Shire keeping off the grass
Couch grass growing uncontrollably along the Esplanade walk at Mornington where the paid parking trial is underway is almost as tall as a fence. This is just one of many uncontrollable weed patches along this walk.
Ratepayers were promised that the paid parking trial was for the upkeep of our foreshore. Really?
It certainly proves true that the proof is in the pudding.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has made a lot of money from the trial which none of us asked for. The shire is certainly not maintaining anything.
The obvious question remains: What exactly is this shire spending this revenue money and rates on?
It is now evident that the shire has its own agenda and makes deals behind closed doors and certainly is not there to represent the best interests of constituents, the wildlife, the upkeep of our foreshore and all Victorians.
Let’s remember, all Victorians should be able to enjoy our beaches when on Crown Land. Victorian’s and locals alike should be not charged a cent on things that none of us are any wiser for the money spent nor asked for.
If this shire concentrated on roads, rates and rubbish, as it should, this would not be so contentious. Sadly, all trust, confidence and integrity has gone.
Felicity Benson, Mornington
‘Democracy in action’
I did not sign the non-disclosure document and was then asked to leave the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council room and did not vote for the Harry Potter event.
A decision that is even rightfully unpopular is not a reason to lose our democratic rights. It also does not mean that the council is dysfunctional.
We vote for our council representatives and will have another opportunity soon this October.
The lesson from this is to ensure transparency. I have moved a number of motions to for greater transparency that have been defeated (Transparency backed, but ‘secret’ talks stay, The News 28/11/23).
We vote for representatives and trust that they will make good decisions. There will always be different opinions on the results.
An administrator is, in effect, a dictator, usually put in to balance the books but not put forward community positions or advocate on ratepayers’ behalf.
We have a solid, balanced budget.
We have fair debates with opportunities to put community views, there is room for improvement, and we make mistakes, but that is democracy in action.
David Gill, councillor Red Hill Ward, Mornington Peninsula Shire
A right to know
With many others I am appalled at Mornington Peninsula Shire’s decision to permit the Harry Potter show at The Briars, and it was all done in secrecy under the cover of non-disclosure agreements. Residents have a right to know how this disgraceful decision came about and what can be done to prevent future repetitions.
One may ask if it is time for the shire to be replaced by an administrator, as has happened in other dysfunctional shires.
There must be many people who know the details of the agreement but are prevented from speaking for fear of prosecution. Could some legal-minded reader of this paper advise what such penalties may be?
Is it possible that some brave sole may be prepared to speak out if there were some way of providing support? Perhaps a public-minded benefactor or crowd funding. Is this being too optimistic?
Kevin Sack, Somers
Warner Brothers, Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, Fever and IMG should pay for a permit for the use of public land, our land. (Permit Required, Letters 6/2/24). These corporations have a lot more money than you and I. The Harry Potter, A Forbidden Forest Experience should require one permit for every night from April to July.
Estimating from Mornington Peninsula Shire’s own base rate, putting on a function in one of our parks begins at $1110 before any extras such as food van or a band.
What price should be charged for an event that requires 18 sheds, sound effects, electronic figures, portable toilets and generators? A conservative estimation would be $500,000 a night, over 120 nights (four months) would equal $6 million.
I, and most ratepayers, have lost trust in our councillors and how they spend our money.
Now that ratepayer money has been used to pay for these unwanted events, I suggest the permit fee of around $6 million be distributed back to the ratepayers in the form of a deduction in our rates. Councillors need to be reminded they are not entitled to use our hard-earned money to make secret deals behind closed doors.
Also, the new paid parking trial apparently to beautify and help with the up keep of our coast. Who has noticed the horrific amount of couch grass growing over a meter high up the trees along the path overlooking Mornington Yacht Club along the Esplanade? It is well and truly time for councillors to provide a detailed account of how they are spending our money. More electric cars? More plush offices, more bureaucrats? Just what is this shire doing with our money besides secretive and dirty deals?
Ellen Bigelow, Blairgowrie
When is a sanctuary not a sanctuary? It sounds like a question found in a children’s quiz book, does it not? Many Mornington Peninsula Shire council officials may not have read such a book and missed the clear thinking lessons imparted.
A sound and light assault on The Briars sanctuary is imminent (Potter sequel at the ballot box, The News 30/1/24).
The who, what, how and why questions are standing out like the proverbial dog’s bollocks.
As always when corporations infiltrate local government, the paper and money trails tell the story. And when details are buried in specious commercial non-disclosure fudging, you know the ratepayers are going to be stuck with any financial losses or fallout.
Or should I say, the fauna and flora that will be degraded and dislodged are the ones to pay the piper.
Perhaps a good place to start would be for the council to immediately disclose who approached whom: Warners asking or a council officer inviting.
If the latter, who was it, and who gave him/her/they the right to do so?
Secondly, what degree of compensation are the ratepayers going to bear in relation to any and every facet of this abdication of community responsibility.
For a shire council continuing to perpetuate the perception that it is striving to be “open and transparent” – well , give us a break.
David Martin, Mount. Martha
I was shocked to learn about the secret process behind the approval of the Harry Potter: Forbidden Forest event in the wildlife sanctuary at The Briars. Only “Event proposed” appeared in council agendae.
Councillors were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, otherwise were not permitted to have information. There was no competitive element, so for what purpose other than secrecy? The first knowledge was released a week before Christmas weekend on social media, not seen be everyone. How can I not conclude that the shire was attempting a fait accompli?
We heard, unrefuted, that environmental effects assessments without public consultation are invalid. I understand the exercise of wildlife protection powers is difficult because the sanctuary is owned by the shire. “Owned by the shire” does not mean owned by its employees, but owned by us, the ratepayers.
This happened in a shire “ … committed to the principles of public transparency” and “openness, accountability and honesty … for fully informed engagement … “. How can I not conclude that something has gone wrong with the culture among the shire employees and elected councillors who allowed this travesty?
My impression is that the employees are treating us ratepayers, and perhaps the councillors, with something less than respect. I only hope it is not contempt.
Councillors should insist that the event is not permitted in the sanctuary.
I call on the CEO to support the councillors in that and to require all employees to respect us ratepayers, the councillors and the democratic process.
I applaud your front-page article (Potter sequel at the ballot box, The News 30/1/24). If the violation of the sanctuary is permitted it must certainly be a major factor in the next election. This is still a democracy.
Dickson Dalgleish, Mount Eliza
Proof is needed
What information does Mornington Peninsula Shire or Warner Brothers have to say the Harry Potter event at The Briars will boost local business and, to use their words, “because people will stay a few days”?
As a local resident, ratepayer and business owner, I am very interested to know.
The Harry Potter event will be held at night when most shops are shut, and large part of the audience will be young kids on a school night.
When people on the peninsula go to see an evening show in Melbourne, we mostly drive back home afterwards. Isn’t it likely that visitors to an evening event at The Briars will do the same in reverse and drive home to Melbourne and beyond for work commitments and to get the kids in bed ready for the next day?
What facts and figures does the shire or Warner Brothers have to make this claim that the Harry Potter event will boost local business? Or is it just spin? An attempt to put lipstick on a pig of a decision that should not have been made in the first place.
Monique Toms, Rye
Date to remember
The date, 26 January, has caused a lot of damage to Australia’s reputation both here and abroad. However, it is worth noting that this date holds historical significance as it marks the day in 1949 when Australia gained independence from British rule through the Nationality of Citizenship Act of 1948. This act granted freedom and protection to the First Nations People, who previously had no security or safeguard, and all Australians, old and new, the right to live under the protection of the “Australian Law”, united as one nation.
Unfortunately, this important aspect of Australia’s history has been overlooked.
While choosing an alternative date is possible, it is unlikely to appease everyone as there will always be individuals who disagree with the decision, regardless of the chosen date.
Anne Kruger, Rye
I believe that regardless of one’s political affiliation, it is unacceptable to be treated rudely at a public event (No welcome for MP, Letters 6/2/24). Such behaviour goes against the true Aussie spirit of who we are as a nation.
I am disappointed that such incidents as that during the recent flag raising ceremony in Mount Eliza take away from the essence of the event and hope that this will not happen again in the future.
Anne Kruger, Rye
It was heartening to read that the community group Peninsula Voice is providing a forum for residents to discuss and combat climate change (Facing up to climate change, The News 6/2/24). The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook of the Australian Psychological Society lists eight strategies making the acronym ACTIVATE. The third strategy is “Talk about climate change and break the collective silence”, while the fourth strategy is “Inspire positive visions”.
It’s clear from Peter Orton’s report that the forum to be held on Thursday 29 February at the Peninsula Community Theatre includes both these key strategies. The group’s events page at peninsulavoice.org.au/our-events is well worth a visit.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Peninsula Voice convener Peter Orton wants us to do more to address climate change (Facing up to climate change, The News, 6/2/24).
He claims temperatures in Victoria have risen 1.2 degrees since 1910. Is that all? A few decades ago, climate change alarmists were talking about maybe 10 degrees hotter. The planet has warmed, it is claimed, 1.48 degrees since 1850.
Bushfires,, floods, droughts, heatwaves come and go. Always have, always will. Work with them. Don’t hold your breath in the expectation of being able to change the climate of a planet; exhale and let that carbon dioxide out.
Logic and science compel me to ask the question: Is the world temperature of 1850 held as the “normal” and fixed temperature of this planet?
Brian A Mitchelson, Mornington
A little idea – change recycling wheelie bins to transparent. That way, neighbours and passers-by can see what rubbish many people put into that bin. Will that make an improvement?
Warwick Spinaze, Tootgarook
Credit where due
Liberal candidate for Dunkley, Nathan Conroy has been caught out taking credit for work done by the late MP, Peta Murphy, and for projects started before he was even mayor of Frankston.
Take for instance the fanciful claim that his leadership delivered the Jubilee Park stadium redevelopment. A redevelopment that was fully funded by three levels of government in 2018.
The late Peta Murphy MP announced this funding before Conroy was on council. On 27 October 2021.
The claim of delivering Langwarrin Football Netball Club is also highly controversial.
Frankston City Council’s own media release, New pavilion gets the green light as Lloyd Parks Jewel in the crown, was published on 8 July 2021.
Then mayor, Kris Bolam, said: ‘I’m pleased to give the news that this exceptional development will go ahead.”
Cr Suzette Taylor thanked the federal Labor government for the funding.
The late Peta Murphy MP was quoted as saying ‘“I’m very proud to support this terrific project that will also benefit the broader Langwarrin community”.
It took real leadership by many people to deliver these marathon projects.
I believe taking credit for the leadership provided by sporting clubs, former councillors and the late Peta Murphy MP is simply reprehensible.
For the first time ever, ratepayers in Frankston have no mayor, no deputy mayor, despite paying higher rates than people living in Toorak.
Council rates have gone up by the maximum amount for three years in a row and all locals have to show for it is a council in crisis.
Paul Edbrooke, MP for Frankston
Isn’t it marvellous what a spell on the opposition benches does to ones view of the world. (Liberals add reserve to by-election issues, The News 6/2/24).
The Coalition spent most of the near decade it had in office staunchly defending the fossil fuel industry and doing as little as possible on climate change as it felt it could get away with.
In opposition, we have [Liberal leader] Peter Dutton suddenly finding a soft spot for whales that might run into an offshore wind turbine and now [Mornington MP] Chris Crewther has found an interest in retaining a reserve near the old reservoir in Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza. If they had shown this interest while in government they might still be there.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
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