Council deals fairly
I REFER to the article and commentary in the Townsville Bulletin ( March 5, 2011) in relation to headworks charges for a property in the suburbs. While I am unaware of the historical circumstances of this planning application, two matters contained within the article were disappointing.
The first concerns the claims that ‘‘ business identities are reluctant to speak out for fear of being singled out for retribution in any dealings with Townsville City Council" and ‘‘ a prominent businessman did not want to be identified" when making a claim linking the Council and the performance of the local economy.
I have never experienced, observed or heard of any circumstance where Council could be claimed to have acted in a manner that could be considered vengeful when it comes to Town Planning applications. It would also be my observation that if a Council did act in such a manner, there are sufficient avenues open to the applicant to contest the Council’s decision and test the development assessment process. If someone can show a specific circumstance where a Council has acted in this way, then those circumstances should be presented in the appropriate manner.
The article is, in my view, a slur on said business identities more than it is Council – and I believe I am yet to meet any relevant local identity who would hold such a view and seek to remain anonymous.
The strength of this City over the past two decades has been its plausible and robust discussion, usually between parties with a common purpose r egarding t he progress of Townsville.
The second concern is the article and associated commentary then personalises comments toward Council staff, while complicit in retaining the anonymity of those making claims against Council.
It is likely that the premise of the articles and commentary was a call for transparency and balance in decisions by Council – these should be inherent in any action by a public entity. In openly criticising Council officers however, we only make the environment more difficult for these officers to perform the tasks we expect them to perform.
During my interaction with Townsville City Council over the past 12 months in relation to the CBD, the Council and its various officers have been diligent in ensuring a very even handed approach is taken in all considerations, regardless of who might own land or propose a development.
While decisions may disappoint some, there would appear little justification to then make generally unsupportable claims about our economy and the council without presenting the argument personally and logically.