I find it hard to appoint any of the present members of the hilltops council of Young in the upcoming election as when you want something done with roads around here, it's near impossible.
And when they do, do something with the roads, you could do a better job fixing the problem yourself.
Boorowa Rotary arranged a 'Meet the Hilltops councillor election contenders' at 6:30pm on Monday, November 22, 2021.
It was a very well organised function each contender had four minutes to explain why they should be elected.
For me, the meeting represented a good opportunity to evaluate the candidates and actually find out why we had ended up in a dire financial position.
It was informative in regards to evaluating the candidates but quite disturbing in regards to the nature of the management by the present council.
As a democratic process it was unsatisfactory for we had to take it on faith, not actual policy platforms -intentions how the financial position of the council is to be resolved or any other matter such as, water supply for Boorowa which always comes up as a promise before council and state elections with Boorowa residents.
It is important only before elections.
We were informed by the current Mayor, due to financial issues, hard decisions had to be made and if they were not addressed effectively, an administrator may have to be called in where citizens would have little or no say in outcomes.
Frankly, for me after the meeting, I felt as we have little or no say in the outcomes as it is, as we were not electing the candidates on any platform other than they would decide and we would be notified of the outcome.
And as the meeting progressed, I was more impressed with getting an administrator in to sort out the mess as the current council had put us in this position in the first instance and informed us as well grant money had not been effectively utilised.
There was no indication what grant processes would be put in place to rectify the situation, who were responsible for the less than optimal grant process, nor why this was allowed by the council to occur.
We were informed by the mayor the present financial situation was in the main due to many more Hilltops Council employees.
It was common knowledge meetings had been called to discuss the need for reducing staff levels, it was said by certain persons the Union officials came up from Sydney and the proposals have been shelved.
Clearly there was a complete absence of workforce planning before and after finally working out the deficient was being driven by staffing levels.
No risk management, communication strategy.
It appears reticent, unable to deal with the underlying reason for the deficit, the council have shifted to selling council assets, which apparently a list had been or being formulated by council, to determine what may be sold off.
When asked about a potential sale of assets specifically for Boorowa, so as not to overtax the councillors, the meeting heard a lengthy explanation of; if an asset cannot pay its way, then why should it be kept? No particulars as to what they may be.
Given the speaker spoke about community halls, as an example, the mayor interjected saying no community halls would be sold off, but then went onto say certain land may be sold off to developers which was rather disconcerting as a previous councillor had assured us at least the Hilltops did not suffer from developer influence seen in larger centres.
I asked the question on sale of assets in Boorowa because, in the last Hilltops plan for Boorowa, we found that the council had crisscrossed the Boorowa Golf Club with public paths which would make the Boorowa Golf Club unusable.
It appeared whoever made this plan had no idea a Golf Club existed in Boorowa, and I left the meeting wondering if the land development proposal was the removal of our golf club.
In replying to concerns about assets sales, the mayor backtracked on earlier his dire warning of financial doom and administration and said things were not as bad as people where saying, which was disconcerting since he was the one who said they were.
In regards to the promised Boorowa water supply, the meeting was told a previous successful evaluation of a dam proposal would not proceed and the only effective alternative in terms of cost was piping water to Boorowa utilising a company called Goldfields Water.
As I had never heard of this company in previous discussions, my search revealed sitting on the Goldfields Water board were two Hilltops councillors - Cr Matthew Stadtmiller and Cr Greg Armstrong.
Neither indicated their involvement with Goldfield Water.
Though present, neither were the councillor who determined the Goldfields Water was the best option.
I am not suggesting there is anything unethical going on but I have to reflect how unbiased can the process of evaluation by the council be when deciding the most effective alternatives for a towns water supply when the council has two members on the board of the very organisation being proposed to provide water to Boorowa?
I came away from the meeting, as did some of my fellow citizens, in despair.
We were to find out about assets sales which would be decided by the council in confidence and we, the citizens, would have time to digest the decision, nothing about consultation.
As well, what was so clear there is a complete lack of a coordinated strategy, ideas regarding water supply, tourism, walking tracks appear in thought bubbles without any apparent interconnected rational, nor, what is worse, no communication strategy as to alternatives and public utilisation effect which involve the citizen they are to impact upon.
My view is the council needs to be replaced by an administrator.
If this cannot occur, current council needs to be put as far down the voting list as possible and give new candidates a go.
Council will need expert workforce managers, none of this falsehood these workforce managers would not understand our acronyms and job tasks, any expert workforce planner will get across the business quickly enough to a least stop the council digging the hole deeper, and we have got enough of them.
Derrick Mason tells us ("Negative influences have no prevailed", Boorowa News, November 25) that he recently had the privilege of listening to a presentation about wind farms from local personality Lyn Diskon.
Derrick says that he came away refreshed because all the misinformation that had been circulating for years had apparently been dispelled.
He went on to say that wind energy was clean, reliable and provided employment for a large number of residents in towns like Boorowa!
No mention of any downside.
I don't know anything of Lyn, however if she is the same Lyn Diskon described in the Boorowa News who attended the general meeting of the Boorowa Business Chamber on 16 March 2020, as a special guest "representing the Bango Windfarm project", then I shouldn't be sceptical about her having also addressed those negative aspects of wind turbines that legitimately concern people, should I?
Things like noise and aesthetic pollution and bird kills.
Try standing adjacent to one of those things for an hour and then tell me that the people who are consistently exposed to their affects and complain about suffering from a range of psychological and physical conditions they did not have prior to that exposure, are making it up!
And if people think that these windmills are not a blight on the landscape, then their future ain't in town planning, and what's a few dead birds between ornithologists.
Apparently they kill a few bats as well, something Derrick should have included in his list as a plus for this "truly amazing technology"!
I generally get told that my letters are too long, so I won't be mentioning at length things like the amount of oil they use, how the blades are disposed of, the amount of trade off electricity used from the grid to enable their operation, and most significantly, the narrow wind speed parameters that mean that baby bear's porridge has got to be just right!
We wouldn't be having this conversation if more attention was paid to those "naysayers" who advocate for nuclear power.
You know, the stuff that has been powering submarines around the world safely for the past 60 odd years, and that need refuelling about every 30.
Derrick enjoins us to "be very wary of this ever-present element of negativity", and is thankful that these negative influences have not prevailed.
Aristotle once wisely said "lefties abhor a contrary opinion", or something similar!
While I have your attention, let me say what a monumental period for democracy in this country it has been during the last few weeks, with a political party demonstrating exactly how it should work.
Members crossing the floor to vote in accordance with their beliefs, conscience and hopefully the interests of their constituents.
Exactly what we elected them to do, and guess what, they all still have their jobs.
Try doing the same in the Labor Party after having agreed to be told how to think and act.
It would be time to hand in the membership card comrade, and head for the door.
Last Monday I drove to Wagga and back, and at 8.10am with a reasonable breeze blowing from the south east, not a single Bango wind turbine was operating!
On the return journey at 5.45pm, nothing had changed (except maybe wind speed and direction).
The only conclusion I could come to was that these things either keep 9 to 5 hours, or the bloke who pushes the buttons was on a rostered day off.
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