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Where's the Mayor

Everyone eventually can find Wally in the "Where's Wally?" puzzles but harder still is the new puzzle of "Where's the Mayor?"

Today, November 20th, 2020, saw a second, well attended, well presented community protest with speakers addressing Council's intentions next Tuesday to put the second final nail in the coffin of the Batemans Bay Community Centre when they are asked to endorse the staff recommendation that the centre be closed to the public and leased out permanently as office space to the highest bidder.

Above: Council has already closed down the Community Centre public toilets - Looks like they forgot to tell the National Public Toilet Register used by our disabled and visitors from across the country

It is understood that the vote will go against Councillor McGinlay and Mayne. It is also understood that the celebrations have started with accolades and back pates given to key staff even before the councillors vote is given. Disappointingly the absence today of the three councillors, Innes, Tait and Nathan.These three were voted in by the Batemans Bay residents to best represent the northern community in Council. Their absence was noted, once again. General discussion at the protest around the Mayor's lack of attendances to meetings across the shire saw questions asked as to who might run for Mayor in September 2021. The Mayor had initially said she and her fellow Community Action Alliance party members would be standing "shoulder to shoulder" with the community. Even their manifesto stated "We won’t just listen to our residents’ reasonable concerns. We will take notice and we will take action." But the Liz Innes, Tait and Nathan were absent today, without apology. These absences of the Mayor are becoming more noticed with her not attending and Chairing Council meetings and offering the public no reason. The most recent Council meeting saw an apology from Clr Thomson explaining he was with a BlaizAid crew doing essential fencing however, once again, there was no explanation of the Mayor's absence as her "apology" was given and accepted without question. The same lack of apology by the Mayor saw a recent moment of civic embarrassment when the Mayor failed to meet the NSW Governor during the recent Sculpture For Clyde openings. She had indicated she would be there and just didn't show up. Fortunately ex-mayor Lindsay Brown was there to fill the role and represent the Council and community. There has been a build up of criticism of the Mayor and her voting block around their refusal to acknowledge Climate Change prior to the 2019 bushfires and now, adding to that criticism, is the concern that Council has become a toothless rubber stamp for staff recommendations, such as we now face with the leasing of a community centre and the State government push for projects such a the Mackay Park Centre, the Mogo Mountain Bike Strategy and now the Coastal Walk where none have provided public evidence of financial viability nor the claimed community approval to proceed. Due to Covid the 2020 Local Government elections were postponed for a year. In September 2021 we return to vote for our new councillors. What Eurobodalla needs in order to "move forward" is a dynamic Mayor who will in fact stand shoulder to shoulder with the community and represent them in Council chambers and play the vital role of Opposition, when required, to counter the "visions" that staff have that might not necessarily be the shared "visions" of the community. Until then all we can ask is "Where's the Mayor?", who has become noticeably absent.

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