A decision by a group of MidCoast Council councillors to leave last week’s August monthly ordinary meeting has resulted in a development application (DA) not being officially heard and voted on.
At last week’s August 22 meeting the first order of business was the rescission motion put forward by councillors Peter Epov, Jan McWilliams and Kathryn Bell after the initial decision to adopt the destination name Barrington Coast was voted for by council at the July meeting.
After the rescission motion was rejected, four councillors asked to leave the meeting.
During a brief adjournment, following a disruption in the gallery after the destination name vote was completed, Cr Keegan spoke to the mayor David West and general manager, Adrian Panuccio about being excused from the meeting due to illness at 3.38pm.
Shortly after the meeting resumed, councillors McWilliams, Bell and Epov all asked to be excused due to illness and were approved to leave the Taree council chambers.
All have been recorded leaving the meeting at 3.51pm.
With Cr Christensen on an approved absence from the meeting and Cr Hutchinson declaring a conflict of interest at the start of the meeting, a quorum was not met for item three on the agenda, DA.
As there are 11 councillors, six need to be present at a meeting in order for the meeting to proceed.
According to the MidCoast Council Meeting Code of Practice adopted by council on July 25, 2018, a meeting must be adjourned if a quorum is not present at any time during the meeting.
However, as it was only in regard to one matter, the council meeting proceeded.
Prior to councillors Epov, Bell and McWilliams leaving the meeting, Cr Smith requested that item three, the matter of a DA modification for chicken sheds in Gloucester, be moved forward, ahead of item 12 which involved the Masters site relocation for the council offices.
She made the request as there were speakers waiting to talk to the matter and many had travelled a distance (Gloucester, Orange and Brisbane) to be at the meeting, having been ‘patiently’ waiting in the gallery for around two hours (the meeting started at 2pm) for the destination name matter to be resolved.
This request was denied, therefore, when it came to the agenda item matter, the three councillors had left the meeting and the quorum for the matter was not met.
The matter had already been deferred from council’s strategic committee meeting on August 8, where Cr Hutchinson moved the motion. It’s scheduled will be heard again at the strategic committee meeting on September 12.
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