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Byron Shire
August 6, 2021

Think BIG – the Byron Independent Group

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Peter Westheimer, Myocum

The upcoming Byron Shire Council election is a great opportunity to elect a majority of diverse, progressive, independent councillors and break the party hold on Council.

It’s good to see how many people and groups are putting their hands up, and most offer quite similar-sounding policies. But there are real differences!

What will ultimately matter is how informed, community connected, smart and experienced they are, how committed to action they are, obviously what the community thinks about them, and importantly how the preferences flow. Most of the mayoral candidates haven’t been a councillor before or are affiliated to either the fractured local Greens party, the ALP or the good/bad old Nationals.

I’m choosing to be a part of the Byron Independent Group, to be re-involved in non-party-aligned progressive politics in the Shire. The four of us in the Byron Independents Group have track records of significant community and Council involvement. The issues in Shire governance are amazingly diverse and the challenges of making informed strategic decisions about finances, housing, population growth, tourism pressure and climate change management are profound.

I decided to run as number three in the Byron Independent Group to support Michael Lyon (formerly a Greens member) who I believe is the best mayoral candidate. Having been in there myself as a councillor and deputy mayor, I know that it’s a challenging and rewarding job. Michael sees the bigger picture and also the minutiae, and has a passion for our Shire and its leadership. I have found him positive, capable, pragmatic when needed, smart and open to growth and learning. These are all qualities needed for being the mayor of such an informed, creative community.

His understanding of Council’s policies and business over the last five years will put him in good stead to make the best decisions into the future.

Sama Balson, running number two on the ticket, is the founder of the Women’s Village Collective and brings a core commitment to affordable housing for long-term locals and forward-thinking ideas in general, as does Jeanette Martin, number four (also formerly a Greens) on the ticket, who shares my commitment to public transport, including light rail, cycleways, creative industries and ecological integrity.

Take a look at our website, think BIG and help to make 4 September ‘Independents Day’.

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  1. Oh Peter, relevance deprivation goes only so far. Surely you could have found a better group with which to parade your renewed ambition. Sad.

    • There is nothing like a dark Green fossil rejected

      I am happy to see Peter Westheimer as an Independent within this group .

  2. talk about relevance deprivation… I live here and remain relevant thank you very much irrespective of being a councillor. You remain a work horse of the Greens living outside of the shire but continuing tp bully and pontificate on those still here shows your own never ending relevance deprivation. Be positive occasionally Tom..Life’s too short and the shire too precious for your negativity from afar.

  3. Pleased I got your attention Peter. You may have noticed but I am not too happy with the Greens offering this election due to their inclusion of Sarah Ndiaye one of the group of councilors who spent their term walking back greens values and who you have now embraced for your renaissance . I have nearly thirty years of building and defending the Greens in Byron and that is relevance of values not geography.

  4. Big promises. little thought.
    Byron Shire council has little money. That is why Council is going to the political right and to pro-development. To draw in the money.
    That is NOT what the ratepayers voted them in for. Ratepayers voted for a council to look after residents, the people who live in Byron, not Tourists or Landlords.
    Do you know that the roads in Byron have potholes and the most complaints are about potholes in the roads according to the letters to the Editor.
    Unless someone has a pot of gold all the promises of candidates are worth nought as they were at the last election and the election before that.
    Guess what, the Byron Bypass was for traffic that was not stopping at Byron and a part of Byron wetlands was destroyed to put in that bypass so people can drive somewhere else. The present Council did that against the wishes of ratepayers. Now it is raterpayers’ turn at the election.
    Where is that broom?


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