Tweed Shire Council candidate and environmental activist Michael McNamara has lashed out at councillors who voted to sign a five-year lease on a temporary site for the Pottsville Men’s Shed at the Black Rocks Sports Field at the council’s last meeting.
The decision was taken at the final meeting of the current council and, while technically the council was not in caretaker mode, Mr McNamara believes the vote should have been delayed until a new council had been elected.
He described the outcome of the vote as ‘pure bloody-mindedness’ and ‘short sighted’, arguing councillors had turned the matter ‘into an election issue’.
‘When there is a real chance of finding a much more appropriate permanent site this decision makes no sense at all,’ he said
‘This decision should have been left until after the October 29 poll for the incoming newly elected council to consider’
‘Council had gone into caretaker mode before the 10 September election was called off.’
‘Although, technically, it went out of caretaker mode after the election was cancelled, the clear advice from Tim Hurst, acting chief executive of the Office of Local Government was as follows:
‘In the interim period, to maintain community confidence, I suggest the council should avoid making any contentious decisions that would be binding on the incoming council that cannot be deferred.’
The advice was contained in a letter to general manager Troy Green, dated August 24, a copy of which has been sighted by Echonetdaily, and which was provided to councillors on September 9.
‘There is no good reason that this contentious decision could not have been deferred’ Mr McNamara said.
‘Protecting koalas is a social good. So is the Men’s Shed. It is an indictment on the majority of Councillors that they have allowed these social goods to come into competition’
‘When presented with an opportunity to try to progress a permanent home for the Men’s Shed in an area closer to town and services they should have jumped at it.’
‘It would have been appropriate, and the right thing to do, to defer a final decision until the options had been further explored and the new council was in place’
Mr McNamara commended councillors Milne and Bagnall for trying to achieve common sense.
‘I will do everything possible to have this short-sighted decision overturned, in the interests both of finding a permanent site for the Men’s Shed and protecting the Black Rock koalas’ Mr McNamara said.
28 days to object
Tweed Shire Council has announced residents have 28 days from today’s date to make submissions on the approval. They should be addressed to the General Manager, Tweed Shire Council, PO Box 816, Murwillumbah, NSW, 2484, or email [email protected]