Mayor Simon Richardson shares some updates from within the Council Chamber, from around the Shire....and a thought.

A Thought.....

The fear worse than death.

I recently had one of those moments when preparing to speaking publicly. You know, the feeling I was going to fail, that I wasn’t prepared, even a momentary, hidden wish for the event to be cancelled so I could escape my commitment.  I’m not alone in having these reactions to public speaking. Public speaking is the # 1 fear in North America. The second greatest fear is death! Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking and an estimated 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety/nervousness when public speaking.  
I think I find public speaking a bit easier than most- perhaps it is my desire to be on a stage that pushes me into it, perhaps my ego rules over my fear, but I like most, still battle with nerves at times. Of what are we so afraid?  To find the answer to this and most questions on human emotional responses, we need to go back to our cave dwelling days, in our evolution as social animals. Put simply, as a species, we always succeeded by working together and thus, being part of a social group was a key to survival. On the flip side, ostracism literally led to death. Subconsciously, we fear public speaking because we fear being negatively evaluated, rejected and being abandoned.  Strewth, risking our status in our social group- no wonder we get butterflies in the stomach!
In my line of work, it could be seen as a hazard of the job! The public speaking event I mentioned at the start wasn’t cancelled. So I used the tools I’ve taught high school students to minimise the 'fight or flight' reaction to public speaking. Standing still and feeling the ground beneath my feet. Closing my eyes and imagining being suspended from the ceiling by a thin thread. Listening to my breathing and telling myself there is no rush. Slowing my breathing until I counted to 6 seconds of in-breath and 6 seconds of out-breath. Then, to get the blood out of the 'flight/fight' spot, placing my hand on my forehead and gently pressing on the bony points; bringing the blood to the parts of the brain that need it to present the speech. And lastly, sitting in front of a mirror and making a horse's laugh with my lips. You know, the usual techniques! Bottom line though, I used the number one tip I used to give my students- fake it 'til you make it. The very fact that we think it is better to avoid failing and adding to our insecurities only strengthens the case for us to jump off the cliff into the unknown. (Oh, by the way- fear of heights is a the top 5 fear.)
Thus, I smiled. I faked my confidence, pretended to be on top of my material, convinced all and sundry I had rehearsed a thousand times, and got into it. Quite quickly I didn’t need to fake it as all was fine, the audience was engaged as is usual in the Shire and I was pretty exhilarated by the time I sat down.
To those who speak publicly, hats off to you- giving a speech is like crowd surfing- you have to jump off a safe stage into the unknown, whilst having faith you’ll be held up by the audience and only when you are, do you get to enjoy the rush of the ride! Oh, and to those who are more often listening in the audience that speaking in front of it- please remember to catch that crowd surfing risk taker! Byron Shire is the home of engaged, active, energetic audiences supporting passionate speakers- another reason I love living here. 

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Water knows no Shire boundaries
Water links Bentley and Byron
Unconventional gas exploration is taking place in a location within the surface water catchment of our urban water supply source. Impacts could be catastrophic of either (a) an accidental pollution incident during exploration or during set-up for production, or (b) developing this locality within a water supply catchment for gas production (ie multiple wells and their infrastructure).

On Thursday, Council will vote on a motion by Cr Duncan Dey that clearly links Bentley’s CSG drilling stupidity with Byron Shire’s water security. The motion calls upon our local members- Don Page and Thomas George- and other State pollies to listen to our logical, valid and unrelenting concerns

The Bentley site is located approximately 750m from Back Creek, located to the north. Back Creek flows east to Leycester Creek. Leycester Creek converges with the Wilsons River within the township of Lismore, approximately 15 km east of the site- the ‘Lismore Source.’ All of us in Byron Shire who are connected to town water (except Mullumbimby) are explicitly connected with Bentley. Byron Shire and our dependent water supply community rely on the ‘Lismore Source'.

Insufficient investigation has been undertaken to assess the risk from these activities to our urban water supply; incidents in recent years such as wastewater overflows in the Pilliga State Forest and at Casino demonstrate that the infant unconventional gas industry is either not willing or not capable of averting such incidents. The risk has not been adequately investigated. If it were, the cost of that risk to the water supplies of the urban populations of four Shires would outweigh the benefit of discovering or extracting gas within the catchment of the water supply source.
Click on the image read the full Council resolution 

Develop- meant for us?   

Why I voted to refuse the Station St, Bangalow DA   An extract of my concluding Council speech: 
The shame of this is the idea of the developer tweaking the minimum. Why should we accept the tweaking of the minimum? Why can’t we exceed our expectations? Why do developers ask us to come down to their low level of expectations? Why is it that we can’t get great development?

We are expected to simply put up with almost the bare minimum. Well, I’m sorry, but our Shire and our community can do better than that- give us best practice and you’ll be honoured, give us poor practice and you’ll be resisted. And that is the reality of this Shire. If would-be developers have a problem with that, go somewhere else where your dollars will be simply bowed to and get what you want.

This community has higher expectations, we should be pushing the boundary for design and we should be pushing the boundary of architecture. We should be pushing the boundary for sustainable, respectful development and being world leaders. As opposed to going cap in hand and saying thank you developers for giving us something we didn’t really want anyway where the only benefit is a few jobs. We need to do better, our community expects it and hopefully our elected representatives will push the boundary and demand great quality rather than putting up with near enough and calling it good enough. 
Council voted to refuse the DA with a vote of 5-4.
To read the full council resolution outlining reasons for refusal,  click on the image

Observations of Life
Always time for a giggle


Mandy Shares all

Old boyfriends beware!
Skimming through Mandy's new book- let's just say that as a bloke, it brings a smile and grimace to the face in equal doses! Mandy Nolan launched her hilarious new book at Frankie Browns last week. I must admit, reading some of the expose's of the 'Mr New Age' did make me reflect- were my Thai pants that bad? Best not to think about our past too much methinks! It was a great night and Mandy signed plenty of books with her usual aplomb! A great pressie especially for any ladies in the family, though you may wish to keep it away from single blokes stuck in moments of reflection or a mid life crisis! On second thoughts- it may be just what they need!

 Bundjalung Brothers    

A living culture celebrates
It was an incredible and unique gathering to mark the opening of this art exhibition. The works of the 12 Bundjalung male artists were superb, but it was so much more than an art exhibition- this was a night when the original mobs of this land came together. Elders spoke in Bundjalung language, the Bundjalung Nation all came together to sing traditional songs, tell stories, share their love of the land and each other and to welcome all of us into their world and share their interpretations of it. Speaking at the launch I thanked them on behalf of all of us, the wider society, for trusting us enough to share their stories and connections to the spirit of the land on which we stand. It was remarkable night and one that I will always be grateful to have been present. 
To learn more of the night and see pics, click on image

Positive Ageing Awards

Super Seniors Shine
It was fantastic to be able to attend a few events to mark and celebrate Seniors Week. Byron Shire Council’s Positive Ageing Award went to a person who spreads their energy and passion from grassroots community causes to international issues- Mrs Ruth Fox. 

Reading out her achievements to the over 150 people who attended the Mayor’s Morning Tea at Ocean Shores Country Club was both inspiring and exhausting- what an overachiever! A woman who has an obvious love of life, a deep concern for others and a passion for helping where it’s needed. Ruth is a strong community pillar whose rewarding life experiences have seen her become involved with Landcare and environmental issues, international aid, education, local community events and groups, and international exchanges. The strength and depth of senior citizens within our communities is astounding and motivating, and I sincerely thank them for their continued support and love of Byron Shire. 

Chance to Like Council
Communicate Face (book) to Face (book) with Council
Yeah- Byron Shire Council has entered the social media realm- come on in BSC, the waters fine! As part of its commitment to build communication channels with the community and create dialogue and engagement, BSC welcomes positive, open discussion and the sharing of comments, stories, photographs, videos and experiences from our online community. The site will frequently post updates, ask questions and seek feedback. Oh, BTW- please try and stay true to the topic of discussion and make sure your participation is courteous and focuses on the idea not the person. It would be great if you could please like the page today.
To go to the BSC Facebook page, click on image 

Game on!
The 'Great Wait' is over
It’s ‘game on’ in the north of Byron Shire with the recent announcement of land purchased for sport fields at Shara Boulevard in Ocean Shores. Originally priced at nearly $2 million, Byron Shire Council has purchased Lot 5 at the end of Shara Boulevard for $318,000 (exc gst). Depending on the sports played, the site has potential for two playing fields, amenities and change facilities, car parking, community play spaces and park furniture.

As soon as all planning hurdles are jumped, we will roll up the sleeves and get cracking; there is about $2 million available funding to make it happen.

The site is awesome-it comes with two street frontages with the added advantage of cycleways right to the entrance. Also, significant construction costs have also been saved with the site already having sewer and water connections, road infrastructure plus considerable fill material available to help with initial levelling works.
Council has long been committed to sports field in the North of Byron Shire and it is brilliant that we have been able to deliver. The recent win is a testament to the commitment of the last group of councillors, a testament to the risk taking can do attitude of the current council and staff, and a testament to the passion and advocacy of the community of Ocean Shores and surrounds. 

Full Steam Ahead!
Chemical free spray weeding 
Steam weeding has come to Byron Shire. Yes! Council recently trialed a steam weeding machine at the Suffolk Park sports field carpark, to see where and on what weeds it works best. Initial results suggests that its best use will be for treatment of weeds in pavement; particularity in high use areas such as schools and footpaths near commercial businesses.

It may not be suitable everywhere, especially in major riparian and biodiversity enhancement areas, but hopefully we can use the chemical free weed killer at public sites such as playgrounds. We’ve taken the first step on the path of our recently adopted aspirational resolution to be chemical free within five years.

Carbon Credit Cha-Ching!

Filthy Odour turned into Filthy Lucre
Just recently, Council’s sale of carbon credits netted just under $150,000. The carbon credits were earned following Council’s Myocum Landfill gas flare project being approved under the federal government’s Carbon Farming Initiative in September last year. Now, staff will provide a further report to Council regarding the viability of establishing a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund. This Fund will potentially use the revenue raised as seed funding for the development of projects that target the reduction of Council’s GHG emissions.
It’s a brilliant result, what started out as a landfill odour problem, turned into a winning solution with a gas flare installed to remove the odour, plus a potential revenue stream through the carbon farming initiative- I congratulate staff for taking the initiative to turn a problem into a significant financial win for Council.
Byron Shire Council was the second council in Australia to independently have a gas extraction and flaring project approved under the CFI scheme, and the first to have an existing system approved that has not been associated with a previous greenhouse gas emissions scheme. Unfortunately though, changes are afoot. The most recent decision by the Senate not to repeal the Carbon Tax is a temporary win and for now keeps a set carbon price. However, it appears the Abbott Government remains determined to abolish it, making initiatives like this one less financially appealing.

Antarctic Whales breathe easier
Local ocean warriors help turn the tide
Congratulations to all who spend energy fighting on behalf of our most wonderful ocean elders. Sea Shepard in particular were magnificent in their commitment, dedication, courage and fierce attitude of no compromise . So many locals have been a part of the journey it almost seems like a local organisation. 

To watch Sharon Shostak's great video of the recent Brunswick Heads Hotel benefit and celebration, click on the image 


Meet the Locals

Local Creatives
The Windy Hills
Did you know that recently a Byron Shire band played sold out shows at the Opera House? What about the band that recently had their album named ‘Album of the Week’ by the Sydney Morning Herald? Both were the same band- pretty cool huh? The band is The Windy Hills.

Their latest release, Fall of Planet Esoteria, was released in January by Warner Music. The Windy Hills’ other project, Spirit of Akasha, a film and soundtrack Celebrating Albert Falzon’s 1972 classic Morning of The Earth, premiered at the Opera House, and closed The Festival of Sydney to a sold out Concert Hall. Check out the poster for the local performance of Spirit of Akasha in the events sections below. 2014 is set to be a brilliant one for these awesome local musicians. 
Click on the image to go to The Windy Hill's website. 

Local Businesses
Son of Drum
Mainstreet Mullum seems to be pumping at the moment. Rather than just go down the café road, a diversity of shops have begun to sprout in town and this is great to see. Son of Drum is an excellent case in point. With a goal to make the joy of music accessible to more people, especially when it comes to drumming, Son of Drum should find a ready clientele in Mullum. In fact, it almost seems strange a drum and ukulele shop hasn’t opened earlier. Son of Drum stocks drums of fine craftsmanship with many unique offerings. Some of their drum shells feature exquisite carvings and eye-catching finishes and they are careful to ensure that timber products are sourced only from sustainable plantations managed by foreign governments. As well as African inspired drums and percussion, the range also includes a selection of ukeleles and accessories.  

However, it is in the personal connections that bring music alive and this occurs within the shop. The crew from Son of Drum state, “We are here to assist in this journey, and invite you whole-heartedly to come along with us so you too can enjoy the rewarding experience of being a drummer. There is a whole world of rhythms out there waiting! It doesn’t matter how uncoordinated you think you are, there are fun beats to play that can be picked up by almost anyone.” 
Click on the image to go to Son of Drum's website.

Local Organisations 

Liberation Larder
Liberation Larder are a marvel. They see what many of us do not see and they do what many choose not to do. Recently, I was very fortunate to gain an insight into what they do by spending lunch with the 100+ users of the service each lunch and the vollies who create the magic.  Liberation Larder are a not-for-profit Food Rescue and Food Lifeline Service in Byron Bay. They provide fresh healthy meals to those in need from rescued and donated food. Liberation Larder believes that good food should not go to waste and that no one should be without access to healthy food. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.
Click on the image to go to Liberation Larder's website

Special Video Treat

Byron is VERY happy

Guaranteed to get you happy 
With the International Day Of happiness occurring on the 20th of March and the storm of videos going viral on YouTube with people from all over the world declaring the happiness of their city, in form of tribute videos to the Pharrell Williams song Happy it was only proper that Byron joined in. Rest Your Eyes Production thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase that Byron Bay is definitely one of the happiest town's out there. So together with The Happiest Man Alive AKA Tommy Franklin they hit the streets of Byron Bay a few weekends back and had people letting loose to the song Happy. The result? Sweeeeeet Byron happiness.
Click on image to watch the music video.

A add your voice
Marriage Equality Proclamation

 Ideas are sought for the wording of a draft Marriage Equality Proclamation. When this proclamation is finalised Council will be inviting other local government areas to co-sign the document and we will then forward the document to the Prime Minister.
Council has started with some draft text which you can view below. 
Feel free to base your ideas upon this text, or come up with something original. Let me hear your ideas. What would you like to see included? What would you prefer to see left out?
Please email responses to no later than Monday 14th April 2014 and ensure that you type Proclamation of support for marriage equality in the subject line of your emailed response.

Click on image to read the draft proclamation.

Evaluation Survey of Byron Visitors Map 
The Byron Trails Map was developed in partnership with tourism businesses across the Shire. It was created to provide information on all the great things in our Shire to encourage visitors to explore further and stay longer.
Anecdotal feedback since the map was launched in April 2013 has been very positive, however with 75,000 of the 100,00 print run of the Map now in circulation, we think that it is timely to get some more specific feedback to guide us on the future development and distribution of the map.
Please click on the image to complete the short survey (will take approximately 5 minutes). We welcome all contributions from a range of people - busineses, community members, visitors and map users. Responses need to be received by 30 April 2014.

Click on image to complete the short survey monkey feedback

A add some quickies
* 10 tonnes of e-waste is being recycled in Byron Shire each month
* Up to 10,000 litres of hot water per day is now being heated free from the sun at Byron Shire Council’s First Sun Holiday Park. 
* The Norfolk Pines in Shirley Street, Byron Bay are suffering from hailstorm damage, but there are new shoots arising.
* The landslip repair works of the Upper Coopers Creek Road Landslip have commenced and should be completed by the middle of the year.
* Since 1 January, regulatory staff have issued more than 337 infringements for illegal camping offences

A bust a myth
True or false?
A recent article in the Daily Telegraph and then our local papers stated that 1. Council recently lost a court case against a proposed huge backpackers hostel in Lawson st, 2. The previous Mayor was rabidly against it and 3. I was a great supporter of it. Well, let’s bust a myth.
Fact 1: Council sought $890,000 for contributions from the development and the developers sought to pay nothing. Result- Council ordered them to pay $800,000- a win for council. 2. The amount sought was decided by staff, the previous mayor simply supported the recommendation as did the majority of councillors. 3. I have not intervened in any sense, as it has been in the courts and with our staff for years.

Explanation for myth: the owners are seeking to sell, thus they wanted a story of ‘we won and the new council is great to work with’ to attract a buyer. The Daily Telegraph were happy to ran it to attack Jan Barham and the NSW Greens, mentioning the previous mayor was a Green, yet leaving out that same fact when describing me. 

A add to our vocabulary
Word of the blog
Another perfect word for us all to add to our word bank. 


Coming Up

Click on images to learn more....





Where in the Shire?
Each edition of the bulletin I provide an image to test how observant we are to our surroundings..  I will give a big thumbs up to the first person who can tell me where this image was snapped.
C'mon people-time to get your eyes peeled, share this with friends if you are unsure and become local sleuths! The last image was of the Mullumbimby Community gardens- children's garden fence
Click on the image and submit a guess.
Good Luck.

Those were the days my friends......

History Buff's delight

Each edition of the bulletin will test even the most old school of locals.  Who knows their Shire's fascinating History? Yep, last issues image was of the Bangalow showgrounds,1930's- well done Tracey for just edging out  Don and Pat on a successful guess.
Big up's to the first person who can tell me where this image was snapped- and two thumbs up to those who can roughly approximate a time in History when it was captured.
Click on the image and submit a guess.
Good Luck.


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