A decision to allow councillors to participate in planning and development negotiations will be made at tonight’s Gunnedah Shire Council meeting.
The council’s updated Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) policy has been on public exhibition since being discussed at June’s council meeting at the Breeza community hall.
Councillors voted in favor exhibiting the policy to allow councillors to be involved in VPA negotiations and if tonight’s vote passes, Gunnedah Shire Council will be the only council in NSW that allows councillors to do so.
During June’s discussion, councillors Chaffey, O’Keefe, Swain and Hooke voted against the changes, while councillors Campbell, Hasler, Luke, Fuller and Moses voted for the changes.
Cr Hooke spoke about his concerns at June’s meetings.
“What concerns me about the proposed policy is the role of councillors is not an operational role,” Cr Hooke said.
“We have a terrific team of staff to carry out those operational roles and I feel like for councillors to get involved may be crossing a line.”
Cr Hasler backed the motion, saying it was vital to ensure the council’s best negotiators lead the way.
“This draft policy, like all draft policy, should be the best for the community,” Cr Hasler said.
“So regardless of what the proposed development is, it is imperative that our best negotiators take the lead for the betterment of our community.”
The council will also discuss the future of the Gunnedah Shire Library at the August meeting.
Councillors will vote on whether to join other regional councils such as Liverpool Plains Shire Council and Tamworth Regional Council in the statewide Renew our Libraries Campaign.
The council’s business papers say the campaign is designed to show support for local libraries after the NSW Government announced in this year’s budget that library funding would be cut.
As well as joining the campaign, councillors will vote on consulting Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin about the issue.
Wednesday’s meeting will begin at 4.30pm at Gunnedah Shire Council’s chambers.