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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.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Belconnen Community Council Special AGM
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.

housebound 10:54 pm 15 Apr 13

Mr Evil said :

housebound said :

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

Shirley Gargoyle is standing for the postion of Wine and Cheese Evening Coordinator.

Does it make you feel better to call people names for no reason other than to … feel good about yourself?

Come on Damian and Dacquiri – tell us who these nameless candidates are that you seem to respectively hate and love.

Dacquiri 9:36 pm 15 Apr 13

I believe that a representative from ACTPLA, not Roads ACT, will be making what sounds like a potentially interesting presentation about how they make decisions about things in the absence of master plans, height restrictions, etc.
As for the AGM: except for the friends of the various candidates who will no doubt be dragged along, it will be difficult to know which candidates to support given that there has been no information made available about what they stand for or what a vote for them would mean. 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.

Mr Evil 8:06 pm 15 Apr 13

housebound said :

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

Shirley Gargoyle is standing for the postion of Wine and Cheese Evening Coordinator.

dpm 7:58 pm 15 Apr 13

It’s like a mini version of the Zed-Gary debacle! How cute!! 🙂

Anyway, hopefully this one will be sorted soon and they can get back to business – whatever that is! Anyone?
From my summary of Matt’s posts on RA over the last few months, i’m guessing it will involve a push for more liquor licences and/or relaxed law for bars (not that that is a bad thing!). Go Matt!

housebound 6:25 pm 15 Apr 13

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

A_Cog 6:18 pm 15 Apr 13

Good luck, sincerely. I know that a fair few of the “community representation” bodies in the ACT are anything but representative, and that the committees are run for nothing other than the pursuit of the goals of their committee members. Many of the local community associations which form the ISCCC spring to mind.

damien haas 5:21 pm 15 Apr 13

The election is about restoring democracy to a community group.

When that is won the plans that we had can be followed up on.

There are many issues the BCC can work on (such as better planning, parking in the town centre, sustainable development while not encroaching upon green spaces etc) yet for the last six months the people that deposed Matt (without any justification according to the ORS) have been focussed on three things to the exclusion of all others:

1 – making endless representations to the ORS on why Matt is ineligible to be President (all dismissed),
2 -attempting to write a new constitution that would make anyone who had been preselected for a political party ineligible to be a member of the BCC (solely aimed at Matt, ignoring the good work performed by Susan Macarthy, former BCC President AFTER being a preselected ALP candidate)
3 – stalling all attempts to hold a new AGM, even though the BCC were directed to by the ORS.

I was told that the incumbents wanted to hold a new AGM only after they had a new constitution. I was also told that even though the ORS had found the Public Officer and current Vice Presidents incompetence to be the sole reason the AGM from Sep was ineligible, that the ORS are in fact ‘wrong’.

Wouldnt it have been better if all that energy directed malevolently towards one person, had been directed towards tackling community issues? I have had no opportunity to present a report on Gundaroo Rd/William Slim Rd as the incumbents have shut down council business at public meetings.

It is about the community, but in all cases where a person puts themselves forward in an election, there are winners and losers. The losers from September last year just dont want to let go.

I urge concerned Belconnen residents to attend and support a team that is proactive and not malevolent.

beardedclam 4:39 pm 15 Apr 13

This doesn’t really seem to be about the residents now Damo. Come on big guy, give us a little credit, the residents of Belco aren’t stupid.

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