I was first elected as an Alderman to the Goulburn City Council in 1983. I remember that election and the overwhelming sense of pride I felt having been elected as a third generation councillor; both my great-grandfather and great-uncle served on council before me.
My time on the council has come to an end after 39 years of service. I am writing this letter to publicly thank the community and my family for their support over the years but to also correct the record and make my position clear on Wakefield Park.
In the lead up to the election in December, Wakefield Park's proposed expansion and continued operation in Goulburn became a major issue. Unfortunately, my position on Wakefield Park was misrepresented to the community. I wish to make it abundantly clear, I fully support Wakefield Park and I bloody supported them when their DA was before the last council.
I wish to make it abundantly clear, I fully support Wakefield Park and I bloody supported them when their DA was before the last council.
I was the Mayor of Goulburn in 1993 when Wakefield Park was first established. At the time, I could see the economic and social benefits that the racetrack would bring to our city and I worked closely with the then Premier of NSW, John Fahey, to get it approved and I have supported it ever since.
When their development application came to council last year, they were seeking approval for their existing operation which had evolved over many years, but which was lacking formal development consent. They were also seeking to expand on their operation and undertake various infrastructure upgrades and improvements.
The key issue was noise and residents in the area around Wakefield Park had legitimate concerns and they had the right to have their voices heard. There needed to be a compromise but the motion that was ultimately put to the vote in council did not support the continued operation at Wakefield Park, so I voted against it.
In doing so, I voted to support Wakefield Park because the motion imposed conditions which made the facility economically unviable; the motion was potentially fatal to Wakefield Park and I want to see Wakefield Park continue to operate and contribute to our community.
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I fully support Wakefield Park; it plays an important role in our city's economy, it adds to the social fabric of our community and council needs to do everything it can to keep this great asset. I have served 39 years on council and helping to establish Wakefield Park is just one of my proudest achievements.
There were four councillors who voted against the recommendation: Deputy Mayor Peter Walker, Councillors Andrew Banfield, Leah Ferrara and myself. And we lost this motion and we ended up in court. I hope the new councillors look at this and revisit and have a meeting with Wakefield Park before March 2 and overturn this decision.
When I was first elected, there were 12 alderman (councillors) sitting in the Council Chambers. I was elected in 1983, I became deputy mayor in 1987 and then mayor in 1993. I served as mayor until 1999 with Keith Cole as my deputy; Keith was a great mate and he and my late husband were very close. Keith himself also served as Mayor.
Over the years, I have served with some outstanding councillors like Keith, Maureen Eddy and Tony Lamarra. I have seen many general managers come and go but of note were Ken Brown and Don Cooper. In 2004, I went through the amalgamation of Goulburn City and Mulwaree Shire Councils which was a total mess but nevertheless we got through it.
I am particularly proud of my work on the Sporting Hall of Fame, Sports Council and the Ray Harvey Sports Foundation Committee which started in 1984 and we have given over $400,000 to young local sporting talent and their families to assist with travel, accommodation and equipment. In the 90s, I chaired the NSW Local Government Drug Committee, which was tasked to combat illicit drug use which was devasting communities across the country. I am also proud of what we have achieved in the Goulburn Recreation Area, which is another great community asset.
I have dedicated countless hours to workshops, briefings, committee meetings and council meetings and I did everything I could to make sure that older, vulnerable members of our community had a voice on council.
My door has always been open. I would often take calls in the middle of the night and people would regularly drop in to see me at work or at my home seven days a week; eight if that were possible. I have worn my heart on my sleeve and people have always known where I stood on an issue. I am very passionate about Goulburn and I have loved serving our community. I don't regret any of it and I wish the people of Goulburn Mulwaree all the very best.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, and to those who have contacted me recently. I cannot thank my husband Barry enough for his love and support; we were a team and I couldn't have done it without him. Likewise, I am incredibly grateful to have my two children Michael and Cheryl and I thank them both for their love and support.
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