I am pleased to advise that (albeit I’m a bit late) the community who rallied and with the assistance and advocacy of Cllr Harle the status of the two remaining forums is unchanged and will continue in their present form, at least for now.
I appreciated the support of Cllr Harle, as he, of all the Councillors is the only regular attendee and has done so for many years and he understands the nuances and needs of those who bother to show up better than any of the Councillors who have never bothered to show up at all. Are the forums perfect? Of course not, they seem to attract a great bunch of regulars and in recent times not too many others. There are reasons for this, some of which were discussed last night, the change of time to an earlier 6.30 pm start has seen the numbers drop off considerably, the change of venue, the change in how matters are discussed etc etc. Some of the changes are good, some not so but the key issue for me is recognising the amazing diligence and input of those who actually show up, month after month. Those who show up when there is a pressing issue are an integral part of community engagement and those who simply pop in from time to time to see what is happening or to hear a particular presentation…all are valuable … all are important. ( A short note: isn’t it interesting how once a Councillor loses or wins his seat he/she is never seen again… pounds to peanuts we’ll see them in about 3 years when they again want your vote)
Council will be introducing a number of other avenues in which the community can engage with council, offer ideas and to garner opinion. All are welcome as it needs no reminder that Council works for us, the Councillors are our representatives only, none are autonomous and none should ever outweigh the ideas and opinions of the people who pay their wages.
I am presently drafting emails and letters to the 70+ schools in our area, the precedent set my Councillor Hadchiti at the last council meeting where one school was given a $5,000 donation for a fete and the council staff will host a stall is an equity issue for me and I will be doing my utmost to ensure every school in the LGA will be afforded the same opportunity… not only those of means sufficient to access one particular representative. If you are part of a P & C, or have children attending one of the local schools, please feel free to email me and discuss this further, I will gladly provide the links and data provided to the Councillors in the attempt to have your school included in his magnanimous gesture to Thomas Hassell Anglican. As a former Community Liaison Officer for the dept of Education I am more than aware of the impact a $5,000 influx of funds could make to a local Public school and the use for all schools of such funding. I am still torn as to the appropriateness of our council rates money being used in this way but as I said at the onset I am for Equity and fairness and what is good for one is certainly good for all.
Finally remember council meets next Wednesday night (now changed to the 31st) for their regular monthly meeting at 6pm and tonight at 7pm at the council chambers is the Leaders forum(cancelled outright but didn’t know until I got there 😦 )… I am not aware who is to be in attendance but feel confident that many will be keen to get home to the State of Origin game being played tonight also (seems the game won)….both events are at the Francis Greenway Centre just beside the city library. I hope to see you there.
Thank you also to those who have contacted me while I’ve been unwell… all should be fine now and I will be back writing more frequently on the things happening in and around our fair city. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org so please don’t hesitate to keep in touch.
have a great day, see you soon.