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Byron Shire
May 28, 2024

Byron coastal plan to be recalled

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Five hours spent at last Thursday’s Byron Council

If you need a fix of local government decision-making, you could dip into the odd five-hour online recording of what occurred at last Thursday’s Council meeting.

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Re-elected Byron mayor Simon Richardson.
Re-elected Byron mayor Simon Richardson.

Chris Dobney

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.

Current councillor Alan Hunter is also putting his hand for mayor.
Byron councillor Alan Hunter is so far the only conservative guaranteed a spot on the new council.

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.

Properties over-valued

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.

ALP candidate for Ballina, Paul Spooner.
Holding the Greens to account: Country Labor’s Paul Spooner.

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.

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  1. Thanks goodness common sense has prevailed! Well done to Simon, Paul and the other successful councillors who will work hard for strong environmental outcomes in the Shire.

  2. What a great result for our environment and our community. Gone are most of the conservative neanderthals who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. Congratulations Simon and the Greens!

  3. With great power comes great responsibility! Hopefully the new Council won’t engage in the vindictive and devisive behaviour of the past and will represent all rate payers and bring the community together. Now that the Greens have full control, they will be judged on their actions and not their heckling. Hopefully they don’t waste money and time time pursuing ideologies to get high-fives, and instead develop a CZMP that actually improves the beach, while accepting the facts and (the Supreme Court orders) which mean rocks stay forever, properties are therefore not under erosion risk (but council land still is) and planned retreat is therefore pointless. It won’t be easy… Will this council be able to succeed and actually implement a CZMP where others have failed? Or will it simply be a return to the policy of Jan Barham which caused all the costs and division in the first place?

  4. Also it’s a little odd that this is first order of business. Especially when we have a huge homeless population, dead bodies regularly found in dunes, lack of infrastructure, traffic jams, high living costs and lack of opportunity for local families.

  5. The people have spoken ( resoundedly). Let’s bury the hatchet and and allow Council, with plenty of community input, to get on with job of ensuring that this bit of heaven we are lucky enough to call home, is managed sensibly and sustainably.

  6. A fitting result for our green Shire. As we’ve seen with the Sydney mayoral result, the public does not hold back from punishing what is seen as dishonesty and manipulation. Rose Wanchap’s betrayal has been justly dealt with by an engaged and enraged electorate.

  7. To recall, is something on paper Simon.
    There is a call to action from the people of Byron on a ballot for the Council to be Green in action.
    Don’t let the people down.

  8. Please let the owners protect their property without any more rubbish opposition.If it was your place you would want to do so.
    Stop it with the ridiculous politics and think about the waste of money thus far and the division it has caused
    Labor, Liberal and Green three reasons why Australia is no longer a sensible place

  9. On first preference votes so far the conservatives have obtained about 19% . In 2012 the conservative vote was 38%. New progressive councillors, don’t waste this huge endorsement. Ensure that you listen to the local community and act in their interests.

  10. At the latest count before distribution of preferences it appears that the conservatives have received 19% of the vote. In 2012 they received 38%. With such a huge mandate it is important for the progressives to not squander it. New councillors ensure that you listen to the residents and act on their behalf.

  11. I understand why the Greens were devastated at losing Rose…she was the best councillor of the last term….in terms of research and action and being across the issues. I hope the new lot can get to the heart of the issues and take positive action for the whole Shire. First issue…all parties need to agree on what the rail trail will look like…if the rail corridor is going to be preserved, then the section between First Sun and Border St will need to be protected….there is nothing between it and the next major Storm!


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