BASS Coast Shire Council has been accused of failing to adequately engage with the community regarding the proposed closure of the Inverloch transfer station.
President of the Inverloch Tourism Association (ITA) Dom Brusamarello the public is losing faith in the council.
“The ITA on numerous occasions has felt that council is not sufficiently communicating with us,” Dom said.
“We have lost faith in our ward councillor’s ability to communicate.”
Cr Phil Wright hit back at the accusations.
“We’re talking about the waste transfer station here, not your opinion,” Cr Wright told Mr Brusamarello.
“It sounds like you’re always going to be unhappy unless the results of the consultations are what you want.”
A recommendation from the council officers to support the closure of the transfer station will be put to the council at its Ordinary meeting on Wednesday, as outlined in the Waste Management Strategy.
Mr Brusamarello said the council did not sufficiently engage with the public regarding the implementation of the Waste Management Strategy, and said that the ITA had been deliberately excluded.
“Why was the ITA excluded in the first place from the process, or not even consulted in regards to the transfer station?” he said.
A spokesperson from the council stated that the community consultation period for the Waste Management Strategy took place during March 2015, and was open to all members of the community to participate.
The consultation period was promoted through the council’s website and local newspapers in the form of adverts and media releases.
Several public consultation sessions were also held in Wonthaggi and Grantville on March 13 and Inverloch and Cowes on March 14, 2015.
Council also distributed a survey for affected residents to provide feedback directly to Council.
However, with one of the surveys released only receiving 37 responses, Mr Brusamarello called for a reform in council’s community engagement.
“Perhaps you should focus less on the level of engagement with the community and more on the efficiency of engagement?” Dom said.
“The issue here is the lack of consultation. You’ve paid a consultant to deliver the engagement with the community, yet no-one in town knew that this was going on.”
Cr Jordan Crugnale admitted the council should attempt to remedy the errors of its ways.
“We are currently looking at drafting a report regarding this matter, as well as running some information sessions for the public,” Cr Crugnale said.
Cr Crugnale also acknowledged the public’s ignorance regarding the surprise proposed closure of the transfer station, stating that she herself had asked people on the streets of Inverloch.
“Not many people knew what was going on,” Cr Crugnale said.
Unsatisfied with the council’s comments during the meeting, Mr Brusamarello finished his question time with a recommendation to the council.
“You ought to look at your consultation process,” he said.
“Your mechanisms need to be strengthened. This continues to happen again and again to the key stakeholder, that is the ITA, as well as other stakeholders, and we’re tired of it.”