Council meeting all expectations
COUNCIL meetings have taken a turn for the better now that planning matters have their own separate meeting from all other business.
We do any site inspections on the morning of the planning meeting, then meet at 11am and have the time to debate items properly.
This has reduced the very long meeting times that have been the norm for this term of the council.
At the meeting last Thursday I had a notice of motion passed to proceed with a planning proposal to rezone West Byron.
We were given an indication of support for this approach by state planning staff when we met in Sydney prior to the state election.
The effect of the change will be that all the various environmental constraints of the site will be recognised, including appropriate buffers, vastly reducing the footprint of the site as well as associated traffic impacts.
The rezoning will result in protections for the wallum sedge frog, a large corridor set aside for koalas with appropriate buffers to these, as well as buffers to adjoining properties and coastal wetlands.
There are also setbacks from Ewingsdale Rd put in place.
However any rezoning will not affect DAs currently lodged. Hopefully we will see the two DAs currently before the court and JRPP rejected so that any new development will need to abide by this revised zoning.
Congratulations are in order for Tamara Smith, who has retained the seat of Ballina despite very good campaigns from Asren Pugh and Ben Franklin.
The benefit of being a marginal seat has been clear, with a spotlight shining on some of the issues in our shire and corresponding commitments for funding and policy change to address them.
Some have cast doubt on the government keeping their promises, however I have faith that we will see them all fulfilled, including the much-needed $25 million for roads and infrastructure and an ability for Byron Shire to tailor an appropriate local solution on short-term holiday letting.
I have written a letter of congratulations to the Premier with an indication that we are relying on that money starting from next financial year.
From one campaign to another, I am myself running for the Greens in the upcoming federal election as a candidate for our local seat of Richmond.
The more marginal this seat becomes, perhaps the more federal money we may see delivered to this area.