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Belconnen Community Council Special AGM

By Damien Haas 15 April 2013 29

For Belconnen residents ( and business owners, workers or students over the age of 16) who are eligible to vote at tomorrow nights Special AGM, I will be supporting the following candidates for the following positions:

President – Matt Watts
Vice President – Damien Haas
Secretary – Victoria Robertson
Treasurer – John Simson

There may be other candidates, but I will not be voting for them.

The Special AGM will be held at 7.30PM at the Community room above the Belconnen Library. It will be followed by a presentation from Road ACT at about 8.30PM.

I’d encourage people with an interest in the community of Belconnen to attend and vote as their conscience dictates. It will be a good opportunity to install a competent, community minded group of people.

It was quite a struggle to get this Special AGM held, as the disgruntled incumbents that whiteanted Matt Watts following the AGM in September last year have tried many ruses to prevent this Special AGM occurring. It should be noted that every single one of their claims to the Office of Regulatory Services regarding Matts ineligibility have been dismissed. The sole reason for the AGM not being valid was the Public Officer failing to lodge the correct paperwork.

I am posting this as an ordinary member of the community and not in any role associated with the BCC where I am a current committee member.


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Belconnen Community Council Special AGM
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460cixy 3:42 pm 17 Apr 13

Gungahlin Al said :

460cixy said :

Can some one please enlighten me as to why Robyn chaired part of the meeting and why the voting was recorded on video? Seems a bit odd to me.

I obviously wasn’t there, but offer these thoughts:
Once the chair is elected, they can take over. Often they’d wait until the end of the elections and then take the chair. Is that what you were talking about?
In GCC we used to video all the meetings so others could view the proceedings via our website later. ACT Gov staff also found it a useful way to check they got everything in their notes.

Sort of clears it up but I think some people may have felt she was incumbent when she had no official roll till after the vote . I just hope the council can move foward and be productive with some fresh new faces and ideas

Gungahlin Al 3:10 pm 17 Apr 13

460cixy said :

Can some one please enlighten me as to why Robyn chaired part of the meeting and why the voting was recorded on video? Seems a bit odd to me.

I obviously wasn’t there, but offer these thoughts:
Once the chair is elected, they can take over. Often they’d wait until the end of the elections and then take the chair. Is that what you were talking about?
In GCC we used to video all the meetings so others could view the proceedings via our website later. ACT Gov staff also found it a useful way to check they got everything in their notes.

460cixy 12:24 pm 17 Apr 13

Can some one please enlighten me as to why Robyn chaired part of the meeting and why the voting was recorded on video? Seems a bit odd to me.

Matt_Watts 11:24 am 17 Apr 13

I’d like to congratulate all those who ran, and thank everyone who turned up to have their say. Hopefully we’ll have even more people at the next AGM (and we’ll need a larger room). I expect the video of the AGM will be made publicly available soon.

Robyn asked me to continue in some fashion, and I’ll decide how once I get to know some of the new members of the BCC Committee. I think we are now well-placed to achieve some great outcomes with this mix of fresh blood and experience.

Finally, Al, I was never personally against Shirley, which is why in September I publicly thanked her for her years of service and stated I’d be happy for her to continue on the Committee. Any questions I raised were done in my name, not via anonymous dirt sheets. My supporters didn’t hack an email account and I didn’t mislead the public about fictional ORS advice. Some don’t like accountability. But as I said all along, I’d abide by whatever the people decide.

As I’ve said over recent weeks, no matter who won last night’s election the BCC will now need to operate with a new level of accountability. Hopefully, never again will someone with a valid question about the approval of BCC expenditure be branded a trouble-maker.

I’m looking forward to all we can achieve in Belconnen, and I encourage readers to attend the next public meeting!

Golden-Alpine 10:12 am 17 Apr 13

Is this over for another year or is it

TO BE CONTINUED……

460cixy 7:59 am 17 Apr 13

What an evening no one seemed to have a clue on how to run an AGM and for Brian Rhynehart to blow his stack at damien haas was out of order and un called for poor form

Mr Evil 7:17 am 17 Apr 13

Gungahlin Al said :

I note from the nominations list above that Matt Watts did not nominate for any other positions, so would not end up on the committee at all?

I’d just like to add that I’ve worked with Shirley for several years in both her Community Council and Belconnen Arts Centre roles. I’ve never had the slightest doubt in her integrity, and have found the lobbying and insinuations against her character as misusing BCC resources as highly distasteful and bordering on defamatory. I’m glad she’s finally managed to step aside from the role now and can get back on with her life.

Al, she may be a lovely person with lots of integrity – but the carrying ons at the BCC over the past 8 months or so certainly raise some questions about the ability and talent at the top of the BCC, and their knowledge of the correct rules and procedures in relation to the operation of the council.

Now they can all go back to doing what they do best…………..which doesn’t look to be a hell of a lot.

Gungahlin Al 9:49 pm 16 Apr 13

Final update from Tara:

Damien Haas vice president. Victoria Robertson elected unopposed to Secretary and John Simson as Treasurer.
All committee positions filled.

Gungahlin Al 9:08 pm 16 Apr 13

I note from the nominations list above that Matt Watts did not nominate for any other positions, so would not end up on the committee at all?

I’d just like to add that I’ve worked with Shirley for several years in both her Community Council and Belconnen Arts Centre roles. I’ve never had the slightest doubt in her integrity, and have found the lobbying and insinuations against her character as misusing BCC resources as highly distasteful and bordering on defamatory. I’m glad she’s finally managed to step aside from the role now and can get back on with her life.

Gungahlin Al 9:02 pm 16 Apr 13

Tara (@In_The_Taratory – who you really should be following!) has been live tweeting the goings on at the AGM:

At the Belconnen Community Council AGM. Sure to be interesting.

41 votes a piece at the Belconnen Community Council. You can’t make this stuff up.

Equal votes for Robyn Coghlan and Matthew Watts. Chaos. No one seems to know what to do. Vicki Dunne tried to impose order.

Matthew Watts proposes drawing out of a hat. Shouted down and told ‘it’s not a raffle’ to laughter.

We have been reissued a voting card. A number of people previously abstained in the vote which resulted in 41/41.

Vote about to start again for president of belconnen community Council. Here we go folks. 10 abstained last time.

Vote about to be announced at belconnen community Council for president.

Robyn Coghlan elected Belconnen Community Council president outright. Now nominations for Vice President

Damien Haas in nominee speech suggests election of Robyn is not a good move for the council.

I was a committee member. I resigned in February because I was not confident in the due process.

ToastFliesRED 5:01 pm 16 Apr 13

damien haas said :

housebound said :

The voting will occur from 7.30PM and hopefully should be concluded by 7.15PM

ok I see others have beaten me to the humorous punch but I would have said that given those timelines are you saying that the result is already a foregone conclusion and “in the bag” one way or the other?

Being a resident of Belconnen I know I should care more, but I care more about actual issues rather than petty politics. Get on with it, get a result, one way or the other, and get on with it. The Legislative Assembly is as good as useless in representing Belconnen in their Molonglo elecorate, at least BCC should be able to form a steadfast position FFS.

Matt_Watts 4:32 pm 16 Apr 13

johnboy said :

time travel?

I wish.

But no, I think Damien meant the AGM component is meant to finish by 8:15pm.

Diggety 4:01 pm 16 Apr 13

johnboy said :

time travel?

Maybe the BCC will celebrate the poll opening by going back to daylight saving time.

Diggety 3:32 pm 16 Apr 13

Belconnen needs people more interested in community issues, rather than playing sandpit politics.

Therefore, good luck Matt.

damien haas 3:11 pm 16 Apr 13

housebound said :

In the interests of balanced reporting, would you tell us who the other candidates are and what positions they want?

I would direct you to the BCC website or facebook page for more information.

You could also attend the meeting and ask questions of candidates at the election.

The voting will occur from 7.30PM and hopefully should be concluded by 7.15PM

johnboy 8:50 am 16 Apr 13

grass said :

Come on RA. Opinionated yes but a candidates plaything?

We’re a place people get to say things.

The other side has always been more than welcome to make their own statements.

grass 5:51 am 16 Apr 13

Come on RA. Opinionated yes but a candidates plaything?

Matt_Watts 2:46 am 16 Apr 13

Dacquiri said :

Personally, I would prefer someone who has demonstrated knowledge, experience and understanding of planning issues and isn’t a wanna-be politician, which means I favour the other candidate for BCC President.

I stand by the fact I care enough for the community to put my hand up for various positions, even if sometimes the odds of success are against me. Many people involved in Canberra politics have been involved in Community Councils, before or after they have been a Legislative Assembly candidate, from Gary Kent to Mary Porter. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the community should be encouraged, no matter their personal party beliefs; Community Councils are apolitical, as are most community groups.

I have chosen to place my name against this post, and I’m not sure who is making the quoted comment. Yet I must mention my bemusement at the view that I don’t know planning; I identified the need for the Belconnen master plan to be a “living” document years ago. The only person who was on the Belconnen Community Council Committee at the time who (publicly i.e. to my knowledge) agreed with me was Damien Haas. Now, I know a few people have questioned Damien’s political alignment given his assistance to me last year, yet I believe he is politically independent and he and I work well together because we focus on the practicalities of situations confronting our community.

I have been on the front-foot with regards to planning developments, and I note a couple of other Community Councils have now started to talk about their own master plans, to their credit. At the February BCC public meeting concerning the Geocon development, I was the one who intervened to seek a mandate from the room that they wanted a master plan with height restrictions; my personal views regarding that development are irrelevant, as I wasn’t willing to stand by and not seek the views of the community. My actions and commitment are there for all to see, as opposed to the empty words from some who choose to post anonymously.

One of the things that’s stuck in my craw in recent years has been the way certain government stakeholders present at a BCC meeting and tick their consultation box without listening to the community feedback. A few years ago during a BCC meeting, a well-known ACT public servant was reporting on problems identified and fixed after the temporary relocation of bus stops throughout the Belconnen Town Centre, and was most dismissive of my claims that we had warned him of those problems before the initial changes. Community Councils can play a valuable role. Yes, the BCC is a forum, but there needs to be some accountability mechanisms. In addition to my understanding of planning, I also have the ability to get issues on the front page (when afforded the opportunity), which can only improve the capacity of the BCC to make a difference.

I implore interested persons to attend and have their voice heard.

Matt_Watts 2:09 am 16 Apr 13

There are a number of other committee positions not mentioned. Unfortunately, the BCC website at time of posting only includes the nominated names and not the positions contested.

I would have liked the opportunity to present relevant attributes to the public, but this was out of my control. Having said that, I’m happy to answer questions here.

This is the list I have seen:

Valid Nominations for BCC Elections – 16 April 2013

PRESIDENT
Robyn Coghlan.
Matthew Watts.

VICE-PRESIDENT
Damien Haas.
Brian Rhynehart.

TREASURER
John Simsons.
Provisional – Robyn Coghlan.

SECRETARY
Victoria Robertson.
Provisional – Robyn Coghlan.

CHAIR of PLANNING and ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
Robyn Coghlan.
Damien Haas.

CHAIR of HEALTH and EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Victoria Robertson.

CHAIR of MANAGEMENT and DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Victoria Robertson.

COMMITTEE
Graeme Evans.
Chris Gingell.
Graham Jackson.
Sheila Keunen.
Charles Thomas.
Anthony Wing.

Dacquiri 11:17 pm 15 Apr 13

My point is that it would have been reasonable for Belconnen residents, who are all entitled to attend the BCC AGM, to have been given some information about the various candidates so we know who they are and what they stand for, and so why we should vote for them.
I know a couple of the candidates personally and have seen the names of a few others but haven’t seen the full list of candidates. The ones I’m aware of are: John Simson, Victoria Robertson, Graeme Evans (involved with the BCC since before 1990), Brian Rhynehart (BCC committee member for some years), Charles Thomas (member of BCC committee for some years and involved in the Belconnen Lutheran Church), Sheila Keunen (on the BCC committee for a few years), Graham Jackson, and Christine Gingell (very smart on local planning issues). Robyn Coghlan, a candidate for President, knows Belconnen inside-out and has a good understanding of Canberra’s history, changing demographics, and environmental issues.

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