Council meetings can be dry affairs, especially after the ‘big ticket items’ that attract dozens of locals to the gallery are finished and the meeting meanders off into the afternoon.
But while those of us still present start to think about what to cook for dinner, proposed policies, rules and regulations with the potential to impact our daily lives are discussed, debated and quietly passed into law.
For instance, only the very keen-eyed council watcher will have noticed that over 100 new alcohol-free zones across the Shire came into being.
Now, granted it may not be that you are partial to a midday tipple on the frontal dune at Belongil Beach, but if you’re walking Ralph or fancy a sunset picnic on the beach on New Years Eve it might just mean a more peaceful eve.
Another quiet but important development was the council’s decision to appeal the recent Land & Environment decision over the tourist hotel development at 4 Marvell Street, Byron Bay.
On June 27 the Court upheld an appeal by the developer, giving it permission to increase the height and floor space ratio of the development above and beyond the current rules for the Byron CBD.
This is significant because at a time when developers are consistently pushing the envelope with development applications for this part of town, it sets a precedent for future proposals.
Council’s decision to fight on is a decision to fight overdevelopment, even if it costs tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
While news of the Disco Dong’s demise stole the show last week, there was another public art decision that barely rated a mention, even though it involves a greater financial expenditure.
Regular readers of Echonetdaily might remember the plan to build an $80,000 sculpture in the new-and-improved railway park (keep in mind that the Dong cost $55,000).
The sophisticatedly titled Memento Aestates was to be a brushed metal sculpture of a pandanus plant pod.
I say ‘was’, because the council has now quietly resolved to ‘remove’ the sculpture from the Railway Park plans.
Could the teetering shadow of the Dong be looming over this project? Are Council perhaps a little gun-shy about forking out for another piece of public art?
The answer is likely to be found in those late afternoon Council discussions at which the minutiae of Shire life is quietly determined.