Council secrecy slammed

OUTSPOKEN Councillor Richard Parker has lashed out at what he describes as ongoing secrecy at the Derwent Valley Council. Cr Parker, who is expected to retire later this year, yesterday described the municipal body as a “closed council”. His comments follow last week’s council meeting where:

* An eight-lot subdivision was approved on land previously believed to be public open space
* Discussion of an internal review was conducted in closed session

During the council meeting held at Maydena on Thursday night, Cr Parker argued against an eight-lot subdivision at Lawitta. Cr Parker told the council he had never seen such unanimous opposition to a subdivision as that expressed by the residents of the affected Goldsmith and Bastian Sts. He said there was a particular problem in that many of the local residents believed the property in question was public open space. Despite these concerns, the development was approved by the majority of councillors.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Cr Parker sought to have a recently-completed internal review discussed in open council rather than be heard in closed session. “I have gone through the report. There is no councillor or staff member mentioned by name nor any adverse comment and no reason why it cannot be heard in open session,” he told the meeting.

After taking advice from general manager Stephen Mackey, Mayor Tony Nicholson refused the request, stating: “It involves contractual matters and cannot be discussed in open session as described in the Act.”

In an unrelated matter, Cr Judy Bromfield asked whether all water resources staff would be transferred to a proposed new water corporation. Mayor Nicholson said this too would be discussed in closed session.

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