Tonight I attended the council meeting as I always do, some of the residents were anxious about a couple of matters, like the proposed sale of No 1 Hoxton Park Rd, our old council chambers. As I have come to expect matters of genuine importance are oft sent to the end to be discussed ‘in confidence’ nothing new there except basic procedural matters are being `forgotten` in the mix. We may need to introduce a procedural interruption mechanism into the council meetings as some of us are aware of the procedures even when the Mayor isn’t. Perhaps a sign “Point of Order Procedural Matter” Cllr Stanley could have used it at least twice!
That said the business as usual matters were hurried through and Cllr Hadchiti can be thankful for the lessons of his old former colleague Lucas as he is now the councillor who pushes through financial redirection of funds without imo due diligence. It strikes me when you are redirecting $249,000 of our funds someone should actually be checking the viability before it happens not some kind of afterthought being added to the motion. Directing council to seek guidance from the beneficiary also seems a bit odd…alas Fmr Cllr Lucas kept getting away with it.
Then came the big item of the night the proposed sale of No 1… Cllrs Stanley and Karnib refused to be party to what was later referred to by Cllr Harle as the new OASIS…shortly after Cllr Shelton then Cllr Waller…. In an unusual move then ‘some’ council staff were also excluded?
After some time the gallery was invited back, only for a change instead of just hearing the meeting close it was to inform the community of the decision to delay….or if I’m honest with myself more likely to publically harang the Labor Councillors for their failure to participate.
A last ditch effort by Cllr Harle to delay the sale (or at least to save face) was pretty much persuaded away by referring the whole matter to 3 committees, which by the way are solely made up of some of the same people who were in the room, as no community reps have yet been selected.
The CEO (new name for the GM) went to considerable length to remind both Cllrs and Gallery that they (Community Reps) too would be bound by the cloak of secrecy (Code of conduct). One should note that those community reps would also be seriously outnumbered by said Councillors. The CEO also pointed out that they risked losing the two biggest tenderer’s in the process…although that concern was later allayed .
Of particular interest was the confidentiality document staff had signed with one of the Tenderers and its unknown content from what I could gather to councillors (would like clarification on this one) …so who do these people work for…the tenderer or the residents…by these people I don’t mean just the staff but the Councillors… someone should remind them they aren’t autonomous they work for us.
It was, for me, interesting that Cllr Harle quoted much of my submission regarding the sale of No 1 in his reasoning for why Council should not sell the property…could he perhaps have read it…? ’cause pounds to peanuts I bet none of the others would have read the submissions of the many residents who don’t want the property sold, as Cllr Hadchiti implied – to significant business entities not $2 shelf companies.
For whatever reason the Tenderers were narrowed down to the two and the CEO went to great length to read the criteria by which they were narrowed…laughingly No: 1 was social and economic benefits to the community, where he highlighted the social and gleaned over the economic, in my opinion he did that to deflect Cllr Harle’s question about financial return. I stand by my previous comments that selling major assets of any kind in a depressed market is lousy decision making imo. That said: I would like NO1 retained as a Liverpool Asset.
We will be hearing more on this because it has been as I said deferred until they chat more amongst themselves and it’s brought back to council.
Do I think anything changed tonight…not really, Labor wiped their hands of the proposed sale …not a bad move I guess but like everything else in the agenda a hollow albeit honourable gesture as the Liberal Majority simply out number them and get everything they want passed anyway and do so laughing nowadays…while Cllr Harle gets to sound conciliatory but achieve nought…and I think he knows it.
This I fear is life as we get to view it over the coming 3 ½ years.
Things to remember:
Saturday is the opening of the Montenegro Park at Georges Fair from 11am if you’d like to pop by.
Sunday is Clean up Australia Day the council venue is Lighthorse Park along the beautiful Georges River and for the first time in a number of years I may not be able to attend 😦 I have a meeting in the city…. I will however try to pop by for a little while if time permits.
The rural land study (LLEP) docs are seeking input, check out the local papers for details.
Council forums are the 2nd and 3rd Tuesdays of the month, Rural is at Bringelly Hall and starts at 6.30pm while the Urban is now at the Council Chambers 170 George St again at 6.30pm.
Lastly: Mr David Tuxford, who was a long time director on LCC and hard working advocate for our city, was on sick leave, has had his job made redundant so if you read this David, I wish you all the best and would love to hear from you.