Mayor uses casting vote to progress Cultural and Civic Centre – yet again

The Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Denise Knight has used her casting vote to vote down a motion to halt the city’s proposed Cultural and Civic Space.

The motion called for the council to suspend the $76.5 million project until it could re-assess its finances and the affect of Coronavirus on the local economy.

A video screenshot from last nights first electronic, yet again split 4-4, meeting. Picture – ABC Coffs Coast

Councillors were once again at a stalemate four in favour and four against the motion after an hour of heated debate.

The Mayor was scathing of Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh’s letter sent to councillors this week, that called for the suspension of the project. “How dare he, and shame on him to deprive our community of local jobs to stimulate the economy to bring life back into our city,” Cr Knight said. “We need to build, create hope and optimism during this pandemic.”

The Mayor also said words to the effect that she knew more about pandemics than others in the meeting.

The CBD complex will include a regional art gallery, library, museum as well as council offices and chambers.

Cr Keith Rhoades, who put forward the motion with Crs Paul Amos and Tegan Swan, said it was “disrespectful of the Mayor” to attack the state member during the council meeting.

Our story on Gurmesh Singh’s letters to Councillors and to Planning Minister Rob Stokes can be found here;

The above is from the ABC Coffs Coast Facebook site, with minor alterations.

Editors note: More on this story later today.

10 thoughts on “Mayor uses casting vote to progress Cultural and Civic Centre – yet again

  1. Yes it was painful to listen to the 4 Councilors who were against the proposal to halt the project in the name of decency and common sense, they Waffled on something pathetic.

    I was quite embarrassed to think these are the people we elected, they have no common sense whatsoever.

  2. Once again, it is important to note that this debate is no longer about the proposed construction of new and unnecessary council offices, with attached cultural spaces. It is about the power of the mayor to bend others to her will.

    The proposal to halt progress on the plan, in order to reassess its post-Covid economic impact, can only be seen as reasonable and appropriate. Offered a face-saving escape from a dilemma, a reasonable person might well take advantage of such a respite, in order to plan a new way froward.

    The mayor, however, has chosen to pursue her agenda. Knight’s refusal to allow even a brief interruption to happen, speaks volumes about behaviour which might, in my opinion, be considered obsessive.

    Knight has painted herself into a corner and, rather than admit that she may be wrong, has chosen to “tough it out”. The fact that her decisions, alone, may be responsible for thousands of ratepayers footing the bill is of no apparent consequence to her.

  3. I have been sitting back for a while watching Council and wondering if it is at all possible that the Knight/McGrath duopoly can top the insane nonsense they have been perpetrating to our cost.

    And last night I found out the answer is “yes, they can”.

    At a time when we are facing the worst set of economic figures since World War2 and a contagion not seen on these shores since 1919 that will undoubtedly mean economic cloth will be need to be cut to fit the new suit we now live in we got this arrant nonsense and dross from the Mayor; ““No one understands a pandemic like I do.”

    Really!? Apparently Denise is now taking speech lessons from that idiot in the White House!

    It seems that with the facts changing around us by the minute Cr’s Knight, Addendorf, Ceccato and Townley don’t want to change their minds to the new reality. This is not just insane, it is recklessly so.

    They were asked to consider a pause so as to consider what the new reality might mean. They were asked by the local State member, representing the views of his constituents, to do exactly that.

    And we got incoherent babble, misinformed nonsense and faux outrage from the four councilors named above because Gurmesh Singh is representing his wider constituency. And, no, I didn’t vote for him but he is 100% right here.

    We are now witnessing reckless behaviour by these four in my opinion.

    And under the Local Government Act these four, and the real power- the GM, are sailing very close to a breach of it.

    No, with them however it is as though nothing has changed. It is ‘damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead, don’t worry about that ice berg’!

    And by the way Mayor Knight vision, in order to be successful, must be a vision that is shared. That is one of the very first things one learns when studying strategic management. If the CCC in Gordon Street is your big hairy audacious ‘vision’ then you have dropped the ball comprehensively on that front because you have failed abysmally to take the public with you.

    That might be in part of course because the entertainment centre you said was the number one thing you wanted to achieve is AWOL. It is nowhere to be seen! Apparently a comfortable chair in an ’emerald charade’ with your name on a plaque is of more importance to you some eight years later?

    Full credit to Cr’s Amos, Arkan, Rhoades and Swan. Like our state member you too are representing the wider community and not unaccounted vested interests with potentially shady deals that seem to be getting done dirt cheap in my opinion.

    Stand strong. In my opinion the overwhelming number of ratepayers are behind you and have been awakened by this anti-democratic charade that Mayor ‘Two-Votes’ Knight and her puppet master GM has forced upon us.

  4. Denise’s lack of judgement and common sense has been a hallmark of her reign as mayor.

    Who can forget how she flew down to Sydney, at council expense, especially to fly back to Coffs with the Blues team, like some infatuated teenage groupie? Or how she entertained delegates at successive annual waste management conferences with tales of drunken debauchery, instead of conducting herself in a manner befitting a community leader?

    But it’s her inability to see reason and grasp the mood of the wider Coffs community that’ll be her undoing. It’s only a matter of time until we see the back of her and her cronies and they will all be forgotten.

    And since she has proven time and again that she’s not the sharpest knife in the draw, could she be confusing the term ‘pandemic’ with ‘pandemonium’?

  5. Interesting to hear that the mayor contacted Gurmesh Singh to apologise for publicly chastising him after her “sophomoric” outburst at the last televised council meeting.

    Clearly, her well-rehearsed and widely publicised admonishment of Mr Singh was designed to impress her small band of supporters and draw attention away from his absolutely valid and wise suggestion to suspend progress on the extravagant CCC until the economic fallout from the pandemic is better understood.

    I’ll bet she didn’t want anyone else to know how two-faced she really is. No one would have been the wiser if Gurmesh hadn’t spilt the beans.

    Probably explains why our not so media shy mayor declined to appear on Channel 7 news for comment yesterday.

  6. Council Meeting? OMG!! Our LGA is in freefall, with no emergency parachute. Pass the Chair that bottle of Valium, please! What should be intelligent collaboration, has degenerated into open warfare. Metaphorically, our city will be another Nagasaki, such will be our destruction!
    We must clean house, both the elected Councillors, and those power drunk executive public servants.
    “PUBLIC SERVANTS?” – that has to be the greatest of all time oxymoron!

  7. Spot on Gemini. One has to wonder, in the present tragic circumstances, how four supposedly intelligent Councillors, who are backed by the “one person -two votes” scenario, can be so blind and irresponsible. Surely they cannot survive with any dignity or respect. We need two things- a public enquiry, and a mid term election. This insanity has got to stop!

  8. Bring in the clowns!
    Don’t bother they are already here! I refer to the Council meeting of 23/4/20. Seeing Mayor Knight is such a valuable expert on Covid19 and is a ” wonderful ” RN has she donated some time at either local hospital?
    She must have time to spare as she doesn’t spend much time looking after the residents of this community in any other way.

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