06 May 2013

When is a Decision Not a Decision?

This Wednesday we have a Special Council Meeting to decide whether to proceed with a pedestrian refuge in King William Rd (near the corner of Arthur St). This has already been to Council at least twice and the Road Safety Committee the same number of times.  I initially believed the selected location was not the best site and had  a decision deferred about 18 months ago while further information was gathered. Despite making a fuss at Council and receiving good press coverage not one person contacted me to support my proposal including most of my colleagues.This then came back to Council for a decision and I supported what the Ward Councillors wanted as that is usually a good way to go.
My problem with this is that we as a Council need to make decisions after public consultation and with the best information that staff can gather. When we have done this staff should have the confidence to proceed to fruition without wondering when or if we might change our minds. My questions are this;

  • When should public consultation end, during the allotted time or anytime before its built?done?
  • Why don't those who like the proposal say anything? If we consult 200 people and 16 don't want it and 15 do are the numbers 16 to 15 against or 194 to 16 for?
  • What value is a petition after the deadline for consultation?
  • What value do signatures have on a petition if they people don't even live in South Australia?
For me as a Councillor this gives me a dilemma, we have made a decision should we stick to it or should we delay, defer and seek more information for ever? This has been the case for too many projects to count in the last few years, some good and some not so good. Much staff time and effort has been wasted and the money spent on this has not gone to projects that would otherwise have been completed. How am I going to vote? I really don't know after all it is a $15,000 decision and not one worth millions. It has the potential to save lives and if we need another crossing somewhere else on the street, what the heck, put in another one! Maybe the other one will go where I thought it should be in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. The decision , after 5 deputations (both for and against)and 3 hours of debate was to refuse the motion. However, Council will do a review of the consultation process taken before construction begins. To my surprise in all the consultation with shops residents were never asked if they wanted a crossing or where it would be best located to be most convenient for them. If they had been the numbers for a crossing, I believe, would have been overwhelming and added a balance to the argument. We do need this refuge and we also need one both further south and one further north!