Peter Westheimer, Myocum
The upcoming Byron Shire council election is a great opportunity to elect a majority of diverse, progressive and independent councilors and break the party’s grip on the council.
It’s good to see how many people and groups are raising their hands, and most are offering pretty similar policies. But there are real differences!
What will matter in the end is how informed, connected to the community, smart and experienced they are, how engaged they are in action, obviously what the community thinks of them, and most importantly. how preferences flow. Most mayoral candidates have never been a city councilor before or are affiliated with the fractured local party of the Greens, the PLA, or the good / bad old Nationals.
I choose to be part of Independent group Byron, to be re-involved in progressive non-party politics in the Shire. The four of us in the Byron Independents group have a track record of meaningful community and Council involvement. Shire’s governance issues are surprisingly diverse, and the challenges of making informed strategic decisions regarding finance, housing, population growth, tourism pressure, and climate change management run deep.
I decided to run as number three of the Byron Independent Group to support Michael Lyon (former member of the Greens) who, in my opinion, is the best candidate for mayor. Having been there myself as a city councilor and deputy mayor, I know it is a challenging and rewarding job. Michael sees the big picture and also the smallest details, and has a passion for our County and its leadership. I found him to be positive, capable, pragmatic when needed, intelligent and open to growth and learning. These are all qualities necessary to be the mayor of such an informed and creative community.
His understanding of the policies and activities of the Council over the past five years will put him in a good position to make the best decisions in the future.
Sama Balson, number two on the ticket, is the founder of the Women’s Village Collective and brings a fundamental commitment to affordable housing for residents in the long term and forward thinking ideas in general, as does Jeanette Martin, number four (also formerly a Greens) on the ticket, which shares my commitment to public transport, including the streetcar, cycle paths, creative industries and ecological integrity.
Take a look at our website, think BIG and help make September 4th Independent Day.