Our freshly-minted, shiny-faced, brimful-of-ideas, democratically-elected councillors have now been in office for nearly three months.
In that time, they have just managed to discuss (but, of course, not reach a decision on) the idea of meeting twice a month, instead of monthly.
However, if the Council is applying itself to any of the pressing issues facing the city, there has been zero evidence of it.
During the election campaign, much play was made with the need for transparency and communication, but this principle seems to have taken a back seat, when it comes to keeping ratepayers informed of what is going on.
In particular, it seems that ward councillors are not being overly responsive to the local electors who put them into office, and one wonders why a ward system of elections was adopted at all, if the ward representatives are not going to be intimately involved with the specific concerns of their constituents.
For a start, why aren’t we being told what our practically invisible Coordinator-General is up to?
Why aren’t we getting progress reports on the Gosford CBD plan being prepared in the secret sanctum of the Government Architect’s Office?
What about a full accounting of the usage of community facilities, especially those where local groups claim to be under pressure from new and onerous conditions imposed by the Council: isn’t the Council in place to support community activities, rather than to put everything on a profit-making basis?
When shall we see “precinct action” plans for locations in the city where Council initiative is needed to remedy defects or provide the infrastructure for future development.
When shall we see a competent analysis of the employment-housing nexus in the city, to set realistic goals for the next 20 years?
The questions are endless, but the responses picayune.
It would seem perfectly reasonable to expect that our full-time, paid mayor could present a state-of-the-city report to mark her first 100 days in office, detailing what has been achieved and marking out the steps immediately to be taken to set priorities for Council activities, beyond a weekly column of puffery in the Express Advocate.
Furthermore, there is far too much of the “commercial-in-confidence” excuse for concealing information from the public.
If a developer wants to keep information confidential, he should keep it to himself: anything submitted to the Council should be available to the people who make up the city and have the strongest interest in knowing what is happening, i.e., us.
What we are entitled to are open decisions openly arrived at.
Email, 1 Dec 2017
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy