Searching for Direction: May meeting of the Council

Posted: May 24, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized

Searching for Direction: May meeting of the Council

Index

Click on the heading to go straight to the story:

Prayers at the Council

Shire Water supply

Residential Reuse of Water

Costs of the Moruya to Deep Creek Pipeline

Moruya Slow Food Festival

Draft LEP

Draft Plan of Management 2009-2013

The Council meeting on May 26 has an agenda which in many ways focuses on the direction we may want to take in the Shire.

The five agenda items I’ve picked for special attention this time provide food for thought about the directions that we want to take the Shire.

Prayers at the Council

Councillor Scobie has introduced a Notice of Motion proposing that Council be opened with a prayer, which would be read by a member of the Moruya Ministers Fellowship on a rotational basis.

Apparently this practice was cancelled at the commencement of the current Council without consultation with the Councillors.

Councillor Scobie is giving us all the opportunity to discuss exactly how we want religion to influence our politics.

Some questions that I think need to be considered very carefully in this debate are:

1.      Do we want to ensure that we have a separation of church and state, and is saying Christian prayers at the beginning of a session of a Council blurring this boundary?

2.      How do we decide which faiths can make prayers at the beginning of the Council. Is it OK for a local Imam to call on Allah to give the Councillors wisdom (I would certainly hope so…) What about a Rabbi? What about people who are atheist, and may find the whole idea of prayers offensive?

What about Buddhists or Pagans? What about people who are following their traditional aboriginal beliefs?

3.      How do the people who employ the Councillors (that’s you and me) feel about a particular faith having the opportunity to publicly put its imprimatur on the proceedings of the Council?  What provision is being made for Community consultation on this issue?

There is no doubt at all that the Councillors make important decisions at the Council meetings, and reflecting on the gravity of what they are about to do may well help Councillors in their task.

Perhaps this could just as easily be achieved by having a minute of silence for all in the Chamber at the beginning of proceedings, where participants can pray, meditate or just sit quietly and reflect on what they will be doing at the meeting.

What are your views on prayers at the Council? You can contribute to this topic by clicking here.

Read the report

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Shire Water supply

In the Council agenda this week, we have two reports on water supply, one looking to the past and one looking to the future.

As climate change develops, access to water will be an issue we have to face.

Perhaps the time has come to have an extensive review of our water needs and the best ways to guarantee its supply into the future.

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Residential Reuse of Water

This report provides the opportunity for Councillors to make some decisions about the use of recycled water in the Shire.

The report recommends a go slowly approach, where efforts to recycle water would be concentrated on agricultural use. Residential reuse schemes would be considered in new developments.

Community consultation on this issue is important, as water recycling schemes can easily be derailed if the community is not convinced of their need. The report recognises this and recommends extensive community consultation if the Council wants to take steps in this direction.

Recycling water is one of the tools we can use to ensure that we have adequate water for our needs. It is good that the Council is looking at the feasibility of recycling schemes, and is preparing the community to consider this issue.

What are your views on Recycling water?  You can make your contribution here.

Read the report

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Costs of the Moruya to Deep Creek Pipeline

Now…going back to traditional approaches to supplying water.

The Shire now estimates that the Moruya to Deep creek Dam pipeline.  will cost $31.455 million.

The pipeline is now complete and all it requires now to work is ummmm…water. The Moruya River presently does not have enough flow for the pipeline to work.

Many are saying that this pipeline is  an expensive and unnecessary approach to maintaining the Shires Water supply.

The money has been spent on this project now, but it does give us the opportunity to reflect on how best to spend other money that becomes available to improve our water supply.

I’ve heard people talk of the advantages of making water tanks available to every residence in the Shire, rather than spend huge amounts of money on traditional dams and pipelines.  Would this have been a more economical approach to ensuring our water supply than this pipeline.

What are your views on the pipeline and its costs? Make your contribution here.

Read the report

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Moruya Slow Food Festival

There is another procedural report to Council on the Moruya Slow Food Festival, so this gives me the opportunity to give it another plug…

Moruya will have its first Slow Food Festival between 19-22 June. There will be around 30 stalls and slow food guru Jacqui French will be the key note speaker.

As well as celebrating all the fine food and produce that is available in the Shire at the Riverside park on Saturday 21 June the Council has worked with the Moruya Chamber of Commerce backed organising Committee to make land available on the outskirts of Moruya to demonstrate horticultural techniques to those who are growing their own produce.

In the longer term, the committee plans to use this land as a demonstration plot for both small scale commercial growers and for home gardeners.

It is good to see the Council and the community working together to celebrate our growers and producers and provide opportunities to encourage food security by developing horticultural skills.

If you would like more detail on the Slow food Celebration, visit their site at www.eurobodallaslowfood.com.au

or speak to Stuart Scobie on

02 4745903

You can read the report and comment on this story here.

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Draft LEP

The Council released its draft Local Environment Plan (LEP) this month, and as you would expect with any document such as this, there is community concern and interest about its implications both at a personal and community level.

You can read the Draft LEP here.

The full LEP documentation can be viewed here

Councillor Chris Vardon is proposing that the exhibition period for the Draft LEP be extended for a further three weeks to the beginning of July to allow further community consultation and discussion on this important document.

I’ve been approached by a number of people who are concerned about the possible implications of the LEP on their businesses or properties, and it is important that these concerns are raised and dealt with adequately before the LEP is accepted.

I’ll do a special issue of the Peoples Voice in the next week which will concentrate on the LEP and its implications for the Shire.  I’d welcome any contributions people would like to make to this edition. You can contact me at

david@thepeoplescouncil.com

or phone 0428 725030 if you would like to make a contribution to the LEP edition, or if you want to talk about an issue that concerns you.

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Draft Plan of Management 2009-2013

On the subject of drafts, the draft management plan is also on exhibition until the end of this week.

You can read the draft management plan here

The Council is proposing a special rate increase this year and is seeking your views on it.  You can see what these rate increases will be here

This includes the special levy that was discussed at the Council meeting in March.  You can read that report here.

The Draft Management plan is one of the most important documents the Shire produces. It is the document that details the direction will be taking over a five year period, and how it proposes to raise and spend the money it needs.

If you are interested in taking an active role in the Council’s activities, reading and responding to the management plan is one of the most effective ways of having your say in Council affairs.

There’s only a week left to go, but that is plenty of time to get your submission in to the Council on the Draft Management plan

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Editor

David Grace

Email: david@thepeoplescouncil.com

Phone: 0428 725030

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