David Brown, local architect and urban designer announced his retirement from Byron Council’s affordable housing and place planning committees in The Echo several weeks ago, out of pure frustration.
Firstly, I would like to thank him for his efforts over the past decade; his contributions have been strategic, considered and insightful, yet for some reason not properly valued. Even his interventions within the pages of The Echo have been marked by strategic intent rather than ego, with the latest poorly-reported article not understanding the complexity of the issue David was explaining.
This is a tragedy, real expertise of particularly complex issues given freely, that Council processes are unable to make use of. It has happened all too often, why?
Part of it is a mindless increase of complexity of systems that values uninformed opinion as equal to considered insight. Partly the impossible role local government administrations have to play between extreme community expectations, their own lack of skills, and the extraordinary array of rules, regulations and systems that are imposed from above. As a result our Byron Council, particularly the strategic planning department, is paralysed and increasingly informed by paranoia, stuck now for more than 20 years between their state government masters and opposing views within the community. There has been no substantial strategic policy get further than draft form in the last seven years. Meanwhile change is happening to us, rather than us working effectively to work with change. We howl, howl against the roaring wind, if only we could discern the voices like David’s within the sound and fury.