The Council Public Access of Tuesday March 1st 2022 revealed more than the four presentations to Councillors.
The monthly session hosted by Eurobodalla Councillors via Zoom invites members of the public to make a seven minute representation on their chosen subject that has relevance to Council.
Today there were four presenters.
Andrew Bain of the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association spoke of the divide that exists between the development process of land and the vision that was once held for the sleepy, treed coastal hamlet that Broulee once was.
His concerns were not only for his own community that has now expanded to the south west with clear felling of forest to make way from cheek-by-jowl housing. Mr Bain's presentation drew a spot light on the future development of the "Nature Coast" that will be delivering the very type of housing that one would find in the bland, hot, poorly considered urban landscapes metropolitan newcomers are leaving in order to improve the quality of their lives.
Mr Bain was looking for a solution. A solution that the new councillors might be able to develop that acknowledged the planning requirements and constraints but also paid respect to inclusion of the wider community who suffer vicariously at the hand of razed earth developments.
The next speaker was Deb Stevenson presenting on behalf of the Moruya ByPass Action Group. The presentation was to bring to the surface the continued failure of Transport NSW to engage with the community.
Ms Stevenson said "There have only been 2 agenda items since the March 2019 announcement of this project and our most recent correspondence from Council, (following our Public Forum presentation in June 2021) was in November 2021, and indicated that T4NSW had still not responded to a letter from Council in July last year, which was initiated in part by our group."
In questions Clr Anthony Mayne made reference to a Notice of Motion that the previous term of Council voted on:
It was more than disappointing to learn that Transport for NSW had not bothered answering this formal letter from the Council.
The fact went hand in hand with the rest of the presentation that gave evidence of the quality of the community engagement to date on the project.
The next issue brought to the Public Access session was the proposed Dalmeny subdivision and the sale of Council land. The presentation brought to the surface a range of questions that Council will now need to respond to if their intent to be "open and transparent" was to be more than a Vote-for-me mantra.
There may well be resistance in gaining answers to some of the questions based on the body language and facial expressions of the General Manager as the presentation was delivered.
Following on from the previous speakers and leading to the next it was becoming clear that the community had, and continues to be isolated from timely and crucial information as the juggernaut of bureaucratic decision makers press ahead with their own agendas and visions and leave the community in their wake.
Such was the presentation of the last speaker for the day, Giovanna Hounsell, of Broulee who reminded the councillors of the Broulee of old, the village that had trees, wildlife and the very charm that drew residents to the area for a better life, where retained environment played as much of a role in urban design as the roads and drainage.
Each of the presenters made their presentations available by Monday at Noon as required to give the councillors time to read, digest and then form intelligent questions of the speakers beyond the presentation notes.
Today we say Anthony Mayne, Amber Schutz, Tanya Dannock and Alison Worthington raise questions that segued and opened up each presentation with informed responses.
It will be interesting to see how Council answer the many questions asked today, as is their policy, and what followup actions will come of the presentations that might see a new councillor asking "why are we hanging on to old ways?" and "where is the vision?"
The lack of questions by the other councillors today was more than telling. No doubt, as time will tell, we will begin to see who the active councillors are and who is there for the ride.