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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

The Greens’ response to Ian Cohen

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The Greens councillors’ response to Ian Cohen’s criticisms was disappointingly typical poli-speak. It would have been more convincing to deal with the concrete examples that have caused disillusionment.

To name a few: Failure to hold any line on the expansion at North Byron Parklands; attempting to turn the rail precinct into a three-ringed pop-up circus; overseeing the reclassification of Railway Park for commercialisation; championing LEP (local environment plan) changes encouraging more events and commercial development of rural land; processes adopted for the redevelopment of the South Byron Sewerage Treatment Plant and wetlands; needing the conservative Northern Rivers Planning Panel to to hold a line on CBD height restrictions and development; bulldozing (pun intended) a bypass that ignored obvious alternatives that would be less environmentally destructive.

Much of what is mentioned tends to be non-controversial. It’s where there have been conflicting values and interests that real disillusionment has arisen. Sure, conflicting interests need to be balanced but it’s the side to which the scales are consistently tipped that really shows the measure of values and judgment.

Amongst all the hand wringing about power being hard and everybody being unfair, some self-reflection would have been good – a preparedness to admit some deficiencies and address criticism head on. Discourse that goes beyond evasive and belligerent references to vocal local yokels.

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