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Councillor continues to block media and members of the public

It is not known if James Thomson intends to run for Council again but if he does he might like to rethink his decision to block emails into his formal councillor email address from members of the public and the media, in particular The Beagle. Councillor Thomson has been blocking all correspondences to his official email account however, in doing so, the emails still remain on Council's server as a record. Under the State Records Act those emails are considered corporate business and are required to be archived. So what types of emails is Council James Thomson blocking? The Beagle often sends emails to Councillors advising them of various links to further reading for agendas that may have been omitted for consideration on reports they have at hand. As it turns out there is considerable information that is known to The Beagle and the community that the councillors are not made aware of. While the ex-mayor might say "The community knows what the community knows" it is apparent that the "councilors only know what they know" and are often left out of being advised of much that is considered by staff as "operational". This is the last email sent to all Councillors and directly to Councillor Thomson, who remains a councillor until December 3rd. Coopers Island Road question regarding grid and gate. Seeking comment Councillor Thomson,


Given that you are the only farmer of the nine councillors and given that you know the rules

around fencing, gate, cattlegrids and the movement of stock along public roads can you advise why you remained silent during debate that has now seen Council approving a gate installed across a Public Road that places legal onus on the public to open and shut the gate with failure to do so identified as an illegal action.


It is my understanding that the cattle grid is located on a Council owned road reserve. If the state of the cattle grid and adjacent fencing was so poor that a cow (allegedly) escaped, and that the poor condition offers again, the potential to escape again would it not be prudent for Council to have initially instructed the farmer to bring both the cattle grid and fencing to a standard that removed the risk.


Council appears to have taken the view that there was no requirement to revisit the poor grid and fencing and instead allow a gate to be erected and an alternative to prevent any escapees venturing onto the highway by leaping the cattle grid (as apparently has been the case).


As a Councillor, and as a farmer, you were clearly made aware, before your decision to allow the issuing of a Public Gate Permit, that there was a missing section of fencing along the public road reserve. As such the farmer had no control over restraining his cattle from grazing on the Public Road reserve.


As a Councilor you were made aware that cattle grazed, without supervision, along this public road reserve, contrary to the law. Yet, rather than simply advising the farmer to erect the missing fence and to only move stock along the public road reserve under supervision you, and the majority of your fellow councillors, voted to allow a Gate Permit to be granted that now legally imposts the public and offsets any legal responsibility to the public.


The road remains a Public Road and as such remains the responsibility of Council. Should a cow escape through the open PUBLIC Gate and leap the Council owned cattle grid to cause an accident on the Princes Highway then Council will be liable, given that they are the road authority and given that they did not instruct the farmer to fence the missing section adjacent to the public road and did not remind the farmer that stock were not permitted to graze on a public road (especially without supervision) unless they were being moved from one location to another.


Given that you are a farmer and given that all of this information was provided to you as a councillor I ask "Why did you not say anything, and why did you vote to support the Public Gate application?"


I look forward to your response for publication.


Lei Parker

Editor of The Beagle Councillor Thomson's response:


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