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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Acting mayor says he has ‘broad community support’ over bypass

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Acting mayor Michael Lyon (Greens) has defended Council’s governance, claiming there is ‘broad community support’ for the Butler bypass project.

The Echo asked, ‘Since Tamara Smith (Greens) was re-elected with a majority of around 55/45 last week, have you changed your attitude towards large developments underway, especially in Byron CBD? Smith was the only candidate who ran on a platform of pausing major developments, yet the Greens in Council appear to have a completely different view.

‘Given the election was a clear result in terms of public sentiment for many issues, including development, will you work with Ms Smith to get a better outcome than is currently underway?’ 

He replied, ‘This is a collegiate Council focused on good governance’.

‘Case in point is the [Byron] bypass, which, despite the disproportionate airplay [The Echo] gives detractors, has broad community support.

‘Many would-be Greens voters communicated to me that the one concern they had if Tamara Smith were elected was that the bypass would be halted. I assured them there were plenty of other very good reasons to vote Greens and my feeling is that local development had little to do with us holding Ballina’.

Greens mentors?

Another Echo question was, ‘Who mentors the Greens councillors? Are there any? Given the Greens councillors do not have any relationship with the elder/retired Greens, is your only guidance and mentorship with staff? If so, how does that benefit the community?’

Lyon replied, ‘I have good relationships with many of the elder crew, including Tom [Tabart], Ian [Cohen] and Duncan [Dey] to name a few as well as many of the older crew behind the scenes. There are plenty of mentors and their experience is invaluable’.

♦ The Echo stands by its coverage of those affected by the bypass and bus interchange. Responsible media should give a voice to those affected by large developments and question transparency and process, especially Council-state government led developments such as these – Editor.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Yes I have spoken to Michael infrequently, shire issues like the bypass were mentioned but never discussed as like Simon he has his own inflexible opinions which I suspect are the result of staff influence.
    As soon as I left council any meaningfull communication with the “elders” or “retired” green councillors was curtailed by Simon with the tacit concurrence of Michael and the passive ignorance of the other two.
    Greens meetings became totally frustrating with Simon filibustering over any motion or suggestion that didn’t suit his agenda and the few members attending mainly part of the ‘Simon can do no wrong’ cheer squad.
    The Byron Greens have been desperately in need of an injection of shire history and council governance knowledge for a long time.
    Numbers may have increased but in inverse proportion to understanding of what’s going on.

  2. I’d like to know on what indicators, Cr Lyon is basing his claim of ‘broad community support’. Talking to a few ‘would-be Greens supporters’ isn’t that robust a method.

    There are bypasses and bypasses. Did Tamara Smith really oppose a bypass or did she simply raise with the appropriate authority, the possibility of utilising the rail corridor rather than ploughing through wetlands and ruining the amenity of a residential area without compensation. From memory it was the Labor councillors and Cate Coorey who supported such an investigation. I don’t recall there being much support from elsewhere.

    I think the Butler Street community has been treated abysmally.

  3. The ‘Bypass’ is no longer a bypass. Council has Adopted to turn Butler st into a shopping street by extending the commercial CBD zoning to Butler St, with consent for an increase of height to ‘3’ storeys fo the new shopping streets commercial activities ( and for the Council Adopted Masterplan proposed multistorey flats on the Butler St Reserve) . Whatever the original farce of a Butler St ‘bypass’, the farce has descended into a road for a Masterplan development area, for similar Butler St developments as the recently JRPP Rejected bottom-of-Jonson st 4 storey mall like developments (but denser as Council has now prohibited more than one parking spot per unit, ie more development space, and more cars looking for street parking – on the farce of an allegation that it would reduce cars in the CBD). A CBD shopping street cant be a free flowing ‘bypass’.

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