on anonymous officials …

The Beagle Editor, Your readers following the Merimbula development issue might be interested in our latest media release on anonymous officials …

The Bega Valley Shire Residenst & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) notes the comments attributed to an “anonymous” council official in response to its Media Release last month, wherein it raised concerns over the provision of 127 car parking spaces on the Woolworths supermarket site in Merimbula.

Amongst other things, council’s “anonymous” spokesperson confirmed that the requirement for the developer to provide the parking within 12 months of commencement of construction “has remained unchanged”.

Given that claim & given that the same “anonymous” spokesperson confirmed that the date construction commenced was February 3rd, 2017, the BVSRRA expected the required 127 car parking spaces to appear yesterday.

And given that they didn’t, perhaps the same “anonymous” council official could explain where they are & why council approved a modification to the Development Consent in November, 2016, which had the effect of “splitting” the development into two stages, with the delivery of the car spaces included in Stage 2, in particular as the Works Program subsequently provided by BVSC’s general manager to the association in October, 2017 revealed that the spaces would become available in August, 2018?

And perhaps the same helpful “anonymous” council official could explain how the further modification to the Development Consent allegedly approved in August, 2017 is still showing on council’s website as not having been approved; a fact confirmed by council staff after the association visited council’s offices in Zingel Place & asked for a copy of the amended Development Consent?

The BVSRRA also acknowledges the claim by the ever helpful “anonymous” council official that the 127 car parking spaces are not “public” spaces; a claim incidentally that no-one has made.

The requirement for the 127 spaces to be provided throughout the course of the development, either on-site or elsewhere in the town, recognised the reality that the 180 car spaces on the old RSL site were used as de facto public parking for many, many years after the RSL Club relocated to its current site & its members commenced using the public car park in Alice Street.

BVSC responsibly recognised that the loss of such a significant amount of parking in the town, on top of the fact that there was already a significant shortfall in public parking, would spell disaster for local businesses & the community.

The real issue here is not whether the 127 car parking spaces are “public” spaces or not, but rather whether the developer will be required to meet his obligation in accordance with the original Development Consent or whether that obligation will be varied yet again by BVSC to the detriment of the community.

And finally, unlike council, the association is always willing to provide the evidentiary basis for any claims of fact that it makes.

John Richardson


Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association