By John Moyle
Observing council meetings from the public gallery can often be likened to a blood sport such as bear baiting.
Monday a week ago, a group of well oiled Potts Pointers got more than they expected as the City of Sydney Council meeting almost ate itself alive as it debated the topical issue of a master plan for Kings Cross.
Lined up on opposite sides of the chambers were the Clover team of five councillors pitted against Councillors Christine Forster, Kerryn Phelps, Craig Chung, Angela Vithouklas and Labor’s Linda Scott.
“The motion I put up that got the most discussion was about the master plan for Kings Cross”, Councillor Christine Forster said.
“At last weeks Council meeting we experienced a number of extraordinary departures from accepted meeting procedure by the Lord Mayor,” Councillor Prof. Kerryn Phelps said.
In one example ignoring four procedural motions by Councillor Forster to put a matter to a vote.”
Several of the Lord Mayor’s party members had failed to return from a break at the allotted time, meaning that Clover Moore didn’t have a majority at that time.”
In another instance, Councillors were ambushed with a notice without warning from the Deputy Lord Mayor with the Mayor calling for a vote before the motion had even a chance to be read.”
Observing from the front row was Potts Point’s astute chronicler and regular council observer Andrew Woodhouse.
“The meeting was farcical and lurched to and from various moronic maudlins,” Andrew Woodhouse said.
The Kings Cross master plan motion was moved forward without prior notice.”
The Lord Mayor claimed that a master plan was not needed and chose to focus solely on the Darlinghurst Road development that includes the Bourbon.
A spokesperson for the Lord Mayor said, “The Lord Mayor referred this proposal to a meeting of the City of Sydney’s expert Design Advisory Panel due to its significant location and the high level of understandable community concern.”
Cr Forster replied, saying that “The Clover Moore Party’s alternative motion was completely unrelated to my proposal for a master plan for the Kings Cross area.”
Council is notoriously slow to act but the more important point here is that there needs to be a long term strategic approach to the area.”
“I was proud to second the motion that Cr Forster moved in favour of a Kings Cross master plan,” Cr Phelps said.
The disappointing but expected response from the Lord Mayor and her political party Councillors shows a lack of vision or willingness to work for a shared outcome with the community.”
A week after the Council meeting the Lord Mayor issued a press release stating her position as being against the Darlinghurst Road development and defending her decision to refer the matter to the City’s expert Design Advisory Panel to review and provide advice.
The press release also called the decision by the State Government to strip councils in Sydney and Wollongong of the power to assess development applications as “undemocratic”.
Cr Phelps said, “I am looking forward to the introduction of live-streaming for meetings so that this type of conduct can be held to account.”
When that happens “Married at First Sight “ might just see its first ratings dive.