Council Meeting 23.11.09

This week’s council meeting saw a couple of changes; firstly the GM has introduced a new ‘accounting process’   for informing the councillors and public of achievements in council. Phil Tolhurst advised this will be a quarterly inclusion and is his way of highlighting some of the positives and achievements of the council during the preceding 3 months. A nice Power Point presentation was a welcome addition and it was accompanied by an interesting read in the business papers. Sadly there is no opportunity to ask questions from the gallery and most councillors didn’t ask any either.  I suggest the GM has this posted on the website for a limited time so those interested can view it at leisure, in conjunction with the meeting notes.

Secondly was the inclusion/change in a section of the council meeting that has councillors unable to ask questions without notice. This has been replaced with Questions on Notice which in essence will achieve something I’ve been pushing for now for some time…answers!!! in the past councillors have been able to ask questions at the end of the meeting with this  allowing time for council staff to come back with the answer directly to the councillor,to which  the community never hears the answer. Questions have recently been included in the next addition of the agenda/business papers… however rarely we do the public see the answers… This is a good inclusion in that you can have your councillor ask a question on your behalf or theirs as long as it is a minimum of three days prior to the printing of the agenda for inclusion in the minutes and allow the staff a couple of days to have an answer ready for the council meeting

This new process is a directive from the Department of Local Government and although listed as meeting practice notes… is actually a directive and must be adhered to.

On another matter, Councillor Mannoun tried to adjust the CBD committee recommendation by adding an eat street clause – NOT ON Councillor Mannoun, certainly not when it could be construed that the eat street may benefit one particular portion of the business community over others… this was a blatant attempt by Councillor Mannoun to usurp the process, whether or not well intentioned or deliberate, this is why we have committees so one person alone cannot push a personal agenda. Plus as a member of this particular committee and one of the original people seeking the development of an ‘eat street’ it needs to develop with community input and consultation. Good try but NOT ON… and I am certainly not alone in asking that Councillors remember they are there to serve the community at large… not individual sections of it.

In the Public forum two ladies spoke passionately about the occurrence of garbage trucks entering the Hoxton park estate prior to 5.30am… they have been advised that as the estate suffers from traffic congestion after those hours that the garbage contractors have special permission to start and finish early. Whilst I totally understand their desire for uninterrupted sleep it was clearly an attempt to have council confirm a previously dispelled notion that the roads in this particular estate are narrow and cause traffic problems that will be exacerbated by the inclusion of the MFI School in Hoxton Park. Good luck ladies I still think the schools access should be via Hoxton Park Road and it is merely an RTA directive ( Should be RTAG – Right  There Above GOD) and is not warranted when there are already access roads installed along Hoxton Park Road.

Finally tonight is the last Council forum for the year, and whilst I’m usually in attendance an o’seas guest has meant I’ve missed the western and tonight the Central Forum. May I Wish all the attendees a wonderful break and I look forward to working with you in 2010.   A special congrats to Judith Banks for her Order of Liverpool award, (and of course the other recipients) Judith is an amazing lady who works tirelessly in the community… and who attends the forums and is a worthy recipient of this award.

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