Redland City Council meeting on 22 March
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Mayor Wendy Boglary with Mayor Karen Williams absent, attending the SEQ Council of Mayors delegation in Canberra.
Donald Simpson Community Centre Funding Agreement
Early in the meeting there was a surprising disagreement between councillors over whether or not to receive and discuss a late confidential item “Donald Simpson Community Centre Funding Agreement”.
The motion to have the item discussed was put by Cr Peter Mitchell and seconded by Cr Mark Edwards. Councillors Paul Gleeson, Tracey Huges and Julie Talty also supported the motion.
Five councillors, Paul Gollé, Lance Hewlett, Murray Elliott, Paul Bishop and Wendy Boglary voted against the motion which was lost on the casting vote of meeting chair Wendy Boglary.
The next general meeting of Council is scheduled for Wednesday 19 April.
Chicken poo plant
The most significant decision made at this meeting was whether or not to grant Cleveland Power (Darwhalla) a further extension of time for development of a chicken poo fuelled power station at Mt Cotton.
Cr Huges declared a possible Material Personal Interest in the item stating that her spouse stands to gain an indirect benefit or loss from the decision of the meeting as he is an employee of one of the companies vying for the project and has been involved in the tender process. She left the room and did not return until after the item had been voted on.
A first extension was granted by the Planning and Environment Court after an application was refused by Council in 2011.
A second extension was granted by the Council at a meeting on 6 May 2015.
The officers report recommended that a third extension be granted to 20 July 2018 noting that “the developer has experienced a delay in obtaining funding for the project.”
The delay in obtaining funding has been longstanding, the project was first put to Council for approval in 2004.
Cr Elliott put forward a motion that the application for a third extension be refused.
Crs Gollé, Hewlett, Edwards, Elliott, Talty, Bishop and Boglary voted FOR the motion.
Crs Gleeson and Mitchell voted AGAINST the motion.
Various councillors noted that the developer may appeal Council’s decision.
But many councillors clearly felt that the developer had had long enough to make the project happen and it would be reasonable for the community to have another say about any proposal to develop a chicken poo plant in Mt Cotton.
Some councillors also noted that Cleveland Power’s community engagement has been less than adequate.
Similar comments were made nearly two years ago when Council granted the second extension . At that time, the meeting chair Deputy Mayor Alan Beard described the project proponent’s communication with the community as “less than satisfactory” and “misleading”.
Since that time the developer’s communication efforts have not improved. The company’s website still contains misleading and inaccurate information.
As an example the website currently makes the following statements regarding the project’s timeline:
The Cleveland Power Mt Cotton Power Plant will commence construction in 2016 with rapid progress into 2017.
It will commence operations as a Bio Mass Renewable energy power Plant in 2017.
All nine councillors present for this item participated in the discussion. Anyone interested in finding out what their local councillor had to say can watch the video recording of the meeting commencing at 61:15 minutes.
During the public participation section of the meeting two members of the community also spoke about the Chicken poo project:
- Mr Bruce Hennessey – his speech commences at 13:25 minutes
- Mrs Junita Grosvenor’s speech – her speech commences at 19:50 minutes
Fact check – how did councillor Gleeson vote last time?
During discussion at the general meeting on 22 March about the officers recommendation to give the Chicken poo plant a third extension Councillor Paul Gleeson said that “I certainly voted against the extension last time”.
When the extension was considered “last time” on 6 May 2015 five councillors voted against giving the developer an extension according to that meeting’s minutes: Wendy Boglary, Craig Ogilvie, Murray Elliott, Julie Talty and Paul Bishop.
Cr Gleeson voted for giving the developer an extension, last time.
Developer’s response to Council’s decision
In response to Council’s decision, Cleveland Power’s spokesperson David Bray said via a website blog: ” The sheer stupidity of the decision means the matter will now go back to court.”
He also said that “There’s a few Councillors there who are incapable of grasping key issues and seem more interested in morning tea.”
More coverage of this issue is available in a Bulletin report: Councillors vote down chicken litter power plant
Redlands2030 – 2 April 2017