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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Leadership lost

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Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

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Paul Leitch, Ewingsdale

Thanks to Hans Lovejoy for commenting on the proposed Ewingsdale Development (24 February). It is worthwhile noting that with the absence of clear leadership from Council at the political level, the default may well be that the bureaucrats feel the need to fill the gap. This may not be a poor reflection on the bureaucrats, rather more the failure to provide vision and direction on the part of Simon Richardson and some of the other Councillors.

This leaves ratepayers and the Ewingsdale community feeling somewhat helpless and having to engage in unsophisticated lobbying through petitioning to get their message across with no real awareness of whether they are being listened to as intently as the developers are.

The notion of any development of the site being consistent with its current use as a hospital is laughable and naive. If, (as was reported in Lovejoy’s commentary) the Council bureaucrat sees the hospital as the reference point for considering future development applications, then we have a problem. Let’s be clear, the hospital is on land that abuts existing usage, which has been in place for many years – rural and large allotment residential. So why would the hospital and not the existing much more pervasive usage be the major reference point for consideration?

While recognising this is not black-and-white, putting the hospital front and centre suggests a lack of understanding and empathy for current community value, lifestyle preference, and environment.

An over-55s so-called lifestyle village (retirement home by any other name) with multiple dwellings on small lots would destroy the rural amenity and ambience created by The Farm and large lot residential development reflective of Ewingsdale.

For those of us who feel strongly about maintaining the community ideals, benefits and value we will need to continue to give voice to our concerns and show leadership in the absence of the required motivation and advocacy from our elected representatives.

Hopefully, sanity prevails, before it’s too late, and we will see some leadership from within Council (political or bureaucratic) to come up with some viable master-planning options rather than simply sitting and waiting until a developer puts in yet another proposal. Are you out there Simon Richardson and/or Mark Arnold and teams?


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