25.4 C
Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Editorial – Look, over there! A virus is a great distraction

Latest News

COVID-19 update: 5 new cases in the NNSWLHD

Northern NSW Local Health District, Acting Chief Executive, Lynne Weir, says there were five new cases of COVID-19 reported for the District to 8pm last night, 21 October.

Other News

Black bellied whale sighted at Ballina dubbed ‘Liquorice’

For years southern waters whale watchers have been keeping their eyes keen for Migaloo and his offspring, but just...

Staff cuts at Murwillumbah mega school

The NSW Teacher's Federations says that the proposed merger of four schools in Murwillumbah will result in the loss of at least 19 teaching positions.

Speeding traffic

In Suffolk Park there are a number of problems including getting out of Clifford Street onto Broken Head Road...

Egotistic rabble

Strident anti-vaxxers claim that COVID-19 vaccination violates their individual sovereignty and freedom. However, there’s not a beep from them...

Looking for men with osteoarthritis of the knee

Pain from arthritis can be debilitating and ‘is the most frequent cause of disability among adults in the developed world,’ says Professor Stephen Myers from Southern Cross University (SCU).

The Great Reopening

S Haslam What a time to go out in Byron – easy to park and, for the shy retiring types...

Hans Lovejoy, editor

Preparations for a second COVID-19 wave have presumably been put in place by health authorities and the governing class. Why else would they want to risk people’s lives? It’s not like they have been wrong before, right? It seems like the collective mood is that we have all had enough, and we did well to avoid a catastrophe. It’s time to get back to whatever is constituted as normal.

Will the local governing class (Council) change their perception of ‘normal’ development? Presently, this community still faces the never-ending barrage of growth opportunities (ie strategies, plans and policies), which have been foisted upon us by the NSW government and Council planning staff.

It’s clear councillors who control the chamber gave up a long time ago in trying to manage, let alone direct, Council planning staff in a way that was reflective of what residents voted for in the 2016 election.

At this Thursday’s Council planning meeting for example, councillors will consider a long list of large DAs and planning policies which will impact this community now, and in the future.

One is a new code that would allow developers to fast track within 20 days the building of dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces (up to two storeys) in residential areas.

The Low Rise Medium Density Code has been introduced to 82 NSW councils, say the NSW planning department.

Thankfully the code was deferred in Byron Shire, but now it’s back, with staff recommending adoption.

Local NSW MP, Tamara Smith (Greens), told Echonetdaily she encourages councillors ‘to hold the line’ and resist introducing the code for another 12 months. ‘It should be deferred, particularly in the context of the pandemic,’ she said. ‘We are in no shape to weather a sudden uptake in development through this code’.

Echonetdaily is yet to hear back from local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin on whether he is seeking to have the code deferred given his concerns about West Byron and over-development in the past.

Echonetdaily also asked Greens Mayor, Simon Richardson, if this code will negatively impact the amenity of residents, and if it was correct that the NSW planning minister offered Byron Council a longer exemption than was allowed, yet that offer was never pursued by Council. There is yet to be a reply.

Given the preliminary result from the Greens preselection last week, the direction of the mayor and his Greens councillors is clearly not supported. Hopefully the current Greens councillors are humble enough to accept the direction taken in the past four years was not reflective of the wishes of the membership, nor the wider community, and will adjust their views for the remainder of their term.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. I’d say all or any distractions are seen as
    necessary, dumb or otherwise. What is
    A ‘normal’ development in these days?
    I just shake my head. It’s a lot like the
    joke ‘Pine Gap is a necessity.’

  2. We have a problem with climate change which was caused by our growth economic policies . We have a problem with pandemics also caused by growth and its transmission accelerated by high density living. And we leave the solution to these problems to those that created them, economists.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW Education responds to Teachers Federation over Murwillumbah Education Campus staff cuts

The NSW Education Department has responded to the NSW Teachers Federation's accusation that Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has only just revealed the extent of staff cuts at the mega school.

The Rebels and the Wraiths visit Nationals: ‘We are facing a planetary crisis’

As part of a fortnight of climate actions and protests with the Extinction Rebellion, over 30 activists visited MP Kevin Hogan’s office in Lismore yesterday pushing ghostly empty white prams.

NSW Legislative Council expresses concerns over push to burn native forests for power

The NSW Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion expressing its concerns over the growing push by industry to burn NSW native forests for electricity and hydrogen production.

Diadem Street, Lismore

Around 2,000 residents in Lismore lost their electricity connection on Wednesday night after a large gum tree took out power lines.