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Not sufficient time to respond to important issue

David Spong from Bithramere writes about some very pertinent questions and observations on Tamworth Regional Council’s
Nanjing Night Net

survey asking ratepayers if they would back a special rate variation application to IPART.

“The way forward?” Really?

Ratepayers of the Tamworth region – wake up!

The council is proposing to use your money to fund their vision of the future.

The photo used on the front of their recent flyer is ironic – it shows an empty road.

When I came here 11 years ago, there was one set of traffic lights and little or no traffic congestion.

It seems to me that our council’s vision for the future is vastly increased development and more traffic.

Their cosy sounding phrase – “A place to call home” – doesn’t define what sort of home that may be!

If this proposed rate of development is allowed to go ahead, at our expense, we may be living in the equivalent of an outer suburb of Sydney.

I am the first to agree that the infrastructure around here is in dire need of repair. It has been allowed to deteriorate. We must catch up.

Why has this not been done?

Where have our rates gone in recent years?

Useless trips to sister cities? Who knows?

The pace of development has been too fast, too soon. Think about the developments at Calala, Westdale, and Forest Hills.

Now think about the traffic jams at the dual roundabouts at Jewry St, the parking fees in town, the lack of parking spots in Peel St, the water restrictions because more and more people have been encouraged and even paid to come here, with no increase in infrastructure to support this influx of people.

The new hospital has one – yes one – extra bed above the capacity of the old one.

When was the last time a new school was built here?

I want to live in the quiet country town that I moved to.

I have seen the results of overdevelopment in the UK (one of the reasons I emigrated) and on the Gold Coast.

Yes, I want prosperity, but not growth at any price.

We can be, and have been for many years, a prosperous region. We do not need to expand at the rate I fear our council has in mind for us.

The council has been hatching this scheme for some months now, if not years.

On page 3 of their Q&A sheet for this proposed rate rise, they admit to starting this new strategy in May 2014. And now, seven months after, they ask the community to consider this over a period of 10 days!

With everyone’s eyes on Christmas, they are unlikely to get much response, which is, I suspect, exactly what they are hoping.

This is not sufficient time to consider and respond to such an important issue.

The survey of 609 people returned one finding: that 53 per cent supported the current proposal. That’s hardly a resounding mandate to forge ahead.

They also conveniently fail to mention any other, probably negative, findings.

So, on or by December 12, council has to tell IPART if they intend to apply for this special rate variation.

What do you think they are going to do?

It’s a given. They’ll apply.

There is no council meeting between the end of the “consultation” period and the intention to apply being made. Anyway, whatever the result of the “consultation”, the council could still override your opinions.

This is not a referendum or an election.

So, if you, like me, want the council to pull its head in, slow down and really take into account what the community wants, then get into gear and respond to the flyer, visit the website and make your voice heard.

The council meeting is on December 16. Be there and better still, register to be heard at the consultation hearing prior to the meeting itself.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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