Man’s sit-in forces early end to council meeting

LAST night’s Derwent Valley Council meeting was abandoned after a routine motion to move into a closed session was blocked by a member of the public.

Deputy mayor Ben Shaw found himself in uncharted waters for this council when he was unable to completely clear the public gallery prior to moving the meeting into a closed session at the Molesworth Community Hall last night.

“A member of the public refused to leave the building as it was a ‘public building’ in his words,” Councillor Shaw told the New Norfolk News late last night.

“We could not carry out our closed portion of the meeting due to the member of public being in the room. As the chairperson of the meeting I decided to adjourn the meeting until 5pm on Thursday the 24th at the council chambers,” Cr Shaw said.

The deputy mayor presided over the monthly council meeting in the absence of mayor Martyn Evans. The meeting and earlier community forum attracted a good crowd and the open session of the meeting went without incident.

At the end of the open meeting at about 8.40pm, the Cr Shaw announced a 20-minute break before the starting the closed section of the meeting. When the deputy mayor attempted to clear the room for the closed meeting at 9pm, a New Norfolk man is understood to have refused to leave.

This is believed to be the first time a meeting of the Derwent Valley Council has ended in this manner.

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