Dear Editor,

There appears to me even more sentiment in the community against MidCoast Council spending an uncapped $40 million dollars on about 360 staff to move to Masters when the region has just gone through horrific bushfires. Not only is it the infrastructure in our council perimeters that needs to be repaired or rebuilt but our preparedness for fire and drought survival. 

Many rural and regional towns in NSW are preparing for the day that they have no water. What is our council doing? On one hand we have state officials telling us that we will run out of water and on the other hand, council telling us that we are ok. Can we really morally afford to spend $40 million dollars to house council staff under one roof when the general community of many more is suffering from bushfires and drought devastation? This is the community that pays rates to the council to invest in our future and well-being and that of the wildlife that is suffering from our lack of action. We are the people who elected our councillors to look after our interests, we are the ones that need to stand up and say that this is not good enough.

From my understanding the Masters project has been costing the community since its purchase in 2017 yet no financial costs have been shown on the annual council reports. It was therefore welcome to see the building put to very good community use during the bushfire emergency. Its size and parking areas was able to accommodate the RFS fire crews for fuelling of both vehicles and crew and a centre for drop off of emergency supplies on a 24 hour basis. It became the hub for the emergency that devastated our region and brought us all together.

Ratepayers have a chance to voice their opinion about the Masters Development Plan as shareholders in this community via local council offices to review it. Though it is not available publicly for all to see at council offices in MCC, it is available online. In light of recent disasters, it might be appropriate and more sensitive for council to rethink about how $40 million dollars could best spent on securing our fire and water safety as a community as opposed to spending it on rehousing staff who are against the move as much as ratepayers are. I believe that many people would be willing to go into debt for $40 million dollars if it was for the common benefit of everyone in safeguarding the community against future disasters and sustaining farming and business interests. This would therefore help protect employment and the economy of our region.

Why is it that that council insists on pursuing the development of Masters when community sentiment is against it? There have been protests, letters and a signed petition delivered to parliament. Still our elected councillors are not able to grasp public sentiment. Please remember at the next local election, that it is you and me that pay them to represent us and not the other way around. Please make your vote count – and your objection to the DA for Masters.

Valerie Brodin

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