AT last nights public meeting Pittwater residents voted unanimously for no merger and no change to Pittwater Council’s boundaries.
Passions ran high in the packed auditorium at Pittwater RSL. The feeling was best summed up by Ian Kennedy representing the 18 Pittwater communities which make up Pittwater Forever.
“We feel threatened, we feel angry and we are asking ourselves ‘what can we do’,” Mr Kennedy said.
Residents are threatened and angered by the State Government “Fit for the Future” process which imposes “scale and capacity” as it’s main criteria for deeming a local council fit. This, despite the fact the Pittwater council is in the top 10 fittest councils in the state and the KPMG report appraises it “fit for the future”.
Scale and capacity as a benchmark to fitness is a “hoax”, Mr Kennedy exclaimed. “There is no evidence that bigger is better. No evidence financially. The State Government can’t come up with any and it has been asked on many occasions. And with a bigger council we will lose what makes us local, what is important to us; our lifestyle and our beautiful environment.”
In fact there is lots of evidence to show that councils between 40,000 and 70,000 residents are financially fitter than their big brothers, explained Mona Vale Resident Association President Marcia Rackman.
Not only are bigger councils not fitter financially, they struggle to represent the local residents, added Storm Jacklin also representing Pittwater Forever.
“You don’t have far to look for evidence of this,” said Mr Jacklin. “It is some of the bigger councils in Sydney which struggle, which can’t represent its peoples values and allow developers and other organisation to run rough shot over local needs.”
Tony Tenney, Chairman of Pittwater Forever said it was so good to see so may passionate residents at the meeting. “We must maintain the passion. We must contact to our state representative. We must write to IPART. We must retain the rage!”
At the end of the meeting Mr Kennedy made a motion that “Pittwater remains as is on its present boundaries and says no to any merger”. This was seconded by our previous Mayor Harvey Rose. There was an addition that “the State government makes no forced amalgamations without consulting the people”.
The yell of Aye resonated through the packed auditorium. The vote was carried unanimously.