“Waste smell getting worse” – Gurmesh Singh

State MP Gurmesh Singh (above) had his weekly chat with Moffee on TripleM this morning wherein he discussed what would be done at the Coramba Road interchange when the bypass is constructed and completed and also he gave some thoughts on a growing issue of concern.

Namely the odour emanating from the Englands Road Waste Facility which seems to be growing stronger and is leading to increasing complaints from around the city.

The interview can be heard by clicking on the URL below – Mr Singh’s waste comments start at the the 4 minute 50 second mark.

Listen here; https://omny.fm/shows/triple-m-coffs-breakfast/gurmesh-singh-coffs-bypass-interchange-coffs-waste

Lead Photo: The ABC – Coffs Coast

7 thoughts on ““Waste smell getting worse” – Gurmesh Singh

  1. Someone listening to Council meetings since late-ish last year would have noticed an unsettling development, different from prior to then. Steve McGrath has expressed several times that he can’t commit to relatively small amounts – up to 200K – for important preparative actions that are run-of-the-mill council activities.

    What’s going on? They’ve said time and again Council can afford heavy borrowings for the so-called CCS building, and have said “easily no problems” about its increasing costs. They’re expecting a windfall from the airport lease – or has this already been received? (Anyone know where that’s up to?)

    Yet local run-of-the-mill council duties are strapped for brass. A significant cost will be a new tip, which one way or another is bearing upon Council swiftly and heavily.

    This is where McGrath coming from a tiny country town really causes worries. Who has confidence in his management such that he knows what’s up ahead, by way of financial burden and commitment, for a city’s growth? It seems that necessary commitments reach an accrual point so as to come in swiftly — in other words, if it gets out of hand, it can get out of hand quickly.

    Steve McGrath is sending out a mixed message. On top of this, his management team give off this “we can do no wrong” attitude in everything they do. Andrew Beswick was at it again last meeting in McGrath’s absence. If anyone were to view this management’s expressed attitude as if it were a corporation you’d be hearing alarm bells. The balance isn’t there. The integrity of a clear message isn’t there.

    Now is a heady time, for Management. They’ve got themselves a big new building. They reckon they’ve pulled off a big, windfall long-term lease. Everything, to them, has the appearance of high achievement.

    Without an audit to stop and check for correction, where will the LGA be in three years’ time? The lease upfront income will have come and gone, the so-called Cultural and Civic Space won’t be pulling in notable income, not looking like it will, and the run-of-the-mill cost requirements will be coming in hard.

    All considered, it’s the stuff that causes that unsettling sensation in the spine. If the run-of-the-mill responsibilities were well and truly taken care of, as would be evident empirically, on the ground, visible, then it’d be a different situation. You’d have pause to feel more comfortable. But it’s obviously not.

    We desperately need a governing body, headed up by a new mayor, that will take this free-floating do-what-it-likes Management head on. It has to happen immediately upon election. A complete pause, complete reconnaissance. And if candidates think they’ve got their finger on the pulse, think they know what the LGA needs, a “stop and take account” is the first thing they need to say to prove they do. This is the LGA conversation that needs to be brought front and centre.

    So far, it’s not looking good.

    1. “Steve McGrath has expressed several times that he can’t commit to relatively small amounts – up to 200K – for important preparative actions that are run-of-the-mill council activities.”

      This can be demonstrated currently by the lack of urgency council is giving to the repair of potholed roads in the LGA caused by recent rain events. The sun has been shining for over two weeks now but there has been no progress in repairing the large dangerous pothole craters on busy Toormina Road or Minorie Drive used by hundreds of vehicles daily.

      The delay in fixing these roads and no-doubt many others, may result in Council facing legal action and associated costs resulting from accidents or injury caused by these potholes. Imagine if a motorcyclist was hit one of these craters?

      Is council paying their road crews overtime on weekends until all dangerous roads are repaired? I doubt that this solution would even occur to them.

      It’s not only time to replace half of the councillors, but it’s also time to replace the council executive.

      1. Absolutely agree, CLB.

        A change in the full suite of management would of itself cause a pause. (An LGA doesn’t need managerial momentum.) The new personnel would want to go through everything with a fine tooth comb, which is just what the local system needs. They’d immediately prioritise and re-adjust areas of expenditure.

        What is so important for the new council to embrace is that Coffs Harbour is a very rare choice of place to work. We could get the best of the best!

        It’s all about breaking the lethargy, stopping the entropy, ceasing to be reactionists, by the governing body. I’ve never seen such a cowering lot. Hard not to shake off the impression that they’re all on their best behaviour, playing nicey nicies, because they so dislike each other and fear a breach in the dam wall would flood the place with unworkability. This feeling of animosity is evident, not incidentally, in any council meeting as it leaks through.

        We’ve got a management that can’t do wrong, a mayor who is lovey dovey to the gm, councillors who quiver at asking a basic financial question of management, and do so with apologies, have no care for assessing the GM role, and a couple of grandstanders who run criticism through the media but do nothing about it in their designated role. Management decides what any course of action will be, offers advice in a way that backs councillors into a corner – by providing options within a box when the better options are in another sphere of action altogether – and of which the governing body really has no choice to accept because otherwise nothing would get done. They’ve sunk into this situation all by themselves. No one is game enough to mention the state of affairs, so it’s open slather for the most inexperienced gm and executive we’ve ever had.

        Get rid of the lot of them. They’re surely on contracts. Just don’t renew them. Set about refreshing the entire team with proven high-end experience from cities bigger than ours. (If any had some nous, the search for a managerial team could become a national media interest piece.) It’s not like they’re irreplaceable. And the question is this: what is there to lose?

        Apart from any fiscal, planning, public relating, and all the rest of it, this GM has overseen the dicing and neglecting of the community and done nothing, said nothing, but getting out the trumpet to say how good he is. What actual care is he showing for “community”? In my opinion, McGrath is shifty and a dud.

        In short order, this LGA will be facing big problems from its growing size and we need people in there who have proven history in knowing how to handle it. Why this hasn’t risen as a major issue this year is a mystery. It’s almost like Coffs likes to tinker at the edges, and all will ever be well (as our location has ever afforded), but the time for being able to do that comfortably has passed.

  2. Gurmesh Singh maybe you should have become a local Councillor and not a State Government Minister? You seem to take a great interest in commenting on LG activities and you even blame Local Governments for the current awful and growing Housing Crisis! Perhaps you might consider taking responsibility for the structural neglect and diminishment of Public Housing over the decades the Coalition government has been in power? What did your leader call the Housing situation in Coffs Harbour? “A Champagne Problem” Much easier to comment on a Coffs Public Building than grapple with Homelessness?

    1. I despise the Coalition and never have (or will) vote Liberal or National in my lifetime, however the reason Gurmesh Singh has been so involved in LG issues is not by choice.

      The people have turned to him because they feel ignored by the relevant authority – ie Council – on issues affecting the LGA. You cannot blame him for a situation resulting from Council’s lack of public consultation.

  3. 40cm Pedestal Fan- As the editor of Coffs Coast Independent News, I frequently admire your skills in writing such entertaining words about our infamous Coffs Harbour City Council.
    You mention,”listening to Council Meetings”, I assume that you listen live.
    I ask this because I am not always able to listen live. I have tried the Council’s web site, Sound Cloud and other applications plus the Vimeo feed for the audio of Council meetings afterwards without success.
    Looking closer, the Council’s web site informs me that audio replays are available after the meetings on Mondays.
    That is true with the minutes, but the last Audio available was October 2020.
    Last year during Covid , Council held Zoom meetings using the Vimeo App.
    This ceased late last year with just live audio streamed during Council meetings.
    The last Vimeo recordings (audio only) was back in February.

    I may be mistaken, but I believe that under the Local Government Act, our Council is obliged to have audio copies of its meetings available, unedited at the same time as the Minutes from that meeting becomes available.
    If there has been a decision not to record Council meetings, it raises the question of WHY ? IS the Council in breach of the Act ?

    You are fortunate (depending in which way you look at it I suppose) to have listened to the Meetings to hear the posturing, waffling and spinning by some Councillors and those staff who present their case to Councillors.
    One particular Councillor , Dunning Kruger, has a unique knack of saying what he thinks as something profound and serious and actually turning it into hilarity.
    There are some gems I have heard flowing from his speeches to the Gallery, even when there is no Gallery.
    I believe last meeting he is reported to have said that his solution to end youth crime is for people to leave their lights on at night!!
    I would love to hear how that was received in the Public Gallery.
    I am sure many including some Councillors would have been splitting their sides with laughter.

    1. Thanks Rob. I have enjoyed your work over many years, and wish you the very best with your continued publishing. We sometimes take the efforts of publishers and writers for granted yet your work and CCO’s is of inestimable value to a community. Long may you prosper.

      Council altered its broadcasting as you say, and strangely stopped the video feed of public officers after a brief period, focusing the visual then on the paperwork, unfortunately. Witnessing council meetings is a bad habit and recommended only for a short while unless there’s a stomach for it. But it is recommended.

      For comparison, I randomly searched for other NSW councils and watched some of their meetings. Ours is notable in that there is so much opportunity gone wasted, as there are some shockers out there. Denise Knight rightly cops a basting, yet she can run a meeting well and this should be acknowledged. On that standard alone a new mayor has some living-up to do.

      Ours is a colourful mish-mash. At the end of the day, you can’t help but love ’em. They take on a lot and the system requires more of them than obviously it was originally intended. One thing that’s important to apply in witnessing a council meeting is that much of it is a public speaking exercise and not every personality is a good public speaker, though could be an excellent councillor. Some in our council are torturous speakers, and this is off-putting. A lot of grace has to be afforded them overall though as a thought can go flying the instant the body stands to say it out loud.

      Unfortunately, for Coffs’, things have gotten away from them. Management should have been checked much earlier. I would say again that I think the local government system would benefit hugely from requiring candidates to undertake a course or qualification, within a short time and reason, to enlighten them as to what they’re in for and to strengthen their understanding of responsibilities especially in relation to maintaining that check on management. I feel this would give the community more confidence, as well as helping the problems (that can continue for years, as with ours) by suddenly throwing community members into the deep end once elected.

      On Dunning and Kruger, without doubt their siamese conjunction will be long remembered. A binding of such unlikely dispositions with endless aberration from simple common sense is a rare phenomenon. Once gone, and over it, and healed, a partnership to be recollected fondly for the ages.

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