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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Murwillumbah library pond a community treasure

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On behalf of the Caldera Environment Centre, I would like to register my disappointment over the recent news that the pond next to the library and council chambers is to be filled in.

What is most insulting about this proposal is that in this case the community is not to be consulted, we have to ask: why?

Consultation is sought by the council on so many issues that it is hard sometimes to keep up with what is going on. Nevertheless, that the opportunity is made available to the community to comment on issues and proposals by the council is one of the hallmarks of transparency and accountability in local government. Why does the council now deem it necessary not to involve the community in this decision?

To use the excuse that the pond is somehow a danger to children is insulting to both parents and children. There are a lot of ‘dangers to children’ in the world and the pond hardly ranks as one of the more serious threats.

The CEC calls on the mayor to please explain the rationale for this decision, and not hide behind the shield of child safety.

The pond in front of the library is iconic, it is one of those little gems in a small town that make it unique, and a more interesting place to live.

I remember being a child myself in the 1980s and watching with fascination the coy carp swimming lazily in the pool and feeding them bread crumbs, and watching water-dragons scuttle around the edges.

This is a pleasure that I can share with my daughter today, and other parents and children also take time out to view the pond and its life forms.

Like the pond in Knox Park, the library pond provides a connection, albeit an artificial one, with the natural world, it brings joy to children’s hearts and creates a sense of wonder.

Now we have a proposal to kill that joy and wonder, without even bothering to let the community in on the discussion.

The CEC would like the mayor and council staff to answer the following questions about the proposed filling in of the council, library pond:

1. Why was the decision made to have no consultation or feedback from the community?

2. In the lifetime of the pond has anyone ever reported having an injury? Has anyone ever accidentally fallen in?

3. Has anyone ever complained about it?

4. Is this decision being made for insurance purposes?

5. Have the staff’s/councillors children ever been to the pond?

6. Can the mayor go to local schools and explain his rationale to the kiddies?

7. Have alternatives been examined? For instance I notice there are no warning signs.

We look forward to your response.

Samuel K. Dawson, co-ordinator, Caldera Environment Centre

 


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