A huge thank-you
ON behalf of Narooma Public School teachers I would like to thank the students, a special group of mums, staff, parents, checkout staff and members of the wider Narooma community who have supported the collection of Earn And Learn sticker cards this year.
The contributions of all those involved have resulted in an outstanding success for our school.
To date more than 150,000 points have been accumulated and this equates to well in excess of $12,000 worth of equipment and resources for the students of our school. This is an amazing total for a school of our size.
Anyone who still has stickers or cards may drop them off at the school until Friday, August 17, as these can be added to our tally. Thanks to all, once again.
Jo Millar, teacher
Narooma Public School
We need a change of councillors
COUNCILLOR Lindsey Brown is trying hard to make himself look good. He was elected last time on the ticket of the Eurobodalla First group. Now he wants to look independent.
Could it be that too much of the Narooma ratepayer's contributions goes north? It always did and still does for the 20 years we lived here. Narooma is receiving only between 9 and 20 per cent of the funds annually.
In my opinion capital works should be distributed in proportion to population, which may vary only when needed and be for our benefit as well. What the councillor claimed to have achieved is what had been done over the last eight years and then it looks little.
If it were not for the initiative of the local ratepayers we wouldn't have the boardwalk and the cycleway between Narooma and Dalmeny. Our councillors only lifted the finger to vote for it. One of them even voted against the boardwalk.
Our council claims with a project they will match it a dollar for a dollar. With the cycleway the volunteers and fundraising did bear the lion share.
In the past Narooma had three local councillors, when there were nine in the shire. They reduced them down to seven, and fair enough, they saved the cost of two. But in my opinion it should have left us with two councillors for the Narooma area.
Fergus Thomson regards himself as a local, but we should not. We also should not forget that as a mayor he seldom has the vote to make decisions for us. As voters we could and should try harder to get to know the candidates before we vote, if we really want a change.
Four councillors belong to the Eurobodalla First block. Voting as a block is giving them a firm grip on power with their majority out of seven councillors.
I can understand Neil Burnside saving himself the time and petrol not going to a council meeting, I used to go and had stopped doing so for the same reason.
I like to remind the voters when we had councillors not affiliated with the major group that we were at least able to find out what this council really was up to in the past. They were our eyes and ears.
Election and men’s sheds
BEFORE you vote in the council elections check how the candidate proposes to assist community organisations establish Men’s sheds.
The Narooma and District Lions first met with the council 16 months ago. At a second meeting before last Christmas we were told categorically that there was no council-controlled land available in Narooma for a Men’s shed.
Many locations controlled by community organisations have now been investigated in Narooma and Dalmeny without success.
Lions are hoping to build a shed that will cater for normal Men’s shed activities but also have “clean space” for other community organisations.
One councillor, Lindsay Brown, has assisted us throughout this time. In recent times Fergus Thompson has brokered an approach to one community organisation. Unfortunately it appears the land in question may be in the wrong zone to build a shed of sufficient size.
In May this year acting Premier Andrew Stoner said the NSW government would free up access to Crown-owned facilities for the creation of more Men’s sheds across the state. In Narooma a significant proportion of Crown Land is controlled or managed by the council.
Grants of $45,000 from the NSW government and $10,000 from IMB for building and equipping a Men’s shed have already been approved.
It is widely acknowledged that Men’s sheds provide a welcoming environment for men to meet, engage, and work together on a variety of activities in a safe environment promoting men’s health and well-being and contributing to their community.
The undersigned members of the Narooma and District Lions Men’s Shed Committee, ask you as voters to consider the policy statements and the commitments to facilitating a Men’s shed site in Narooma of those contesting the council elections.
Rob Atkinson, John Glover, June Sheard
Narooma and District Lions
The facts on manager’s car
I AM quite happy for you to print responses to the letter I wrote regarding Mr Burnside: all is fair.
I do however object when the part of the contents are blatantly untrue.
Council did not give (former general manager) Jim Levy his car. He paid for it through salary sacrifice.
I think it is important to correct the record.
Sorting through the council candidates
LIKE many people across Eurobodalla shire, I am staggered at the number of people standing for council election.
Fifty-four candidates for eight councillor positions, is way more than in any of the other 151 NSW local councils. Twenty-one of them are also standing to be “popularly elected” mayor, again way more than any other council with a similar arrangement. Nine is apparently the next closest.
So why are there so many candidates in the Eurobodalla? For some it is a genuine desire to contribute to our community and reflect its diversity.
Some say it’s because the community has lost confidence in council and, while there is some truth in that, I am saddened at the lip service many candidates are giving to these claims.
The main reason though for such large numbers appears to be manipulation. An increasing number of voters, myself included, are viewing the deliberate “shotgun approach” of fielding candidates as evidenced in this election, as a cynical manipulation of the preferential voting system.
The election of mayor in particular worries me. One person put it succinctly to me at the weekend: it’s really quite scary.
The mayor will be the face of Eurobodalla Shire for the next four years; we can’t afford a dud so we need to get it right. (I prefer our previous system where councillors elected the mayor every 12 months - the system still used by most councils - rather than the current popular election.)
The mayor has to be able to work with councillors, have the respect and support of the majority of them, be able to work with the executive staff of council, and build relationships with all levels of government.
So how should we voters systematically filter through the 21 “wannabees”?
Well, I have started to imagine each mayoral candidate in turn sitting around a table with a government minister, senior NSW bureaucrats and the shire’s general manager discussing some major issue, such as Eurobodalla’s need for several million dollars funding for an infrastructure project.
This kind of high level representation is a necessary and extremely important part of the mayor’s role.
I ask myself, who could best represent the shire with dignity and integrity, be able to hold their own in such company, be sufficiently well informed to discuss the issue intelligently with a full overview of council’s position, have some negotiating abilities, and have an understanding of the broader picture at all of local, state and federal level.
The seats vacate very quickly.
Some candidates have also neglected to do their homework (basic stuff!), saying they will undertake projects which are already well and truly in council’s pipeline.
I will apply a similar process to selecting councillors, with slightly different criteria but always an ability to behave appropriately and with respect and integrity. Roll on September 8.
The seal lies back, happy to float
and wave a flipper in the air,
as a woman in a bath may
contemplate painting her toenails.
The waters of the bay seem bare
of life but made for such a seal:
nobody mans the tethered boats,
the usual gulls are somewhere else.
Its shoulders' leisurely pulse –
more a shrug, really – caresses
the water while its pointy head
watches the sky for birds of prey;
even its next meal is set aside
for this grace of idleness.
Reflections on tourism and service
I’m just a blow-in, so to many local people, I’m probably not entitled to express an opinion; but when I read the front page article on tourism in the Narooma News on 8th August last, I just had to react.
It’s interesting that the blame for Narooma’s underperformance in the tourism sector was spread to every level of government by the article’s contributors. But why are governments to blame for what is almost entirely a private enterprise problem? The core of the problem could be much closer to home.
Tourists are customers just like us. We only call them tourists when they choose to stay in our town and spend money. Invariably, they do so to enjoy themselves, relax and have fun – just like you when you’re a tourist!
If you’re a retailer you’ll be serving tourists. Are you as welcoming and as friendly as you can be? Next time you attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting take a mirror and check it occasionally; are you smiling or are you just as miserable as the person sitting next to you?
If you’re a retailer of merchandise, have you done as much with your visual merchandising to make your offering as inviting as possible, or are you just standing guard over a storeroom with windows?
If you’re a retailer of services you probably think you’re in the accommodation, or food and beverage business. You’re in the entertainment business. What are you doing to make the tourists’ stay as enjoyable, as relaxing and as much fun as possible? Or are you more concerned with check-out times and charging a surcharge for American Express and Diners?
An associate of mine recently attended a food and beverage establishment in town and had to wait more than an hour from the time of ordering to receive her single cup of coffee! That is pathetic and unacceptable. If you’re not prepared to make an effort, then be prepared to lose business. How many people would return to a place like that to experience such a disgraceful level of service?
When I moved to Narooma I established an account with a local retailer in an effort to support local business. I got sick of being greeted with “are you right, mate?” or “you right there?” and worse; sometimes completely ignored. I’ve since taken my business elsewhere.
If you want to get to the crux of the problem with tourism in Narooma, don’t blame governments – take a look in the mirror.