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Tuesday night was the Business Meeting of Marrickville Council.  I’m just starting to become familiar with each meeting & I think this the most interesting meeting of the month.  The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Lease of Council land in Tempe Reserve The Cooks River Motor Boat Club have been situated on this site for the past 110 years.  In brief, this area of land had 2 components: (a) the Clubhouse, which is on privately owned land (b) the boatyard next door, which is on Crown Land & managed by Marrickville Council.

The Cooks River Motor Boat Club owned the land where the Clubhouse stands & they leased the Crown land next door.  However, the club has gone into liquidation & the private land will be auctioned next Wednesday.  Three parties petitioned Council for the use of the Crown Land where the boatyard currently stands.

View of the wooden boats moored opposite the boatyard from the Promenade at Tempe Reserve

The Cooks River Motor Boat Club petitioned Council to allow them to stay on & have time to get their financial affairs in order.  Ex Mayor Barry Cotter, a member of the club spoke & said, “History comes in many forms & floating heritage is being repaired in this boatyard.”  He went on to say that many of the boats are over 50 years old.

A representative speaking for a different boating group said they wanted to use the land to continue the tradition of repairing boats.  The third speaker was the President of the Newtown Jets Club who said they were attending the upcoming auction with view to purchasing the Clubhouse land & if successful, they would retain the Clubhouse.  They petitioned Council to lease the Crown land where the boatyard is, saying they would convert this to small synthetic-turf sporting fields for the players of the Junior Jets.

There was much discussion about the petitions, with members of Marrickville Greens concerned that Councillors only received some papers regarding this issue 1 hour prior to the meeting & the petitioners, only one day before.  They also had concerns about allowing a group that is in liquidation to receive what they interpreted as priority over the 2 other petitioners for a significant piece of Crown land.  The Labor & Independent Councillors voted to give a 12-month lease to the current local group who has a continued history for 110 years.

Shared open space at Dulwich Hill Primary School: The bottom playground of this school has been used by the community as green space for decades.  Recently the Department of Education & Training (DET) erected a high fence preventing access.  The decision was to liaise with DET to allow access to the community & pay a Caretaker to open & shut the gate paying $28,000 p.a.  This would be a great job to have.

Sister Cities visit: Mayor Iskandar has accepted an invitation from the Mayor of Bethlehem to visit in May 2010.  While Mayor Iskandar is overseas he will also visit 5 other Sister Cities, Funchal Portugal; Keelung Taiwan; Kos Greece; Larnaca Cyprus; Safita Syria;  & later in October, another Sister City in Egypt.  All up Mayor Iskandar will visit 7 Sister Cities overseas this year.  Carried unanimously.

Mackey Park Refurbishment funding: A budget adjustment of $835,000 bringing the total to $3.1 million was carried unanimously.

Council loans: Another reason why these meetings are so interesting.  I had no idea Council took out bank loans for infrastructure works.  Council intends to borrow $2,077,440 over 10 years before the end of this financial year to pay for

Red-flowering Gum - I've seen it used as a street tree in Rockdale

infrastructure works.  It was explained by a staff member that money is only borrowed for long-term assets that benefit the rate-payers in the future.  Clr Phillips expressed concern over the interest burden that would be carried by all & the motion was carried unanimously.

Audio-streaming of Council meetings:  Much was said during this debate. I think it is too much to read in one post so I will post this section of the meeting as ‘Part 2’ tomorrow.

Motion to rescind earlier motion: The meeting ended with a rescind motion by Clr Phillips regarding this evening’s earlier decision to give a 12 month lease to the Cooks River Motor Boat Club & change it to a 3 month lease for the following reasons: the land is up for auction next Wednesday, Council is preferring one group over others which prejudices these groups, supplementary information only arrived one hour before the Council meeting & the issue wasn’t urgent.  Procedural fairness by Council was questioned.  The Independents & Labor voted against the motion, which was lost.

The Business Meeting ended so that Councillors could attend a Budget Meeting.  Two items I was looking forward to were deferred to a future agenda. One was a rescission motion – Financial assistance to the Greek Orthodox Church, which was decided on 16th February 2010.  The other, Saving Marrickville Council from Financial Disaster (Investigating alternative options to special rate levies) where Clr Thanos is asking Council to conduct a study investigating the potential positive & negative impacts to Council’s budget of an amalgamation with the City of Sydney Council.  This business paper makes an interesting read.  Click on the link if you want to read it.  Clr-Thanos-Notice-of-motion-Saving-MC-financial-disaster-2010 I think both these agenda items are going to be very interesting, especially in light of Council’s current dire financial predicament.

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