A complete bungle on the part of the Council
?", PN 506), dating back to the amalgamation decision, strains credulity more than a little.
First of all, I don't think that there is anybody in our state government with the brains to plan such a Machiavellian scheme four years ahead of time.
Secondly, it is difficult to see how the Liberal government had the capacity to manoeuvre the Labor council into apparent blunders and misjudgements on a scale that would justify suspension.
Thirdly, even if they could, what is the benefit to the government of bringing about this debacle: Central Coast Council is of no consequence in the state balance of power, so, if Norm Harris is right, the Minister has just been put to the trouble of appointing a temporary Administrator merely for the pleasure of embarrassing an insignificant player in state politics.
I'd say that Occam's Razor applies here.
It looks like a complete bungle on the part of the Council, it sounds like a complete bungle on the part of the Council and it is viewed by the Minister as a complete bungle on the part of the Council, so why do we need to search for hidden motives in this matter?
If amalgamation was at the bottom of it, how does it happen that other councils have been amalgamated umpteen times over the years without this result?
The pathetic excuse that bushfires and Covid have put the Council in a financially unstable position immediately raises the question of how other councils, far more affected by these factors, have managed to come through, without bankrupting the ratepayers.
To propose that the inconsequential Regional Plan is to blame (I pointed out, when it was published, that it made no contribution to a development strategy for the area and that the Council would have to take the initiative, if we wanted anything worthwhile to guide us) is so far-fetched that it is worthy of Donald Trump.
Is it any wonder that the Minister decided Central Coast needed a Planning Panel to take decision-making out of the hands of our inept councillors?
The bleating about how a Panel would not be responsive to local wishes would prompt anybody to ask how responsive our councillors have been to local concerns.
Peninsula News reports, week after week, examples of Council's riding roughshod over the wishes of Peninsula residents, in violation of its own standards, in approving non-conforming developments, so an independent Panel can only be better.
The Council hasn't even managed to reconcile the old, separate planning instruments into a single instrument for the city - something that a junior clerk could manage in considerably less than three years.
Finally, it is pertinent to ask what Council has done in its three years in office, to justify its continuation.
To read the recently published list of councillors' achievements is to be dismayed by the picayune level of thinking that it reveals.
Let us hope that, at the end of the three-month hiatus, the Minister will decide to let the Administrator continue in charge until September.
It is horrifying to think that, if the Administrator straightens out the mess, the intention is to return control into the same incompetent hands as created the problem in the first instance: imagine what havoc they could still wreak in the eight months that would give them.
Email, 10 Nov 2020
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy