Welcome to this week’s editorial, Just over a year ago the Beagle was launched. It saw its role as being a free online community focussed newspaper that celebrated who WE are. Covering Arts, community, Cinema, News and Sports. The Beagle also saw its role in trying to turn around the US and THEM approach that the community has for Council and vice versa. Through Editorials, Opinion Pieces and Letters to the Editor over the last year we have seen a litany of errors exposed. Errors made by Council that are basically inexcusable. Sadly at the end of the first year for a new council that had much promise from the electioneering and promises that were spruiked nothing much has changed. They are still THEM and we are still US. If anything the divide as become more so. Presently there is a very public “war” raging between the Council and the community over the Batemans Bay pool and proposed Mackay Park aquatic/performance space. Mostly it is because of the word “consultation”. Council, with their Primary School dictionary appears to have a totally different definition to the one understood (and expected) by the community. Their dictionary, being very tiny with one-liners offers correctly “a meeting with an expert such as a doctor” and that is what they seem to do—often. They like consultants. On each and all processes of Local Government there is a box that needs a BIG TICK to say they have “consulted”. This box has to be ticked in order for THEM to meet their Key Performance Indicators.
But getting a Tick the proper way—by really consulting with the community, but being open and truthful and transparent and inclusive is hard work and as everyone knows the public are a pain in the ar$e to deal with as they have such differing opinions. It is much easier to feign consultation, orchestrate inclusiveness, pretend at empathy and then Tick The Box and continue do what YOU know best because you’re the EXPERT and WE are the masses who will just go along with whatever WE are given because WE are usually apathetic to politics and make little effort to actively engage. Well these are new days for THEM and the community is beginning to see that WE have been left out of the decision making process in a host of issues where Council chose to do what it liked and nearly got away with it. Council wanted to sell off two local parks and were discovered. The community rose and said NO . Unfortunately this has seen the Council further sullied and the Mackay Park issue amplifies the divide further. The mistrust that WE, the community, have of THEM plays an active role in our relationship with THEM and they in turn don’t trust US. Their’s is a kingdom of policies and paperwork, of guaranteed wages, of knowing best and doing things THEIR way; however the community is beginning to find it’s voice and beginning to open the can and expose the worms, the egos, the distain and the ineptitudes. While it is acknowledged that there are only a handful of Council who are actually qualify as THEM they are doing the whole of Council and the community a massive disservice. Until next, lei