Decision “by the book”
Tuesday, 5th July, 2011
BH Mayor Wincen Cuy has leapt to the defence of his fellow councillors, claiming they have been unfairly criticised for their role in approving a health clinic in Morgan Street.
Mayor Cuy said last Wednesday’s decision by council to approve the development application (DA) for the establishment of the clinic in a residential area had been done “by the book”.
“Some of the comments that have been made about councillors are insulting and a false representation of the process,” Mayor Cuy said.
“It is unfair for councillors to be labeled that way because the majority decision was reached due to the fact that there were no reasons not to approve the DA on the evidence presented.
“If those residents who opposed the proposal feel harshly done by then they should seek legal advice,” Mayor Cuy continued.
A spokesperson for the Morgan Street residents who oppose the clinic, Katie Davies, told the BDT last week that legal action was being considered.
But her advice to councillors that; “ ... if you don’t want to give your time and you don’t want to converse with the public, then please don’t stand for council”, had Mayor Cuy bristling.
“The residents were given ample opportunity to address council - more than any other DA I have heard of,” Mayor Cuy said.
“The residents were given time to state their case at two consecutive council meetings - we even called an unprecedented special meeting to hear their concerns and provided tele-conferencing facilities when two members of the group were unable to attend in person.
“I’m afraid I just don’t understand the claims made by Katie Davies - we have been more than compliant with these residents to express their views,” he added.
Mayor Cuy also disputed Ms Davies’ claims that; “This deal was done and dusted weeks ago” and that factions within council had caucused the proposal.
“Yes, work was started prior to approval being granted but that is not uncommon for developers to do that and they are well aware that they could be wasting their time and money if they don’t get the go-ahead,” Mayor Cuy said.
“But to suggest that council factions worked together on this is incorrect. It is illegal for council to do that in relation to development applications.
“We even had two councillors (Darriea Turley and Tom Kennedy) abstain from voting because they had a conflict of interest in relation to the proposal.
“In the end, council approved the DA with a vote of six-to-two, so clearly the majority believed that was the correct decision,” Mayor Cuy continued.
“councillors are hard working and conscientious people who have done what they believe was right for the community and to Mayoriticise them and judge them on a single issue is quite unfair.”
Mayor Cuy said while 100 per cent of the residents in the Morgan Street block (between Oxide and Chloride Streets) were opposed to the clinic being established, the facts were that council had no legitimate reason to reject the proposal.
“The DA was approved with a number of conditions, including that the rear lane be converted to all-weather standard, so the amenity of some residents will actually improve,” Mayor Cuy said.