By Hans Lovejoy
It took the new Byron Shire Council class of 2016–20 just a breezy five and half hours to get through their agenda last Thursday, with many unanimous votes taken accompanied by plenty of rhetorical flourish and some good questions of staff and each other.
Even the ideological odd man out – Cr Alan Hunter – appeared to get on board and voted for what he presumably wouldn’t have in the previous term (when he was in the majority).
One of those unanimous votes included Greens mayor Simon Richardson’s request to speed up a meeting with NSW planning minister Rob Stokes regarding the recently submitted Coastal Zone Management Plan, Byron Bay Embayment (CZMP BBE).
The contentious coastal policy was submitted with haste as the sun was setting on the previous council.
The mayor’s request: ‘Can we have a meeting sooner and please don’t gazette the CZMP,’ was a change from the original motion, which was to withdraw it. No reason for the change was given.
Next up was a proposal from Cr Paul Spooner (Country Labor), to hold a Byron Shire housing summit, which gained full support.
It will be held prior to the adoption of the Byron Shire Residential Strategy, which is now on exhibition.
Cr Basil Cameron (Our Sustainable Future) was successful in gaining support for a review of policy and procedures for advertising of proposed developments and approvals.
Oh, and everyone voted to proceed with a ‘community consultation and awareness process’ for a ‘Proposed Special Rate Variation’.
Here’s a fun fact: Of all the councils in the state, the previous term of council held the longest meetings.