Echonet Daily article - Ray Karam
Ray Karam A Ward Candidate and Ballina Mayoral Candidate
Number of years in shire/LGA: Nearly 10 years this time and I spent many of my childhood and teenage years in Ballina. My grandfather was born in and was a resident of Ballina as well. My Great Great Grandfather was actually Mayor of the old Ballina Municipality.
Current councillor? No
Clubs/sports/interests: On the board of the Ballina Chamber of Commerce and former president of the same.
Interests: People, children and parenting, business and anything community related.
Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’? No.
Brief description: I am a long time local businessman with strong links in community groups and projects. I hold a real care for people and what is going on for them and bring a vast life experience. I appreciate the work the Council and people have done in the Ballina area and look to continue and expand on this work with the community.
You can see more on www.raykaram.com.au
2 What has motivated you to stand? There appears to be a disconnection between the community and the Council and in fact Government in general. I am a man in the community that has a value in his ability to listen take action. I see it as the more people in the community you engage with, the better understanding you have of people and issues. I am not afraid of hard work and day-to-day I am speaking to the community as a part of my ‘busy businesses’. I am not looking to solve individual’s problems but rather work with the general community to direct what we collectively see. I am very passionate about Ballina Shire and care about everything and everyone in and around it.
3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? I will continue the great work that has been done in Ballina and support Ballina area to continue to grow with care and respect into the future. We need to encourage and foster a more balanced and open community involvement in the area; I favour a fair go for the silent majority. I’m particularly interested in preserving and extending the recreational and commercial use of one of our greatest assets, our beautiful river. I feel that most developments are turned away from our beautiful river where our river should the centrepiece.
4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? We need to be creative in this area but from what I understand much of the development responsibility has been taken from Local Government and is now handled by the State Government. I don’t support the notion of smaller house blocks with bigger houses. The focus needs to shift away from money alone and look to balance what best suits people to live in the area.
5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about? As I have mentioned we have such a wealth of water aspects around the Ballina area. I am supportive of an Ocean Pool but would love to see it done at Black Head and I would also love to see us open our CBD up with a Marina near Regatta Avenue and the creation of a mix of retail, café and office space incorporated with the existing Museum. These are just a few of the projects that will add colour and utility to our existing sound base.
6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? This is a question for the community. We need to widen and deepen community consultation. We collectively have the answer and just need to bring everyone together to see what that is and how that looks. This collective voice needs a spokesman to direct the State Government to implement our collective decision.