Councillors must win back communities
Congratulations to our new councillors, elected on Saturday. You now have the unenviable job of attempting to win back the confidence of communities forcibly amalgamated. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of that task. Even the State Government, which was responsible for this mess, is trying to distance itself from the consequences.
The local government elections at the weekend have seen a significant ‘backlash’. Most people are now coming to the realisation that the amalgamation was a monumental ‘stuff-up’. It seems that our new Hilltops Council will contain a number of the people who questioned the amalgamation process and were prepared to stand up to be counted in the interests of basic democracy.
I hope they will continue to question the system and its relevance to the people of the communities involved. That will balance the input of the people who were prepared to fit in with the State Government’s flawed narrative and conform with its agenda. We are expecting that the new council will work in the interests of residents and ratepayers and not be a mere instrument of the State Government. I wonder, will those expectations be realised?
Shooting ducks on the water
Its like shooting ducks on the water (Young Witness, Friday, September 1 “Fixing Coota Bridges”)
Minister for NSW Roads Pavey and Katrina announce State and Federal Grant, is this the money that Katrina gave us last year for Apps Lane realignment?
Further to my letter of last week re: wastage and negligent management of Hilltops assets.
I have since received a response under FOI application from Mr Tasker Director South West Region, Roads and Maritime Services.
Mr. Tasker’s response is not good news for Hilltops or the State Government.
He states: “Before funding was re-prioritised $1.45m was committed for works on Apps Lane”.
The reprioritising in effect means 2016 money has now been taken back by the NSW Government until some undisclosed date - a case of “given with one hand and stolen back by the other”.
So much for government generosity and honesty.
Katrina’s NSW Govt announcement of $1.45m now looks like a PR exercise.
The promise of completion by end June 2016 is more of the same with the completion now “re-prioritised” to an unspecified future date - something of a sick joke.
The broken pavement and lower speed signs an ever present reminder.
Mr Tasker states: “. . . $1.45m was committed for works on Apps Lane”.
This is at odds with Mr Wymer’s letter stating the $1.45m was for realignment work as necessary between the Old Monteagle Rd. and the Belowra Rd.
Of course Mr. Tasker did not provide the original budget cost, nor the final cost, nor acknowledgement of if, when or how much Hilltops will be compensated for the supposedly non complying work on the Apps Lane intersection.
Shirrenden/Smiths Hill: The biggest hill for about 140kms of highway and if you are unlucky 15kms behind a slow farmer’s truck or a B-Double into Young.
The good news is that a couple of years after the road was completely rebuilt Mr.Tasker has identified a “lack of overtaking opportunities at Smiths Hill”.
Mr.Tasker says: “work at Shirrenden Hill was $289,417”.
It has been a couple of years since the Hill was ripped up for its second time so what Mr. Tasker do with our $289,417 I have absolutely no idea.
Mr. Wymer has informed me that the reason for two separate complete rebuilds a couple of years apart of the Hill section were either heavy patching or alternately a premeditated decision to allow for subsidence.
Mr Tasker’s response does not attempt to answer the questions put to Mr. McMahon Manager of the Hilltops Council.
I am no longer a gambling man but would risk a bet that when a new Council takes over and one might hope has an interest in the Shirrenden Hill and Apps lane waste of our money the paperwork right under their noses will tell a different tale.
If they are still interested in fixing the Administrators Hilltops mess they will look at the Council’s negligence with the Belowra Creek erosion and come to understand what a Councillor’s duties should be.