Happy 2017 from our mayors
The Northern Star invited the region's five mayors to reflect on the past year and to share wishes and resolutions for their shires for the year to come.
Lismore City Council: fulfilling big requests
Mayor Isaac Smith is looking forward to delivering on some of the biggest requests from the community.
First up, he said, is Lismore Regional Park.
"[It will be] a great asset and something that will draw in people from around the region," he said.
Lismore will continue its move towards a more sustainable city, said the mayor, with solar farms and growing energy independence.
"The third [request] I'd say would be looking at asset maintenance - our roads, making sure we put more money into roads," said Cr Smith.
He said he also had his own New Year's resolution: to get fit ahead of the Samson Challenge in March.
Looking back at 2016 he said gaining the confidence of the community and becoming mayor was of course the single biggest highlight but he was also proud council could "help the community" with some delivered promises.
"The paid parking issue, delivering on the art gallery ... these things are important to the community."
Ballina Council: water wishes
A number of big projects will come to fruition in 2017 making the upcoming year an exciting one for the Ballina Shire, said Mayor David Wright.
Revamping the Ballina and Alstonville swimming pools, finishing the Coastal Pathways project and constructing a new boat storage unit for the Ballina Surf Lifesaving Club are included in big plans for the council next year.
Connecting parts of the shire to recycled water was a big highlight for council in 2016, said Cr Wright, with more areas to be linked up over the next year.
Cr Wright said residents have a lot to look forward to in 2017 with a bumper summer holiday season a welcome introduction to the year ahead.
He wished all residents a "happy and safe 2017", urging visitors and locals to take care on our roads and beaches during the holiday period.
Richmond Valley Council: cattle sale yard "number one priority"
"It's been a change in Richmond Valley Council," said Mayor Robert Mustow, reflecting on 2016.
"We've had a new general manager appointed and a new council with five existing councillors re-elected, two new ones and a change in mayor."
Cr Mustow said he was proud of the previous council's "positive end of term report".
"Now we're in the process of doing our new community strategic plan," he said, "that has to be publicly advertised by June 31".
"We've been to all the towns and villages - Broadwater, Coraki, Woodburn, Rappville, Evans Head and Casino - and had meetings with the public on what they'd like to see the council achieve, plus we've done phone surveys and a questionnaire."
He said results from surveys would be finalised in late Feb and early March.
"We got a pretty good response," he said, "[so far it look like] core services of council were raised."
"Naturally not everything can be achieved, we have to live by our budget [but] our number one priority is the upgrade to the livestock sale yards."
Cr Mustow said he hoped the $7 million upgrades would be finalised by end of next year and all cattle farmers in the shire would use the yard.
"I wish everyone all the best for the new year, I hope it's a prosperous one and if anyone is travelling in the holiday period please return to us safely."
Kyogole Council: "mutual respect"
Challenges and opportunities were abundant in 2016 and there will more in 2017, said Mayor Danielle Mulholland.
"However, Kyogle [has] a strong visionary council and I look forward to what we can achieve over the next 12 months," she said.
"I'd like people in the new year to stay safe, be kind to each other and reach other to each in mutual respect."
Byron Shire Council: "enjoy the ride!"
"In Byron Shire, 2016 was a year of renewal where [a] progressive, engaged and active community spirit once more burst forth at the local elections to restore a councillor body that reflected its values and aspirations," said Mayor Simon Richardson.
"I dearly hope 2017 will be a year of partnerships: between the community and council and between the various levels of government.
"I wish [for] 2017 [to] unlock support for Byron Shire's challenges of housing affordability and public transport and [to] see the state government ask regional tourism places how they can help us manage the impacts of tourism in order for our community to thrive and visitors to keep enjoying being here.
"Lastly, I hope 2017 is the year our community and council connect and work together to get great things done.
"Let's acknowledge, value and celebrate what we have, and embrace the challenges before us. Let's take risks on each other, seek ways to get to 'Yes' and enjoy the ride!"