Plenty to complain about in Byron

BYRON Shire Council has made the shame list of 27 most complained about councils, coming in at number 12.

The number of complaints jumped to 22 from 14 the previous year.

Byron mayor Jan Barham did not return calls by The Northern Star yesterday and the report by the Department of Local Government did not detail specific complaints.

Across the state most residents were annoyed by planning and development issues, governance, misconduct and enforcement.

However, Byron Shire was not the only Northern Rivers council to make the list, with Tweed Shire Council faring worse - ranked the third most complained about local government

A raft of grievances, many of which relate to The Point development at Hastings Point and the Repco Rally Australia, earned the council 40 complaints.

This is down from 73 complaints in the 2007/08 year.

Tweed mayor Warren Polglase said he was not surprised by the findings.

“I’m not concerned about it at all,” he said.

“They are probably the same group of people who filed complaints about both events.”

Cr Polglase said it is important to look beyond any inconveniences caused by council-approved developments. “900,000 people live here and 40 complaints is nothing.”

Local Government Minister Barbara Perry said 1200 complaints were received during the 2008/09 financial year.

“It’s very concerning that such a relatively small number of councils account for more than half of the 1200 complaints received,” she said.

“We know that most councils do a good job but they need to remember at all times to work in the interests of their community.

“It’s also important to recognise that while there are a minority of councils that continue to receive large amounts of criticisms, the number of complaints against councils overall is down on last year.”

Shoalhaven, Gosford, Ku-ring-gai, Sydney, Wollongong, Mid-Western, Wyong, Bega and Shellharbour councils made up the remainder of the top 10.

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