THERE are seven Bass Coast Shire Councillors, or should be, but only four of them saw fit to attend one of the final public meetings of the present regime, at Wonthaggi today (Wednesday, September 14).
Crs Rankine, Le Serve and Drew were at the meeting, along with the Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale but where were the others; Crs Brown, Wright and Phillips?
Two of those councillors; Phil Wright and Kimberley Brown, are candidates in the next election and if their failure to attend when the public spotlight is on them, is any indication, voters should think twice about including them in their calculations.
Attendances by sitting councillors will be among the data on candidates to be assembled on the VEC website prior to the issuing of ballot papers.
Voters would do well to assess candidates’ credential as and also the performance of the present incumbents.
What was discussed?
Several important issues were discussed including a presentation by the Wonthaggi Community Focus Group which has spent three days mapping out an exciting future for Wonthaggi over the past month.
Twenty people from a broad cross-section of the community participated and three community members made a presentation to council about what was achieved.
But perhaps it was Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association Vice President Terry Earl who said it best.
“I think it was brilliant. A lot was achieved be I for one will be jumping up and down if that report lies on a dusty shelf without any action taking place,” Mr Earl.
The proof will be in the pudding there.
Film projection worries
Also raised was concern about what’s going to happen to the film projection equipment at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre after the departure of cinema operator Keith Stevens.
“There’s a degree of uncertainty about what will happen to the equipment in the cinema,” said Fine Film Group President Larry Hills.
“We feel strongly that the equipment should be retained, that if it is lost to the community centre, it will take a long time to be replaced.”
Mr Hills said a ‘Save Our Cinema’, ‘Support Our Cinema’ campaign might be launched to raise funds for the equipment . He said the community could also look at launching a ‘Crowd Funding’ campaign to pay for that equipment to be retained.
Mr Hills said film had been central to entertainment in Wonthaggi since 1924 and should continue to be.
“Dream big, hope to get a cinema that is built outside the community centre in the future.
“We are prepared to chip in. The purchase of state-of-the-art digital equipment is vital,” he said noting that the existing equipment was only a couple of years old.
“We support the direction of the master planning for the community centre but whether or not films are a part of that is up to the council. Keith finishes on October 9 so we don’t have a lot of time.”
CEO Paul Buckley assured the group, which has 220 paid-up members and 100 other regulars, that the council had already had detailed discussions with Mr Stevens.
“It would be tragic not to have the holiday films, especially over the holidays,” Mr Hills said.
“Discussions have been good but we are still in negotiations. You should, however feel confident about where the discussions are going,” said shire general manager, David Elder.
$1 million art collection offer
The meeting also heard from SCM Rescue Station Arts Cooperative President Wendy Crellin about the opportunity to accept the custodianship of a $1 million art collection, including a significant group of works by social realism artist, Noel Counihan.
These were just a few of the issues addressed on the day but where were our councillors?