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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wingecarribee Shire Council - Extraordinary General Meeting

An Extra-ordinary General meeting of Wingecarribee Shire Council was held this afternoon, in the Bowral Memorial Hall. And extraordinary it certainly was.

Photo courtesy of Cam. Ford - "Save the Highlands"

The public was invited to attend, but we were not allowed to say anything (well, nearly). We did have "NO" signs, which could conveniently be reversed to read "ON". And these were frequently held up, "en masse". It made it resemble a silent movie scene, perhaps a Charlie Chaplin movie?

To read more about the background of this event, read the Save the Highlands website.

It was a closely scripted event. Clr. Larry Whipper proposed and moved an amendment, but from the outset it was obvious that the Campbell-Jones group had caucused. They were "all singing from the same song sheet", and had no intention of wavering from their position. Numerous innuendos were delivered about "elections in the air".

The most ludicrous moment was when Clr Penny George included in her speech elaborate references to a speech by Martin Luther King about distinguishing between things which were right, good or populist. Oh, please, Penny! The audience started to giggle, and we earned our first Mayoral rebuke.

That's the wrong Martin Luther King speech to quote. Try the "I have a dream" speech.
Except Penny, however nice, and well-meaning, just isn't that kind of Councillor.

Much was made about certain Councillors coming to the debate with "pre-conceived philosophical positions" (as if it was only the ones opposed to selling Public Park lands who have a "philosophical" position). Wasn't "Gordon Gekko" driven by a "philosophy". As I recall it was "greed is good". But Clr. Nick Campell-Jones and Clr. Malcolm Murray seem to think that having a view about not selling Public Parks is a "philosophy" (and that's something one ought be ashamed of, apparently); but having a firmly held view on privatisation of Public Parks is "good public policy", and nothing to do with a conservative economic "philosophy". Did you get that?

Wake up, Malcolm and Nick. You may have the balance of power in Council, but you do not have right on your side.This was an exercise in futility, from the start, to the finish.
*****

I must commend Clr Yeo for proposing an important motion to include a parcel of land on Oxley Drive, Bowral (on Mt. Gibraltar) into the Mt. Gibraltar Reserve. Then the Councillors voted on the most important motion, to consolidate all the various parcels of land which make up the current Mt. Gibraltar Reserve into a single parcel of land. That is most important, for it will make it exceedingly difficult for a future Council to remove small parcels of land from the Reserve (as this Council has been trying to do with small parcels of Public Parks land so recently).

2 comments:

Cam Ford said...

Hi Dennis;
Well said - the "Gang of Seven" within Council think that they only have to close their ears to public opinion and they will have their way. But if they are allowed to succeed, future generations of the community will hold them responsible for tearing out the green heart of the Southern Highlands. What a legacy!
Cam Ford
Moss Vale Action Group
mossvag@yahoo.com.au

Denis Wilson said...

For the information of readers, Cam Ford is the driving inspiration behind the "Save the Highlands" group. The "gang of seven" is the name he has used for the members of Council who wish to steal public parks from the people of the Southern Highlands, in order to pay for the proposed "Indoor Leisure Centre" (a heated swimming pool) in Bowral. The design proposed is a cheap and nasty version, which is not passive solar design, it is not solar heated, nor with proper energy efficient double glazing. So it will cost the earth to run. And this at a time when the cost of oil/gas is sky-rocketing. It is insane.

Keep the Parks of the Southern Highlands. They are our best natural asset.

All the best, Cam, and the "Save the Highlands" group.

Denis