‘A bunch of old retired, misfits, loose fits and unfits, with political motivations who know diddly squat about economic development and are totally opposed to everything, spreading fear and distrust’.
These are the words used by Byron shire councillor’s Alan Hunter, Chris Cubis, Di Woods and Sol Ibrahim to describe the shire’s many community associations during a recent council meeting debating community participation in the shire consultation process.
During this derogative and vicious attack/rant, they also said community associations are regressive with no structure, no charter and questionable membership thus recommending that the council not allow community associations representation in any debate re the future of the shire.
However, these same councilors acknowledged that while the chambers of commerce are political and express political views, they should be advised on the shire’s future.
I am involved in several community associations and most are incorporated bodies with a charter and hold formal monthly meetings but to my knowledge no one in any of the committees are members of a political party.
Following accusations by Cr Cubis last year that ‘SSPA were a bunch of Communists’, I surveyed the committee who gave me assurance that non were or ever had been members of the Communist Party and for that matter, the Greens.
Community associations are made up of residents giving their time freely volunteering to work in and for the community.
I would say the age range of the associations is similar to the crrent council, so by Crs Ibrahim ageist definition I would suppose that they are mostly unfit.
Some of us are retired others not, however the life skills and credentials they bring to the table are extensive with professional back grounds at executive level, educational and medical fields, holders of tertiary degrees, some have worked or owned their own small business, others currently run small businesses, some are home keepers raising the younger members of our community while supporting their neighbors, friends, the elderly and homeless.
Not sure what diddly squat Cr Cubis thinks we don’t know, but obviously judging by his outbursts he must know a lot about diddly squat!
I suggest to these four councillors, that the functioning of the shire owes a great deal to these selfless community association volunteers and to exclude their representation in the consulting process is nothing short of ignorant, arrogant ill-informed and disrespectful to the views of our shire’s community.
At the last Suffolk Park Progress Association public meeting, we had over 160 community members attend. With 218 followers on Facebook and, as last week, our page reached 726 posts, with 260 subscribers on Mailchimp.
The Suffolk Park association has been operating since 1950s holding monthly committee and regular public meetings is this representative enough for these Councillors?
Donald Maughan, president Suffolk Park Progress Association