Democratic representatives or government tools?
In a May article in the Sydney Morning Herald, ("Why local councillors deserve, don't laugh, a pay rise"), Jacob Saulwick raised the subject of the dual roles of a councillor.
One role is to represent a portion of the community, the other administrative, the latter namely "to make plans, and to hold the executive parts of the organisation accountable".
If we examine our councillors' recent record on voting on development applications, many of which exhibit design elements exceeding guidelines of the local environmental and development control plans, our councillors appear to overwhelmingly approve their planning department's assessments.
It could be argued that our councillors, in relation to housing development trends, neither represent the local community nor do they sufficiently question the decisions of their planning department.
The same article also argues that the NSW Government's point in merging councils was to increase their capacity to work with the State Government, thereby emphasising the functions of councils over their local democratic role.
Councils obligingly rezoned land for more intensive housing development some years ago.
So local residents on the Peninsula may well ask if they are being democratically represented or is their council a tool of the State Government's population policy?
Email, 5 Jun 2019
Suraya Coorey, Woy Woy