Why mayor will step down from top job
THE controversial Tweed mayor who picketed to stop a hospital from being built and feared bats and birds would fly into high-rises will step down this week.
Katie Milne says Thursday night's council meeting will be her last in charge, ending a colourful five-year stint.
While the Greens councillor has copped criticism for her leadership - notably from high-profile conservatives such as Alan Jones - she has also been applauded for acting as a voice for environmental and social reform.
Greens Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry is vying to replace Cr Milne, while Labor councillor Reece Byrnes is eyeing off the deputy role.
Cr Milne announced on Tuesday she would back Cr Cherry in her bid while she steps down to care for her ill mother.
The September local government elections have been pushed back a year due to COVID-19, but councillors will elect the mayor and deputy on Thursday for the next year.
"Cr Cherry has demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment to the Tweed community over the last four years and for many years prior to that in a voluntary role," Cr Milne said.
"I have felt extremely honoured to serve as the mayor of Tweed Shire for the last five years and worked hard to steer the council on a concerted path to sustainability, to give more weight to the input of the community, to recognise the importance of our internationally significant environment, and for more appropriate economic development.
"Cr Byrnes is keen on gaining experience in a leadership role as deputy mayor which will free me up to a certain extent to care for my mother who has had some serious health issues of late.
"I thank my fellow councillors for making this the most collegiate council in Tweed's history to my knowledge, to the community who has put their faith in me and to all the council staff for their enormous support."
Cr Milne's personal fight against the Tweed Valley Hospital being built on State Significant Farmland at Cudgen was not the only decision that raised eyebrows during her reign.
For instance, the council banned companies involved with Indian mining giant Adani, which was dubbed a "joke" by conservative colleagues.
Cr Milne was also a key figure in environmentally conscious Tweed's successful battle against water extraction, or water mining.
In December 2018, she revealed a key reason for her fight against tower housing in the Tweed: "The bird, bat, other flying wildlife and insects will strike the high-rise buildings."
Originally published as Why mayor will step down from top job