Letters to the editor

BATTLEGROUND: Council's plans for a building on a section of the Toronto foreshore continue to stir passionate reactions from some locals. Picture: David Stewart
BATTLEGROUND: Council's plans for a building on a section of the Toronto foreshore continue to stir passionate reactions from some locals. Picture: David Stewart

Gallery was angry

THE public gallery was packed on October 29 with people concerned about Lake Macquarie City Council’s plan to authorise a development application for high-rise development on the Bath Street public foreshore site. We were there to see the handover of our petition of over 5000 signatures opposing this development.

We were denied the usual courtesy of having the petition presented early in the meeting and thus we sat through a diatribe of self-congratulatory, stalling speeches in the vain hope that the gallery would pack up and leave. We did not leave, we waited.

Councillor Wendy Harrison bravely tendered our petition but was not permitted to speak about the petition. At this stage there was a vocal reaction from the gallery.

We were threatened with expulsion from the chamber. We were angry at our treatment and we decided to chance our voices and stay. We were not silenced.

Toronto residents will not be swayed from our commitment to saving waterfront, public land for future generations. Many of us have escaped over-developed cities to live near a magnificent lake in a peaceful environment.

Think again, Lake Macquarie City Council. There is no shame in admitting your mistake.

- Kate Elderton, Toronto

Constituents’ wishes

I BELIEVE Lake Macquarie City Council’s meeting of October 29 was a clear demonstration of the total indifference this council has for its constituents’ concerns.

Councillor Wendy Harrison presented to council a petition signed by over 5100 citizens requesting council halt their planned development of a six-storey building on the foreshore at Toronto.  Accompanying the petition was a detailed submission from the Toronto Foreshore Protection Group providing the grounds on which this petition was based.

A packed gallery watched as councillors not only voted against Ms Harrison’s request to bring the presentation of the petition forward in the agenda in recognition of the large gallery’s presence, but the mayor interjected during Councillor Harrison’s speech, ruling her out of order and silencing her.

An angry response erupted from the gallery, who had waited for close to two hours for this presentation. The mayor threatened to eject the gallery and called a halt to proceedings.

I believe this multi-million dollar project warrants much closer examination than this council has given it. What does it take for council to accept that this community does not want this building? When will they recognise that their duty is to represent the wishes of their constituents?

- Bob Ireland, Toronto

Meeting was a low point

ON October 29 I had the misfortune to sit through a Lake Macquarie council meeting. The purpose was to witness Cr Wendy Harrison hand over a petition with over 5200 signatures voicing their opposition to the council’s own proposal of a 4- to 6-storey commercial development on public waterfront land in Bath Street, Toronto. 

Firstly, kudos to Cr Wendy Harrison for her patience and restraint after being denied her request to present the petition at the beginning of the meeting to allow the packed gallery of supporters to leave.

I believe that there are three types of people who run for council: those genuinely interested in their local community, those wanting to further their political ambitions, and those who are stroking their own egos. This week I witnessed an abhorrent display which confirms my beliefs. 

Nothing will remove the significance of those thousands of signatures. I just hope that councillors listen to those people who put them in the chairs that they now find so comfortable and realise that we love our Lake and want the same access afforded to residents on the eastern side.

- Sue Jansson, Toronto