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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Editorial – More Byron Shire council candidate Q&A!

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Where do candidates stand on disused railways and pay parking? Are they to the left of Chairman Mao Zedong, or the right of Genghis Khan?

Herewith are more Q&As :

Question: Do you support pay parking in Bruns, Bangalow and Mullum, and making pay parking free for residents? 

Cr Alan Hunter: No.

Cr Cate Coorey: Yes, free for residents. Council is not allowed to just put in paid parking to generate revenue. It must be demonstrated that it will create a better parking and movement outcome.

Duncan Dey (Greens): Residents can be exempted via an annual permit and we will review that fee with a view to eliminating it.  

Asren Pugh (Labor): I don’t think this is the right time to expand it. 

Chris McIlrath: Yes.

Cr Michael Lyon: I released this as a policy.

Mark Swivel: I propose we conduct a cost-benefit analysis for paid parking and consider its introduction across the Shire with a parking permit for most residents at around $55 and appropriate exemptions for Centrelink recipients, elderly and disabled citizens. 

Bruce Clarke: Opposed. I have yet to see how a model of “free parking for locals but not for tourists” advanced by other candidates would work. Would people forced to live outside the Shire, but working and shopping here, get exemptions?

John Anderson: I do not support any extension of pay parking. Instead of raising money this way, the money Council already gets should be more responsibly spent.

Question: Will you support a rail trail (which is to remove/cover the tracks/on-formation) or push for a shared rail/trail path (off-formation), as requested by rail supporters?

Cr Alan Hunter: I won’t support any further expenditure on any form of train on the tracks.

Cr Cate Coorey: I support a Multi-Use Rail Corridor.

Duncan Dey (Greens): Byron Greens is committed to: 1. keeping the corridor intact and in public hands; 2. keeping it for public transport; 3. keeping the rails there for the possibility of future use.  

Asren Pugh (Labor): There is no funding or desire by any other level of government to fund a return of trains. Proposals like the Bangalow use are the way forward.

Chris McIlrath: I am in favour of maintaining the current tracks for a shared rail trail. 

Cr Michael Lyon: I am committed to investigating the return of rail in some form between Mullum and Byron.

Mark Swivel: I support the rail trail project, running from Murwillumbah to Casino.

Bruce Clarke: My preference was for a shared rail/trail path.

John Anderson: I am not familiar enough with the issue, but I am suspicious of the rail trail concept and the motives behind it.

Remember – many, many more Q&As are available online at www.echo.net.au. This includes councillor/Council staff relationships, past development decisions (Mercato, Bruns boarding house), the bypass fiasco and what candidates thought of Council staff’s crusade against Main Arm residents. Good luck to all candidates on Saturday! And more so – good luck to all those voting – for many years, this electorate has suffered from a lack of skilled and agile minds – and big hearts – in local government.  Let’s make this Shire a better place for all.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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