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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Lost records?

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Bede Cooney, Ewingsdale

Last week I opened The Echo to read ‘Council staff embark on crusade against residents’, a somewhat alarmist headline I thought.

So I said to myself, ‘What have I done?’

Reading on I realised it wasn’t about me, but about those residents in the Main Arm, Huonbrook area who may be living in houses that have not been approved by Council. So it’s not a crusade against all residents, just some!

As a Building Inspector who worked with Byron Council from 1979 till 1999 I thought to myself, ‘I might know something about this’ so I read on.

I was surprised to read that the journalist claimed that ‘Council’s records are incomplete, as a result of losing records decades ago in fire and flood events.’

So, it’s all Council’s fault! I wondered to myself, ‘Hell, when were those fires and floods? Did I miss something?’

As a Building Inspector for 20 years, I never had a problem searching records going back at times to the ’50s. When did these fires and flooding events actually occur?

I thought to myself that maybe I should write to the Editor and ask that he provide guidance to the Journalist about being able to prove these generalised statements. However, being retired and having so much fun doing other things, I missed the deadline.

The Editor surely would coach the journalist about being able to justify generalised statements such as this. So, I let it go.

But this week, there it was again! But this time it was from the Editor’s pen, (see page 12). So I thought to myself, maybe I am wrong, maybe there was a flood that inundated Lawson Street to a height of probably 2m or more, sufficiently high enough to reach the floor level of the Council Chambers to destroy all or even some of the files that were stored in the building. Mind you, a flood of that height in Lawson Street would have wiped out most of the town. But who knows, perhaps these fires or floods occurred while I was on annual leave.

So, I thought to myself, let’s do a fact check by, say, mid October? If I am wrong, I will eat humble pie. If you are wrong, what will The Echo do?

♦ The Echo will confirm with its sources – Ed


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