Good day, Bass Coast Shire Councillors, I am writing to tell you how thoroughly disappointed I am after listening to you speak about your decisions (in support of the West Gippsland Library Corporation) to cancel the South Coast mobile Library Truck at the last council meeting on March 20th.
I will speak frankly with you and tell you exactly how I feel. I have nothing but contempt for the Bass Coast Council for the way you have treated the 2453 residents (most of whom live in the Waterline) who signed the petition to retain a mobile library service.
And the Pioneer Bay, Grantville, Tenby Point, Corinella and Coronet Bay ratepayers, residents, progress and business associations who wrote letters of support to all the councillors.
Unfortunately, none of whom got a mention at the council table. You ignored them all in favour of a 2018 survey that was instigated by the board of the West Gippsland Library Corporation (WGLC) that was distributed after the decision to cancel the mobile library and did not include the option to retain a mobile library service.
I am curious as to whether any of you read the researched material that was sent to you by the save Our Mobile Library Group or if you just believed everything that the WGLS told you. Maybe if you did you would of voted differently.
It was a poorly designed survey with a very poor response rate but regardless, it has been used as community support for micro libraries and pick up, drop off points.
It was sent to 519 mobile library patrons – 158 responded – 53% from South Gippsland and 47% from Bass Coast.
Thus it appears that less than 79 mobile library users from the Bass Coast responded to the survey. Councillors ignored our emails to them about this. Not one responded.
I’m dismayed that not one councillor was able to explain how “the” replacement service would be superior or even what “the” replacement service would involve.
This is despite being told at the recent council meeting, that the Waterline would receive an enhanced service.
No-one, however, could tell us what this enhanced service would entail. I’m angry that 40% of the Waterline community who cannot or do not have access to the internet were ignored (when being told that their mobile library service was out of date), I’m angry that the whole issue was dealt with in secrecy and that the councillors did not trust their community enough to talk to them first before making such a monumental decision.
How dare you vote for a service when you have no idea what this service will be and throw us under the bus so to speak?
Our councillors are not in touch with the unique needs of the communities in the Waterline area. Growth has been incredible over the last five years, yet infrastructure remains minimal to say the least.
Services, especially in the isolated towns of Corinella and Coronet Bay, are not even bare minimal with 100s of homes being built across both towns.
Had there been reputable community consultation from the get go and a commitment from the library, usage in these communities could have been increased.
Poorly advertised service, no alternative times trialled and removal of the truck’s visit to the local school some time back was a destiny towards failure.
Had the community been involved in a meaningful way I am sure half the funds at least could have easily been raised to replace the mobile library and extended visit times.
The WGLC has done not one bit of promoting for this service since I joined as a member and in the last four to five months, library use as definitely increased due to the hard work of the Save Our Mobile Library Group.
So maybe if the CEO Leanne Williams and the chairman of the board, plus all its board members, had of spent as much time promoting this service instead of putting it down we would not be having this conversation.
Also, on the 20th of February, myself and quite a few other people sent questions re the mobile library but we got a generalised answer covering all our questions instead and were told that they would be answered at the next council meeting on the 20th of March.
We are still waiting for these answers so here’s the deal: I would like each individual Councillor to answer each question to the best of their ability, and if their questions have been misplaced in all the paperwork that you peruse please let me know and I will send them all to you again individually. Thanking you in advance.
In closing, it was brought to my attention that Bass Coast Shire Council has been forced to back down on its plan to build a regional skate park on the San Remo foreshore; despite having spent thousands of dollars on consultants for the skate park and lack of consultation with the community, after independent experts found the site unsuitable.
[The following was taken from a recent council press release].
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, said a Regional Skate Park and Playspace is an amazing project and asset for the whole region.
“We are committed to the project and will now look at potential new sites,” Cr Tessari also said.
“We remain positive about delivering our first truly regional skate park facility.”
Council values the community’s commitment in providing feedback on this project and further consultation regarding alternative sites will be undertaken.
The consultation will focus on the feasibility of sites for the project and a design that suits the location and the needs of the local community.
Council is looking forward to realising the delivery of this exciting project for the community.
Maybe the Bass Coast Shire should look at the South Coast Library Truck as an asset also and not a liability.
So, I will now put it to the Bass Coast Shire Council that you employ an independent expert to look at all the statistics of the WGLC and also the statistics given to the council by the Save Our Mobile Library Group for comparison.
Maybe you should have taken these steps before committing us, the ratepayers – who pay your wages, to an enhanced service that you have no idea what it is.
The cancellation, without due consideration by you, has lost the Waterline community easy and comprehensive access to a library.
Waterline has near the same number of residents as Wonthaggi! The Independent Arbitrator for the Save Our Mobile Library Group will probably come back with an “unsuitable decision” by Council report also.
Levinus Van Der Neut, Coronet Bay.