Councillor, mayor clash over flood

PLANNING and development issues saw Greens Councillor Mark Graham clash with Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades at Thursday's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

Cr Graham also found himself the target of some pointed remarks from deputy mayor Cr Bill Palmer during the same meeting.

During questions without notice, Cr Graham asked Cr Rhoades how long he had served on council and following Cr Rhoades reply of 'about 18 years,' began asking the mayor if he had approved developments which had been inundated on March 31.

Cr Rhoades said he took offence at Cr Graham's questions and went on to say that the content of a Letter to the Editor (CCA May 11, p10) by Howard Dengate was 'totally incorrect'.

Mr Dengate said in his letter the mayor had 'continually slagged the Greenies and...blamed them for the extent of the flooding' at a meeting of Gundagai Place residents both he and the mayor had attended on May 5.

In his letter Howard Dengate blamed the inundation of Gundagai Place on the Gundagai Street/Scarba St bridge, saying the bridge and its approaches acted as a weir and council should not have approved development within a weir.

Cr Graham asked on what basis was the mayor holding The Greens political party responsible.

Cr Rhoades said he was referring to those within political parties who did not want to see creeks and waterways cleared, but said the word 'Greens' was never mentioned.

Cr Bill Palmer, in speaking about the recent Vision 2030 Summit, which he chaired, said while it had been a great success and a platform for various opinions, 'a small percentage of people would prefer to strangle development and it was disappointing that a councillor, who should have known better, used it as a platform for a political statement'.

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