Not much bang for buck
The front page article of the Cootamundra Herald (Friday, November 30), where Mayor McAlister was quoted as saying “It’s $700,000 spent on the Cootamundra Civic Centre that until last week we knew nothing about…” astounds me.
People at a Coolac Community meeting at least four weeks ago were told of the upgrade to the Cootamundra Civic Centre (CCC) when discussing the Coolac Hall upgrade.
$700,000 is an indication that what was happening at the CCC was more than changing light bulbs. Tonnes of rubble have been excavated as there is only a hole where the kitchen was. The main entrance to the CCC had witches hats out the front indicating something was happening inside. Jack hammers, trucks coming and going, outside contractors.
However, the questions do not stop there. Why haven’t those responsible for the financing, building and indeed the Development Application given reports at the various council meetings? Or is the jumping through DA hoops only for ratepayers?
There were some interesting facts gleaned from my conversation with Cr McAlister when I rang him about the article and my intention to write.
Firstly, the GM was appointed by the last administrator with what is called “Delegated Authority”. What is this, you ask? In essence, the GM has specific powers in planning for example and this has implications for our democratically elected representatives.
The second fact gleaned was, a number of senior directors have left their employment and at least one consultant has been hired to oversee various aspects of various departments. In one particular case, six months has lapsed and still no job descriptions advertised. Surely it does not take six months to write a job description for a job that already exist.
To try and pin this solely on the GM, is in my opinion, narrow sighted. I urge ratepayers to do as I have done, look inside the CCC and see what we have got for $700,000. It does not look to be very much. And yes, there is still a $250,000 bill to come.
Trevor Glover, Coolac
Set the record straight
The title of the article Council backs ‘demerger’, November 30, is misleading and has caused a misconception within the community. What Council actually backed was a democratic process to determine whether or not the community, in particular the community of Gundagai, favours a demerger.
The Motion on Notice by Cr Sheahan was in response to Motion 97, which was carried unanimously at the Local Government NSW Conference. It read: “That Local Government NSW lobbies for a change to the Local Government Act to prevent the forced amalgamations of councils without the support of a plebiscite.”
As Rex Martinich rightly reports, Cr Sheahan stated that “It [the merger] was a process that took away democratic rights across local government institutions ...”
The Amended Motion, that was passed at the council meeting last Tuesday, November 27, was “That Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council, as a matter of policy, formally adopts the following motion ...
1. To give support to members of the community who seek to demerge from a forcibly amalgamated Council by supporting any proper and democratic process presented for a demerger.
2. To give solidarity to any other communities that seek to demerge from a forced amalgamation and
3. To prevent forced amalgamations of councils or significant boundary alterations without the support of a plebiscite and to lobby to change the Local Government Act.”
To reiterate, the motion was to ensure that the community, through a democratic process (plebiscite?), not the state government, will determine what its local government area will be.