Sunday, May 13, 2012

And the topic was...

WILLOW Court was the main topic discussed at this month's councillor workshop, held on May 3. Deputy mayor Barry Lathey took the chair in the absence of the mayor, who is on personal leave this month. It was great to have two members of the public present (Anne Salt and Allyson Lock) with some questions about the council's policy on film-makers visiting Willow Court. Also in the gallery was Tim Morris MHA and it emerged that he had been called to the meeting to account for comments had had not made in Parliament. That exchange was saved for the closed section of the workshop.

Anne Salt and Allyson Lock expressed their concerns at film-makers exploring paranormal themes at Willow Court, which prompted an interesting discussion that extended beyond the 30 minutes now allowed for public participation at workshops, and I thank the deputy mayor for his tolerance in that regard. Cr Nicholson expressed the view that paranormal types had jumped onto the Willow Court committee formed back in 2009 "when the community squealed".

The closed section of the workshop featured a presentation by security consultants recommended by Cr Lester. They spoke about the problem of Willow Court's isolation and lack of use and proposed a multi-faceted approach to security based on a site inspection with the mayor, general manager and Cr Lester. Their confidential report will be discussed in a closed session after this week's council meeting. In response to a question from me, the general manager advised that comparative quotes would not be provided. 

This brought us to Tim Morris. Cr Bromfield said she had requested his presence because she had been "disgusted when you put us down so badly in Parliament." This was in reference to a motion tabled by Mr Morris on March 8:
  • Mr Morris to move That the House:

    (1) Notes that the Willow Court Historic Site at New Norfolk is a significant part of Tasmania's built heritage and should be protected in its entirety.
    (2) Congratulates:
    (a) those owners and managers of parts of the site who have made significant investments of time and finance to protect and reuse those parts of the site they are responsible for; and
    (b) those community members, such as the friends of Frescati and the Willow Court Working Group who have volunteered their time to work on the site.
    (3) Notes concerns with:
    (a) the lack of progress by the Derwent Valley Council in protecting the parts of Willow Court that it owns and is responsible for; and
    (b) that a further building has been deliberately burnt beyond repair because of a lack of care by the council.
    (4) Further calls upon the council to:
    (a) move immediately to secure those remaining buildings that they have stood back and allowed to be vandalised;
    (b) report regularly to the community on its plans for, and progress with protection and development of the site;
    (c) not to attempt to sell off any further land that is part of the site; and
    (d) respond positively and promptly to the Government's proposed Memorandum of Understanding that will define rights and responsibilities and provide state funds for work on the site.
Council general manager Stephen Mackey asked Mr Morris what he had done in Parliament to help the council. Mr Morris said he had lobbied and supported and had not criticised the council until the loss of F Ward. When asked about critical comments he had made when his motion was debated in the House, he pointed out that it had not yet been brought forward.

As the workshop drew to a close, Mr Morris asked about the future ownership of the former business enterprise centre, now known as the Carinya Education Park. Mr Mackey said the council had a two-year lease and option to acquire the property. It was reported that the buildings were suffering from vandalism. 

1 comment:

  1. The vandalism (in question) at Carinya Education Park, was in the form of a serious break-in. This has been the only form of vandalism that has occurred at Carinya Education Park (old Business Enterprise Centre). This break-in did not affect any usage of Carinya. A fact, usage has increased in the provision of support, education and training for youth in the Derwent Valley.

    Matt Hill
    Youth Participation Officer
    Derwent Valley Council.