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This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.   Absent: Clr Leary.

Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

We got to Council early expecting a full-to-bursting Gallery on the night the new Mayor is elected as it was in the last 3-years.  Instead, there were plenty of empty seats, as only 21 people came to watch.

Mayor Macri gave a farewell thank you speech, as did outgoing Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias.  Then the GM acting as Returning Officer started the proceedings.

Cls Haylen & Ellsmore were nominated for position of Mayor.  The vote for Clr Haylen was the Labor Party, the Liberal Party & Independent Clr Macri.  The vote for Clr Ellsmore was the Greens & Independent Clr Hanna.  Clr Haylen was elected as the new Mayor for Marrickville.

Clrs Ellsmore, Brooks & Tyler were nominated for position of Deputy Mayor.  Clr Brooks withdrew.  Clr Tyler was elected as the new Deputy Mayor by the Labor Party, the Liberal Party & Independent Clr Macri.

Mayor Haylen gave a speech as incoming Mayor & then voting for committee positions commenced.  Every other vote thereafter was the Labor Party, the Liberal Party & Independent Clr Macri voting together (7 votes).  The Greens & Independent Clr Hanna voted together (4 votes).   The Greens were unsuccessful in gaining a committee position.

Congratulations to Mayor Haylen & Deputy Mayor Tyler.  Here ends the Report for this week.

Last night’s Council Meeting was the Extraordinary Meeting to vote for the new Mayor, Deputy Mayor & also to decide which Councillor would Chair which meeting & attend which committee.  I wrote about Marrickville’s new Mayor Fiona Byrne here ––-28th-september-2010-–-we-have-a-new-mayor/

Shadows of trees around Marrickville Metro

What I neglected to say was that exiting Mayor, Clr Sam Iskandar will now be Deputy Mayor.  He gave a very nice speech to formally end his time as Mayor saying he had learnt how to respect & work with a range of people during his 2 years as Mayor & had done his best to work co-operatively with the elected Councillors. He said he was pleased with his achievements, especially the Multi-cultural Strategy, but wished he had been able to do more regarding affordable housing & bridging the gap between the rich & the disadvantaged living in Marrickville LGA. He mentioned that in his first year as Mayor the world had the financial crisis & in his second year, Marrickville Council employed a new General Manager.  He thanked all the staff & all the Councillors for his time as Mayor & the assistance & co-operation they had afforded him.  He also spoke about his love for Australia, Marrickville LGA, freedom & democracy having emigrated from war-torn Lebanon.

I have been asked to share who voted for who to fill the position of Mayor & Deputy Mayor.

The votes for Fiona Byrne to be Mayor were as follows: Clrs Byrne, Phillips, Peters, Kontellis, Olive & Thanos.

The votes for Morris Hanna to be Mayor were as follows: Clrs Hanna, Macri, Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan & Iskandar.

6 votes each and the appointed Elections Officer drew names from a box, thus Clr Byrne is Mayor for the next 12 months.

Clrs Kontellis & Iskandar were nominated for the position of Deputy Mayor. The votes for Clr Iskandar to be Deputy Mayor were as follows:  Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan, Hanna, Macri & Thanos.  As he received 7 votes, there was no need to take a vote for Clr Kontellis.

There was another item on the agenda.

Establishment of an Environmental Committee – Clr Phillips moved that Council establish an Environmental committee to –

  1. Provide a consultative forum to advise on policy, strategies, programs & works of Council as they relate to the local & broader environment, climate change, sustainability & related issues
  2. Advise Council on issues relating to the environment
  3. Advise on the strategies to mitigate & adapt to climate change
  4. Advise on the development & implementation of Council’s environmental programs & their integration with Council’s other programs & works
  5. Advise how Council’s general works can be more inclusive of Council’s environmental programs
  6. Promote an increased knowledge & understanding of environmental issues in the local community

Native grasses planted along the banks of the Cooks River

3 members of the community spoke in favour of such a committee, 1 representing Climate Action Newtown, a current member of the Cooks River Committee & myself.  Issues that were raised included the increasing interest from the community about environmental issues & that the current environmentally focused committees relate to stormwater & the Cooks River, but not to the broader environmental issues affecting Marrickville LGA.  Also mentioned was that the community has to respond to Council in a reactive manner, not a proactive manner & because an environmental committee would involve the community at the planning stage, this may lessen the frustration felt by the community concerning environmental issues in Marrickville LGA. A committee such as this may help educate the broader community on a range of environmental issues including climate change as well as promote a sense of ownership & pride in the environment & add to the good work that is already being performed by Council.

Clr Phillips said that he hoped an Environment Committee would depoliticize environmental issues allowing everyone to have an input & that a temporary environment committee had already raised some good ideas. He said the terms of reference were deliberately broad in scope (climate change, trees, verges)  & he would like the committee to encompass these issues.  Clr Olive wanted the motion to include – Representatives of local environment groups & other interested members of the public.

Clr Wright supported the motion saying it was a good idea to get different groups under the one umbrella. She said it was up to the agenda to ensure there was not too much overlapping of issues managed by other groups.    Clr Peters spoke about a temporary environment group that met on 3 occasions last year & that at least 20

Red Flowering Gum

community members were extraordinarily keen & wanted to contribute.  Clr Kontellis said she was unsure about Clr Olive’s amendment because of the criteria, saying that those who apply would need to include evidence of their connection with local groups. She also said members should be included as individuals & not representing a group as there could be conflicts of interest & she preferred the original motion put forward by Clr Phillips.  It was decided to set a limit of up to 12 members from the community.  Carried unanimously.

Council will advertise for interested persons from the community & if interested you will need to formally apply to be a member. I will write about this as soon as it is advertised.  I am very happy about the formation of this committee as I think it has the potential to do great things for Marrickville LGA.  It will also raise Marrickville Council’s reputation & standing as a green council.

Here ends this week’s Report from the Gallery.

Beautiful regeneration work at Tempe Reserve



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