May 23, 2016 – 8:14PM
Waverley mayor Sally Betts. Photo: Sarah Keayes
Amid rowdy scenes at Waverley Council, the mayor Sally Betts used her casting vote to reverse a decision to hold a plebiscite on a merger with Randwick and Woollahra councils and to block attempts by Labor and independent councillors to get more information on the controversial $38 million Bondi Pavilion upgrade.
Several members of the public began filming as councillors raised their voices, threatened to walk out and the mayor Sally Betts warned they could face penalties if they staged a boycott.
At one point she called an adjournment asking councillors and the public gallery to calm down.
The extraordinary meeting effectively reversed most of the decisions of a previous marathon meeting, when one Liberal councillor was absent.
But with the Liberal councillor back in the chamber, mayor Betts was able to use her casting vote to reverse the decision. Another Liberal, Joy Clayton, has broken with the party to to vote with Labor.
The issue of the Bondi Pavilion project has galvanised local residents who fear that the the $38 million upgrade will result in the top floor of the heritage art deco building being converted to restaurants and cafes, instead of community space.
Mayor Betts says the project is necessary to preserve the building and to ensure that it both serves the community and tourists who visit the area.
Several local residents begged the mayor to provide more information on the upgrade.
Longtime resident Murray Cox said he was asking for more accountability.
“Bondi is a pearl that shines, sometimes from a seedy shell,” he said.
“You can’t even organise a ten-seater dunny or a picnic shelter, and now you want to take the jewel in the crown, the Bondi Pavilion and spent $38 million using the same managerial methods,” he said.
But mayor Betts remained determined to move rescission motions. Over heckling from the gallery and several objections on procedure, she moved each motion and used her casting vote.
More fireworks are expected Tuesday when a marathon meeting dealing with more aspects of the Pavilion project resumes.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald