Coun­cil merger on the menu

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAUN McMANUS

DERWENT Val­ley Mayor Martyn Evans says he is open to the idea of sur­vey­ing ratepay­ers on coun­cil amal­ga­ma­tions and will raise the topic at a coun­cil work­shop to­mor­row.

How­ever, Cen­tral High­lands Mayor Loueen Trif­fitt in­di­cated her coun­cil will not be tak­ing part in vol­un­tary amal­ga­ma­tions.

“The Cen­tral High­lands is not in­ter­ested in amal­ga­ma­tions,” Coun­cil­lor Trif­fitt said.

The Sorell com­mu­nity be­came the first in Tas­ma­nia to come out over­whelm­ingly in sup­port of pro­posed coun­cil merg­ers last week.

Eighty four per cent of re­spon­dents to a coun­cil sur­vey favoured a vol­un­tary merger.

Cr Evans be­lieves the time is right to ex­am­ine the is­sue in the Derwent Val­ley.

“I think it’s def­i­nitely got a lot of merit, lis­ten­ing to the ratepay­ers about what they would like to see for their area,” Cr Evans said.

“That may be a ques­tion we take to a coun­cil meet­ing to take to the ratepay­ers to sur­vey them, sim­i­lar to what they’ve done in Sorell, and get the feed­back of what peo­ple want their lo­cal govern­ment to look like.

“Whether it is the sta­tus quo, whether it’s bound­ary ad­just­ments, amal­ga­ma­tion, or no lo­cal govern­ment what­so­ever, maybe that ques­tion needs to be put as well.

“I think that it is prob­a­bly a good time to look at that as well, and I’ve got a work­shop Thurs­day evening and I’ll ac­tu­ally take that ques­tion for­ward to the work­shop, and see if we take that for­ward to a coun­cil meet­ing.”

Fol­low­ing the 2014 lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions, the State Govern­ment put vol­un­tary amal­ga­ma­tions on the ta­ble and has pro­vided coun­cils with funds to model sce­nar­ios.

But the process has been painstak­ingly slow.

Cr Evans said it was too early to con­sider which coun­cils the Derwent Val­ley would merge with if amal­ga­ma­tions were to oc­cur.

He said that even if the Derwent Val­ley com­mu­nity voted in favour of a merger, there would still be plenty of work to do.

“Whether they do or don’t [want amal­ga­ma­tions] for starters would be an in­ter­est­ing thing, but also if you’re en­gag­ing with other ar­eas, whether they want to be as well,” he said.

“Just be­cause the Derwent Val­ley wants to amal­ga­mate, say Brighton or Glenorchy might go no, or Cen­tral High­lands might go no, so it would fall over there.

“There’s many dif­fer­ent pit­falls, but it’s a good ques­tion to ask the com­mu­nity.”

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