Making decisions as a councillor is an important and serious job. The decisions that are made have a real impact on our community, our local environment and Council finances.
It is an essential part of the job of being a councillor that all decisions you make are only after you have seen all the information, received advice from Council staff and experts – and questioned that advice, considered financial and legal implications, and heard from the people proposing change, and from those who have concerns with it.
It is part of the Byron Shire code of conduct that councillors must make decisions with ‘all relevant facts’ and with ‘regard to the particular merits in each case’.
Anyone, including the editor of The Echo, who demands to know how I would vote on any particular decision is asking for something that is not possible for me to do without actually being on Council, particularly if I am to take the job seriously and adhere to the councillor code of conduct.
I would hope that current councillors also take into account the opinions of fellow councillors, discuss options and, at times, compromise to bring together the various, sometimes conflicting, desires of our community.
All decisions I make will be consistent with my strong record of protecting and enhancing our environment, whether it be taking action on climate change, campaigning to stop inappropriate developments like West Byron, or maintaining the three-storey height limits in the Byron CBD.
Voters beware any candidate that says Council decisions are easy, or black and white, they are taking you for a ride. I can only hope that by being honest about how I see the role of councillor it can encourage some honest discussions about difficult decisions.