Council Election, Saturday 10th September.

Chemical Free Byron Shire

Despite a courageous announcement by Mayor Richardson that the Shire will be chemical free in five years, there appears little has moved forward since it was announced in November 2013. Yet there is steam-weeding taking place now in children’s playgrounds and most Council-managed sports fields. Is this an area of interest to you and, if so, how will you facilitate Council moving towards this goal?

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Recently Council supported my ‘small steps to healthier roadside vegetation’ initiative to actively replace weeds with self-sustaining native vegetation on rural roads, which will reduce chemical use as native plantings expand. Supporting residents and community groups who do this already is key to the program.

Group B – The Greens

Yes and we will continue to increase steam-weeding to replace the use of chemicals.

Group C – Country Labor

Yes, I believe where it is possible and effective steam-weeding should be pursued by Council.

Group D – The Middle Ground

While I recognise the mayor’s work on this issue, he has had eight years and a green majority in the previous term to progress it, in which little was done.  His past council actually approved aerial spraying of our dunes and beaches with glyphosate until I lobbied to have it halted.  Without my support this term and the unanimous support of all councillors, progress would not have been made. There is still much to do and I will be pressing to secure not only a chemical-free council but a chemical-free shire. This is the very reason I put my hand up for council four years ago and a strong motivation to run for mayor this coming election.

Group E – James Wright

Yes, it is. It is only common sense to progress the removal of destructive and harmful agents like these from our immediate environment. With only a limited understanding of the current initiative, I propose the combined use of GIS systems and soil analysis to determine the areas that are putting water and food-producing areas of the shire at the greatest risk from run-off and those public spaces at risk of direct exposure. These stats should identify the areas most needing immediate attention and change. From these a further wind-down process can be scheduled and indeed carried out toward this courageous goal.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I would support any attempts by council to look at chemical-free weed control. It must begin with ourselves first on our own land though.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Any attempt to reduce the chemicals used in daily life should be encouraged; however, the reality is that they will always be needed in some form. Steam-weeding in playgrounds, sportsfields and public spaces is a good start; however, how are macadamia farms going to be insecticide free? We need to be realistic with some of these initiatives and not use them as political point-scoring mechanisms.

Group H – Community Byron

I would encourage chemical-free weed maintenance but I’m no expert in this area. I imagine it is a big job and will take a lot of personnel and time to achieve. 

Independent – George Graham


Independent – Matthew Hartley

Actually I recall Richard Staples pushing this idea in the 90s, and I supported it then. Unlike Simon, I believe in a methodical process where you examine, step by step, where chemicals are used, then seek alternatives. Next you test, evaluate, and decide if an alternative is effective.  It needs a week-in, week-out steady process.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

It is of interest to me as I myself am clearing grass on steep slopes to continue planting Big Scrub rainforest species on my property.

From the Echo.

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