Sunday, June 27, 2010

A critic? Not this time

IT was a bit of a surprise to hear myself being described as a critic at last week's workshop on the draft report on Willow Court by management consultant Malcolm MacDonald. I'm still not sure whether the suggestion was that I'm a critic of Mr MacDonald's work, or of the Willow Court and Barracks Special Committee, but I'm neither.

I was equally surprised to hear so many people expressing their support for the notion of handing Willow Court over to an "entity" that doesn't yet exist. I know most of my council colleagues are keen to offload Willow Court, but I didn't realise so many members of the new Willow Court committee felt the same.

My comments shouldn't be interpreted as criticism of Mr MacDonald for making the suggestion, although I do believe it was outside his terms of reference. My reason for suggesting that the council engage a consultant was to provide us with one comprehensive step-by-step plan to enable us to have Willow Court open as a visitor attraction as soon as possible. I did not expect the consultant to delve into ownership issues, but Mr MacDonald says this was essential to his work. I disagree, but it's not a deal breaker and I look forward to seeing the finished report.


  1. So - you recommended hiring a consultant to determine how to best handle the Willow Court site. The outcome being that the project should be off-loaded from the Council to a separate entity. Too bad you dismantled Valley Vision....... What a joke!!!! All you have done is waste time and money. And in the process, lost all of the valuable people from Valley Vision that were making progress with the site.
    Equally amusing is the fact that you don't consider yourself a critic of the Willow Court project. Sounds like someone doesn't possess much personal insight.......
    This Derwent Valley citizen can't wait for your incompetent ass to be voted off the council.

  2. G'day Anonymous. Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately your remarks are based on some incorrect assumptions.

    1. The consultant's suggestions for Willow Court are only draft recommendations at this stage. His final recommendations will be in his report when completed, but they will remain just that - recommendations for consideration by the council.

    2. Valley Vision has not been dismantled by anyone. It's my understanding that the organisation still exists and its funding has been continued by the council.

    3. The only people who have left Valley Vision are two staff members who resigned of their own accord after the council offered to continue their employment until the end of their contracts. Both left Valley Vision for new jobs they had already obtained with the Education Department.

    4. I was critical of Valley Vision and the council for their mismanagement of Willow Court over the last decade but I have always been a passionate believer in the project itself.

    I am sorry to hear that I have disappointed you in my first months on council. I would be happy to discuss this further if you are interested in making yourself known to me.

    Kind regards,

  3. all your colleagues they all hate you mate and i hope you never get in again to. I would be happy to discuss it but i my lose it with you .

  4. Well I must say I was a bit surprised that you took it upon yourself to advertise the meeting, when normally the council advertises all council workshops.
    I would imagine that ownership issues of Willow Court are of great importance to the consultant - he could spend 3 months for nothing if it is handed back to the government - surely we don't want more money wasted do we? Doesn't he need to know that what he is doing will be valid?

  5. Whoever the illiterate anonymous person is stating that your colleagues all hate you is well off the mark and perhaps only talks to one other councillor. Best ignore such a narrow and thick point of view. The majority of the electorate respect your views Damian and we have never had it so good since you have been letting us all know what is going on through your self-funded ads and this website. I believe that the majority of your fellow councillors no longer rubber-stamp every recommendation but are more thorough in their consideration - good on them and you! I might be an old bloke but am not too long in the tooth to know right from wrong.