Times are grim with hip-pocket elections delivering a conservative government, resultant environmental destruction and social dislocation.
As an environmental activist and a founding Greens member going back 40 years I have always been proud of the fact that we Greens have held the line working with organisations like BEACON, BEC, and a culturally dynamic activist community.
We set the pace of environmental protection and global awareness like few other places on the planet.
I was elected in 1995 as the first Greens member of NSW Parliament. Along with activists from NEFA we protected significant forests and vulnerable ecosystems in NSW. At a local level the first Green, Richard Staples, was elected to Byron Council in 1995 (not forgetting our ‘green pioneer’ Anudhie Wentworth years earlier). Following that our numbers increased and I supported them standing up to NSW government against inappropriate development.
On the local front with a substantial base to start from many held high hopes that the current generation of Greens councillors would hold the positions so stridently worked for over decades.
The Echo reported a vote of 5/5 split on the subject of the bypass at the last local Greens meeting
The Echo reported a vote of 5/5 split on the subject of the bypass at the last local Greens meeting. Unfortunately I could not make that meeting but I asked for a note to be read out which in part stated that if the bypass and other issues were passed by the current Greens councillors I could not support those councillors in the forthcoming Council elections. That part was not read out.
I can understand in the atmospherics of that meeting it would not have made any difference. It does not dissipate my serious concerns that I have attempted to convey internally and personally with no success to councillors who seemingly believe they have a mandate to make sweeping decisions when in fact they have inherited a trusted ‘Green’ mantle from the efforts of those preceding them.
The Butler St community market operators have been treated with disdain by some councillors. Residents were vilified but had legitimate concerns and still do. The bypass led to a legal case with half a million dollars spent. Was there proper delegation? Was the court process against a community with grievances justified?
The bypass is predicted to divert 15–20 per cent of traffic flow
The bypass is predicted to divert 15–20 per cent of traffic flow. With 320 parking spaces regularly turning over at the Mercato and staff instructed to park across the road in public areas I’d suggest the potential ‘benefit’ of the bypass will just move the congestion farther out and induce more traffic into the system.
Add to this other potential developments like the Woolworths site with its predicted parking increases and any benefit will be short lived.
This is Greens councillors following National Party politics to facilitate development. Like shark nets that do not work. Both are 1960s solutions.
Beware, when the developers have a win it is permanent. When the community has a win it is only safe until the next government and developer onslaught. Isn’t the bypass a ‘swan song’ of Don Page?
Oh, I forgot the conditional funding from the state. If the road project goes ahead it links the bypass to West Byron, not to mention the potential development on current railway property.
Cr Michael Lyon has made much of the degraded nature of the environment in the proposed bypass route and seemingly ignores the evidence of a leading local environmental scientist
This land should be public for the benefit of the people, multiple transport options, and environment. Cr Michael Lyon has made much of the degraded nature of the environment in the proposed bypass route and seemingly ignores the evidence of a leading local environmental scientist. Then we get the bio-banking argument, which was a mechanism set up by the ALP in 2008 that legislated to allow significant areas to be ‘traded’, supposedly to maintain and improve biodiversity.
In practice it either fails to properly compensate the areas to be destroyed, or is a Clayton’s gesture as the compensatory areas are often under another form of protection.
I described it as the Bio Bashing Bill. It was and still is a method of subverting protection laws to facilitate development and destruction that previous laws did not allow. The fact that it is now being extolled by a Greens council has me turning in my ‘political grave’.
SEPP 14, which once gave significant protection to wetlands in this state, is effectively no more. I expect that of a coalition government but not the Greens in power locally.
This suggests a sad lack of understanding by our elected representatives and supposed environmental custodians
Cr Lyon has raised the issue that the bypass would not lead to the extinction of the endangered Mitchell’s Rainforest snail. The point he seemingly misses is that such a critical category means that any ecosystem threatened is of significance to the survival of that particular species as it is in danger of becoming extinct by a ‘thousand cuts’. He has, perhaps inadvertently, misconstrued the viability of an important species under our watch. It suggests a sad lack of understanding by our elected representatives and supposed environmental custodians.
Added to that is the mayor’s sweeping statement via a mayoral minute that he has instructed staff to go above and beyond protection requirements in the construction process. As if staff and the construction team are likely to take any notice once the bulldozers roll in.
Regarding the Ewingsdale roundabout sculpture, why do our elected members seemingly have more sympathy for the artist than the community that has to wear the aluminium edifice? When I was in Parliament aluminium smelters used over 20 per cent of NSW’s power capacity purchased at a significantly reduced price. I couldn’t think of a more inappropriate material.
Did BSC follow their own guidelines for the project or did they miss community consultation prior to approval?
Decommission the Tinsel Town representation of reeling gulls and lighthouse
Decommission the Tinsel Town representation of reeling gulls and lighthouse. Or, how about a win-win? Sell the birds separately and fit the ‘bare bones’ with a toll camera. Everyone not registered as a resident of Byron Shire ‘pays to play’ with all funds hypothecated to road repairs and a few rangers.
If certain visitors are not happy they can take the existing bypass, the Pacific Highway.
Other offerings were rejected, specifically, a corten rusted pandanus tree by a local artist at a modest cost in keeping with budget capacity and more in line with community sensitivities. We need to ask why?
The mayor extolled the virtues of a green building design with the Mercato only to deliver watered down ‘Green Aspirations’ and a building more in keeping with the Gold Coast. Has anyone noticed the traffic danger of cars pouring out of the complex as cars reverse out on the other side of Jonson St? Someone please explain to me how the building adds to the cultural streetscape with the restaurant above looking more like a Mexican bordello?
Byron Council passed a motion years ago to ban backlit neon signs on buildings in the Byron CBD. The current rules define them as undesirable but that is now ignored at Mercato and will probably act as a precedent for the proposal next door.
Essence of Byron is the next monstrosity to come to town and deserves strident opposition and submissions
Essence of Byron is the next monstrosity to come to town and deserves strident opposition and submissions to the Northern Regional Planning Panel.
The arrogance of the name alone should be sufficient to ring alarm bells for anyone with the concept of a tourist destination with an enticing difference.
On current track record we seem to get a better hearing from this state government appointed body than our local council.
The litany of poor responses from our Greens representatives continues from Council-induced fish kills to plans for a dog-friendly caravan park in Suffolk Park on the doorstep of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Australia.
A mayoral response recently quoted to Cr Cameron said ‘You can’t wish the problem away’. It sounds so much like the mantra of the conservatives of yesteryear: ‘You can’t stop progress’.
Sadly the current locally elected Greens seem to have forgotten the core green principle of protecting biodiversity as a priority.
We as a community shall see.