PETER WESTHEIMER Candidate for Byron Shire Council

27 March 04

*Byron Shire Council





PETER WESTHEIMER      POLICY DETAILS  for Byron Shire Election 2004     18/2/2004 




  • Aiming for an effective, resilient, positive and financially viable council.
  • Cooperate and communicate with council, individuals & community stakeholders.
  • Will vote for issues on their merit with balance, perspective and firmness. 
  •  Constructive social, environmental and economic goals shire wide.


  • Through a Biodiversity plan, council and the community will be setting up a  planning framework ensuring protection and enhancement of our natural environment into the future.
  • Creating environmental protection zones and wildlife corridors through a biodiversity strategy will go a long way towards protecting our land,  rivers and estuaries from further degradation and poorly planned development eg. at present some forest remnant areas  are still under general zoning eg 1(a) rural with no recognition of ecological values.
  • Management Agreements or Property native vegetation management plans could be linked to consent conditions for a Development application.
  • An annual  biodiversity levy of $30 a year would give support and assistance  to landholders .
  • Council field officers could advise on weed control, native plant identification,  bush regeneration and revegetation techniques, and fencing off creeks and remnant  habitats. Fears could be allayed by landholders being helped in preparing a native vegetation management plan. Supporting mechanisms could also include rate rebates, grants and other financial incentives linked to conservation agreements. Revolving fund mechanisms where land is bought and then resold with added environmental protection could be considered.

Covenanted land may  ultimately restrict certain activities on these properties yet on the other hand it will make them more desirable for organic and sustainable farming as well as lifestyle.

There is a lot of grant funding available that council should be tapping into. We need to invite skilled people to identify opportunities and do the applications on the basis of remuneration if the grant is successful. This can also apply to arts and community project grants as well !

  • Council to set up at least 3 regeneration teams  one each  for the coast, the rivers and the hinterland.
  • We have a great biodiversity foundation to build on, many pressures, a small rate base, lots of visitors who love the place, and a community with a passionate commitment to its natural resources.


  • Protect and enhance our natural environment.
  • Implement the Biodiversity & Sustainable Agriculture strategies.
  • Minimise sewerage treatment & stormwater discharges into rivers and estuaries.
  • Planned retreat as the key way to address coastal erosion.
  • Significant land repair and minimal ecological footprints as the basis for sustainable planning.
  • Local approvals dept . in council to employ an ecologist.
  • It's pretty basic really. Healthy ecosystems are essential to human survival. Our current LEP[1988], old but still important and mostly relevant, is underpinned by the  'Greenprint for a Sustainable future' - functioning and viable ecosystems as a basis for economic and social development [this is a local government obligation].
  • Heritage park in Mullumbimby to be reclassified as a botanical Garden for the shire dedicated to local and threatened species. Maintenance of this area to consequently receive higher priority.
  • Implement renewable energy initiatives and a dark skies initiative.



  • Promote economic activity in harmony with ecological and social objectives .  
  • Promote the shire's locally owned businesses, farms and creative industries.
  • Council to focus on future  economic strategies with new, sound and innovative management proposals and ideas.
  • Financial and asset management transparency.
  • Integrating regional strategies and local knowledge with enterprise development.
  • Consider joint venture partnerships between council, businesses and the community.



  • Improved traffic &  parking management, walking paths, cycle ways, parks and community facilities.
  • A Tourism management plan with tourists paying for infrastructure maintenance/repair and developers contributing more via a new section 94 plan.
  • Lobby NSW government for infrastructure and planning support.
  • All development to consider population capacity and protection of natural resources.
  • Amend clause 68 of the North Coast Regional Environment plan[REP] by deleting Byron Bay as a prime tourist development areas.
  • Prioritise funding for improved traffic and parking management, organic waste collection, upgrading  parks and public spaces , road improvements and community facilities.
  • An Organic Waste collection to link up with Lismore Council's worm farm.
  • Support for the South Golden Beach Helen St. footbridge and in Mullumbimby  a footbridge link to the Pine Avenue area and extending the Riverside park walking track and recreational area from behind the Post Office to the swimming pool park.
  • Planning and local approvals system needs to be made more efficient  and possibly audited.
  • Economic planning and strategic planning need to be given higher priority.
  • Discrete parking coupon machines eg one per 20 cars or so will work better than coupons bought from shops.
  • If elected I would bring a bed Tax back on the agenda and rename it the Council Tourism Surcharge. I would pursue the state government to consider a bed Tax for Byron Council as  a special one off. They did it for the Sydney Olympics to help themselves!!



  • Create park and ride areas at both entries into Byron Bay with shuttle transport and a town centre bypass.
  • Lobby the NSW Government to view the Northern Rivers as a distinct area deserving it's own regional rail network in addition to XPT services to Sydney.
  • A quality local commuter/tourist train service with links to schools, universities & TAFE colleges, hospitals & clinics, and recreational/social facilities .
  •  Innovative, flexible and affordable local transport services especially for youth and senior residents.
  • Link planning and development with affordable housing and transport solutions.
  • Establish a  council transport advisory committee. Local Government can play a key role in facilitating public transport by the provision of information on services, awareness raising activities.
  • We need to ensure our towns and roads don't all become congested and  socially dysfunctional.

·        Present bus services are inadequate with large buses often near empty servicing very select routes every 1-2 hours. I  suggest a new service of mini buses,  solar or battery  powered preferably, [both very quiet], every 10 minutes from fringe parking areas into the town centre linking in with the lighthouse, the Pass etc. This will encourage people to park cars outside town in designated car parks.

·        Dept.  of Transport needs to undertake more local and regional planning as well as facilitation of more coordination between transport users, health and other community service providers, other agencies (Dept. Employment, Education and Training), local councils and regional government organizations and, local and regional transport providers.



  • I seek to be a strong voice on council for culture and the arts.
  • The cultural resources of this Shire are vast. They stimulate employment opportunities and quality of life outcomes, critical to Byron’s future sustainability.
  • Committed to youth support programs-community mentoring, engaging young people in the development of Byron Shire and facilitation of a youth Commitment Development Officer.
  •  Improved community & sporting facilities.
  • Implement a cultural plan, public art levy, and the new Byron Bay library.
  • Byron shire as a creative community embracing film, music, visual arts, writing, health, fitness, aboriginal heritage, farming, and original & alternative ideas etc.
  • Creative planning & design for buildings, public spaces, and land use.
  • Architects and developers to apply quality design and environmental criteria in new works. A developers levy to fund public artwork - already in place elsewhere. Cultural development includes urban and  rural landscape design, recreational places, and importantly but often overlooked  local council planning and development controls. It also involves the arts, cultural programmes, aboriginal heritage, community services and facilities.
  • Initiate more public art in Byron shire as part of improving the attractiveness and amenity of the town centre. With more artists per head of population than any other local government area of NSW, it is highly desirable that Byron better utilize its creative human resources to work on public sites, playgrounds, meeting places, parks, lookouts, streets and plazas bringing design elements to seats, tables, lighting etc.
  • Council to support professional grant applications on it's behalf with applicants receiving a percentage e.g. 10 % if successful.
  • Support for Aboriginal cultural/interpretive centre.
  • Arts and cultural activities to  include addressing specific social problems eg. unemployment, alienation, vandalism, graffiti. Negotiate for public space in commercial developments.
  • Facilitate the provision of work spaces for artists, local groups and business incubator programs.
  • Support for expansion & upgrading of cultural and entertainment activities/facilities/information.
  • Create partnerships between council, business and  the general community to develop art and cultural projects .



  • I believe in maximised use of renewable resources, energy efficiency, sustainable design, healthy buildings and materials, ecologically and socially sensitive land use, reduced dependency on motor vehicles and decentralized economic activity.
  • Sustainability is about intergenerational equity i.e. making sure that future generations inherit an abundant, healthy place to live in.
  • Support  for a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy. This can contribute positively to the lives of rural communities  by protecting the biological and physical resource base on which they depend. Byron Shire to be GM free.
  • Encourage worm farms, green and organic waste collections, farmers markets.



  • Build the Helen Street footbridge.
  • Community centre embellishment [OS], improved footpaths, walkways and cycle ways, street landscaping, land acquisition, beach Skimming, flood mitigation , sports field solutions.
  • RTA to be lobbied regarding strict noise reduction measures for  the new freeway.


 a.  levy developers contributions [ EPA act amendment 2000] and new S.94  plans with higher developer contributions.

 b.    council initiatives could  include cycle ways , council fees reduction/waiver, shared living and working initiatives eg. warehouse/industry and arts estate spaces for small business, artists and crafts people.

c. Public Housing Policies [2 tier i.e. State govmt. / Fed. govmt. funding], Nth Coast cooperative housing group [private]---- 300 houses in existing pool.



  • Planned retreat as the key way of dealing with coastal erosion.
  • Preserve beaches, protect and rehabilitate existing sand dunes.
  • Retaining, strengthening and enforcing the requirements of Part J - Coastal Erosion Lands of Byron DCP1 for planned retreat and incorporating this into the LEP.
  • Changing the zone table for 7F(2) lands to ensure no intensification of development;

Including in Section 149 certificates a clear statement regarding the policy of planned retreat for all properties in the 7F(1) and 7F(2) zones.

  • Advocating the State Government consider providing financial assistance to people who bought and developed their land prior to 1988.
  • Rejecting the options of large scale development at Belongil and rock walls.



  • Suggest that future community title developments be based on the theme of biodiversity enhancement and ecological repair. Higher s.94 contributions to go towards roads, public transport, community facilities and ecological restoration. Revival of Local Area Management plans [LAMPS].


  • Integrate consideration of resource and energy efficiency, healthy buildings and materials, ecologically and socially sensitive land use, and aesthetics.
  • Sustainable design can significantly reduce adverse human impact on the natural environment while simultaneously improving quality of life and economic well being.


  • Protection and enhancement of our natural resources.
  • Trying to communicate effectively and efficiently to get messages and information across.
  • Playing a part in making council a positive initiator of change.
  • Promote social capital and trust through community involvement in decision making and a high level of voluntary association - so that our environmental ,social and economic goals are shared.


Increased cooperation and resource and infrastructure sharing with surrounding councils. e.g. waste management, plant equipment, human resources,  regional transport initiatives


 Progress their plans of management and encourage the community to investigate the localities they're interested in via the Byron Shire Register. Explore better usage options.