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Peter Bernard - 9 September 2014

Peter Bernard made the following comments in Non Agenda Public forum at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 9 September 2014.

Mr Mayor – Councillors may recall that I have addressed the council in public forum on several occasions regarding council transparency.

  • 1. One of those issues concern council responses to addresses by the public on non agenda items in public forum. At that meeting it appeared that many persons on the "bench" and some of the councillors were not aware of its location on the web. For the public to digest it should record what was asked by the speaker and the council response. Councillor Leslight representing all Eurobodalla ratepayers demonstrated his continuing responsibility as an elected representative moved that a report be submitted by the General Manager.

Madam General Manager when can this report be expected? Have there been any preliminary discussions?

  • 2. Another item of Transparency concerns the South Coast Regional Sea Level Rise Policy and Planning Frame Work. Reference was made to absence of case studies of the Narooma, Dalmeny and Kianga areas. These areas have already been identified by imminent Scientists as the most vulnerable in the Shire (Narooma News). There has been an unbelievable omission by the ESC Planning Department. Madam GM why wasn't a case study of these areas considered in conjunction with other reports such as "The hidden floor study" commissioned in early part of 2012. All findings so far should be released immediately to all councillors and the community. It was requested that Councillors Burnside and Brown, citizen representatives of those areas instigate the public release of all information regarding these studies. Has this been done? Madam GM I draw your attention to GM Anderson's statement in July 2012 "The aim of the study is to include and inform the community with the degree of flood risk on the target areas as the report progresses." Will the GM do this now taking into account any public perceptions of conflict of interest which to my knowledge remain unanswered?

Will the Planning Director advise the council and me now which stakeholders and public utilities have been advised of the information currently on exhibition and requesting them to make a submission?

Would the GM extend this to every ratepayer?

The council has identified and advised many private property holders and in doing so should they should now what other assets will be affected. Roads, bridges, hospitals, electrical installations, telecommunication, crown lands, national parks, commercial centres, etc. You name them! The council and consultants must consider input by all stakeholders such as the Department of Environmental and Heritage. Have they been asked to make a submission? I am aware that some have been advised that their residential properties have been identified. Was this same advice extended to all commercial property holders that will impacted by the policy on exhibition and the current Sea Level Rise policy (ex Narooma flat and Moruya Commercial area)

*1 If so. Would you please advise whether you have had your office recently examined for presence of termites particularly the local Moruya species "Master termes Eurobodallallesis "it has an insatiable appetite for cellulose. I have noticed one complete column of the usual Public Forum report has suddenly disappeared. What is more confusing is that they seem to have some ability to type as the printout was dated 9/5/2014 but records Mr Lambert and I as having spoken on the 12/8/2014.

*2 The synopsis by the consultants states that the document does not necessarily represent the opinions of neither the Government nor the Office of the Environment and Heritage. Their opinion is a vital necessity.