April Fools Day, or Groundhog Day?

REGULAR readers of the New Norfolk News will have appreciated the irony of Derwent Valley Mayor Tony Nicholson’s appearance on the front page of Friday’s issue of the Mercury newspaper, where he lamented the State Government’s back-room decision to fund a heritage site at Oatlands. The NNNewsblogger had to double-check his calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1.

The article described Councillor Nicholson as being “appalled” that New Norfolk had not been able to apply for the $500,000 in heritage funding which was announced for Oatlands earlier in the week. Cr Nicholson correctly stated that our own Willow Court historic site pre-dated Port Arthur and was worthy of government funding.

But the article did not mention that the Derwent Valley Council had already received funding from the State and Federal governments and that half of the money had been withdrawn due to inaction on the council’s part. Also missing from the report was any information about what the council had done with the large pool of money from the sale of heritage buildings on the site.

It could even be suggested that the State Government is taking a leaf from the council’s book when dealing with heritage matters. After all, this is the council that:

* Sold off heritage-listed buildings on several occasions without consulting the community.
* Refuses to say how much money was raised from the property sales.
* Wants to demolish heritage-listed buildings.
* Sold roads and footpaths to private developers.
* Refuses public access to the minutes of the Willow Court redevelopment committee.
* Apparently forgot who its representative was on the Willow Court committee.
* Appeared not to know the Willow Court committee was required to hold an annual general meeting and that the public must be invited to attend and be permitted to stand for election to it.
* Seeks to sell further parts of the historic site and refuses to deal with community groups proposing sustainable uses for the site.

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