By the editor
Last week Outlook published a story on what was going on behind the scenes at City Square titled City Square: Kiosks and Chaos?
It generated the following email which I publish for your interest acknowledging it brings to mind George Orwell’s Animal Farm in places;
“My daughter is in town for the weekend and we had to go into the CBD this morning.
We stopped by the markets and saw the Council had a public engagement stall there to sell the City Square plan.
She was interested in seeing how they went about it and of course didn’t let on that she was a Town Planner.
She asked a few pointed questions about the Special Rate levy, design etc; how much they had raised and how much had been spent of this so far.
She asked a few more questions about how they arrived at the plan that they had on show today.
I think that she left there very, very unimpressed with their evasive answers and the way they seemed to her, to be very incompetent at doing what they were doing for such an important project and an expensive one at that.
The survey had very loaded questions and multiple choice answers, but nowhere could an alternative answer or comment be made.
One question that they answered for her, and which made her quite angry, was when she asked why did they have an information session for invited participants only and another for the public as of today’s stall, their answer was that the business owners wanted to put their views across without getting involved with the people who may have a different view and may express it too forcefully!
So she said was it going to be a case where the priority will be given to the views of the business owners over the public and users of this space views?
They said ‘yes, sort of, after all they are the ones paying for it’!
They intimated that the petition raised by the kiosks is too late when they have had plenty of time to make arrangements for their future should the kiosks go. And should something in the way of a community food court be created, they could apply to join that.
As I read in the Outlook, it is obviously a case of the tail wagging the dog when it comes to the community consultation by Council staff!”
Editors note: The person referred to in this conversation is originally from Coffs Harbour and has worked in town planning at Local and State Government levels inter-state and has tertiary qualifications in town planning and regional development.
I am told the kiosk owners plan to present their petition to the Mayor and invited councilors in public tomorrow at City Square (Wednesday 1 August). One hopes they don’t receive the same reply about the petition as is recorded in the story above.