Confusion and mystery surrounds the last of the Byron Shire meet the candidates meetings, with denial of invitations received, an inexplicable cancellation attempt and a low turnout at a morning event.
Two council candidates claim they did not receive an invite to the meet the candidates events, held by Community Action Network (CAN). The events were held at the Rails Pub in Byron last Sunday and at the Ocean Shores Country Club on Monday night.
Conservative councillor Alan Hunter denies receiving an email invitation, yet the group email invite with all candidate’s emails was provided to him via Echonetdaily.
Cr Hunter said, ‘I have searched my inbox and can’t find any such email. I have any number of invitations with similar subject lines but not that one.’
The mayoral candidate also confirmed he knew of the event and was planning on going, ‘but I had another engagement I thought I could change but as it turned out I couldn’t.’
And candidate Gail Fuller also says she wasn’t invited; when the group email invite was provided to her by Echonetdaily, she replied that she did not receive it, ‘unless it went into spam, and that is deleted every few days.’
‘My office email is not our campaign email either,’ she added.
Additionally a meet the candidates meeting in the morning from 8am at the club failed to produce much of a crowd, with candidates outnumbering around six to eight punters, according to candidate Paul Spooner.
The Country Club’s GM Andrew Spice told Echonetdaily that the morning event was organised by Cr Alan Hunter and that an internal email was sent to members.
Turnout of 35 good enough
Cr Hunter told Echonetdaily his fellow candidate Tina Petroff organised it and, ‘We were told that 35 had booked.
‘I didn’t think we needed to advertise any further than that to reach the concerned residents of Ocean Shores.’
And finally it’s unclear who attempted to cancel CAN’s Monday event, after organiser Rossco Phillips received a phone call from the club ‘to ascertain why CAN had not informed them that [CAN] had cancelled [the] event.’
Phillips told Echonetdaily he did not cancel the event and that the staff at the club were ‘led astray’.
Alan Hunter’s third ticket candidate, Tina Petroff, was implicated by Mr Phillips, who produced an email indicating the club’s staff believed she called the evening event off.
Ms Petroff denies the claim and told Echonetdaily staff told her before the morning event that they thought her event was also cancelled.
Candidate Gail Fuller told Echonetdaily that she was told by the club that Monday night’s event was cancelled.
The club’s GM Andrew Spice told Echonetdaily that it was the result of the ‘rumour mill.’
Echonetdaily has asked Cr Rose Wanchap whether she received CAN’s invitation to the events and is yet to receive reply.