100 year party snub
By PETER CATON
TWEED business groups will boycott this weekend's Tweed Shire Council centenary celebrations, saying there's nothing to be happy about because the council is run by administrators.
The council has organised celebrations in Murwillumbah on Sunday, including the unveiling of historic signs in the heart of the town and the planting of a tree outside the council chambers by administrator Lucy Turnbull.
Her husband, parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, will assist her.
But both the Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce and the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber have refused to take part.
They are furious the NSW Government sacked the elected council 10 months ago.
According to Murwillumbah Chamber president Phil Youngblutt, one member even suggested if the chamber's members should march down Murwillumbah's Main Street with a coffin proclaiming "the death of local democracy".
Mr Youngblutt said businesses were willing to note the occasion ? including advertising in this Saturday's Daily News feature on the centenary ? but they would not celebrate because they no longer had local representation.
"It should have been a very happy occasion but a lot of people are saddened they don't have local representation and won't have for at least another two years," Mr Youngblutt said.
Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce president John Murray, one of the councillors sacked last May, said the money spent on the celebrations would be better left in the bank.
"We have progressed nowhere in 100 years," he said. "It's meaningless to have a celebration when there's so much to be disenchanted about.
"Let's just let the 100 years go by. Let's just get past it and move on."
The council's acting general manager Mike Rayner said "we are celebrating 100 years of local government, not one year".
"It would be disappointing if a business chamber took the point of view not to participate," he added.
"It would be for the benefit of business to participate. It's an event that brings publi-city, and that's got to be good."
Mrs Turnbull said the centenary was "a community event and political controversy of the day should be put aside".
"The celebration of the centenary of Tweed Shire Council should transcend short- term political issues," she said.
"Councillors come and go. Administra-tors come and go.
"What is significant about the centenary of Tweed Shire Council is it really is a celebration of the Tweed community."