February 27th saw a packed house for the Ordinary Council meeting with fifteen public speakers for the Public Forum at the formal meeting and two for the Public Access that begins earlier at 9:30
Public Access is allowed for half an hour prior to a normal Council meeting where a member of the Public can go in and address the Councillors on any council related matter that is NOT on the agenda. The Public Access speakers to the Council meeting were: John Mobbs addressing the Council on the recent Public Forum held in Batemans Bay You can read John's presentation HERE Of interest was the response that John Mobbs received for Councillor Mayne who ventured: "I sit on the Sunset Committee and informed disagreement is part of that process. "We have a vacancy and would one of your members (Save the 50m pool) be intrested in that position Councillor Mayne was bought to an immediate halt saying it had been agreed there was no position and that had been determined to which he then reminded Brown, Innes and the GM that the resolution in December was to replace the position "at this time" and now was "another time". He also asked Mr Mobbs "Where is the gap in the information?" "How, and What, ids the opportunity to redress that?" to which Mr Mobbs replied that the two key reports that had been requested have been "stonewalled" Russel Schneider addressing Council on Surfside planning issues around Sea level Rise. You can read Russel's presentation HERE The Mayor responded by saying that Council stands to look at all options and was willing to work with the community and did NOT have a planned retreat statement and that landowners in the area have always had the option to come up with an engineering solution. "Currently we DO NOT have a retreat statement" Liz Innes 27th Feb 2018 Council's Ordinary Council meeting Feb 27th 2018 Around 10:10 am the meeting proper began as did the presentations by 15 well informed and elequent public speakers who were all generally of the same opinion that Council had failed in its communication of the Recreational Open Space Strategy and, in general, needed to do some serious work on rebuilding the community's trust. Before we move on to the presenters and the outcome of the day's meeting it was noted that one-time Councillor Milton Leslight was in the gallery as an observer. what has been normal practice for many years is that when an ex-councillor makes a visit to a Council meeting they are acknowledged as being present. In recent times this respect has been extended to ex-councillors and a past mayor. But not today. It is widely known that there are those in the current chamber who might not like ex-councillor Leslight however one would expect that protocol demands recognition of all ex-councillors, irrespective of favour. One by One the public forum speakers took their turn to address Council. For two hours and twenty minutes, only halted by a much need pee break around half time. Diane Brooks of Long Beach presented very well on the Trial of an Off Leash area for the Long Beach community and by her presentation overturned the staff recommendation to terminate the Trial. The proposed trial of 'dogs on Long Beach.' having 24 hour access off leash on the western end of the beach will go ahead. You can read Diane's presentation HERE Ross Hayward - representing the Broulee Association presented on the proposed Master Plan of Gundary Sporting precinct and reiterated the Broulee communities dismay at and distrust of Council that is centred around the clear felling of 7000 sq m of remnant Bangalay Forest - you can read Ross' presentation HERE Dale Inabinet - Submission to Eurobodalla Shire Council re. Action N6 to rationalise Lot 84, DP 259212 South Durras - you can read Dale's presentation HERE Councillor Mayne asked an interesting Question regarding Council selling off blocks of land. "Why are we selling these blocks?" (There are three earmarked in the ROSS for sale - Sth Durras, Malua Bay and Broulee) The response was that Council identifies appropriate pieces of land for sale and that the proceeds of the sales are "ring fenced" to reinvest into recreation infrastructure. What wasn't revealed in this response was whether the money "ring fenced" remains in the community where the land once used by the community was "stolen". An example of this is that a parcel of land, once gifted to the Tuross Head community as Public Reserve was deemed to be "under utilised" by the public and is now for sale for over $500,000 - will that money remain in Tuross Head to be spent on NEW infrastructure or directed into the BIG BUCKET that is focused on regional playgrounds and facilities which forces small communities such as Tuross Head, Sth Durras, Malua Bay and Broulee, to drive to BBay, Moruya or Narooma. Owen Cartledge presented on Behalf of Trish Hellier on the subject of Albert Ryan Park and Rotary Park in Batemans Bay - you can read Trish's presentation HERE Narooma Men’s Shed president Wal Sheehan presented well, outlining the fact that the rent on their shed in Glass House Rocks Road will be going up and as such will be unaffordable. He petitioned the Council for assistance in finding a new location for the Shed as it was critical to secure a location before the group can begin to lobby for grant funding to construct a new building. You can read Wal's presentation HERE Mr Fisher of Mossy Point presented his concerns that the Mossy Point Lookout was actually no longer much of a lookout at all and he sought Council's consideration of allowing three "windows" to be maintained that would return the views the point once had of the south. Mirabel FitzGerald of Guerilla Bay gave a very well informed presentation about Burrawarra Point and the concerns that the community have for any work in the area. She was given an undertaking that the Council will include the community in all discussions regarding any work proposed on the Burrawarra Point. You can read Mirabel's presentation HERE John Low of Dalmeny present his case for seating at NATA Oval in Narooma. He voiced concerns about the electricity box and also suggested the instation of a water fountain. You can read John's presentation HERE Shirley Noy of Broulee spoke on the proposed land sale of a community reserve at 9 Moir Place, Broullee advising the Councillors that at that time of their purchase of adjacent land we were assured by Ian that the land would be used for the community as he had to gift the land to the Eurobodalla Shire for recreation purposes as part of his development of that area. She told the councillors that for thirty years Eurobodalla Shire have never maintained the land in question. "This has been done by community minded locals who have considered it their duty and who take great pride in their community." You can read Shirley's presentation HERE
Lei Parker of Tuross Head addressed the Councillors on two legal anomalies that needed to be attended to prior to Council adopting the report and Councillor Rob Pollock ensured that these changes were made by way of an amended motion. You can read Lei's presentation HERE All in all it was an extraordinary Council meeting that saw the return of the community to the Public Gallery and to passionately present to Councillors. Though the Council were continually put on notice that their consultation was poor and they took it on the chin. There was a general statement made regarding the process of how Council engaged with the community making reference to notifications in the paper, posts on Facebook, media releases on their website and emails to community groups but what was apparent, from one speaker to the next, was that this type of communication just wasn't working. Comments during pee break from around the room were "I don't buy a paper", I don't have Facebook". "I have Facebook but I am not friends with the Council, just with my family", "I don't go to the Council website", "I'm not a member of the Association" A possible question for Councillors from the day.... "Exactly how effective are your communications with the community if one speaker after another comes in and tells you that your communication is poor ?" The councillors were however attentive to the presenters and, even after 2 long but very informative hours of listening, did show the same respect to the final speakers as they did the first. It was however noted that the ex-mayor was mumbling to himself from time to time during Public Forum, obviously wanting to call points of order when, in his opinion, a speaker was repeating themselves or had "wandered off the subject" however he belligerently sat through it all keeping his hands away from his devices as he has a propensity to do, waiting for the opportunity for the meeting proper to begin, following Public Forum, so he could once again pontificate with his fond memories of what he achieved "Back in the day". Another good day fro democracy.