Melchert motion fails to waive Haunting fine

Wednesday January 21 2015, 3:50pm

Douglas Shire Council will proceed with issuing a fine to the organiser of the Haunting of Oak Beach Halloween event after a motion to waive the penalty by councillor Terry Melchert was dismissed. 

Cr Melchert put forward the motion at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting but no other councillors seconded it, meaning it lapsed. 

Council issued the $569 fine to Richard Lavender, who hosts the Haunting of Oak Beach, for holding the event without a license.

Cr Melchert argued that council should support the event and that he was concerned over the attitude of council’s administrative staff toward small businesses and events. 

“I have received many representations suggesting that the community generally supports this Halloween activity and Council should work with Mr Lavender in assisting him in staging the event in a safe, enjoyable and successful way,”  Cr Melchert stated in the motion. 

“From a philosophical perspective I am becoming increasingly concerned that the actions of Council Administration which affect small businesses, the community generally and others in a signficant way are not being referred to councillors for review and comment.”

Council chief executive officer Linda Cardew sharply rebuked Cr Melchert’s claims, as did mayor Julia Leu and other councillors. 

Ms Cardew said Cr Melchert had been invited to provide evidence for his claims about council administration’s attitude toward small businesses and events but had failed to do so. 

“In order to gain some clarity around these comments, and in order to provide a detailed response to the Notice of Motion, Cr Melchert was invited to attend a meeting with executive officers, together with the Mayor and other Councillors, on 14 January 2014,” Ms Cardew stated in the text of the motion. 

“Cr Melchert was unable to provide any examples to support the allegations made in the Notice of Motion regarding the actions of Council’s Administration.”

Mayor Julia Leu also ruled during the meeting that Cr Melchert would not be able to read aloud a list of questions he had prepared for council in regards to the motion. 

Cr David Carey, who was absent from the meeting room but communicating via speakerphone, described the motion as a ‘waste of time’ because it did not have a seconder.