Monday, 4 September 2017

The Bus Stop, Fiscal Accountability And Community Consultation

Bus Stop [EXAMINER Sept 4]
THE letter (The Sunday Examiner, August 27) from City of Launceston Alderman Simon Wood, I had to read the letter twice to ensure that I understood what Mr Wood was trying to articulate. Mr Wood refers to the cost to relocate the bus stop 30 metres or so will not cost about $2 million. We should be planning for the long term and if this takes time so be it, we need to get it right. Whether it is federal, state or local government monies the City of Launceston should be prudent with our money. I intend to put my name forward at the Local Government elections in 2018.

Bob Salt, Launceston.

From the council [EXAMINER Aug 27 Examiner]
AS AN alderman of our great city I am more than aware of the importance and significance of the City Heart Project and the enormous benefits the project is bringing to Launceston.
While it's great that the Launceston Chamber of Commerce has put forward an opinion on the location of bus stops, I would point out that the City of Launceston has been working on this for the best part of two years. The council has explored many options and consulted widely with the community.
I was like many alderman, have received feedback from businesses, the broader community and the actual users of the bus service, with mixed responses regarding the preferred outcome - it's an emotive issue with no easy solution.
I am always open to new information and would welcome exploring any option that would achieve the best outcome for our city. I would also point out that the flippant remarks about spending millions to move the bus stops 30 meters are simply inaccurate and misleading to the community. The proposal is far more than that, it's a complete rejuvenation of a significant street section in our CBD.
It can only be hoped that if the decision is made to move the bus stops outside the soon to be revamped Civic Square, of which such a move is not budgeted for, that funding can be found so that those businesses and community members of whom have been promised and are expecting a rejuvenated section of St John Street won't be let down.

Simon Wood, Alderman at City of Launceston.

EDITER NOTE: This is just the tip of the dysfunctional iceberg that is Launceston City Council. Ald. Wood's letter is so much claptrap written on the assumption that someone will read it and then believe it – because he said. He must have caught this potentially fatal disease from the now departed GM who often claimed that he was operating under the guidance of "[his] good fiend the Local Government Act".

Community consultation, or put another way by Mayor van Zetten, "community engagement", is something that the aldermen are strangers to. Apparently, it's an idea to be hand balled to the 'operational wing' and having done so, there representative role is all over – perhaps until they are looking to be elected againthis time next year!

As for the overall funding of this City Heart Project, the method in play seems to be:
  1. Borrow a hell of a lot of money from the government;
  2. Do it quickly and quietly well away from the gaze of 'the ratepayers';
  3. Spend it very quickly – and that's very quickly;
  4. Stand back and hope that some of the money, rubs off, brushes off or sticks to somewhere it's intended to.
Apparently, this is understood to be good civic planning and credible fiscal management. However, one is left wondering what the ratepayers, those people stumping up the extra cash in their rates, are going pay off the loan with and about which any comment that might have given seems to have been serially put to one side.

Anyway, alternative candidates are starting to put their hands up for when the next Local Govt. election and that has to be a good sign!

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