Ward councillors oppose ‘town hall style’ meeting

Councillor Kyle MacGregor speaks up at a council meeting. Image archiveCouncillor Kyle MacGregor speaks up at a council meeting. Image archive 2017

Central Coast Council has voted to hold a “town hall style public meeting” in the West Gosford ward, which includes the Peninsula.

However, two of the ward councillors – Cr Chris Holstein and Cr Troy Marquart – opposed the move.

The council voted to hold one meeting in each ward, in the lead-up to September’s council elections.

The question and answer sessions are set to reflect “transparent decision making and accountability”, according to Cr Kyle MacGregor, who moved the successful motion on October 28.

The meetings will be open to interested councillors to take questions from the audience or make statements relevant to the region. Admission will be free. Cr Chris Holstein said that, although he “likes the concept”, he had reservations that the sessions could turn into “political rallies” and said he would support the move during the next council term.

Cr Troy Marquart agreed, saying the move would have been better placed 18 months ago. “It’s going to help people get elected, in their mind, but I think the more they talk the less chance they have of getting re-elected, ” he said.

Cr MacGregor said he didn’t know why some councillors wouldn’t want to talk to residents.

He said “listening posts” held in shopping centres every few months weren’t enough.

The motion was carried by Crs Sundstrom, Smith, Vincent, MacGregor, Mehrtens, Hogan, McLachlan and Pilon. Voters against were Crs Best, Hostein, Greenaway, Marquart and Matthews.

SOURCE: Central Coast Council agenda 8.1, 28 Oct 2019

This article appeared first in the Peninsula News print edition 483