Clarence Valley Independent, 14 January 2016:
Forum campaigns against CVC's 'secrecy'
Story By: Geoff Helisma
The group started the online petition in July 2015, following an operational decision by the council to withdraw its weekly block advertising from this newspaper, as part of the its review of services to meet the requirements of the state government's Fit for the Future initiative.
The council's advertising budget for 2015/16 is $580,000 – the council's statutory financial reports show advertising costs for 2013/14 were $512,000, $520,000 in 2012/13 and $466,000 in 2011/12.
The Clarence Forum's convenor, John Hagger, said he had been unsuccessful in gaining a breakdown of where or how the council spends its advertising budget.
Mr Hagger made a written request to CVC for the information in June 2015.
A council officer responded to the request on June 11, 2015, stating, in part, that work had "started to compile the information but it will take some time to complete … I would envisage having a formal response to you by the end of next week".
Subsequent to this, Mr Hagger was advised on the telephone by the council's corporate director, Ashley Lindsay, that the information would not be released.
In a letter accompanying the petition, which has been sent to the general manager, each of the councillors and Local Government Minister Paul Toole, Mr Hagger writes: "No reason has Ever been given for the refusal to release the report and the information it contains."
Mr Lindsay is on annual leave until February 1.
Mr Hagger said that it was "incumbent on the council to reveal the expenditure details in line with the public interest test outlined in the NSW GIPA Act"……
Iluka 162-lot massive subdivision
There are many questions about this subdivision.
Is it really honest for the Council to say they have already doubled the statutory exhibition period of 14 days (D/E 5/1/16) when the council rooms at both Maclean and Grafton were closed until the 3rd January, effectively reducing the length of time to read over 400 pages in 11 days. Why was the DA not available on the council website or even in Iluka?
Thanks to community pressure the DA is now available at the Iluka Library which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks to even more community pressure and media attention the submission date to comment has been extended to 4pm on the 12th February. Still not enough time to read, research and prepare a submission or even comment on the DA. We must have informed community scrutiny and enough time to do it.
Many people in Iluka are questioning the timing of the DA release on Christmas eve and the fact that large signs on the Iluka Road advertised this development on Christmas eve 2013. The signs were subsequently removed. How is this possible or even legal before a DA has even been approved?
Journalist Tim Howard’s story states The Stevens Group acknowledges some environmental issues within this site. Quite an understatement by the developer considering it is not just ‘opposite a golf course’ but adjacent to one of the last remnants of littoral rain forest in NSW and also a corridor between two national parks.
Large numbers of bird watchers, scientists and photographers frequent Iluka in the off season for the very reason that Iluka is unique and still home to more than 200 species of birds alone. Do we really want to spoil this quiet, beautiful, unique place by increasing the population by up to 500 along with god knows how many more cars, cats and dogs.
If the community do want an increase in population this is the perfect opportunity for a developer to have a state of the art, sustainable, environmentally friendly development with stringent safeguards for native flora and fauna and larger house sites. The site has been identified as an environmentally sensitive area being in or within 100 metres of an area identified as a wetland of international significance or world heritage area – after all it is this environment we have now that is so attractive to visitors.
Any resident wishing to comment directly to the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel can do so on line as well as a submission to Clarence Valley Council. Exercise your right and have a go.
Comment sent to North Coast Voices concerning the long proposed Yamba By-pass, 7 October 2015:
The Daily Examiner, 6 October 2015: