Conflict of interest pool claim
The validity of current Federation Council deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurch voting in respect of a new Corowa Swimming Pool at council’s latest monthly meeting, on May 15, has been questioned by former Corowa Shire Mayor Gary Poidevin OAM.
“I just want to ensure fair play,” Mr Poidevin told The Free Press.
“Councillors are responsible to the community and they need to make sure, before they participate in anything, there is not a conflict of interest between them and employer, or family before taking part in the decision,” he said.
Mr Poidevin claims Cr Whitechurch has a conflict of interest or pecuniary interest, saying the councillor is a member of an investment group wanting to lease land near the swimming pool site to construct a fun park with water slides.
As reported in The Free Press at the time, the proposal was given approval-in-principle by Federation Council Administrator Mike Eden in April 2017 prior to the first elected Federation Council.
Mr Poidevin has written to Member for Albury Greg Aplin, NSW Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton and the Office of Local Government seeking clarification as to whether Cr Whitechurch has a conflict of interest, “whether the new pool could have a financial impact on what the investment group has done, has purchased or has proposed for the future”.
“In my opinion, there is definitely a conflict of interest,” Mr Poidevin said.
“He should not have voted on the new (50m outdoor) pool. He should not have been in the chamber during discussion of the topic and therefore should not have been able to move the motion (for the 50m outdoor pool).”
Voting on the motion to build a new 50m outdoor pool with further investigation for a 25m heated indoor pool was 5:4 in favour after more spirited debate among councillors. The four councillors against the motion wanted no further delay with more investigations and wanted a 25m heated indoor pool, not the 50m outdoor pool.
Cr Whitechurch said he has not been notified by anyone on the matter.
“I’d assume they’d contact me if there was anything in it,” he told The Free Press.
“Until I hear from them on what the complaint is, I can’t really comment.”
Cr Shaun Whitechurch pictured speaking in support of his motion at the May 15 Federation Council meeting.