Well done CCN for coverage of Councillors’ achievements

Central Coast Council Photo: Justin StanleyCentral Coast Council Photo: Justin Stanley

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Coast Community News is to be congratulated for its coverage of the “achievements” of our councillors over the past three years (CCN, Sep 11).

This will be extremely valuable as a reference source, when the long-delayed elections come up next year, although it is notable that several councillors are not listed in the round-up.

Was this because they had no achievements to report and were too ashamed to [respond] or because they hold the electorate in such disdain that they don’t see any need to keep electors informed about their activities?

I wonder if it wouldn’t be worthwhile to make this, say, a six-monthly feature: most ratepayers don’t closely follow each councillor’s behaviour on a weekly basis, but a summary of this kind brings performance into focus.

Of course, some items don’t amount to anything more than carrying out routine councillor duties.

For instance, approving the new Umina Mall project hardly seems such an outstanding effort that it calls for self-congratulation, particularly since the project still seems to be a long way from fruition: if Councillor Mehrtens has made such an remarkable contribution that he is invited to cut the opening ribbon, it would seem to be soon enough to brag about it on that day.

As for the idea that “there were few issues … as unpopular as the … decision to remove town centre banners from Umina”, I have yet to hear a single person mention it or even to notice that the banners were missing in the first place or have been reinstated.

This is picayune stuff, indeed.

With respect to Councillor Best, I sympathise with him that he can only point to multiple failed rescission motions on the subject of the Gosford Library and the Warnervale Airport, and to a concern about responsible use of Council resources.

I believe these are three important subjects, and I wish that he had been successful in his endeavours against what some might see as the obstinacy of the Council at large

I know they do say that, if a first you don’t succeed, you should try, try again, but there surely comes a point where it’s necessary to give up a lost cause and move on to something more productive.

Most ratepayers want to hear about something that a councillor has been successful at, even if it is only street banners.

It is obviously a pleasure to commend Councillor Greenaway on her success in opening the Hely St carpark, even though I gain no personal benefit from it: the closing of the carpark was a fatuous nonsense, and it shouldn’t have needed the kind of effort that was required to open it.

However, I am less impressed by her “consistently representing the community” and being “consistently committed to the future”.

What else is she supposed to be: this is what a councillor is elected for and is nothing but a reiteration of the bleeding obvious.

I think that ratepayers would like something a little more concrete to justify the (recently increased) allowance that she is being paid.

Sitting on a Council committee doesn’t really cut it.

However, the one that my heart bleeds for is Councillor McLachlan for his untiring efforts to highlight “the crippling, divisive, party politics and its negative impact on the Council’s performance”, as though this is something that every ratepayer is oblivious to.

I can assure Councillor McLachlan that he can spare himself any further effort in this “most successful contribution to date” and can retire on his laurels, safe in the knowledge that he has been 100% successful in conveying such understanding to the community.

This will, no doubt, give him time to concentrate on the “geo textile bag massacre” (apologies to Arlo Guthrie fans) which was an outstanding contribution to solving the problem of coastal erosion.

There was a general lament that efforts at “fixing potholes, building jetties and boat ramps, skate park and sporting field upgrades” etc, were not fully appreciated.

Of course, exactly the opposite is the case: these are the kind of issues that most concern the community, and I don’t understand why each councillor doesn’t have a blog in which action on these matters is reported and updated on a continuing basis or why each councillor doesn’t have an interactive website where constituents can communicate concerns about such day-to-day problems.

If my three ward councillors made us aware of a contact process that didn’t require face-to-face communication, I am confident that citizens would feel much greater confidence in the system.

Email, Sep 11
B. Hyland, Woy Woy.

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