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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Simon Richardson set for second term as Byron’s mayor

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"Quietly confident': Byron Greens celebrating on election night at the Poinciana Cafe. Photo Jeff Dawson
“Quietly confident’: Byron Greens celebrating on election night at the Poinciana Cafe. Photo Jeff Dawson

Chris Dobney

With well over half the first preference mayoral votes counted in Byron Shire, incumbent mayor Simon Richardson is looking like romping back in with almost 50 per cent of voters (7,805) – placing him a clear first.

If his position just slightly improved in the remaining 8,442 votes left to count, Cr Richardson will not even need to rely on preferences to be crowned.

It is a remarkable endorsement, especially considering that one of his own Greens fellow councillors, real estate agent Rose Wanchap, deserted him early in the last term, siding with the conservatives on almost every issue and forcing him into a minority position.

Lismore mayoral candidate Gianpiero Battista at the St Paul's Church booth on Keen Street on Saturday. Photo Eve Jeffery.
Lismore mayoral candidate Gianpiero Battista at the St Paul’s Church booth on Keen Street on Saturday. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Even if the vote goes to preferences, he is well and truly over the line, with Country Labor’s Paul Spooner (20.27 per cent) and Our Sustainable Future’s Basil Cameron (10.93 per cent) both preferencing him.

By comparison, Cr Wanchap’s mayoral bid is doomed. She sits on just 5.4 per cent (866 votes), and of the six mayoral candidates only sits ahead of perennial joker Jack Sugarman on 443.

National Party member Alan Hunter will also miss out, with just 1,803 first preference votes (11.36 per cent) based on the count so far, but will be returned to council.

While still in its early stages, the councillor count does not look good for Wanchap either. She currently has just over a third of the quota required to be returned.

Vanessa Grindon-Ekins and Adam Guise took a minute to relax before Vanessa headed out for birthday celebrations in Lismore. Photo Eve Jeffery.
Lismore Greens candidates Vanessa Grindon-Ekins and Adam Guise took a minute to relax before Vanessa headed out for birthday celebrations on election night. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Ballina’s three-way tussle

The likely outcome is not so clear-cut in Ballina and Lismore, where elections were also held on Saturday.

Incumbent Ballina mayor David Wright, who has been in frontline negotiations with the state government over shark attacks and who supported the building of a failed controversial ‘eco-barrier’, is still well ahead on 31.8 per cent of the vote with 8,151 first preference votes left to count.

He is followed by progressive former Greens Cr Jeff Johnson (20.95 per cent) and conservative-leaning former Nats member Sharon Cadwallader (20.73 per cent).

Cr Wright is likely to be returned on Cr Cadwallader’s preferences.

Our Sustainable Future's Elly Bird at the St Paul's Church booth on Keen Street on Saturday. Photo Eve Jeffery.
Our Sustainable Future’s Elly Bird at the St Paul’s Church booth on Keen Street on Saturday. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Tight battle in Lismore

Progressive totals are even closer in Lismore, where mayor Jenny Dowell has stood down after two outstandingly successful terms, during which she was at the forefront of the struggle to oust CSG mining from the LGA.

Her anointed successor, Country Labor’s Isaac Smith, is not doing nearly as well as Dowell at her last election but is nevertheless ahead on 29.2 percent (with just 6,497 first preferences left to count). It will be a battle to the finish, thought,  with Nationals-aligned Neil Marks on 21.97 percent and Shooters and Fishers Party member Greg Bennett on 20.89 per cent.

Cr Isaacs will be hoping for a strong flow of preferences from Greens candidate Vanessa Ekins (15.52 per cent) to get him over the line.

Controversial candidate Big Rob’s mayoral ambitions are finished after he received just 770 primary votes (3.04 per cent). He’s also unlikely to make it into the chamber with just one fifth of the quota required to become a councillor.


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10 COMMENTS

  1. good riddance Rose. ….

    real estate agents have conflict of interest and should be banned from running for council.. says something about those that do..

  2. Wonder if Simon will do something about illegal holiday rentals now? Oh and Simon stop spruiking more tourism the roads cannot handle it, if you can call these pothole laden messes roads.

  3. Congratulations, Byron Greens!
    I was Secretary of Byron Greens at the time when Rose Wanchap ceased to be a member. Not long after her election to Byron Shire Council she started to deviate from even longstanding Greens policies. This led to lengthy discussions among our members on how to deal with this errant behaviour. We were divided: some attempted to bring her back into the fold and others wanted her gone. By the time of the March 11th 2014, members only, meeting we had reached consensus that SHE MUST GO. She was asked to attend, having missed the previous monthly meetings. We were treated to a display of all her good work on laminated A3 sheets, mostly of wells drilled in lands far from Byron Shire. Even she could see that the consensus was for her to go. She said she would resign: (I quote her) “if that was what the consensus was”.
    Let’s set the record straight; She did not defect from the Greens. She was booted out. Any defection was from Greens principles and the trust of Byron Shire voters. Their sweet revenge has seen her cast out at Saturday’s Election. Her buddies have gone too.
    The people have seen how the progressive minority never gave up the fight against the right wing dinosaurs.
    It’s now time for the progressive majority to listen to the resurgent cries of the people.

  4. A great win for Simon and the merits of giving him a second term. Let’s face it, like in any job, he’ll be a better Mayor the second time round. And I can’t resist feeling gleeful that Wanchap is gone. Good riddance!

  5. Simon, Congratulations on your sweeping (re) election,
    please address the need for local artists and creative people of all persuasions to be able to work in public areas without fear of Council ( read: Chamber of Commerce) intervention and prosecution ensuring a wider social/occupational participation.
    Good luck!

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