The NOT unexpected blocking vote of 5 outgoing councillors regarding the Notice of Motion (NOM) put forward by Valley Watch Inc to audit several DA’s that have allegedly not followed compliance procedures leaves the question of what now?
These are but a few examples of numerous complaints that have been brought to our committee. The complainants are neighbours, owners, community members who feel they are getting no-where with council officers and in some cases have been banned from contacting council at all.
Valley Watch has been established in the Lower Clarence for over 30 years and is made up of concerned local community members who advocate for a more sustainable planning to ensure protection of the Lower Clarence’s natural environment and all who live here. We are not affiliated with any political party. Our group are not experts in planning and compliance procedures but with more and more people contacting us with these type of issues – alarm bells are ringing.
Valley Watch aims to act with integrity by bringing these matters confidentially before councillors to ensure that procedures are in place and staff are resourced enough to ensure they are managing the increased workload they are no doubt experiencing with the recent building boom.
But as any who listened to the podcast of our council’s recent meeting would have noted we were berated as a group and the ensuing nit-picking over irrelevant issues became more important than asking – Do we have a problem? Should we investigate? What other solution could we propose? Should we take any responsibility? Are our staff under too much pressure? What is our actual role as councillors?
The price-tag of $25000 quoted seems excessive – we are not asking for the high-court to get involved – simply an independent audit. Something that might nip this in the bud before something explodes into a litigation event for council.
What now? Well, it seems the new councillors will have to deal with this issue as it is not going away. It might be timely for the General Manager (as any other business manager would do) to over-view the files brought to their attention to ensure procedures are in place and that staff are adequately resourced and trained.
Valley Watch would like to thank Councillor Toms for raising this issue on our behalf.
Valley Watch Inc