After we started working with Hepburn council, building relationships with council officers and councillors, we found out that other members of council seemed to be acting against us. Annoyed by this we wrote to the CEO of Hepburn Shire Council, Kaylene Connrick, asking 4 very specific questions. We asked that these questions be raised at the next council meeting, however Kaylene Conrick refused to read them on the grounds that they were embarrassing and insulting to council officers, effectively silencing us. So here they are, now available to the public [pls nb I have omitted council officers names, except for the CEOs]:
RE: REA LANDS PARK COMMUNITY FOOD GARDEN, DAYLESFORD
i write so as the following questions be considered and respectfully answered by council tonight at the ordinary meeting in creswick.
1. a fortnight ago two council officers met to discuss with the daylesford community food gardeners (dcfg) potential sites for a permanent community food garden. a third officer did not show at that meeting and sent no apologies. the upshot of our meeting with the first two officers was that rea lands park was the most suitable site for this community endeavour. the third officer then submitted a recommendation completely antithetical to this position with no community consultation. as this officer is a community development officer, why then was she so actively working against community interests?
2. what has been your role, as CEO, in swaying this recommendation, working against community interests, and in taking one of the sustainability officers [who we were forming good communications with] 'off the case', just when this community group were starting to engage with council? it seems that this is a purposeful sabotaging of relations, and a negation of officers who are trying to forge good relations in the community. can you please tell us why this evidently deliberate sabotaging has occurred?
3. dcfg is a growing group of social gardeners wanting to create positive responses to climate change and energy descent with no money required from council and our insurance covered by share (sustainable hepburn...). a large scale civic centre with new council offices which requires enormous amounts of energetic and economic inputs is not essential to the well-being of the people of the shire, nor does it go any way to build resilience against ecological and energetic crises. we believe rea lands park is being sold to fund such an unimportant and costly exercise. are you recommending that rea lands park be sold to fund the new civic centre or some other council project? what is more important than food, energy and water security in our shire?
4. rea lands park was gifted to the community for community use. this park's heritage lies with the rea family, particularly betty rea, who was the community benefactor. does council not believe that morally it has an obligation to honour this generous legacy from a past elder of the town?
on behalf of dcfg