The followingstory is from the Coffs Coast Advocate, 29 August 2019, site and is behind an online paywall.
“COFFS Harbour business leader, and Chair of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of commerce Martin Wells has slammed the “bullies” promoting the petition against the proposed Cultural and Civic Space.
By Janine Watson
He has issued them a strong warning.
“Come back to our business and intimidate our staff like that again and you will be prosecuted,” Mr Wells said.
The group Citizens Voice is behind it, and spokesperson Ann Leonard says it includes a diverse range of concerned citizens with backgrounds in building and construction, law, youth advocacy, small business, big business, public and civil service, politics and education.
The aim of the new petition is to get the 10,000 signatures required to table it in NSW Parliament.
But Mr Wells, the owner/principal at McGrath Estate Agents, had some very strong words this morning for those distributing the petition to businesses including his.
“To the bullies walking into businesses (particularly our business) yesterday demanding and intimidating staff to sign a petition against the Cultural and Civic Space how dare you.
“Walking into restricted areas of our business without invitation to harass staff. We will be sure to keep the CCTV.”
He says the bullying tactics are not welcome but not surprising.
“Given the people behind it – shame on you and the people you represent.”
Mr Wells said their behaviour and disparaging words towards Council and the Mayor Denise Knight were a disgrace.
“The credibility of your petition just evaporated instantly.
“There are a lot of people stoking the fire who have a lot to answer for and will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons.”
Ms Leonard says the group has gathered approximately 3,500 signatures so far, from just three collection points, and there are approximately 52 other locations across the Local Government Area where copies have been placed.
Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh has received a number of letters about the matter and has forwarded them onto the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock.
A representative from Ms Hancock’s office said the Minister does not comment on the quantity or nature of correspondence received.
“Local councils are expected to determine spending priorities and major projects in close consultation with their communities.
“Ultimately, it is a matter for the local council to decide on the project’s future,” the representative said.
“At the end of the day, councils are accountable to their local residents, with voters returning to the polls in a little over a year. “
First published at the Coffs Coast Advocate, Thursday 29 August 2019. See: https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/anti-civic-space-petition-bullies-warned-dont-come/3817855/
Coffs Coast Outlook Editor’s note: We must say we here at Coffs Coast Outlook are stunned and more than just a tad surprised that 55 local business organisations have apparently been “bullied” into hosting this petition.
Or could it just be that the executive of the Chamber of Commerce actually doesn’t speak for and represent a lot of local businesses on this particular issue?
Look at the names of the businesses on the flyers below and ask yourself if you think they are the type to be easly ‘bullied” and that they are not capable of making up their own minds?