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Byron Shire
December 10, 2022

Simon Richardson steps down as Byron Shire Mayor

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Mayor Simon Richardson. Photo David Hancock.

In an eventful day for Byron Shire Council, pot-stirrer Fast Buck$ was ejected from the council chambers yesterday, and later Cr Simon Richardson announced that he will be stepping down as mayor from the end of next week.

Mr Richardson made the announcement on Facebook. ‘Though I love and am grateful for the ongoing support of me personally and for councils efforts on your behalf more broadly, it’s time for me to move on,’ he said.

‘I will be ceasing my role as Mayor, Councillor and Council representative on Rous County Council on Friday, 30th of April.

‘The past 9 years have been the most life-changing period of my life. As a young activist living in the sand dunes of Belongil or in my tipi at Belongil Fields or on MOs in the hills, and working on forest campaigns or creating Tribe magazine and One Tribe parties, it was inconceivable to me then that I would have the privilege to be my beloved Byron Shire’s mayor, and represent this incredible community.

‘As some of you will know, I have been ruminating over it for some time, but I now feel it is best for my family and for me that I depart stage left.’

Mr Richardson said he initially planned to leave at the end of September last year. ‘I have enjoyed the last seven months and have been grateful to have been able to help ensure certain important projects can proceed – including the bypass, interchange, skatepark, housing and solar projects etc. It also allowed me to help navigate us through COVID craziness.

‘I am really excited about the direction of council – we are doing, creating and managing great things and I am excited too, about what may come for me next.’

Greens Byron Shire councillor Sarah Ndiaye says Richardson is a great friend, colleague and mentor. Photo Tree Faerie.

Cr Ndiaye: ‘such a great friend’

Cr Sarah Ndiaye also posted comments on her page, saying that she would personally like to honour the incredible contribution Richardson has made to the community.

‘Such a great friend, colleague and mentor. I’m forever grateful to have served beside him over this term and will miss him so much and his spectacular little people who are my favourite people to hang out with at any council gig,’ she said.

‘There will be more words to come, but first up I’d like to wish him all the best for his future endeavours.’

A fantastic mayor

Deputy Mayor Michael Lyon said that Simon has been a fantastic mayor who has achieved so much for our Shire. ‘He has shown incredible strength and resilience to deal with what’s come his way in life.

‘His ability to listen to all sides, broaden community input into decision-making and improve relationships between Council staff, Councillors and the public is a legacy that I hope will endure well into the future.

Byron councillors: Mayor Simon Richardson (Greens) with CrsSarah Ndiaye (Greens), Michael Lyon (Independent), and Jeannette Martin (Greens). The four originally ran as the Greens team in the last election however, Cr Lyon has since become an Independent councillor. Photo supplied.

Grateful for supporters

The Mayor expressed gratitude to his supporters. ‘I wish to thank those who have supported my journey.  In particular, those within council, starting with my fellow councillors both past and present.

‘Also, the amazing staff, from both GMs I had the privilege to work alongside to the Executive Team and all the staff – from the depot crew to the A-Team (the Comms team), and those I’ve worked alongside more regularly such as the sustainability, coastal, open space and strategic planning teams.

‘I also want to thank my friends, for not only supporting me, but for no doubt finding themselves at parties or elsewhere being drawn into discussions about me and feeling the loyal pull to choose to defend me – you guys are all now free!’

Mr Richardson said that in his next guise he is committed to continue working on solutions and positive outcomes for the community, creating sustainability and creative projects.

‘Regardless, this council, this organisation, this Byron Shire community will always have my support and my heart. Cheers, Simon.’

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  1. Fundamentally a decent fellow, but when the transnational vultures like Uber and Air BnB showed up, he threw out the welcome mat, or shrugged his shoulders and said “what can we do?”.

    We needed someone strong and visionary then, to stand up for the values of the town. Richardson was not the person we needed at the helm.

    Fundamentally, that changed the character of the town forever: from a liveable country town to an over-priced theme park for the rich and famous.
    Run by a post-modern version of “serf” labour, who couldn’t even afford to live in the town, or anywhere near it.

    History will judge Richardson as man too fond of bright, shiny objects who failed spectacularly to mount any coherent defence on behalf of his own community against the worst predations of transnational capitalism and celebrity culture.

    He won’t be missed, but the horse is far too gone now for any successor to affect meaningful change.
    He was the last line of defence and he squandered the opportunity to create a legacy whereby all strata of society could live in the community, not just the well-off.

  2. In my long working life, the appropriate person to announce my resignation was the employer. In the case of the Mayor, this would be the electorate, at a Council meeting. To announce his resignation on Facebook, the same day as the Council meeting show his disrespect to other councilors and us who elected him. Not impressed. By the way, Simon, don’t bother asking me for a reference.
    J. Davies

  3. Hi Byron Worker. The mayor, though obviously influential in the team of Greens, is just one of nine councillors. The community meets many important local issues with a profound apathy. You are letting far too many off the hook. We can’t lay so much blame at one mans feet!

  4. I’d like to see you do the job. Give the man some credit – he poured his heart and soul into it and always had the best interest of our community at heart.

  5. Simon disregard the Naysayers
    In my opinion you have done as good a job as you could have done working in this diverse / fractured/ opinionated / self interested and lovely community.
    Well done
    I have the greatest respect for the way you managed this difficult role
    Enjoy the new role in life mate
    thank you for all you have done for the community

  6. Wow – I’m shocked (and a little disgusted) at the comments thus far.

    Firstly, have some humanity! The guy has committed 9 years of his life to service to our region. Whatever you think of him, a person retiring needs some gracious thanks. What is the possible benefit of sticking the boot into someone a week from leaving office?!

    Secondly, in Simon’s defence, he largely did the best he could with a pretty bad hand. This is a very tough Shire to get any consensus in, and there are so many competing interests. For a “green”, in my observation, he trod a very reasonable and pragmatic line between conservation and noble values on the one hand, and the realities of the world we live in on the other hand.

    For my part, I thanks Simon and wish him well. As every civil, decent constituent should.

  7. Simon has been an energetic and progressive mayor, promoting sustainable initiatives often clashing with council workers and developers to get those initiatives through.

    Ownership of Land has become the new goldrush and byron shire is full to the brim with ‘precious folks’ with opposing demands, meanwhile the pro developers are winning, at great cost.

    How can artists, cafe workers health workers young people pensioners and ordinary working people continue to take time for others and be the glue of our caring community when there is the constant external push to develop and sell everything?
    A new land model needs to emerge and one that includes all.

  8. Another ‘community rep’ who failed Byron Shire miserably. The mandate given to Cr Richardson is not the manifesto he foisted upon us, with the support of that other Green’s turncoat, Michael Lyon. The period of the Green’s block-of-four will go down in infamy, with the environmental nightmare by-pass being their crow ning glory. Good riddance !

    • The Greens will not get 4 councillors up again , with the offering that is up at the next Election.
      There are only two sensible Green believers left on the ballot papers , one in the Party and one who didn’t , justifiably , renew his party membership .
      The “old’ Greens will well rue the day they exercised their narrow selection on our community !
      Maybe a group huddle in the ocean will help them …

  9. Political criticism is not disgusting, what is disgusting is the amount of people: families, single Mums, etc etc who can’t put a roof over their head in this Shire.

    Richardson must accept his complete impotence in coming up with any meaningful action on this issue.

    But I highly doubt he has the humility or intellectual honesty for that.

    Civility and what good faith I have left for Richardson precludes me from a more honest assessment of his mayoral reign.

    I’ll leave that to the judgment of history and I wager they will be far more harsh in their assessments.

  10. I have been constantly surprised and dismayed by the Echo’s unashamed negative bias against Simon Richardson since he came to office. No letters to the editor are ever printed that support the mayor or the good works of Council (and yes there are many, as detailed above), yet long-winded diatribes by complete nutters who do nothing for the community at all appear most welcome. The editorial venom poured onto the mayor week after week is both repulsive and astonishing. This paper doesn’t represent the views of all residents of the Byron Shire. It is every bit as biased as the Murdoch Press.

    • Hi Kate,

      I am an occasional letters editor at the Echo.

      FYI – I can honestly say that unless letters are libellous, contain too much foul language or are ridiculously long, they get printed.
      I have often published letters I don’t agree with – many times.
      If letters supporting the Mayor were submitted, they would have been published.
      So, if “No letters to the editor are ever printed that support the mayor or the good works of Council” it’s because no one wrote them.
      I am not saying people don’t feel positive thoughts about the Mayor and Council, I am just saying very few write to us about it.
      I have personally published letters in favour of the Mayor and Council.
      Have YOU ever written a letter in support of the Mayor or Council?

    • Very well stated , Kate .
      Also it doesn’t just end with our Mayor , it goes further down the Councillors list ,with Deputy Mayor Michael Lyon appearing to have bee deplatformed .
      It makes Murdoch looking like a rank amatuer .

  11. Agree with JIMBB , you may not agree with everything Simon did BUT 9 yrs of commitment , in TRYING to do things better & greener is worthy of gratitude.Thank the goddess we have Cate Coorey as well. I don’t agree with the bypass & least of all removing Indigenous people from the site (I visited several times) & Hey! maybe Simon was not responsible for this ? However, as an extremely well informed/divergent/ strong minded /caring /activist community, that is a pain in the arse (as our beloved Mandy says) Richardson couldn’t please all the people all the time. Obviously we need to strengthen Council rules/regulations over development Oh! derrrr but often Gladys (the Koala Killer) over rides council decisions. I just don’t know how we can turn this ship around? I am grateful to have many Greens on Council but the capitalist juggernaut will sadly always win in the end. THE BROADER electorate has decided to vote in the conservatives , over & over again .Personally I despair with mediocrity , but each time my friends & I turn up for the (peaceful) Revolution it’s the same Ol’ sweet hippie faces over & over again 🙁 🙁 🙁

  12. Atrocious. He’s perception of the shire has left a mark. Not one councilor will consider anything outside the one eyed laws of development. The entire council needs to be re educated. Sustainability has been out lawed. We need to push a self sustaining community development model through the council, and use constitutional law and human rights law to push through all the laws that are Illegal.
    Simon is a self serving sell out.

  13. Anyone who has been a member of a committee of which Simon Richardson was a member would have witnessed Richardson’s bias towardsn Council management. Richardson would simply stiffle debate and acted like BSC’s senior or middle management protector, my opinion is Richardson has been a very self indulgent Mayor who has just refused to accept that BSC management actually have made some incredibly irresponsible decision under his time as Mayor. Richardson should have resigned years before and the payout the previous GM recieved under Richardson as Mayor should be revealed to the public.


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