A SEEMINGLY routine motion to create a new committee of the Derwent Valley Council had a strange result at last month’s council meeting. General manager Stephen Mackey had presented a detailed six-page report which recommended granting Special Committee status to the New Norfolk Business Alliance. The Business Alliance is a body of central business district ratepayers elected to manage the proceeds of a promotional levy collected from the CBD. The group had recently sought to become a “Special Committee” under the Local Government Act in order to give the Business Alliance a legal status which it has previously lacked.
Councillor Jim Elliott was first to speak, and as a former member of the Business Alliance he may have been expected to vote in favour of its request. Instead, he asked that debate on the matter be shifted to a workshop, before going on to say management of the levy funds was “comfortably bedded where it is at Valley Vision.” A business owner and Valley Vision board member, Cr Elliott continued: “I don’t see why it should be moved to a group that doesn’t have good representation.” The majority of councillors agreed with Cr Elliott’s request to discuss the matter in a workshop, which was held last Thursday behind closed doors in the council social room. Councillors Judy Bromfield and Narelle Molan voted against the manoeuvre.
No councillor asked why the general manager’s report had not mentioned that management of the Business Alliance funds was now in the hands of Valley Vision. Similarly, no explanation was given as to how Valley Vision had gained control of the Business Alliance funds. Watch this space.