Further to my article last month, Muchea Marri trees: is there accountability and transparency?, which challenged councillors to connect with the community and respond to the concerns of many in relation to the unnecessary destruction of three healthy Marri trees, council has again refused to understand the major issues.
The first issue of concern is the forward budgetary planning of the Muchea Recreation project, initially to upgrade the ablution block for approximately $650,000.
The second issue to understand is that once a Reference Group was established, the project quickly grew to include the ablution block, plus netball courts and a clubhouse. The initial representative from Muchea Netball Association resigned from the Reference Group, and was replaced with a representative who is also a Shire of Chittering councillor.
Was there confusion between informed information or influence? Why and how did this project escalate to a $5m?
The minutes of the Reference Group certainly mention the budget constraints of the Shire, however they are lacking the detail of who actually decided to build 2 new courts to add to the existing 3 courts.
Within the minutes (August 2021), inserted into a paragraph, it reads that it would be NICER if there was a 2 and 2 court placement. Was this the view of the architects, or project officer, or who?
This indicates a lack of knowledge of the area, and a lack of understanding of environmental considerations now in place over all three levels of government. It is a view that might have been held decades ago.
It indicates the loss of connection to the community, and damages the role of local government. Councillors are elected as a conduit to the community. Are the councillors of Chittering in touch with their community, or do they just sit and rubber stamp state legislation and regulations as presented by officers?
Do we see our councillors out and about in the community, listening to the views and aspirations of residents?
Personally, I support the building of the Muchea Recreation Centre. For too long Chittering has been denied community infrastructure, however to wilfully destroy these healthy Marri trees borders on insanity.
It is planned to hold an information afternoon under the trees in Archibald Street on Sunday 14 May at 2 pm. We will have Marri seedlings to give away, a Mothers day gift to the planet and future generations; you are welcome to come along to show your support.