Council meetings… aka majority wins

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)I attended as I always do the Liverpool council meeting last night… this the first meeting back for the year, another will be held at 6pm on 27th February and then regularly the 4th Wednesday of the month. I know I’m a gluten for punishment but I do attend them all and stay until kicked out for confidential matters… we never hear the result so waiting is not the best use of my time and they do hold them to last.

Last night was somewhat frustrating and I am guessing this is something I am going to have to get used to in a majority council. I can’t say I noticed it in the brief moment Labor held the majority last term but it is definitely at play now.

That aside, I’m a stickler for commitment and when I commit to a committee or forum, I commit, I attend every meeting… as I did for the council CBD committee in the last term, I attended every one of the meetings and left after about an hour on only one occasion when an emergency arose at work… so to say I attend is not only reasonable but assured. I cannot say that any councillor past or present can say the same thing. I can tell you though a number of important issues were discussed, including the Parking in the CBD – with what has to be said a pretty good outcome considering the number of people affected by it, we have discussed issues from Street trees to footpath bricks but one issue I was particularly proud of was our recommendation to Upgrade Bigge Park and to work systematically to improve the whole CBD outlook from there.
The council staff did some amazing work on a design brief for the park and funds were available to commence work quickly, it was put to the public for comment and I was delighted that a solid, committed and council approved work program would commence.
Well it seems the first meeting of the new committee to cover the what was the CBD committee, before community representatives have been elected and now complete with numerous councillors who have no idea of the actions of the previous committee have canned all the work done and money spent to work on Bigge Park to AGAIN look at the whole CBD. BTW looking costs money as it did in the past and will again. Thank you to Cllrs Waller and Stanley, who did attend the past CBD meetings and attempted to stall the change however the new majority flexed its muscle to ignore their comments.
Not only had significant staff time and council funds been invested (btw that means your rates money) in the plan for Bigge Park, it is something that could be done now instead we are going to have to wait again and if it takes another 3 years to finalise plans we will again be in a position WHERE NOTHING IS DONE.
The reality with elections is that there will be change and change isn’t always bad, but if we are going to constantly play politics nothing is ever going to be achieved and in the process considerable RATES dollars are going to be wasted.
Clearly this isn’t’ the only matter decided last night, the procedures for meetings has changed, you will now only have 3 minutes to speak to councillors, as no one (other than I ) objected I can only assume the community either  care less or forgot but what can I say, if it doesn’t matter to the community,  I support that.  As I am not one of the most prevalent speakers it will be noticed when a resident wants to address council and if you live in our outer suburbs you’ll now have to hurry as council meetings will begin at 6pm. The good news is though they will not go past 9.30pm so for those of us who have been staying to the end an early night is and will be appreciated.
One resident spoke of the changes to the Moorebank Voluntary Acquisition program to buy homes in flood prone areas and while he spoke passionately about his issues I couldn’t but agree with his comments about the redevelopment of the very same area approved by council last year. We need some synergy here and I believe the Planning officers of council have that, but the councillors don’t always take their advice. One has to question the credentials of councillors compared to those of trained, educated planning staff and I for one, would not be buying any home built on land approved last year along the river and I certainly hope it doesn’t get added to the acquisitions list in years to come because of commercial interests and lack of forethought. I too have no planning credentials I do however have 53 years of living in Liverpool and a good memory of what happens when it REALLY rains. If I recall correctly Cllr Waller and Cllr Stanley also objected and they to are long time residents.

On a positive note, the nastiness and hateful comments of the past seem to have abated, I guess that’s where the failure to re-elect of one of the past councillors has been a bonus and that now even though they don’t agree they do so without the snide and unpleasantness of the past.

Final note: Council is calling for representatives of the community to express their interest for a number of committees, so please look at the local papers and if you are interested and plan to show up, write and put your name forward, you have until COB on Wednesday the 13th.

Council forums begin again next week Tuesday 6.30pm at Bringelly Hall, I hope to see you there.

Sign off

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