David Bradbury, Wilsons Creek
The Greens, Cate Coorey, Paul Spooner, good old Basil, Jeanette, Jan and Sarah were voted in because we, the majority of voters in Byron Shire, believed they were the best ones to hold the line in seeing our Shire did not go the way of Noosa, the Gold Coast, Ballina, Coffs and the rest of the east coast.
We elected these impressive heavy hitters because we wanted to see them do a lot more than tick a few token boxes to keep the likes of ‘radicals’ like me vaguely happy that they really are making Byron different.
We lost the Battle for Byron 20 years ago. It’s gone and most people living in the hinterland shudder when they have to do business or attend functions in Byron. Aside from traffic gridlock, any sense of ‘community’ is gone. Replaced by strangers and… the tourist economy.
We now face losing our beloved Mullum and environs to overpopulation and commercial rezoning unless Council decides to ‘Lock the Gate’.
Periodically Dick Smith or environmentalist Tim Flannery raise the question of what is an optimum population for Australia, a very fragile, ancient continent with a very limited water supply, fringed by a narrow green belt on our east and west coasts.
Byron Shire is a micro reflection of our continent. Australia and Byron are unable to support an unlimited population. It is not elitist to ask the question: what is a sensible, optimum population for any area of land mass? It’s basic good planning.
There has to be a saturation point at which the capacity of available rural land for growing our food, protecting other species in their environment, housing and infrastructure and providing realistically available jobs for the workers is reached.
I would argue we have over-reached that saturation point already. When are we going to have that long-overdue debate on optimum population levels here in ‘radical’ Byron Shire?