Welcome to this week’s editorial, Another topsy turvy week in politics. No doubt you have heard that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was ineligible to stand and that the High Court today ruled his election invalid and he will now face a by-election which is going to put the government's majority by one seat in jeopardy.
Politics at all levels needs to have the watchdogs and the scrutiny to ensure the rules are followed. At a local level this week we saw once again that there is a need for the watch dogs to keep watch over those who apparently call themselves public servants best representing the community. Turns out that they are pretty crap at doing it though because, under their watch 7000m2 of natural vegetation set aside for public reserve in the new Broulee subdivision has been clear felled and woodchipped. When presented with this news by the Broulee and Mossy Point Community Association President during Public Access the councillors all appeared to have no idea of the action. Obviously the council staff hadn’t told them. They know now and no doubt there will be questions but it is all too late. The deed is done, there probably won’t be any repercussions and the water will flow easily off their duckslick backs because they know there is little the community can do about it other than whine about the loss and come to terms with the fact that that they were basically manipulated by assurities given during public consultation to retain the vegetation corridors and buffers. Another interesting thing happened during that same Public Access session (that isn’t live screened). Leah Burke from the Save Albert Ryan Park appealed to the councillors to rescind their motion to demolish the public toilets on that reserve and instead to commit to refurbishing the reserve, its amenity and to cease its intent to reclassify the land and sell it to developers. She asked that it be added as an action to the Recreational Open Space Strategy where it had been conveniently overlooked. She advised Councillors clearly that the reserve belonged to the community and was NOT Councils to sell and that the public facilities and amenities on that reserve were well used and the community wanted them to remain. It was interesting to see that the Mayor invited Ms Burke and her committee to meet with Council staff to discuss the concerns and the issues raised yet minutes later failed to invite the Broulee Mossy Point President and the Broulee community to such a meeting where Council might explain to them how the %^$#$ they allowed 7000m2 of natural bushland to be clear felled under their watch. The double standard was noted. The meeting also offered another gem. In regards to the parking and access problems that will eventuate with the new Batemans Bay Bridge the councillors took the discussion to the retention of elements of the Old Bridge to be used by the community for as yet unknown purposes. Councillor Tait was adamant that “WE have agreed that the bridge will go” however Councillor Nathan and Mayne were equally adamant that irrespective of the opinion of three NSW State Ministers, Council staff and some Councillors the community HAD NOT been consulted. Just a reminder to Councillor Tait that he didn’t in fact agree to the bridge going—all he did was retrospectively rubberstamp a submission to the RMS drafted up by staff, that he had access to several days after it had been posted. Not even Councillor Tait had been consulted—no, he was TOLD—just like everyone else—in the end Tait lost his argument (and his credibility as a community representative) and the community will be consulted as to what they would like to see done with the old bridge. There have been suggestions of leaving a single span, maybe for pop up cafes on a weekend, a fishing platform, a viewing platform or as a place that showcases local history. If Tait and the others continue to forget why they stood for council and who they are meant to represent (no Jack, not the staff,...Your own community) then they may as well step down. Until next, lei