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Council fails in Zoom 101

The less than Ordinary meeting of Eurobodalla Council saw a less than ordinary display of Zoom at work. Vision dropped in and out, voices crackled, and the public once again enjoyed the failure of most of the councillors to sit up, present themselves in a professional way to the camera and actually follow the Meeting Code by addressing each other formally, as required. Instead we saw the Mayor dropping in and out from her home in rural Runnyford. It is not known why she doesn't anticipate the continued poor reception and take advantage of her ratepayer provided Mayoral Car and petrol to drive to a convenient point and use her ratepayer provided phone as a hotspot to log in on a strong signal with her ratepayer provided iPad. Today showed a classic example of the flexibility of Council meetings being Zoomed when Clr Jack Tait excused himself from his home office and took viewers of the Council meeting on a cross-town drive while still listening to debate, voting on motions and remaining mostly on camera while driving so we could look up his nose. Now there is dedication. Illegal dedication but none of his peers advised him otherwise so he continued to be present. The Public Forum and less than Ordinary meeting were conducted by Deputy Mayor Rob Pollock, attempting to do his best to wade through the shambles of technology that will hopefully be replaced with a return to the Council chambers. The question could be asked as to why the less than Ordinary meeting was not held in Council Chambers given that NSW is now open with certain restrictions. Do we have some non-vaxers amoung our Councllors. With one of them recently showing support of ivermectin anything is possible. The terrific outcome today was for the people of Broulee who have finally seen Council come to their senses that they were on the wrong side of the community determination to see The Triangle retained and not sold for development. Andrew Bain, representing the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association presented a solid case for Council to move to formalising a decision it made in 2003. The decision to categorise the land as Community that will allow the community vision for this "Gateway" to Broulee to move ahead. The Mayor has often spoken of the new Batemans Bay pool structure as a "Gateway" project and rolls out the overused "moving ahead" phrase with fluidity but today the Broulee community actually had a win to move ahead with their Gateway vision of a park that welcomes visitors to Modern Broulee while, with the use of story boards, celebrates the rich history of Broulee and the immediate area along with the vegetation and wildlife. You can read Andrew Bain's presentation HERE After 3.5 years the Council today also made a decision on the gate across Coopers Island Road. In watching the meeting the single thing that was evident was that none of the Councillors had bothered to fully inform themselves of the agenda, of what was written and of what the law required. At the end of the day it is still uncertain as to exactly what they voted on other than that the gate shall remain. The argument was laboured and the references poor. Jack Tait made reference to the Public Road being Private and Maureen Nathan managed to remind us that cows can't read based on being an expert on cattle in some previous time in her life. We will await the minutes to be published to see what they all finally agreed to. Another interesting issue on the agenda was the setting of various fees for the new Bay Pavilions. As the community is well aware the Council needed to value add to the pool replacement with a few more facilities that might assist in it reducing its costs. They happened upon the idea of a gymnasium. Initially it was to be 450m2 but then they decided that they would more than double it to 1000m2. This might seem a great idea if the town didn't already have a gym however Batemans Bay has 9 gyms. To add insult to those existing businesses that Council will now be directly competing against it was revealed that their fees were undercutting local gyms as well. A Public Forum presentation by Jim Bright advised the Council that they may well be in breach of a whole range of non-competitive rules and regulations. But just like the Teflon ducks they are all of that seemed to wash over them and they voted on the staff recommendations. This will not be the last we hear of the Bay Pavilion gym. In all a dreary meeting with the exception of a few things. The first is that directors are present if Councillors have a question yet today we saw General Manager Catherine Dale choreographing her staff into having an opinion without being asked. That is NOT meeting protocol. The second was to be watching live as Jack Tait drove around Batemans Bay with his device on, watching the screen, talking and from time to time raising his hand to vote on an agenda item. I was waiting for the sirens or the crunch of a collision but fortunately for Jack neither came. Only one more meeting on 26 October 2021 before this current council goes into caretaker mode ahead of the December 4th local government elections.