THE Bass Park Trust met last Thursday (29 July) but did not invite Mornington Peninsula Shire’s nominated representative, Cr Anthony Marsh.
The online Zoom meeting was, however, attended by Cr David Gill, as he has done for the past four and a half years.
Cr Marsh, a Briars Ward councillor (Mount Eliza, Mornington and Mount Martha), successfully nominated himself for the position in June, saying it was “important all councillors are active all over the municipality”.
Cr Gill, whose Red Hill Ward includes Flinders Golf Course which is on land managed by the Bass Park Trust, told The News that Cr Marsh wanted the position “just as a way of getting at me”.
Cr Gill said he had been “an invited guest” at last week’s meeting of the trust.
“Marsh didn’t go [online] – he wasn’t invited,” Cr Gill said.
Cr Marsh reported to council’s 13 July meeting that he was “excited” that his application was being progressed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (“Marsh ‘excited’ by trust ‘progress’” The News 27/7/21).
After last week’s trust meeting Cr Gill said DELWP “can’t wait to get rid of me and get Marsh on”.
Cr Gill said he was seen as a “thorn in the side” of DELWP, especially after publicising Parks Victoria’s intentions to demolish an historic wooden section of the Flinders pier.
He said the trust was established nearly a century ago to protect the golf course land from developers and was not answerable to council.
“Councillors don’t realise it’s an independent body and council can’t do anything.”
The decision by five councillors to back Cr Marsh’s self-nomination was their way of “getting at me … they’ll realise the trust is not out to change the world or advocate for any major changes”.
The trust and Flinders Community Association have asked council to reverse its decision to appoint Cr Marsh (“Trust says ‘no’ to council’s chosen delegate” The News 15/6/21).
It is unclear whether the trust has to accept council’s nomination.
The trust has up to nine members and will next meet in October.
Cr Marsh told The News on Friday (30 July) that he had not attended any trust meetings “as I am not yet a trustee”.
He was still awaiting confirmation that his position “has been ratified” although “multiple background checks have now been completed”.
“The shire has not had a formal representative on the Bass Park Trust for many years, and I look forward to the position being ratified soon,” Cr Marsh said.