Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Letters to the Editor

Editor March 16, 2016

Dear Editor,
What a joke the Victorian Labor Government is when they pledged Shepparton

Art Museum $10M on proviso the Federal Government does the same. It’s a disgrace when GV Health wanted $10M at last year’s Victorian budget and they got only a lousy $1M from the state Labor Government.

To spend a total of $34.5M on a bloomin’ art museum is a waste of more important money, when schools in our town and our local hospital are crying out for funds.

Management here, in this instance, needs a good hard look at themselves and should be ashamed to have their names attached to the art museum.
How many new nurses and hospital wards could be funded for $34.5M?
Yours sincerely,
Robert Opie


Dear Editor,
I refer to the latest rant by Cr Houlahan (The Adviser Wednesday, March 9) against myself, and the Better Local Government Association. I have contacted Mayor Adem who has informed me that the council has not authorised the opinions that you have expressed in your letter that you have signed as councillor and that you should have made it very clear that the views expressed are your own personal views and not those of the council, this is not the case I believe.

In the letter, Cr Houlahan denied that at council’s February meeting that she claimed the Maude Street Mall was a success. However Cr Houlahan, I was in attendance along with many of our association’s members and we were awake and listening when you made the claim that the mall was working because you said a recent survey by the Shepparton South Rotary Club proved that 32 percent of mall traders experienced an increase in trade when council conducted activities in the mall. We all witnessed you trying to move a motion committing council to spend unlimited additional ratepayers money for the next three years to repeating this success.

Cr Patterson had to try and explain to you, that this survey actually proved that 68 percent of Mall traders did not experience any increase in trade at all when council conducted activities in the mall and that 32 percent was actually a fail.

Cr Houlahan’s letter then questioned the legitimacy of the Better Local Government Association and how many paid up members did we actually have. Well Cr Houlahan, thanks to you, the Better Local Government Association never had any shortage of members. Look around you. Our members are the vast majority of those in the public galley at council meetings every month. Our members are most of the ratepayers who write submissions to council’s budgets every year. Our members are property owners in the CBD who have shops they can’t rent because the rates are too high, the streets are too dirty and the parking is so bad. Our members are shopkeepers in the CBD who struggle to hear their customers over the noise of endless heavy trucks roaring past their shops. Our members are ex-council workers who claim they were bullied out of their jobs by the CEO when you were mayor. Our members are the ratepayers who fought to keep Andrew Fairley Avenue open when you voted to close it, when you were mayor.

Our members are the residents who made submissions to the electoral review to have nine councillors instead of seven to try and get a few more councillors who will listen not preach. Our members are property owners east of Archer Road whose properties are routinely flooded because you have allowed council to continually raise the height of the floodway in Archer Road. Our members were the ratepayers who made submissions to council that forced the council to make changes to the DHP when it was found that they operated unlawfully for three years making decisions inconsistent with council policies and without a quorum when you were mayor. Our members are the poor sods who front up to councils DHP trying to develop their land to create more jobs in Shepparton thinking that they will get a fair hearing only to have the council’s planners sitting on the panel vote for their own recommendations 100 percent of the time.

Our members are ratepayers who dressed in their pyjamas and travelled down on the train at 5am to Parliament House with Cr Patterson and Cr Summer to try and get a better train service for Shepparton. Our members are the business owners council planners are trying to shut down for not having a permit, that they do not need, when council are building their drainage scheme without a permit, that they do need. Our members are ratepayers who have paid excessive rates for years because you have failed to keep council spending within its budget when you were mayor. Our members are the ones who support the other councillors who do care and listen to the community and are not content to just roll over. Our members are the men and women you belittle as ‘grumpy old men.’

Council has an excellent Community Consultation Policy that unfortunately thanks to you, council and council officers rarely ever follow. This council policy promises the community that council will listen to, and understand community views, will work collaboratively with community groups, organisations and stakeholders to develop, plan and manage projects. This Policy promises the community that council will empower the community and promises that the final decision making of projects like the mall, will be made by the community.

Cr Houlahan, it is time for you to grow up. Being a councillor is not all about you and what you want. Being a good councillor is about what the community wants, and making it happen.
Yours sincerely,
Gordon Hamilton
Better Local Government Association President