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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Foregone snails

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I thought it was unusually silly of Councillor Michael Lyon to illustrate (last week) precisely what I meant by the Greens’ intellectual dishonesty: casting around for arguments and evidence to support their foregone conclusion and poor decisions and using the permanent staff to help them do it.

Surely the opinion piece about snails to which Michael put his name was not written by him; it could only have originated from that multinational GHD and been handed to Michael by a nervous senior staffer! An acknowledgement of his sources might have arguably boosted Michael’s credibility. As it is, he himself must bear all the blame for the article’s shortcomings.

Previously Council consultants pleaded that they looked high and low for signs of a certain endangered snail but found bugger all. Their argument now is that in fact there are thousands of them, as well as several alternative habitats. The unstated new conclusion is that it therefore won’t hurt to knock a few on the head for the bypass.

This is essentially what allegedly Green Michael Lyon has endorsed (apparently though, the Greens Councillors will be there on the day relocating individual snails and their microhabitats. After that they will presumably help guide the trucks, loaded with 30,000m³ of fill. Too bad for any creatures that don’t happen to be a snail).

However, the statement that most galls me is towards the end where Michael says that, ‘Council was aware of and relied upon’ known ecological studies. What shameless rot. Yes I believe that senior staff knew, but they are not ‘Council’, are they? It is the elected Councillors together who constitute ‘Council’, and having closely observed these guys on this issue, for over three years, I can assure readers that no councillor knew about the Mitchell’s Rainforest Snail until Jan Barham bought space in The Echo some months ago to publicise its existence. I myself knew that the courts had imposed strict environmental preconditions, but I didn’t know about the snail.

From my point of view though, the key point is this; snail or no snail, not everything on this planet exists to be trashed and reshaped for the passing convenience of Homo Sapiens. Wetlands are at the top of my ‘don’t touch’ list.

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