Edward Kent, Suffolk Park
Thank you to those Byron Shire Council candidates who made themselves available to public questions recently at the Byron Community Centre. Thank you to the mediators for keeping the heckling to a minimum.
With the election of a new council upon us it strikes me as odd there are so many different groups on the ticket. Perhaps this is the biggest problem our local council faces. By their very nature these groups are tribal and divisive. As it is Byron is perhaps already laden with too many ‘radicals’, whose apparent passion does not really serve social cohesion and cultivation of the politics of consensus based around honest and open input from involved citizens.
Groups present the electorate with package plans, and are often associated with larger groups involved at higher levels of politics, some even internationally. Yet community council is supposed to be about locals. For a future truly by and for Byron locals these groups are counter productive. The idea that somehow Byron needs groups with big agendas or access to money runs counter to the free-spirit of Byron Bay and smacks of hypocrisy. The slate of candidates should be independent across the board; independent of mind, of political association and willing to engage with the community as individuals not beholden to some larger agenda to which certain issues may be held ransom or that does not allow for effective, efficient and creative problem solving.
Whatever the outcome of this election we will be stuck with groups for the next few years as there not enough independents on the ticket and unfortunately this approach will likely lead to division and wasting of time and money commodities a small council can hardly afford.
Hopefully, whatever the result, the Echo will help turn a fresh page and commit itself to non-partisan objective reporting so as to best bring on more community consensus over division.