Council votes against amalgamation

A PROPOSAL from more than 700 Evans Head residents to have their town become part of the Ballina Shire was narrowly rejected by councillors this week.

At the Ballina Shire Council meeting, Cr Peter Moore said it was the equivalent of Lennox Head residents asking to be amalgamated with Byron Shire Council.

“We need to consider the views of Richmond Valley Council,” he said.

“This is not proper process, it’s not the way it should happen. We have already got enough to do in this shire.”

Mayor Phillip Silver agreed: “It will be a massive diversion of resources ... at a time when we have severe budget constraints.”

However, several other councillors wanted to get more information on the proposed amalgamation.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she had no doubt there would be a ‘squabble’ over the issue.

“But no pain, no gain,” she said.

“Those 700 people (who support amalgamation) are all real people.”

Cr Sue Meehan said the council was not informed enough to make a decision about taking on Evans Head.

“We should not be closed-minded about this,” she said.

Dr Richard Gates, who brought the proposal to the council last month, said he was ‘naturally’ disappointed by the outcome.

“But the vote was 5-4 and it doesn’t get much tighter than that,” he said.

“It wasn’t 9-0, now go away.

“I respect the feelings of those councillors who voted against it.

“I will now be going to the people who signed the petition and see what they want to do.”



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