Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : October 3 2017 Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2017 - PAGE 5
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A GOVERNMENT appointed community com-
mittee has been the target of a withering attack
by Cr Andrew McEwen over allegations of secre-
cy, poor governance and implications of worse.
The criticism came during a debate at last
week’s council meeting over a request by the
Walkerville Foreshore Reserve Committee of
Management for additional funds from the
council to meet a shortfall in a $900,000 project
presently being undertaken at Walkerville North.
The scope of those works were also criticised
by a local property owner and fisherman at a
public presentation session before council, last
But it was the vehemence and substance of
the attack by Cr McEwen later in the day which
raised the eyebrows of fellow councillors, one of
whom attempted to warn her colleague about the
potentially defamatory nature of his remarks.
Local councillors are not covered by “parlia-
mentary privilege”, the protection accorded to
MPs which enables them to speak freely in their
Delivered in the presence of the committee
of management’s chair, Bill Bray, who wouldn’t
have been allowed to answer the allegations due
to council’s meeting procedure, even if he had
wanted to, Cr McEwen criticised both Mr Bray
and the committee over allegations that they’d
failed to consult or provide details about how
the money was spent.
“We’re already giving more money than the
actual contribution of the economic value that
the council’s engineer talked about. We’re giving
$130,000 when the value of the works being done
for our benefit is $62,000,” claimed Cr McEwen.
“So there is a really significant contribution
however I’ve got some serious reservations
about all these motions,” he said, referring to
the recommendations by the council officers,
and moved by Crs Brunt and Edwards, that
$61,850 further be allocated to the seawall
reconstruction, road and car/boat trailer, foot-
path works; bringing council’s total commit-
ment to $192,500.
“The governance practices of the Walkerville
Foreshore Committee has produced the most
sustained and on-going criticism I’ve had (seen)
in my five years on council,” he said.
“There are serious questions about the fore-
shore committee and whether it has been negli-
gent and efficient in its processes...”
Cr Lorraine Brunt interjected, raising a Point
She said Cr McEwen had not provided evi-
dence for his criticism and at the risk of being
defamatory, should withdraw his remarks.
But Cr McEwen said he had the evidence and
as such would not withdraw, also dismissing a
warning by the Mayor Cr Ray Argento that he
was “tip-toeing right on the edge”.
“Through you Mr Mayor, there is evidence of
this and I am not tip-toeing through anything,”
Cr McEwen continued.
“May I continue, there has been a clear failure to
provide information requested... there has been a
lack of transparency and accountability on where
the money is going and where it came from.
“The previous council committee $132,000, On
the morning of that meeting Mr Bray made a sol-
emn apology and committed to consult. There has
been no such consultation. That is on the record
and that is common knowledge,” he claimed.
“Many local people complained about the na-
ture of the plans, including the fishing club and I
think at the same time the residents association.
“The concern is that the proposed plan does not
reflect the requirements of the fishing fraternity
and is in fact potentially dangerous,” he alleged.
Similar allegations were made by Walkerville
North property owner and recreational fisher-
man, Don Atkins, earlier in the day.
“I believe this proposal has been very poorly
planned and certainly without proper consulta-
tion or consideration of the needs and wishes
of all stakeholders. To me it is a plan that does
nothing to encourage visitors or day trippers
to come to or return to Walkerville North. The
parking area has not only been dramatically re-
duced but pread over greater distance...
“In my opinion this design will cause consid-
erable inconvenience and frustration to those
launching and retrieving boats.”
He went on to claim the changes create dan-
gerous traffic situations and reduce, not in-
Cr McEwen continued:
“A subsequent meeting after the decision in
August 2016, when I was at it and Cr Rich and
VRFish, and other local groups, a solemn com-
mitment was again made by the chair of the com-
mittee about consultation but there was none.
“So there has not been any proper consulta-
tion over the plan,” he alleged.
He went on to say that he’d received reports
in the past six to eight weeks there was a
$200,000 shortfall in funding and that council
would pick up the tab, but denied by Mr Bray.
He said Mr Bray had offered to provide a de-
tailed statement of expenditure and income,
and details about contracts entered into.
“We have not been presented with that,” he said.
However it can be revealed that Crs Argento,
McEwen, Rich and Skinner, together with shire
officer Anthony Seabrook had received a state-
ment by email on September 18, signed by Mr
Bray on September 16 providing details about the
scope of the works, the costings and the shortfall.
“In my view,” Cr McEwen continued, “the be-
haviour of the committee appears to have been
potentially making misrepresentations. It has
broken commitments several times to the whole
of the community who are their stakeholders.
“It has not been open and transparent. We
have only recently been informed that the road
is in fact not the foreshore’s property. It is actu-
ally council’s property. So why are we having
a deficient consultation process with the key
stakeholders who say it’s quite dangerous when
own policy, if it was our own road, we would
go through a much more open, thorough and
genuine consultation process.
“Council has already contributed, as I said
$62,000 for the roadworks given that we are
putting $130,000 in. We are giving roughly
whatever the difference it between those two,
$70,000 for the overall project.
“What concerns me is that there is massive
disquiet in the community. There is a lack of
confidence in the plan. And there’s been a lack
of transparency. In all honesty I cannot support
any of those motions and I support Cr Skinner
that there should be a deferral.”
And ultimately that’s what council voted for,
seven to two (Crs Edwards and Brunt against)
to defer a further contribution to the works
“until such time as councillors have received a
briefing on the matter detailing project specif-
ics and background information from all stake-
holders relating to the proposed increased
contribution of shire funds to the Walkerville
Foreshore Committee project”.
The briefing is to include information on con-
sultation undertaken by the committee and will
be tabled at council’s next meeting on October 25.
In the meantime, a consultation meeting with
stakeholders has been organised by the Walker-
ville Foreshore Committee of Management for
later this month.
Cr McEwen attacks Walkerville
committee over seawall funding
FINE evaders and those with outstanding
warrants have less chance of escaping the
clutches of the police and the justice system fol-
lowing the introduction of Automatic Number
Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
In use last Friday in the ANPR cameras take
images of number plates and compare these
against a list of vehicles and their owners with
If there is a match, the software notifies the
sheriff ’s officer, police or when being used in
conjunction with a roadside checking station,
drivers will be flagged down and questioned.
The cameras can operate in both mobile and
stationary modes. Sheriff ’s officers conduct mo-
bile operations at locations such as carparks by
mounting cameras to the exterior of their vehi-
cles and reading number plates as they travel.
The technology can also be set up in a fixed
position and used at roadblock operations as
was the case last week.
It is believed the Sheriff ’s Office and police
detected a number of fine evaders and out-
standing warrants on the day.
There’s no evading Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology when roadblocks
are set up in your town, stopping drivers on both sides in Korumburra last week. m273917
Fine evaders will get caught
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