructure works.

 

Group G – Byron In Balance

Providing more online services through the council website.

Group H – Community Byron

I think opportunities for good employment and more activities for young people really need considering. I think linking education, employment and transport together to deliver something better to young people is essential.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

1. Encouraging an informed, activist, and empowered community is the best way to ensure good decision making and good government.  I want people more involved, providing more feedback, and directing decisions.

2.  We need to transition away from tourism, into education, media production, IT development, health, design and manufacturing, and indeed value-added agriculture.  That’s our sustainable, liveable future.

I believe we’ve had community consultations, and we’ve heard what the public want.  The role of government in a democracy is simply to serve the public will, implement its plans and deliver its chosen outcomes.  So let’s get on and do it.

Tender process

There appears an exhausting and complicated process when applying for a tender as a council contractor, or to operate, for example a business or non for profit on council managed land. Is this an area which you believe needs to be addressed or are you satisfied with it? 

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Tender processes are highly regulated by legislation and it is important that tenders can be assess on a like to like basis.  Council managed land is community land and should be scrutinised more closely to determine if the exclusion of the public from an area for any purpose is justified.

Group B – The Greens

We are constrained by govt requirements however we can certainly commit ourselves to do better and provide transparent and open processes wherever possible

Group C – Country Labor

Yes. Byron Council tender processes seem to be overly burdensome compared to other local government authorities. This needs to be addressed to ensure fairness and equity.

Group D – The Middle Ground

Council almost always receives good quality tenders from reputable businesses which allows us to make the right decision for the benefit of the community. The law, probity and due diligence requires a robust process.

Group E – James Wright

Yes. NSW is the most highly regulated and policed prefecture in the developed world. It was not curiosity that killed the cat, it was be bureaucracy.

Group F – Gail Fuller

State Government issues directives about when and how tenders are to be conducted. I am fully in support of using local contractors if they are compliant, competitive and their workmanship is of a standard we set throughout the shire.

Group G – Byron In Balance

One of my policy platforms is to reduce red tape within council – this is an area that needs improvement.

Group H – Community Byron

I don’t know the answer to this.

Independent – George Graham

In the interests of fairness, transparency? And avoiding corruption there has been introduced unbelievable levels of bureaucracy. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

Independent – Matthew Hartley

I have a little personal experience of this, and it seemed to me the commonsense of the public could have made decisions more quickly, soundly, and thoroughly.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

I believe this needs to be addressed  as I was involved in the tender process for the Vallance’s Rd sewage plant.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. It seems Rose, and a coupe of others, are the only ones answering the questions with any details and insight on the issues. The other candidates seem to be saying what they think their party constituents want to hear.
    So here is my platform:
    No holiday letting
    No back packers
    Move all infrastructure back 500m from coast
    remove all rocks from the bay
    No more houses built in Shire
    No facilities for old people
    No chemicals/phone towers in Byron
    A light rail whizzing from Bangalow to Mullum
    A gate at Ewingsdale and Suffolk Park so only residents can get in
    No cars in CBD

    That would get me in….but then I would have to do what the far lefties have done in the last 3 councils….nothing….except
    building the Jan Barham Memorial sports fields…paid parking……community discord….that’s about it.

  2. Real estate agent Gail Fuller, in response to the question on holiday letting, states that this is an issue that she will be very interested in discussing with her fellow councillors in council. She is naïve or extremely ill informed. If she attempts to debate or vote on holiday letting she will be subject to a major violation of the Council Code of Conduct. In her real estate business she has a large portfolio of holiday lets (illegal) which she manages. This is a major conflict of interest. Gail needs to think a little more intelligently.

    Real estate agents and developers should not stand for Council.

    • At the 23 August Meet The Candidates forum at the Byron Community Centre the following question was asked.

      A) What impacts do you see holiday letting and AirBnB on Byron Shire?

      B) If you are elected to Council will you undertake your fundamental duty of care to protect residential amenity and legal obligation to allow for the prosecution of holiday let properties that are NOT PERMITTED under the current LEP and prosecution of those causing offensive disturbance to nearby residents?
      Bearing in mind that current councillors voted on 28 February, 2013 to defer any such legal action in response to a motion put forward by Council’s legal governance and that the likely Plan for Regulation could be years until operation.

      Five candidates chose to answer. Three candidates Mat Hartley, George Graham and Jack Sugarman directly answered the question and said that as holiday letting is illegal then Planning Law should be followed and illegal holiday lets prosecuted.

      Gail Fuller and Rose Wanchap did not answer the question and gave a response that you would expect from a Federal politician. Fuller said that regulation was required but did not state the extent of regulation needed. Wanchap described her effort in obtaining a $250 per adult security deposit required for a holiday let. This amount is inadequate. On Fuller’s real estate business website a $2000 to $4000 bond is required for each holiday letting.

      Simon Richardson states the policy “is not perfect”. It would be appropriate for future councillors to put more effort into the policy to enhance protection of residential amenity of neighbours of holiday lets.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

STP problems ignored

The people in Byron Shire need to start asking Byron Shire Council (BSC) and councillors when are they actually going to responsibly and effectively...

So long Greens

So, where to now for Greens voters disillusioned with local MP Tamara Smith advocating the big pharmaceutical program? One would have thought a Greens approach...

Immunity

I know I’m not the only one who has joined the dots between Byron Shire having the lowest vaccination rate in the state and...

One new COVID case in Lismore and Local Health District venues of concerns

Northern NSW Local Health District says there has been one new case of COVID-19 reported for the are to 8pm 17 October.