As Coffs Harbour City Councillors unanimously voted to require council executive to provide a chronological history and extensive documentation about it’s legal disputes with Handybin and Biomass, so far costing $4.36m, it has emerged a seperate case is being run against neighbouring council’s Nambucca and Bellingen based on very similar issues.
By The Editor
The agenda for today’s Nambucca Shire Council has the following excerpt of a letter from the Bellingen Shire Council reproduced in it on page 30 of 96 under the sub heading Collaboration for Dispute Resolution;
“Nambucca Valley and Bellingen Shire Councils have jointly engaged the legal firm King & Wood Mallesons
to represent their legal interests in the contractual dispute with Coffs Harbour City Council. The councils
entered into this arrangement as they operate under identical legal agreements and have shared interests.
However Bellingen Shire Council has limited capacity at its existing Raleigh landfill compared to the
capacity at the Nambucca Waste Facility. This may hinder the solidarity of the existing collaboration if
mediation options involve the individual councils managing their mixed waste in some way.”
This follows on from a request from the Bellingen Shire Council asking the Nambucca Shire Council asking for;
“access to the Nambucca Valley landfill for the disposal of their mixed waste in the event that a satisfactory resolution of the on-going contractual dispute concerning the tripartite waste agreement requires each Council to accept responsibility for some or all of their mixed waste. Given the limited capacity of the Raleigh landfill and the need for both Councils to continue to work collaboratively in their respective waste management arrangements the
request is agreed.”
Nambucca Council Executive then make the following recommendation;
That for the purposes of enabling the continuation of a joint approach to the resolution of the contractual dispute with Coffs Harbour City Council and to facilitate future cost saving alliances in the provision of waste services, that Council provide agreement in principal to receiving mixed waste generated from the Bellingen Shire Council collection contract for the remaining life of the current contract.
Note: this “in principal” agreement is only to come into effect if an outcome of the dispute resolution with Coffs Harbour City Council is that both Nambucca Valley and Bellingen Shire Councils agree to manage the landfilling of all or part of their kerbside mixed waste.”
CCO editorial comment:
At this point you, if you are a CHCC resident, might say; “so what?”
And that is a fair question.
But it it is important to remember that, apart from the fact relations with our two closest southern LGA neighbours seem to have been driven into a fractious state by our current Council Executive, and that CHCC seems to be, yet again, trying to ‘win’ by outspending opposing litigants on legal fees the $4.63m legal fees quoted to our Councillors recently does not include costs for the Nambucca and Bellingen case(s).
The $4.63m is therefore not a current reflection of the total legal costs for the CHCC in regards to very closely aligned and interlinked waste management litigation.
So, the residents rates are still pouring into legal cases in regards to this issue while the CHCC fails manifestly in basic elementary negotiation skills.
See an earlier CCO story on the cost of legals in the Handybin and Biomass cases here; https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/council-has-spent-4-36m-on-legal-costs-on-waste-management-cases-in-three-years/
Back on August 30 2017 Ross Gittins of the Sydney Morning Herald ran a very interesting piece on the tactic our Council often uses. The illustration by Dyson above comes from it.
The article is titled; “Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face”.
Lead illustration: Simon Letch – taken from the SMH article referenced above.