Byron Shire Council’s re-elected Greens mayor Simon Richardson says he will use the progressives’ thumping new majority to recall the controversial Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), pushed through in the dying days of the previous conservative-dominated council.
Cr Richardson estimates all but one or two of the new guard will be progressives.
Based on first preferences (so far the only ones counted) the Greens are likely to win four seats, Country Labor two and Our Sustainable Future one on the nine-seat council.
National Party-aligned Cr Alan Hunter is so far the only conservative guaranteed a berth.
This would leave just one seat to be decided between real estate agent and Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce president Gail Fuller, Byron Residents Group president Cate Coorey and renegade former Greens councillor Rose Wanchap.
None of the three has anything approaching a quota in their own right, and all are within a handful of votes of each other, so the final result on this seat will go down to preference flows.
Cr Richardson said this morning he would use the progressive majority to recall the flawed and unpopular CZMP, which proposed building a rock wall and board walk along a 1.5 kilometre stretch of Belongil beach, almost certainly resulting in a permanent loss of sand along the shoreline.
‘Within the first meeting of council I will be putting a notice of motion up that we write to the minister and seek that the Coastal Zone Management Plan be returned to the community and to the council and we’ll change that dramatically,’ he told ABC radio.
‘Even the Office of Environment and Heritage and Liberal state government believe that we over-emphasised and over-valued the individual properties and we under-emphasised and under-valued the environmental and social uses,’ he added.
Fix roads, playgrounds: Labor
Meanwhile Country Labor has not been backwards in coming forward with its list of demands for support of the Greens-led council.
Re-elected councillor Paul Spooner issued a list of pledges for his team’s next term.
‘As we have done for many years now the Labor team will work constructively and positively with the Greens, and we will make sure they deliver on the infrastructure and services this community so vitally needs,’ he said in the statement.
‘People in this area are clearly committed to a progressive agenda but, you know, we can’t just talk: we need to act. It’s time to get things done in this shire.
‘What’s the point of being the most progressive shire in Australia, possibly the world, if we can’t deliver real results?’ he asked rhetorically.
Cr Spooner’s list of things he would like to see done includes: upgrading roads and making playgrounds ‘world class’; imposing stronger financial management; committing to a ‘practical affordable housing strategy’; and spending more on renewable energy, among others.
‘Over the next four years we will work constructively with the Greens to ensure they clearly articulate their plans and deliver on them, Cr Spooner said.
‘The Labor Party role will be one of “honest broker” ensuring commitments are met and delivered upon.
‘Importantly, during this term of council we need to see a plan for how Byron Shire can capitalise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and not be run over by it. Now is the time for creative, intelligent policies and strategies,’ he said.