Away meetings to be curtailed

By YVONNE McLEAN

A NUMBER of Gold Coast ratepayers who eagerly await the city council's away meeting held in their respective area could be very disappointed at the council's recent decision to limit its outside meeting schedule to twice a year, one in the south, one in the north.

The proposed meeting at Palm Beach this month was cancelled and rescheduled back home to the Evandale administration building.

Originally, council scheduled four away meetings a year, to give more residents the opportunity to witness councillors at work.

So far this year, council has transported itself to Robina, Coomera and Benowa at a cost of $9553 ? that equates to approximately $13,000 a year for four away meetings plus the cost of advertising the venue.

There's an enormous amount of time spent in seeking out suitable venues, more security officers employed to ensure safety of councillors, staff and public and to ensure order and decorum is maintained.

Sound equipment and someone to operate it, trestle tables, table linen and catering for lunch and afternoon tea (always of gourmet class) all add to the bill.

But, the rub is, despite all the advertising devices used to whet community appetites to watch councillors in action, little more than 20 or so people, as well as school children (who stay for a while) have enjoyed the occasions.

It all hardly seems worthwhile to embark on more than two aways a year.

A report by a council officer, which recommends that the first of two outside meetings next year be in the south in the first quarter and up north in the last quarter, is expected to be ratified by full council.



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