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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Alan again

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Graham Mathews, Byron Bay

I read with some amazement remarks included in a recent letter to the editor of another local publication (Byron News February 21) by councillor Alan Hunter.

Scattered among the predictable waffle about our ‘aversion to development planning like West Byron’, and his own aversion to the community’s concern about the environment being Council’s interest in zero emissions and the moratorium on doing business with companies involved with Adani, was a real gem. In a moment of monumental hubris and considerable hypocrisy, the worthy councillor takes a pot shot at Council’s ‘long history of litigation including spending millions of taxpayers’ (sic) dollars against seemingly sensible development proposals’.

One could reasonably assume that he is including in this rant the cost to ratepayers of his own extended litigation with Council over his various development applications (DA) for his mega-mini-storage facility.

This saga, you may remember, which, in the face of the unanimous objections of his long-suffering neighbours, the unanimous objection of his fellow councillors and his total disregard for the amenity of the very people he was elected to represent, scraped through the Land and Environment Court and now, fortunately for those very nearby residents, appears to have lapsed into sullen inactivity.

The point that Councillor Hunter seems to miss in his posturing is that councillors are elected by the members of the community to reflect the expressed will of those members when it comes to managing the environment in which we live. In this case that will has been expressed, loudly and at length as being in opposition to West Byron (as currently proposed), Adani’s mining proposal, and was, in fact, also expressed in the case of Councillor Hunter’s own development.

I, for one, whole-heartedly endorse Council’s preparedness to litigate where necessary as, despite the cost to revenue, it is only by demonstrating a willingness to go the whole distance that over-enthusiastic developers are encouraged to moderate their demands and expectations and to negotiate reasonable outcomes in line with community expectations.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Great letter Mr Matthews. The hypocrisy, the nonsense, and the lack of respect you highlight are indeed, all breathtaking!

    A new political lobby group “Anyone But the Nats” was started recently in the western NSW seat of Barwon in response to decades of poor representation and self-interest by their elected National Party MPs. Given the same focus on self-interest and contemptuous attitudes towards constituents and the environment appear to be mirrored by local politicians of the same persuasion everywhere, maybe it’s time “Anyone But the Nats” made their campaign ‘National’ (boom tish!).

    Times have changed. It’s time to change politics from self interest and mateship, to sound, evidence-based decisions. And it’s time for elected representatives to get on board or get out of the way!

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