PROPER debate made a long-awaited return to Derwent Valley Council meetings this week. New councillors James Graham and Damian Bester led the way, with most other councillors joining in. Most discussion focussed on a raft of 16 motions-on-notice put forward by Cr Bester, mostly dealing with the provision of information to the public.
The meeting ran from 6.30pm until just short of midnight, with long-serving Cr Judy Bromfield remarking that it was “just like the good old days.”
All did not go Cr Bester’s way, as two of his motions were defeated and several attempts to amend other motions failed. New mayor Martyn Evans appeared exasperated with Cr Bester at times, particularly as the latter appeared to play to the packed public gallery at times. About 30 people filled the gallery and additional seating had to be brought in. Mayor Evans called a short intermission after several hours of intense discussion, and Cr Bester invited the public to help themselves to a cup of tea and a biscuit.
The public gallery gradually emptied as the meeting wore on and there were only a handful left after 11pm when Mayor Evans closed the meeting and opened a new meeting in closed session. Cr Bester objected to the closed meeting and the fact that the agenda had been withheld until that very moment. He voted against the closed meeting.