Letters to the editor | March 15

SINKING FEELING FROM HEATED POOL REPORT

I was puzzled to read last Friday’s article under the rather encouraging banner ‘Heated pool nears’ (Yass Tribune, March 3).

The consultant’s report to the Heated Swimming Pool Committee (you can read it in the agenda papers for the February Council meeting) made it absolutely clear.

Its community survey showed that although there was a desire for a heated pool in Yass, “There is a limited willingness to pay for enhancement of pool facilities”.

In other words, we want a heated pool, but we don’t want to pay.

No news there.

That is why council formed this community committee in the first place, to come up with options that don’t impose on the ratepayer.

Unfortunately, the consultant’s report does not show any way forward on this front and it is now left to the committee to develop a plausible financial plan.

I look forward to seeing it, but am a little concerned that the committee chairman is already talking about “cross-subsidisation”.

The consultant’s report shows that last season the $116,000 in income from our current pools was less than 60 per cent of the $204,000 spent on running costs.

When overheads are taken into account, the current pool costs the council $180,000 more than they earned last year.

That is, we are already “cross subsidising” at a rate of $1-55 for every $1 that users contribute at the pool gate.

This is money that cannot be spent on roads, other services or to reduce rates, priorities that most ratepayers and many contributors to the consultant’s survey saw as being more important.

If this is what the current pool is costing, what will a 12-month-a-year-ran pool with added heating bills cost to run?

I truly wish the committee well in its deliberations, but note that this particular little black duck will not be supporting options that lead to long term bleeding of council funds.

Cr Geoff Frost, Yass

RISE IN DOG ATTACKS REFLECTS TRAINING, BREEDING

I am sure that every decent resident of the area would join with me in giving condolences to the Hedges family over the loss of their sheep dog and their sheep.

These attacks cannot be allowed to continue. It is ridiculous.

As a retired lawyer I ask where are the legal measures to stop these lethal dogs being kept and allowed to leave their premises.

As the owner of many dogs for well over 55 years I have never had a dog attack anything.

It comes down to training and breeding.

To the owners of the dogs involved and to all owners of similar dogs, just remember … you trained them to attack.

That means they will attack other animals, children and even you.

You are lucky that I am not a magistrate, because if you came before me after such a heinous event, I would jail you, as you are the one responsible for it.

Ann Nicholson, Yass

THUMBS UP FOR MEMORIAL POOL LIFEGUARDS

A big thumbs up to the staff of the Yass Memorial Pool.

These amazing people are on duty very early in the day, three mornings a week, for the 6am swimmers.

We are all very grateful for this.

Jane Brett, Yass

GUNDAGAI COUNCIL MERGER DENIED NATURAL JUSTICE

You don’t have to be a Perry Mason to work out that the Gundagai Council and townspeople were denied natural justice during the amalgamation process.

It is obvious that all the submissions that were made were never given the proper weight (if any) that they deserved.

Also, the government would not release the findings of the $400,000 KPMG report in its entirety to councils because it may have, in all probability, supported their efforts to stand alone.

And former Nationals Deputy Leader, John Turner, who conducted the meetings and gathered the submissions, was far from impartial in his reporting back to the government.

He apparently ignored all of the evidence in the submissions and gave Premier Baird the decision that he wanted.

His biased findings convinced the NSW Land and Environment Court (LEC) to conclude that the Gundagai Council “had not established any grounds on which to challenge the merger decision”.

He was rewarded for his efforts by being appointed to the prime position of administrator to the new MidCoast Council.  

According to the High Court, all that has to be shown is that the denial of natural justice deprived our council of the possibility of a successful outcome, their right to stand alone.

I am also led to believe that our councillors were never officially notified that their services were no longer required.

They read about their dismissal through the media and, according to the court, this also amounted to a denial of natural justice.

The court has ruled that an appearance of bias is impermissible in the public interest and such a ruling is binding on all courts and judges in the Australian judicature.

So, if one goes by the common law, and as it is irrefutable that the Gundagai Council and the townspeople were denied natural justice/procedural fairness then, it is obvious in my way of thinking, that the court’s ruling should invalidate the NSW Land and Environment Court’s decision that dismissed the council’s appeal to stand alone?

I could be wrong but I don’t believe I am.

Geoff Field, Gundagai

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