John Schuhmacher, John and Jenny Bowan, and George Vansca. They are upset about what they see as the exclusivity of the local d
John Schuhmacher, John and Jenny Bowan, and George Vansca. They are upset about what they see as the exclusivity of the local d

Trouble developing at Bonalbo

By TESSA HOFFMAN

GEORGE Vansca is fed up with the Bonalbo District Development Committee locking out the community and 'playing God', which he says is dividing the town.

The comments from Bonalbo's newsagent come after the Bonalbo District Development Committee (BDDC) was labelled exclusionist and signs were erected yesterday declaring democracy in the town dead.

On July 24, 15 community members walked out of the BDDC Annual General Meeting after their queries over several rejected BDDC membership applications were quashed, Peter Winch, Northern Star's Bonalbo correspondent who attended the meeting, said.

Mr Vansca said 'most of the town' wanted to know why the Bonalbo District Development Committee, which is funded by various government grants to complete town works and run various services, won't let them become members.

The eight-member BDDC is registered by the Department of Fair Trading as an incorporated association.

Mr Vansca, once a BDDC president, said he applied for membership six weeks ago but heard from a committee member that his application had been rejected, although he had not yet received written confirmation.

Several more Bonalbo business owners had attempted to join, but had their applications rejected 'without explanation' and in the past two years the committee had been excluding the community by rotating and re-electing its core five members, Mr Vansca said.

BDDC secretary and Kyogle councillor Ian Kirkpatrick said between five and seven applications had been lodged this year. He said three of those had been accepted, and while membership was encouraged, it was 'always hard to get new members' to join.

Mr Kirkpatrick said the committee was 'not obliged to divulge' why the other applications had been rejected. He said members were accepted at the committee's discretion, but said two of those denied membership were former BDDC members who had been 'disruptive' in the past.

He said the claims that democracy was dead in Bonalbo, were 'childish' and represented a view held by small group of Bonalbo residents with 'tall poppy syndrome'.



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