Coffs Coast Business, Local, Opinion/Comment

Councillors and possible conflicts of interest? We want to hear from you.

Over the past few weeks as the Cultural/Council Chambers debate has reached ‘fever pitch’ many ratepayers have been discussing what they consider may be potential conflicts of interest by some Councillors.

The minutes for the meeting on 11 July declare disclosures of interest as follows;

Disclosure of Interest

Councillor Items Type of Interest
Cr John ArkanGM19/18 Progression of the Cultural and Civic Space ProjectNon-Pecuniary – Less Than Significant Conflict as his wife works as a reference librarian in the Council library.
Cr Michael AdendorffGM19/18 Progression of the Cultural and Civic Space ProjectNon-Pecuniary – Less Than Significant Conflict as owner of property in the CBD.

See: https://infocouncil.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/Open/2019/07/CO_20190711_MIN_2199_WEB.htm

Cr Adendorff – voted for the proposed development
Cr John Arkan – voted against the proposed development

The Coffs Coast Outlook has published a related story on this previously. See: https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/what-is-a-significant-pecuniary-interest/

However, the issue seems to have gained even more traction in the past ten days.

So we would like to hear what you think. Use the comments box below and please keep comments focused on the issue, not personalities.

Over to you.

18 Comments

  1. I think what we presently have in Coffs Harbour is a little more serious than declarations and non declarations of pecuniary interests.

    Certainly Adendorff, with 3 owned CBD properties, arguably in my opinion had no right whatsoever to sit in the Chamber for discussions and a vote on the Gordon Street debacle. He certainly had no rights under the LG Act in my opinion to engage with third parties on matters relating to Council owned properties. However, it is not he alone who may have contravened and broken the rules, but the General Manager too.

    The above in itself is potentially most serious and now deserving the attention of the Local Government Authorities; BUT, further investigations appear to be uncovering matters a little more concerning in nature. Let’s see where this takes us !!

  2. George M Partos

    Apparently Adendorff abstained from voting on a CBD heights issues but not on the big issue on Gordon Street. What’s the difference?

  3. Gabrielle Brabander

    The determination and subsequent applications of pecuniary interest at CHCC appears to be fluid depending on the motion being put forward and whether that councillor’s vote may/may not affect the outcome.
    It is disappointing that community are being let down so badly, we deserve better.

  4. Bronwyn Scott

    I’m against the development because there are so many other issues that need to be address. Overdevelopment of Coffs is out of control so,spend the money on developing the environment for all to enjoy and stop turning Coffs into another ugly urban sprawl.

  5. Enormous value and great truths in these comments. Section 10.10 of the Code of Practise is worthy of your attention. In my opinion, the original Motion was invalid as it was not accompanied by the required financial data and it was patent at the meeting on 25 July last that the Councillors were uninformed. It is the role of the General Manager to ensure the Councillors are informed so that they can make sound judgments; judgments in the best interests of the people. There appears a terrible lack of TRANSPARENCY. Insofar as Councillor Adendorff disclosing his pecuniary interest as minor rather than “significant” and his disclosure in relation to discussions with a potential purchaser of Rigby House, my view – these are breaches of his Statutory Duty. Janne C Lindrum

  6. Bring in ICAC and the Auditors. It’s time !!!

    The ratepayers have had a guttfull with what has gone on in the past and present with Coffs City Council ,the GM, Mayor and Councillors…with “The Secrecy” of behind closed doors ..”done deals.”.

    With an online petition with 3 times the majority signing against this project speaks for itself.

    As representatives you are supposed too LISTEN TOO THE PEOPLE….not be ARROGANT and for your own SELF INTEREST.

    Cr Aidenorff should not be allowed too vote with owning commercial land 300 metres from this project. Also on announcing that he had been in talks with a potential residential developer to purchase council owned Rigby House for future residential. …at July 25th meeting.

    You are also associated with the Chamber of Commerce (which are throwing power behind the Scenes) so I see that as also an “interest.”

    Do the right thing Cr Aidenorff and step aside at this Crucial meeting on 8th of August.

    Regards Max

  7. Not in favour of this new ” Civic space”. We have a library and art Gallery and a more than adequate Council Chambers, which if need be can be extended.
    We don’t have an adequate performance space, yes the Jetty Theatre is a beautiful little Theatre but not adequate for all performances.
    Who is going to pay 20 million dollars for the old council chambers. There are so many vacant buildings already in Coffs I don’t think that building will sell for what they say.
    Too much money for glorified new Council Offices.

    • And just what do you think the CBD is going to look like when Office Works closes down it large mid-city store and relocate back to its original place of business. There are said to be 30 retail shops with For Leases signs within the CBD district. The future for them is grim, especially since we’re officially now in a retail recession. I buy all my frocks, knickers, makeup and handbags online.

  8. Apparently he doesn’t need to declare his pecuniary interest because the commercial properties that he owns are far enough away from the new building to have any impact. He owns properties 300m away. To worked out available car spaces they used a 400m radius. It is only about their best interests and what will benefit them. Absolutely disgusting.

  9. Sincerely this would be laughable if this were not so serious.
    That Councillor Arkan registers a less than significant pecuniary interest, as his wife is employed by the Library.
    However Councillor Adensdorrf ALSO registers a less than significant pecuniary interest AND he owns at least 3 properties in the CBD he Deigns that of no interest or concern, however one such property is 300 meters away on the same street… REALLY.
    Councillor Cerato is closely aligned with the Chamber of Commerce & could well have significant pecuniary interest.
    There are far too many matters that are *on the nose* with the Mayor & her cohorts, pushing to get this through.. What else has already been discussed that the Ratepayers & citizen’s are unaware of.. I suggest strongly that the Mayor’s group is ignoring the majority AND pushing this through with significant behind the scenes pressure, as we heard one such case on that audio of the Mayor, played on 2 GB pressuring her deputy to NOT sign the recission motion.
    To her credit & I am certain under much distress Councillor Swan has chosen to go with the councillors who ARE listening to their people.
    Councilors Adensdorff, Cerato & the Mayor need to be investigated before any decisions are made regarding this significant commitment of Ratepayers funds for decades to come..
    This building also will produce no income, so significant maintenance cost will.also.be borne by Ratepayers, a matter that received absolutely no mention.

  10. Clearly Councillor Michael Adendorff must fall on his sword and resign as a Councillor at tomorrow’s meeting with the Mayor. The reasons are abundantly clear.

    It’s the easiest and most cleanest way for Adendorff to exit with a little bit of dignity. Otherwise be it on his head, the Mayors and the GM’s.

  11. Im also very curious as to what happened with the original completed design and ready to build plans for the Entertainment Centre / Library / ArtGallery / Parking and other amendments for City Hill, a few years back.
    What happened to those? Where are they now? Were they ever costed? And if so why haven’t those costings been released? What was the reason these build plans were just thrown by the way side for a completely new ‘concept design’ on Gordon Street?

    Wouldn’t it be a nice idea if the people of this town get to choose their own design? Provide 2 or 3 options of completed designs with costings and different locations and let the public vote, I would happily allow council to spend the right amount of money for the right design and the right location.

    • (My personal design would not include council offices, be located with sufficient parking to hold entire entertainment center visitors and still have some room leftover to expand if/when required. Also even the possibility to hold cafes etc so when people visit this cultural hub they can stay for a hours/day and enjoy their atmosphere and our town)

  12. Hi Kylee, we are onto it. Our next story or two will address these issues among others.

  13. John Christie

    Thank you Coffs Coast Outlook for providing this platform and a big thank you to all the ‘comment contributors’. Having only resided on the Coffs Coast for 3 years, I have to voice my concern with our Council with many aspects of their behaviour with this fiasco. The project needs to be stopped and Council’s behaviour investigated.

  14. I’ve noticed Council hires vehicles from a major hire car company in Coffs owned by a councillor who has voted for the Gordon Street development. Maybe this should be examined closely for any conflict of interest. And we shouldn’t forget the GM’s role on the Rally Australia Board and the undisclosed amount of ratepayer funds and council resources applied to the rally championships year on year.

  15. Tom Strickland

    Wednesday 21st August CHD Advocate: The Mayor quotes Shellharbour Council’s Civic Space. What has our Mayor not understood here? Shell Harbour is on a hill, on acreage, in a semi-rural environ – space, space and more space! It is not on a down-sized “postage stamp” site, like Gordon street, with traffic problems. Look up and peruse 40+ pics on the Shell Harbour Civic Centre Website. Really, our Mayor’s comments point clearly to City Hill as a comparable setting for our cultural precinct.

    • I totally agree with you Tom Strickland OAM . Mayor Knight will be visiting Shell Harbour Civic Centre too attend a Women in Government Conference in the near future.

      Let’s hope that Mayor Denise Knight will see it & experience it for herself and see what could be built on City Hill.

      I used The Shell Harbour Library Civic Centre on a daily basis for 4 months after it was built . It certainly deserves all the awards and accolades it is receiving and has now become the Comunity Lounge Room and has United the residents and rate payers of Shell Harbour.

      Some how Mayor Knight who is in total denial…. I feel will return from Shell Harbour Civic Centre and spin the story the way she has done with her interview with Moffee on Triple M about similarities with community back lash and the 11,000 signatures petion that went to State Parliament.

      The similaries with the actual buildings themselves are like Chalk and Cheese!!!! As well as the large Hilltop Corner Position with magnificent views and wide open landscaped space and parklands. At a cost of $ 60 million dollars it was value for money compared to our $100 million plus ( including Gordon St Upgrade) jammed into a small lot …built around a Fig Tree over looking a multi level car exhaust fumes UGLY car park!!!!.

      NO COMPARISON WHAT SO EVER !!!!!!

      As Michael Caton said in the Iconic Aussie Move ” The Castle” …tell them they are Dreaming !!!

      Regards Max

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*