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Open Letter: Coopers Island Road

The Beagle Editor, Your readers might be interested in the Open Letter we have sent to Council and councillors. OPEN LETTER

To the Mayor and All Councillors, Eurobodalla Shire Council


Concern is steadily mounting within the Community about Council’s abnegation of leadership on this issue, well evidenced in a slew of letters and complaints to Council from respected community organisations and residents; a massively popular public Petition that is coming Council’s way like a tidal wave; and a torrent of public comment in the Shire’s well-established news site The Beagle Weekly, including telling contributions from no less than Mr Leonard Cooper after whose family the area is named. The above utterly belies the Mayor’s unnecessary and graceless dismissal of this now well established and widely respected newsprint site as a mere “blog”: In the process unwittingly revealing her and her advisors’ close interest in its contents: And well might they be!

To date, Council’s spinelessly ingratiating approach in response to the offensive and offending actions of the landowner’s resident manager, and the effective disregard and disrespect of the community’s overwhelming and crystal-clear wishes is nakedly apparent for all to see. The protection and maintenance of the Community’s legal rights and entitlements is what is required here and they do NOT need advocating or negotiation, period.

A Non-Compliance note should very simply have gone out to the owner at least a year ago,

instructing him to dismantle all unauthorised structures (including misleading signage whose effect is to bring about the legal requirement of ‘Adverse Possession’ allowing private resumption of the road) and inviting him to take his turn in the queue along with the rest of us local residents, the fire-devastated included, when applying for D/A’s and authorisations. At a level of simple credibility and standing, it is quite baffling that Council should choose to reward such egregiously high-handed behaviour with metaphorical flags of truce and words of supplication as breathlessly trotted out by Clr Innes in a recent ABC Radio interview.

Her approach to this blatant contravention and the ill-considered behaviour that has accompanied it, is no better in substance than someone choosing to look away from foot-stamping antics in the schoolyard of those used to getting their way: worse still, placating and parlaying with such offenders as if, somehow, such behaviour was a negotiable norm.

A public road and historic waterway access is not just a discretionary privilege but an obvious legal reality. What is there that needs to be ‘negotiated’ in this, especially when the Community’s wishes have been nailed to the Council door in clear and present terms?

What is there in all this that Clr Innes doesn’t get? At this year’s coming Council elections, the Community will be looking for candidates who fully respect the community’s views and who do not need to be tediously chided every time into doing what is patently the right thing. As Clr Innes herself likes to intone, ‘And there’s no doubt about that’. Indeed.

Fitzroy and Mylene Boulting

Audio: Go to Time Stamp 6:55 for the Mayor's comments on Coopers Island Road