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Byron Shire
March 26, 2023

Can I thank thee?

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Working with kids from both The Pocket Primary and Upper Main Arm Primary in the aftermath of the 2022 floods, Janet Swain saw a need to support these kids, many of whom had experienced the full force of the floods and landslips, not once, but twice. 

It’s difficult to know how we can thank our Byron Shire Councillors for the job they do. We have our waste bins collected regularly as residents expect. Thanks for that!

On the other hand, other things we expect of them do not happen.

We can’t thank them for the excellent condition of our roads, because many are in disrepair.

We can’t thank them for listening to any of our concerns, because they don’t.

We can’t thank them for showing pride, interest, or compassion in our town because they don’t.

We can’t thank them for consultation with us or demonstrating transparency, because there is none.

Following a flood in February 2022 residents were confused and traumatised. Many still are. Authorities at all levels were missing in action and the welfare of residents fell to the generosity and selflessness of volunteers.

With the disaster still raw in the minds of residents, authorities (local Council, and state government) decided to subject our town to more upheaval and anxiety by choosing to build a pod village in the centre of town – on part of the floodplain that was, a few months earlier, underwater. Rather than design the pod village so as not to worsen the flood-risk it was decided to import an enormous amount of fill on which the pods would sit. A year on from the flood, construction is still in progres, elevating fear and anxiety within the community.

The residents tried and failed to make authorities listen to their concerns. Politicians, both state and federal, proclaimed there should be a stoppage to floodplain development. Empty words were plentiful from all directions. Meanwhile work on the floodplain continued. Other sites were put forward that could have been considered but were dismissed without a second thought. Council has claimed it’s nothing to do with them but they are the approving authority. Other councils have stood firm and refused to have ill-considered pod developments, but not Byron Shire Council.

So, in conclusion, it’s impossible to thank our Councillors, or anyone else in authority, who is meant to act in our best interests.

No consultation, no compassion, no interest shown and no regard for the feelings of those who pay their wages.

What is happening in Mullumbimby is a travesty and those responsible will be long gone when the consequences are felt, and besides, they don’t live here and have no regard for those that do.

Steve Bellerby, Mullumbimby

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