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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Former Greens mayor approved Wallum DA

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Former Byron Mayor Simon Richardson
Former Greens Mayor Simon Richardson. Photo David Hancock.

Former Greens mayor, Simon Richardson, is yet to reply to Echo questions around why he voted in favour of the Wallum DA. 

As one of the panellists on the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP), he supported the DA and signed its consent on May 16, 2023. 

The NRPP overrides Council’s planning authority with ‘significant developments’.

Byron Shire councillors voted to put Richardson in the paid role in April, 2022. 

He was mentor to Mayor Michael Lyon (who entered politics as a Greens), along with Greens Cr Sarah Ndiaye, who were both on his ticket.  

No site visit 

According to the online planning panel documents, Richardson did not attend a site visit.

Wallum from the air. Photo Norm Sanders.

Other panel members, according to the determination and statement of reason document, were chair and career bureaucrat Dianne Neeson, Stephen Gow, Michael Wright, and former Council town planner, Ian Pickles.

The Echo asked Richardson, ‘Do you now regret your decision, given what has come to light in terms of the DA’s inadequate environmental protections? Given you were a mayor/councillor prior to this position, why did you not recuse yourself from this DA?

‘You have previously recused yourself from other DAs before the panel, owing to your previous role as mayor and decision maker. Do you think the public are getting value for money, given you have recused yourself from other panel decisions?’

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  1. You can run , but you can’t hide Simon , a few other questions ,
    WHY did you have private meetings with the now doomed MERCATO development, with the developers , with no other councillors present ?
    WHY did you use your casting vote to approve 9 LARGE housing lots on the beautiful Belongil parklands up from Elements on the track to the beach in Belongil. ( just before leaving council )
    WHY do you love destroying the nature in this beautiful part of the world ,
    WHY did you leave as mayor in Byron and go straight to the job of Regional planning . ????
    You can smile , but you have a BIG issue with being honest with the ratepayers in this town . You also left Byron in a much worse place , !!!!!!! .

  2. For the record I am pro Wallum, but surely you cant be serious about the question as to why Simon Richardson approved the DA? Ask any resident of Brunswick Heads and they will agree that the contempt that was shown to Brunswick Heads by Simon Richardson when he was Mayor was ridiculous bordering on extreme. Someone forget to tell him he was the mayor of the BYRON SHIRE not Byron Bay.

    The gross disregard of Brunswick Heads and its unique needs in favour of all things Byron Bay would be why Wallum was given the green light

  3. Simon’s role in the NRPP’s approval decision raises serious questions. Simon Richardson did not attend the briefing on the 16.2.24. Nor did he attend the site inspection 21.2.24. There is a Code of Conduct for panel members. Whilst I did not find anything on that CofC to reference absences, it does refer to undertakings (behaviours) that panel members have to abide by. If absences mean panel members don’t have the same information about the site then does this, in a legal sense bring into question the validity of the decision to approve the development?

  4. Good point Patricia. Wouldn’t it be great if Richardson’s slackness invalidated their approval!

    There appears to have been zero ‘due diligence’ by the NRPP regarding the historical ecological concerns about this land. But then again they only ever seem to ‘rubber stamp’ developments that come past them with no regard for community wishes- that’s their form so far.

  5. I was under the impression that Richardson advised the NRPP that he would recuse himself from considering all Byron Shire DA’s. Perhaps he may be accessible for answers on his voting on the Wallum DA at his new venue in the old Woolies building on Jonson St Byron Bay, where he has just opened an entertainment venue with bands and a licenced bar – perhaps his development/environmental philosophy for Byron is more booze, less birds?

  6. Get rid of planning panels their the problem council and not state government lackeys should make decisions on das not some state government bureaucratic department

    • Generally I agree, but note the Regional Planning Panel rejected the Jonson Lane development at the bottom of Jonson St, because it breached planning rules, including height, but then the developers bought it back to Byron Council who passed it with its development breaches ( and yes under Simon Richardson as Byron Mayor)

  7. A message to all contributers, I suggest you use your words very carefully as you may at some time be prepared to repeat them in front of a magistrate. Defaminatory remarks can return to bite you on the bum.

    • ‘defaminatory’ lol

      you seem not to worry about ‘using your words carefully ‘

      the other ‘contributers’ are however. Be careful what YOU say…

  8. No surprise from me. While I am long gone from the Shire I still hold much affection for Mullumbimby/Bruns and when actively opposing the excessively impactful Splendour In the Grass site I began to see who Simon Richardson was – essentially two faced, politically convenient and not to be trusted.

    • The Watermelons are standing by just watching the bun fight

      It’s the Dark Greens who are feasting.

      Thus, in the last council election, Michael Lyon took half their vote.

      Have the Greens and their supporters learned anything at all from this?

      Not a chance!

  9. The remaining question for the community is “Who Gains?” …it certainly is not the community or the rights of nature, Vision for future generations. No … ITS CALLED ‘The Game of Mates”….just join the dots folks….in Chicago talk the community are ‘mugs’….while the big end of town laughs all the way to the Bank….taking all of the $$$$$$. …. a sort of noir film “On the Water Front” (in Byron)……except Marlon Brando is dead…..but the community isn’t. The Mates will enjoy the new Bar in the old Woolies building on Johnson St, Byron Bay….the area where the old Tip existed, laden with Asbestos. Another area of shame as Best Practicer Policy addressing the removal off same was ignored during Mercato construction….the Council LATER implemented Best Practice policy ….we are yet to see if ACTION IS TAKEN during the construction of “Simon’s Bar”…..a nasty death could await if policy is ignored….a reality NOT noir.

  10. The proposed “Simon’s Bar” at the old Woolies is situated on top of the old Asbestos-ridden Tip. During Construction of Mercato Best Practice Policy addressing Asbestos was not operative in Council….nor were imperative practices executed! AFTER removal of same, and community pressure, the Council chose to implement same. The question remains for the community “Who Gains?”
    The evidence is obvious.

  11. Richardson, Lyon, Swivel & Pugh do not seem to have a clue about the core purpose and beliefs of being a Green although Richardson and Lyon said that they were Greens ( maybe it was so they could get elected!)_ It is like saying you’re a Christian but not really believing in God and Jesus
    The previous nearly 3 decades of true Green Councils made Byron Shire what it is today but it has become a victim of its own success. The previous real Green Councils beat back developers and the Shire resulted in being beautiful but it also made it expensive The current Pro-development Council will ruin everything in the name of earning a dollar

    • What are you talking about?

      Swivel has never been a Green as far as one knows, Pugh is ALP, Lyon left the Greens and stood as an Independent, taking half of the Greens supporters with him, and you would have to ask Richardson if he is still a Greens member since retiring.

      3 decades of Green councils, made the building of dwellings in Byron a nightmare, partially responsible for the now housing shortage here.

      The Local Government Elections, which are due in September, may have already started in here, but that won’t help the Greens because they haven’t changed at all and the majority of the electors don’t want what they are offering.

  12. I love how the greens turn on themselves. Plenty of people seem to think they are perfect here and are trying to put the daggers in. Greens want housing but not near them by the looks of it. ( hate to be cynical here but ….)

    • You do know what being a watermelon means don’t you? Green on the outside, red n the inside. How have these decisions indicated a communist leaning?

      • Obviously not.

        However it’s the dark Greens who have taken over The Greens locally.

        It cost them half their votes in the last Council Election when Michael Lyon’s Independents acquired them.

        They have learned nothing since, witness their futile stunt by Duncan and Sarah in the recent council sitting that would have cost the BSC court costs for nothing gained long-term.

        The days of Green’s negativity in Council are over in Byron.


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