Trish Hellier For and on behalf of the group Save Albert Ryan Park and Eurobodalla Concerned Citizens PUBLIC ACCESS 26th FEBRUARY 2019.
Thank you Mayor, following on from my presentation to Council on the 23rd October 2018 in relation to $61,400 being allocated to stairs at Albert Ryan Park and my pursuit in relation to head stones in the vicinity of the staircase at the Peak I was contacted by a very pleasant employee of Council and we had a discussion in relation to other options, this employee stated that he intended to do an inspection of the area , I asked that when he was going to do this inspection I would be happy to meet him at the location and we agreed that he would contact me again.
More recently I dumped into a person who is involved with the Historical Society in Batemans Bay and I asked if she was aware of headstone at the Peak above Albert Ryan Park, I was informed that council had received a grant to employee a contractor who was in the process of categorizing Cemetery’s in the Eurobodalla and she told me to ring Council and leave a message for this contractor to call me.
A couple of weeks ago I rang council and asked for the Contractor and the girl at reception was very pleasant but was unfamiliar with this person , she then transfer me to a section in Council that she thought might be able to help, I then spoke to another very pleasant person and she was also not familiar with this contractor, she said that she would transfer the call to a staff person in Council that should be able to help me.
The call was switched through and the call was answered by a voice that could only have been described as very gruff and unwelcoming, the person who answered the transferred call did not identify themselves, I then asked if this was the person I was asked to speak to from the previous staff person (whom by the way was familiar to me) the reply I received again was in a very unfriendly tone “Who is this, this has come through as an internal call” I again asked if this was that person and I relayed the fact that I had been transferred from within the council and I wanted to either speak to or leave a message for the contractor “ Again I was asked who it was and I replied ‘Trish Hellier’, I was then questioned as to why I wanted to speak to the contractor and what was this about and I said I had spoken to a person from the Historical Society and that this person had given me the name of the contractor to speak to, I was then again questioned by this staff person if a gruff tone “What is this about” and I replied “It is in relation a cemetery and some headstone I believe were located at the Peak above Albert Ryan Park”, to my horror the reply in a very gruff voice was “What evidence do you have” WELL Councillors and General Manager my reply was “I have called council to speak to a contractor and you are asking me to provide evidence especially given you are quite aware it was our group Save Albert Ryan Park that provided the evidence to Council that they did not own this Park, all I am doing is seeking to speak to this contractor employed by Council and you want me to provide evidence”.
The employee then went on and asked me if I knew a particular resident of this shire and stated words to the affect “This resident does her own research” WELL General Manager I have to say I believe this staff person is obvious lacking in people skills and the conversation took me back to some bad experiences I had encountered in previous years in my dealings with this council. The conversation finished off with me asking when might this Consultant be visiting the shire and I was informed “In a few weeks.
Since that conversation I have taken the opportunity to speak to some long term residents of this shire and I was told that some of the headstones that were located above Albert Ryan Park in the area of the Peak were relocated to the Anglican Church in Herade Street Batemans Bay . In visiting the Church I found these headstone some dating back to late 1800s I did take some photos but unfortunately I had difficulty in printing them.
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Last week I visited the Batemans Bay Museum and there is a Eurobodalla Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Study Public Report which has information provided by many locals I found a section which states the following “ The Batemans Bay Protestant Cemetery was the first cemetery in Batemans Bay and is located above Ryan’s Park, Batemans Bay. Ruth (Chapman) Thomas is buried there as is Georgina’s younger brother who died at birth, (Georgina’s father carried the 14 pound baby to the cemetery in a box , that information was provided by (Georgina Parsons 15.`1.2005) copies attached.
Councilor’s more recently I have also engaged with Council by correspondence in relation to the picnic tables both north and south of the Batemans Bay Bridge and the possibility of these tables being relocated to Albert Ryan Park. These 4 tables have now been removed and I have received correspondence to say that they are in storage. The public toilets across from the Reef Motel are to be demolished, I have previously pointed out that Albert Ryan Park will be the first park on Beach Road that will be providing public toilet facilities. In a meeting at the Library in 2017 Mr. Warren Sharpe told our group that these picnic tables cost $30,000 each, now these tables that are now in storage maybe seen as “council assets” the facts are Batemans Bay is going to be seen as a construction site for a number of year , Councilor surely commonsense should prevail and there is a need for further picnic tables to be provided how can Council justify the storage of picnic tables that cost in total $120,000 and how much is it costing to store them?
At a previous meeting in answer to a question from the Mayor Director Arthur stated that the “walk over that was promised for Albert Ryan Park would be in 2 years time and that will take it past this term of you the Councilors, Councilors this is not good enough, things happen if people want it to happen just look at the progress of our new bridge.
MAYOR and COUNCILLORS do you really want to see further conflict in this shire aren’t we seeing enough unrest , today in my folder I have a prepared petition that has been typed to have these picnic tables that are in storage relocated to Albert Ryan Park .
MAYOR AND COUNCILLORS I am leaving this in your hands we have approximately only 7 weeks to Easter now it is up to you.