Councillor for the West Tamar

A lively April meeting

The April Council meeting was a very lively affair, and I want to use this space to vent and also clear up something about the meeting. Before Council was a motion to decide whether to fund the Deviot Community Association to the sum of $86000 for renovations to the Deviot Hall. This issue has been pushed very vigorously by Councillor Kearney.

I want to make clear why I voted not to support this issue on each of the motions and amendments that were put before Council. Firstly, Council has a process whereby these type of requests for funding are assessed and this particular request came outside of that process and did not follow the usual assessment procedure that other funding requests do. Secondly, while I understand that Council does fund private organisations with grant requests, why were we considering funding for such a significant amount for a well funded private organisation. This is particularly relevant given that there are many groups in the municipality that could do with funds, yet we were being asked to consider giving $86000 to one group.

After the original motion lapsed, I moved an amended motion making a grant of $20000 available to the Deviot Community Association. This was not meant to be “insulting” as inferred by Councillor Kaye, nor was it “shut up and go away money” as I was accused of by Councillor Shegog. I was, in my opinion, making what was a serious attempt to provide some degree of funding, at a level they would probably have gotten had this request gone through the proper channels, to an organisation that does significant positive work in their community. When my motion was amended to increase the funding to $50000, I simply could not support it.

Private organisations, even if they are argued to be “not-for-profit” should not expect the average West Tamar ratepayer to prop up and fund their own personal projects.

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