Council spends more on communications than it does on canals, say Raby Bay residents

REDLAND City Council spends more on community engagement than it does on canal repairs and maintenance, says a Raby Bay action group.

DISPUTE: Raby Bay residents are unhappy over how Redland City Council is looking after their canal estate.

DISPUTE: Raby Bay residents are unhappy over how Redland City Council is looking after their canal estate.

Raby Bay Ratepayers Association secretary Tony Lovett said residents believed the community engagement was more about avoidance than consultation.

The group will hold a meeting on Monday November 20 at 7.30 pm at the VMR Base, William Street, Cleveland and has asked mayor Karen Williams and all councillors to attend.

”This will be a strong protest meeting about council activities relating to building approvals throughout Raby Bay and council plans on the future management of the canals to overcome years of  consistent incompetence,” Mr Lovett said.

The association’s onslaught on council drew a firey response from Cr Murray Elliott, who said he was still annoyed about the last time he attended an RBRA meeting.

“It was like having a kick in the *#@^&,” he said. “I would not like to revisit that particular moment again any time soon, if at all.”

Cr Elliott said he was concerned that ratepayer spending on a range of canal issues – like revetment repairs – had increased from 10 per cent to 30 per cent in some cases.

 “I’m now looking forward to the community consultation,” he said.

Mr Lovett said community consultation was now to include a citizens advisory panel of 40 randomly-appointed residents selected by consultants.

Articulous Communications, Max Harding Consulting and the citizens advisory panel would look at issues.

The citizens panel of 40 residents would meet from November to February to discuss how to manage and fund canal maintenance and activities.

“As there are around 60,000 ratepayers in Redlands and only 1000 of us canal residents, it is likely that we will be very much in the minority on this citizen’s advisory panel,” he said.

“Council has budgeted to spend $82 million on capital works this year. It will spend just 1 per cent of this on the canals.

“We wonder why it can happily spend this amount but must ‘consult’ in order to spend a paltry $800,000.

“Taking into account what it has already spent, it will spend more on community engagement than on canal repairs and maintenance.

“...Council must properly fix its planning rules to ensure proper control over building in Raby Bay and it must enable competent management of the annual canal engineering and maintenance works.”