Community representation in its finest hour

Ed, It was nice to get some support and good reasoning from upriver in Ursula Tunks’ letter (Independent, 29/7/15) in relation to public opinion on removal of our camphors in McLachlan Park . You are spot on, Ursula, your calculated 57.7% public opinion against their removal is almost identical to Council’s very own survey results conducted some 3 years ago at an ‘Open Day’ public forum on McLachlan Park which showed that 56% of people requested ‘Option A’ which was to remove one camphor (for car access) and that 3 be retained. That’s pretty close to Ursula’s 57.7%. And an independent written and signed survey carried out in May 2013 among the 19 business houses located in River Street adjacent and opposite to McLachlan Park yielded the following results in relation to removal of the camphors – 12 said NO to removal, 6 said YES, one was undecided, and one did not want to be listed. That’s a clear 67% in favour of retention from the business community in close proximity to the trees. Our Mayor Richie Williamson, at Council’s March 2014 meeting in discussing the removal of the camphors stated “Yes the camphor laurels are noxious, but the community suggests they have a heritage value – we reflect on the community, not dictate to it”. So much for reflection Richie. So much for statistics. So much for majority public opinion. Richie now counters this by referring to those who take an active interest in Maclean’s future and its more responsible planning as merely “…a section of the community”. What he doesn’t say or wish to acknowledge is that it might just be a “a majority section of the community” However, all the workshopping and public forums and consultants in the past were a waste of time and money, as Council has now proceeded with a whole new set of consultants with a whole new plan for our park anyhow. Plans which will not receive public input, involvement or exposure, and which do away with the essential core boardwalk element of a good riverside plan. Oh well, it’s only Maclean. It’s not representative government, it’s ‘do as we tell you’. We’re Listening? Not on your nelly. Warren Rackham, Maclean