A packed meeting of 40 concerned citizens met on Friday 10th of January to decide how best to deal with a Council that has shown a reluctance – verging on disdain according to some present – to consult or communicate intelligently and honestly with Toowoomba residents.
Mr Frank Ondrus, President of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE), called the meeting at the request of numerous action groups within Toowoomba. “To be honest, I did not think there would be such a positive reaction to the meeting notice,” Mr Ondrus said.
“I had to turn away about 30 concerned citizens because of the limited space at the meeting venue; and there were a similar number of apologies from people who were at work and could not take time off to attend, so I am blown away by the response,” Mr Ondrus said.
“A steering committee was elected to draw up the operating framework of the new group – with particular emphasis on the aims and objectives. Members of the steering committee are: Mr Matt Davis, Ms Gail Miller, Mr Des Ballinger, Ms Lyn Boyle, Mr Terry Ryan, Mr Hugh Wilson and Mr Paul Herbert, with myself as acting chair”, said Mr Ondrus
“We must acknowledge upfront that all councils will inevitably generate a certain level of disquiet within the community – that is just the nature of local politics. This meeting however, showed that the disquiet in Toowoomba today, not only with the elected councillors but also with significant staff members, has gone well beyond the ‘acceptable burble’ of discontent,” Mr Ondrus said.
“Spokespeople from a range of interest groups attended and outlined their particular concerns including: Advisory Committees ignored or a run as a sham; poor regional services; poor and expensive community facilities; the destruction of Toowoomba’s cultural heritage through ill-conceived development; the theft of public parkland to build upon; the condition of the creek systems; the failure to design safe and useful bike infrastructure; the breakdown of sensible planning processes and the continuing issues surrounding Toowoomba’s water supplies.
As well as this list of concerns, the one central and unifying issue identified was the inexplicable inability – some said point-blank refusal – of the Mayor and his colleagues to consult or communicate intelligently with citizens,” Mr Ondrus said.
Interim Chairperson of CCG Steering Committee
ph 4369 2135
Concerned Citizens Group
c/- PO Box 6118
Toowoomba QLD 4350