Deputy Mayor in strife with Council?

Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan says action has been lodged against her over the Two Tails Winery development application.

By the Editor

Coffs Coast Outlook understands that the action referred to may be in fact a referral by Council to ICAC.

Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan

Councillor Swan has been a consistent opponent of the proposed Civic Centre and new Council Chambers in Gordon Street and was instrumental in having the Two Tails DA referred to Councillors for a decision.

Development applications are usually determined under ‘delegated authority’ by senior staff.

This latest development in what increasingly to many appears to be a deeply troubled Council arose last night when ‘conflicts of interest’ were announced and after the presentations to council, in relation to the Two Tails DA, by two ratepayers Mr Terry Crowe, of Nana Glen and Dr Grant Cairncross (the Editor of CCO).

At this time it was announced that Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan had ‘reluctantly abstained’ from the discussion while also revealing actions have been taken against her in relation to the matter.

A report by council staff, presumably by the Planning Department and possibly with input from other members of staff recommended Two Tails DA be refused on a number of grounds including unacceptable noise impacts and that it’s not compatible with the objectives of the RU2 Rural Landscape zone.

Image result for NSW Land and Environment Court

Instead of voting on the recommendation, which was to deny the extensions, an alternative motion was then presented to councillors, which was carried unanimously (minus Cr’s Rhoades and Swan who were absent from the Chamber). The new motion read;

CHCC GM Steve McGrath

“That Council note the proponent has commenced proceedings in the Land and Environment Court and resolve not to determine the development application on the basis that it will now be determined by the Land and Environment Court.’

Presumably the Executive of Council have recommended to Councillors that a possibly lengthy court battle and associated costs were preferable to settling the issue on amended grounds and having the Land and Environment Court action withdrawn.

——

My presentation to Council

Along with Terry Crowe, I spoke in favour of Two Tails DA prior to the above amended motion being voted on.

The notes which I largely, but not wholly, talked to are reproduced below;

“Thank you Councillors for allowing me to address you in support of the Two Tales Development Application (DA) that is on tonight’s Council agenda and against the recommendations in relation to that agenda item.

In the first instance I would like to emphasise that I come here as a ratepayer and not as a representative of Southern Cross University where I have been a senior academic in the School of Business and Tourism for 23 years in Coffs Harbour and where my research and teaching interests centre around tourism and hospitality employment, entrepreneurship, service quality and regional development.    I also would like to make it clear that I also do not appear in my role as editor of a local blog site either.

I’m here as a ratepayer who also happens to understand tourism and hospitality in a regional setting and who passionately believes Two Tails is a shining gem in that context.

Before I go on and more specifically explain why I am speaking in favour of their DA though I would briefly like to acquaint you with some of their history.

Two Tails Winery and restaurant is an award-winning establishment based in Nana Glen.

Two Tails won two Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Sunny awards in 2018 for Excellence in Small Business and also in the Local Producer Award category.  The same year it was a Finalist in the NSW Business Chamber’s Regional Business Awards and went on to win both the Excellence in Small Business award and the ultimate Regional Business of the Year award.

In 2019 it won the Australian Good Food Guide readers award in their category.

Currently they employ 12 staff – many from the Orara Valley and all from within our local government area.  Many of those staff are young and get training they can use elsewhere, which is crucial in a region of stubbornly high youth unemployment.  They have employed up to 19 staff but operating restrictions have meant they now have to employ less staff.

More about that later.

Two Tails only uses local fresh, seasonal produce.  They support growers and their families in our region and nearby.

A random scan of several year’s-worth of visitor’s books told me that on any given week over the past three years 80% of visitors to Two Tails Velvet’s Restaurant came from outside our local government area – places as close as Grafton and as far away and as exotic as Rome and San Francisco.

I estimate that with a conservative multiplier effect of 2:1 Two Tails generates approximately $3.5 million p.a. for our region’s economy.

I teach entrepreneurship at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels and I believe Two Tails would be a model regional case study for students.

Two Tails are that good. 

They understand service and product differentiation and make sure their wine and food reflect that golden rule of ‘Marketing 101’.

And with all due respect that is one reason why I struggle to understand the difficulties they seem to have had in order to obtain DA approval so that they can offer bean bags, cabanas and shade on grass settings near the cellar and restaurant. Somewhere people can wine and dine in a civilized manner in a beautiful setting.

These are not unusual requests they are making. 

If one researches most winery/restaurants in similar areas in NSW in places such as Port Macquarie, Orange, New England and Mudgee one will find many started in areas zoned rural and then, often with federal and state government support and encouragement, were allowed changes that accommodated exactly the same as what Two Tails are asking for here.

And, yes, many of those too have residential properties within 75m of their cellars and outdoor dining areas too. 

In fact we only need to drive 30 minutes south down the road to Raleigh to find a winery/restaurant that has exactly the same things outdoors that are being requested by Two Tails.  

And they have a line of residential properties right across the road and closer than is the case with Two Tails in fact.

I know this because I have driven there and wined and dined there in the past 9 months and seen them.

Perhaps our neighbours in Bellingen Shire are more accommodating and progressive in this regards?

I fail to see why in my opinion Two Tails appears to be being treated differently to other wineries in the state and other eateries in our council area.

Or differently in some aspects to the Idle Inn Café on Orara Way the main street of Nana Glen and who are only one kilometer away from Two Tails?

I found it strange that two weeks ago when this matter last came before you mention was made about Two Tails ‘breaching liquor licensing laws’ a matter I believe to be outside Council Planning’s duties and responsibilities. 

On further investigation it would appear to me nothing of the sort had occurred.  I note that those particular allegations do not appear on the recommendations in front of you tonight.

I have looked at the 52 points in Attachment 4 in relation to the Two Tails item on the agenda tonight and although while I see some that are perfectly sensible I see many that not only seem to resemble micro-management on steroids but the more I look the more I see what appears to be an attempt to erect endless barricades and to ‘hand cuff’ Two Tails as a going concern.

Sorry about the mixed metaphor’s there but I am calling it as I see it.

Some, such as table seating requirements, to name but one, are so onerous they would in all probability lead to a sharp drop in custom and employment.  There is a hint of restraint of trade about those in my opinion.

The future of this award-winning gem of a tourism and hospitality business would be very shaky if many of these points were to be approved by you tonight and attached to any DA.

The 12 staff could lose their jobs, the fresh produce suppliers could lose a valuable customer and Coffs Harbour could lose a star tourism and hospitality attraction.

And can we afford that at a time when local businesses are struggling to get over recent fires and floods and at a time when corona virus poses both a health and economic threat? 

Councilors can you afford to forget what the Prime Minister the Treasurer and the State Minister for Small Business (see attached) are saying right now about the importance of supporting small local businesses at this particular moment in time when you make your decision on this tonight?

In my opinion you can’t. 

As the great economist John Maynard Keynes once said; “when the facts change, I change my mind.”  Well the facts have changed and they are changing rapidly.

Yes, we won a great tourism award last week with the Wotif award but we can’t afford to ‘rest on our laurels’.  Not with the changes swirling around us now.

In my opinion and experience Two Tails has the potential to become a true shining star as part of our tourism offerings if it is just given what other winery/restaurants in NSW already have.

I commend this DA to you and I urge you to support it together with a minimal number of those points in Attachment 4.  And not the ‘all or nothing’ approach as is suggested.

Thank you very much for hearing me tonight.”

Th following is the email referred to above;

Attachment: Statement by The Hon Damien Tudehope – NSW Minister for Small Business to Moffee’s TripleM Coffs Coast Breakfast Show – 10 March 2020

Image result for damien tudehope mp
NSW Small Business minister – Damien Tudehope

From: Kylie Adoranti <[email protected]>

Date: 10 March 2020 at 5:58:07 pm AEDT

To: Michael Moffett <[email protected]>

Subject: Triple M Coffs – Coffs Harbour Council – Two Tails DA.

Dear Michael,

Thanks for your email and apologies for the delay. The Minister was down at the South Coast visiting fire-affected businesses today.

Please see below. Let me know if you need anything else.

Kylie.

The following comments can be attributed to the NSW Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope.

Now more than ever we all need to work together to cut red tape and get out of the way of small businesses looking to grow and thrive.

Councils across NSW are not immune from this responsibility.

I call on Coffs Harbour City Council to work alongside small businesses to ensure they can do what they do best – provide important services and great offerings to local communities.

The NSW Government is committed to reducing red tape, cutting tax and making it easier to do business in NSW so mums and dads can focus on their start-up phase, becoming successful and continuing to create jobs throughout the state.

—————————————————————————————————————

Terry Crowe’s presentation notes will be published next week.

28 thoughts on “Deputy Mayor in strife with Council?

  1. Is it a coincidence that Councillor Swan, who opposes the CCCC project, stands accused, while others with extensive CBD interests (and stand to benefit handsomely under the CCCC project) are still permitted free rein to vote on outcomes?

    1. Spare a thought for the neighbours of this business. They have endured the wrath of unreasonable people even while suffering cancer and trying to go about their lives.

      A question I have is why did one of the owners of this vineyard alledgedly attend court recently charged with malicious damage?

      There is a way to run a business, be a good neighbour and part of a small community like Nana. If they had of done this than members of our community would not have opposed growth. Council made the right decision. It is a concern we have a Cr involved in ICAC investigations given she has allegedly told people she is standing on an election ticket with the owner of this business in September.

      Dodgy stuff. The truth has all come out now.

      Editors note: Slightly amended due to legal advice.

        1. Good on you Grant for publishing both sides of the argument even thigh you’re a great supporter of the Application. I heard you spoke well in support of it on Thursday.

          Seems to me the applicant is trying to gain DA approval by stealth!

      1. Hi Jan,
        Very interesting observations you make here. There are always 2 sides to the story. This point is of particular interest. Is that why Tegan was excluded? “It is a concern we have a Cr involved in ICAC investigations given she has allegedly told people she is standing on an election ticket with the owner of this business in September” True what you say about being a good neighbour and respecting the community you live in. Not happy Jan.

        1. Very interesting Jan and CL,

          Interesting because all I see are *allegations* here in your comments. And *allegations* are not necessarily the same as the truth, so be careful of claiming them to be so.

          Here are some more *allegations* you might like to ponder;

          It is *alleged* that the total number of objectors to the Two Tails DA can be counted on one hand. One of the *alleged* objectors *allegedly* moved in as a neighbour quite some time after Two Tails restaurant started and had been operating.

          The same objector is *allegedly* an ex-CHCC employee who has been using their *alleged* connections in Council *allegedly* since the day they moved in to complain about the merest, and *allegedly* often most pathetic, thing.

          That *alleged* objector, who Jan may be getting her information from and may be a friend of and therefore is of questionable impartiality, has also *allegedly* been a serial complainer against the local RFS volunteer brigade which is situated right next door to Two Tails.

          Think. About. That. One.

          Locals *allege* this particular objector is the equivalent of a vexatious litigant and is someone with a continuous grievance syndrome. They *allege* this objector doesn’t just have a ‘chip on their shoulder’ but rather a ‘whole sack of chips’ instead! By the way your friend Brigit clearly has no idea of the legal meaning of the term ‘vexatious’ in my opinion, but I digress.

          That *alleged* objector also *allegedly* had a dog that left their property and *allegedly* seriously attacked a passing pedestrian on Orara Way about 18 months ago. Something that *allegedly* was filmed and shared on Facebook where it got approximately 350,000 shares and was covered nationally by Channel 7 and 2GB in some depth, causing some angst to Council and *allegedly* drawing requests from the Mayor and GM to the person *alleged* to have posted the video to take it down. Locals *allege* the CHCC Ranger essentially slapped the owner of the dog/objector on the wrist with the equivalent of a ‘wet soggy bus ticket’. Locals *allege* this may well be have been because of the owner/objectors *alleged* possible CHCC connections.

          Another *alleged* objector/complainant as recently as last Monday was *allegedly* visited by the Police. It is believed by locals that they may have *allegedly* been charged with serious arms/ordinance related charges.

          The support for Two Tails as an organisation and within the broader Orara Valley-Nana Glen is *allegedly* both very broad and deep due to the fact they have been a boost to the local economy, have offered local people work and custom and have been strong supporters both socially and financially of the local RFS and the Orara Valley Axemen rugby league team and local schools too.

          I. Could. Go. On.

          Do you get the picture?

          Editors note: Amended slightly due to legal advice.

        2. Only just reading your EXCELLENT address to Council Grant.

          Bravo!

          I cross fingers, toes, legs,Varma and eyes in the hope that sense will prevail

          And Tegan ….. Full support to you – one would go a looong way to find an as accessible, open and transparent councillor – a mayoral quality one at that !!

          My guess is that …as usual – a vast majority ….”noisy” or otherwise …. of those who you so capably REPRESENT have, as “they” say, “got your back”

          As my dearly departed mum would have said …..keep on keeping on!

          And thank you both.
          Gai

  2. Right, I’m going to hazard a guess here at the real agendas behind all this.

    In my opinion;

    (1) An unelected Chief Bovver Boy wants to show everyone who is ‘Da Boss’ while also trying to get the numbers down to 4-3 by dispatching with a troublesome elected representative? No tiresome arguments about tied and casting votes then?

    (2) Then Planning Staff, irked that decisions about DA’s were taken away from them in this instance, have supplied the ‘ammo’ for the said Chief Bovver Boy?

    I think we need to stand by and support our Deputy Mayor 100%.

    This is a power grab, and a totally unscrupulous one engineered by a megalomaniac, dictatorial, bullying oaf in my opinion. I hope it fails ignominiously as it richly deserves to.

    Nice work on that presentation too Editor. You nailed it.

  3. I fully agree that Two Tails should be allowed to continue and expand its already very impressive business.

    We need more people like this locally, who are ready to get in and show the amazing area we all live in supplying locally sourced produce. Good on you Two Tails.

  4. Tegan Swan is anti progress. This is a model business. She also doesn’t do her homework. So many gaps in her knowledge. I would expect her to be 100% across every project she votes on. By this time she should be able to write a thesis on the C&CS. The questions she asked last night make me shudder when I think she is making decisions that effect me, really appalling.

      1. Correction: …. it’s meant to read “fingers, toes, ARMS, legs and eyes crossed ….”
        Gai

    1. Karen, why don’t you form a group (include Bridget) for the forthcoming council elections. You could name your group ‘We Love Stevie’.

      Just a thought.

      1. Damn you John!

        There I was reading CCO on my iPad and having a cold Mexican beer – yes a Corona to be precise (I know, I know), and I then came across your comment above.

        I have just spent the last three minutes wiping Corona from my iPad screen and the nearby coffee table damnit!

        Gold! Hilarious!

        Laughing and a spraying!

        You win the internet today! 😉

  5. Great public address Grant.

    The voting eligible councillors indeed to alter to being four to three BUT it’s Cr Adendorff who needs to be either suspended or given a Performance Improvement Order by the Minister. An order to correctly declare his multiple interests – re CBD properties AND re holding two positions on the board of the Chamber of Commerce. Which sees him required to, at least, declare a SIGNIFICANT non-pecuniary interest …which has to be “managed” in the same manner as a pecuniary one. IE not participate, AT ALL.

    Council is following the wrong order of listing on Agenda for declaration of interests to happen after the public forum. As those with an interest to declare are not to hear the Public Forum items pertaining…..

    We need to rally NOW and contact the OLG and Minister re Cr Adendorff being on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce. Have a look on website at the page with pictures, names and office held for all members of the Board and take screen prints.

    And then read a news article from last year about the Chamber hosting a breakfast to introduce the Gordon St proposal, and screen grab that too…as it states the Chamber’s belief in economic benefits for CBD businesses. As Adendorff is Secretary and PUBLICITY OFFICER he can hardly claim no knowledge ofvthe Chamber’s publicly stated opinion ……

    But even without that interaction re his properties it is clearly laid out that interests such as being on committees/boards of organisations must be declared…..
    This needs to be done with ph follow up to the OLG and Minister’s office ASAP, as in April the EOI tenders for buyer/s of OUR four CHCC owned properties will come up!

  6. Has anyone else noticed how moronically inept our so called top level Council Executive’s seem to be? They can wear the sharpest spiv like suits to a Council meeting but can’t answer the most basic questions about what they want to spend millions on.

    They appear to have no concept of what is going on in the global economy and what that may ultimately mean for little old us here on the Coffs Coast because their heads are otherwise jammed up their butts.

    They are the Peter Principal incarnate IMO. Just plowing ahead with their grandiose agendas irrespective of what is going on around them.

    I reckon we should sack 60% of these Councillors and run McGrath and his bunch of overpaid mini-me’s in the upper executive out of town on the very next stage coach. They suck. Come September though that should be the goal.

    I pity many of the good people at Council having to work under them.

    1. Spot on Rikki, and yes I have noticed at many a Council meeting just what you describe, both visually and aurally too.

      For those who don’t know this is the Peter Principle Rikki refers to;

      “The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.”
      https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/peter-principle.asp

      I’d also argue they are living breathing proof of the Dunning-Kreuger effect at work too. The GM in particular in my opinion;

      “In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability.”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

      1. Many thanks Prairie Rose. For many years I have been only too aware of the symptoms of the Dunning-Kruger effect in people with whom I have had to work, and more often than not, in senior politicians. Until now I have never had a name to apply to the condition.
        With almost five decades of experience in public service, I have encountered both the Peter Principle, and what I now know to be the Dunning-Kruger effect, on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, with respect to both conditions, it seems to be impossible to reverse the effects.
        In a classic instance, I had to associate with a man who had sufficient academic intelligence and skill, to earn a Doctorate in Psychology, but who was so lacking in emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, that he was unable to recognise and avoid the use of personal behaviours which made him a pariah among his peers.
        Would Scott Morrison possibly experience both conditions?

      2. Ahhh – Prairie Rose you have got the various situations and “characters” totally pegged.
        Well written, researched and referenced. Thank you!
        Gai

    2. Yes Rikki, all candidates for positions on council at upcoming elections in September should be quizzed by constituents about their view of council executive’s performance and particularly whether they deserve renewal of employment contracts during the next council term?

      Constituents would then be more informed about deciding to vote for individual candidates.

  7. In my opinion, this council reeks of corruption and is clearly incapable of acting appropriately, no matter what the circumstances. I sometimes wonder how it can continue to function.
    Then I remember that, despite appeals to state government “watchdogs”, nothing has been done.

    I remind myself also, that despite smelling like a kilo of prawns reclining in the sun, federal affairs, involving Angus Taylor and Bridget McKenzie, have been manipulated by the government in such a way that their alleged corruption has gone without suitable investigation or consequence.

    These things happen because those in power seem to consider themselves to be above any requirement to act honourably. Their exaggerated self-interest, and enthusiasm for exercising the power of their positions, trump any sense of civil service and ultimately, in the short term, we are powerless to do anything about it.

    At all levels of government we seem to suffer pollies who are afflicted by “polonavirus”, a disease which attacks the “credibility-drive” of sufferers. Most susceptible are those who see themselves as being more clever than they actually are.

    These are people who mistake academic competence for actual intelligence. Whilst some people, CCO’s editor for example, display copious quantities of both academic and emotional intelligence, too many of our alleged leaders, at all levels of government, were obviously born without the genes which impart both emotional intelligence and common sense.

  8. One of the Shills, Trolls, or what ever tag you want to label them, who have responded in this thread, has a group of followers who run under the banner on a Facebook site “Advocates for Advancement Coffs Harbour”.

    The leader of this pack, is ‘Karen’, as identified by John Christie in his post yesterday and by Rikki Bekker some weeks back using the initials KL, aka, “Culture Lover” or “Cultural Warrior” or similar.

    This cohort have allegedly attempted on occasions to disrupt Council meetings from the Chamber Gallery, cat calling any speakers against the Gordon Street project and even going so far as to even allegedly turn up at opponents places of business and abuse them in front of customers. If this is true it rather makes Culture Lovers comments today above in response to Jan Worthing to be richly ironic does it not?

    For some reason, the Mayor has rarely brought them to order judging by Council meeting recordings and other reports from those in the gallery.

    I am sure those of you who regularly attend Council meetings have seen them in action.

    While they are a minuscule percentage of supporters of the Council, and its Gordon Street proposals, their warped sense of entitlement should be exposed across the community in my opinion.

    If you see something from them, if you hear something from them, remember that they might arguably be ‘practicing democratic norms’ but are also in all probability being highly unrepresentative too.

    They are not doing any service to our city by creating this toxic behaviour towards opponents of Council or the decisions made by Council.

    In fact I would suggest that their behaviour is bordering on a form of fascism. Even though they would argue politically they are the opposite of that.

    In my opinion they seem to have no interest in the well-being of our city as an entity with their seemingly warped and endless, unquestioning, sycophantic support of Council and its Executive.

    One can only begin to wonder what their true motives are for taking such a stand.

    Editors note: Amended due to legal advice.

    1. They are playing a power game, Rob. In other settings, I have seen this type of behaviour used by people who commonly have deep-seated feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. In males, we sometimes regard it as one symptom of “Small Man’ syndrome. I know of no similar nomenclature for female sufferers.

      It’s my opinion that such people are convinced of their inability to argue a cause rationally, and instead, as you correctly point out, resort to the use fascist tactics, primarily in order to garner attention. Progressing an argument through intelligent debate is usually beyond the capacity of such individuals, so they refuse to enter the ring. Instead they rely on insults and abuse, in an attempt to intimidate opposition.

      However, the overriding motivation for their behaviours is attention-seeking. In my experience, the most effective means of meeting this negative behaviour, is to starve it of oxygen. So damaged is the world view of individuals like this, that any attention, even the strongest and most valid criticism or, in extreme cases, the use of actual violence, provides validation and reinforces the behaviour.

      The simplest analogy I can provide is that of the attention-seeking child, who throws a tantrum. If the tantrum brings considerable positive or negative attention, it becomes a proven behavioural strategy for the child and is reinforced as an effective manipulative tool. If the tantrum is dismissed, with or without a consequence, the strategy fails and tends to be discontinued in future conflict situations.

    2. Rob,

      They are attention starved trolls from what I can see.

      More than a few here have challenged them with evidence and data which they refuse to engage with. They disappear for a while then come back and sprout the same stuff as before in spite of having had their bluff called previously.

      Yep, just ignore them. They hate that as it deprives them of oxygen.

    3. They may be interesting subjects for study by a PhD student in the School of Psychology at SCU.

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