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The Cove & the Council - a case of give & take
HistorydougkSunday, 30 August 2015 - 11:58pm
It seems the Cove's relationship with Council has, for many years, mostly been a case of we give and they take. A significant amount of rate money has flowed to Council over the past half century from the North Arm Cove village area and the many nearby non-urban lots. Yet it has been a continual struggle for North Arm Cove to gain the attention of Council when they so often seem totally preoccupied elsewhere.
Certainly there have been significant achievements in the Cove in the past but most of those have been attained through a great deal of hard work from community members and grants sought and obtained from elsewhere.
The frustrations with Council have bubbled to the surface many times according to the records of the Residents Association. The past minutes are peppered with expressions of dissatisfaction with Council's response or indeed lack of response on many issues. And particularly with lack of action. Here are just a few examples.
In October 1969 “the question of the lack of work being carried out in the area was discussed” and it was resolved to ask for a “meeting between a deputation from North Arm Cove and the Council Works Committee … to include the Shire President”.
In July 1977 the Association President, reporting on a meeting with the Shire Engineer, wrote:
Also I gathered the impression from the engineer that we weren't considered very important as he thought most of the people who lived here were land speculators!!
At the July 1979 meeting the members resolved to write to Council regarding the Association's extreme frustration with Council because of its constant neglect of the Cove. In October it was reported that this letter was delayed but that it would also be sent to the Minister for Local Government, Mr Jensen.
Then at the following meeting in January 1980, which was attended by the Shire President, Councillor Penn, there was extensive discussion of the concerns raised in that letter.
Matters did not seem to improve though. In the July 1980 Annual Report from the Association President we read:
The most important matter we must pursue as vigorously as we can is Council's attitude to this area, their insulting indifference, and lack of service.
This led to the start of a campaign for a lower rate for the village given the lack of adequate services provided. Another letter was sent to Council. The response “did not adequately address” the concerns so a further follow up was sent.
In October 1980 NOTA in an article entitled “Protests from North Arm Cove” reports on this rates issue and the “lack of communication from Council with this Association”. It goes on to list issues that the Association considered Council had not satisfactorily answered.
The request for reduced rating bubbled on into 1981. In June of that year, NOTA reports on a Council meeting where a further letter from the Association was received plus one from Mr L.A. Punch, member for Gloucester. Council resolved to:
inform the Association that the matters referred to in its letter have been previously dealt with and no point can be seen in entering into any further correspondence at this time.
Quite a peremptory dismissal!
Our current grumbles are clearly nothing new. I am not sure whether we should take heart or despair that the problems the Cove has trying to get a fair share of Council's attention and commitment have remained in existence for so many years.
Are things any better at all now? The Association executive committee does get have a chance to meet with the Council General Manager annually and raise issues of concern. Council holds biannual community meetings in Tea Gardens. But much of our correspondence remains unanswered and we await serious action on items that have been on the Association's books for almost five decades.
Undaunted, the Residents Association has continued to fight for the North Arm Cove Community with admirable patience and seemingly inextinguishable hope. :)