Charles Sturt made the below comments at the Ordinary Council Meeting 28 November 2017.
OUR INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY
Five years ago, I established an incorporated association called The Bay Push Inc. with the aim of improving the lives of families with a disability by establishing an inclusive playground at Corrigans Reserve, Batehaven.
I would like to express the thanks of my organisation to council staff and councillors who have supported our ideals and which of late led to the success of grants from the three levels of government totalling $846,000 as announced last week. This will finish the playground, and construct a changing place for mothers and carers, and will culminate in the largest inclusive playground in the shire at a cost more than $1.7M.
My organisation has a larger vision and that is to create an inclusive holiday destination at Batemans Bay and perhaps, promote the entire shire as an inclusive shire.
During the past month I have witnessed a shire that is anything but inclusive, and all over the design of a 'Gateway Site' that should promote our shire to the world.
Instead I have seen the two leading bodies whose aim is to support each other for a better community rip into each other. The entities to which I refer are the Council and the Bay Chamber.
There is genuine concern within the community that council is attempting to have its way by what I can only describe as 'wedge politics'.
No doubt there is fault on both sides, but from my experience with Sunset Advisory Committees, there is a predetermined outcome set by council and only lip service is paid to genuine community involvement. I ask that council seriously consider this issue that has also been raised by others.
I also note that the Batemans Bay Chamber has wishes to meet for informal discussions with key stakeholders to reach a community desired outcome. I urge the council and its staff to take up this offer and repair the damage caused to our community so we can get back to the role of supporting one another in an inclusive environment.