It’s time to move the conversation forward and talk about how to manage amalgamation
Thank you for the messages of appreciation after our recent email alerting you to Hunters Hill Council’s approval of legal action that is expected to cost the community at least $150,000 and probably more like $300,000 – $400,000, to (at best) defer the amalgamation process.
Please see below (at the bottom) an email sent to Hunters Hill Mayor Richard Quinn, on Saturday 7th May 2016. We are seeking use of the Hunters Hill Town Hall on the same terms as was granted to the Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition.
The reason for us doing so is simply because we believe it’s time for the Council to stop following the vocal minority who are threatening legal and political Armageddon against the NSW state government, which appears determined to achieve local government reform. Instead the Council and community really needs to focus on how to best influence amalgamation, so that we preserve as much as possible that we like about the past. It is also timely to consider whether a legal fight with <50% change of success (according to Council’s own report) is the best use of $300,000 – $400,000 of ratepayers’ money, when there are footpaths, roads, drains, gutters, sports fields, environmental damage, street trees, and more issues requiring attention.
Although some may fear change, change is a reality of life and we will improve our future when we play a role in helping to shape it instead of trying to fight the unwinnable or ignore the inconvenient.
There will be some blessings to come from amalgamation – with economies of scale and knowledge sharing enabling us to enjoy benefits such as:
* streaming local council meetings on the internet as Lane Cove does (http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.
* the ability to employ specialist staff to deal with the broad and increasing range of technical issues faced by local councils,
* efficiency in back-office processing, and much more.
There is concern about local representation as the number of residents to Councillors will increase, but in this issue too Hunters Hill can learn from Lane Cove – at which members of the public can address council on any matter of importance to them for 3 minutes at the start of each council meeting – without needing (as is the case in Hunters Hill Council) Mayoral approval (http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.
When we look to the future with an open mind we see that there can be improvements, that the status quo is not necessarily the very best we can have. But there will be challenges, and that is why we want to start – better late than never – the discussion about how to protect what we appreciate.
Probably the best reference document to promote a productive conversation comes from the Hunters Hill Trust, that published the ‘rough guide to amalgamation available by clicking “Impact of Amalgamation Report” link at (http://huntershilltrust.org.
Please get in touch if you are interested in helping to promote the new conversation. From the emails we’ve received we know that many of you agree it’s well overdue.
Team at Gladesville Community Group (Inc)
Councillor Richard Quinn
Mayor of Hunters Hill
Dear Mr Mayor,
I represent Gladesville Community Group. The Group would like to hold a public meeting at the Town Hall on a weekday evening during May or early June to consider positive proposals re Hunters Hill for a future interim council to consider. The Group believes it is essential for Hunters Hill’s specific interests to be considered, championed and incorporated in the formulation of any new amalgamated council authority.
The Group notes the Council’s commitment to providing ratepayers and residents in the municipality with a full understanding of the developing situation. In this regard, the Group would seek the use of the Town Hall public area on the same terms as those offered earlier to another community group, Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition.
The group would appreciate your early consideration of our request.
Thanking you in anticipation,
Gladesville Community Group