Katie in the firing line
TWEED Mayor Joan van Lieshout wants answers from anti-rally councillor Katie Milne.
As the dust settles from last weekend's inaugural Tweed Repco Rally Australia, the Mayor will seek to discipline the rebel Greens councillor who mounted a last-minute legal battle to stop the international event.
“I'm concerned about the behaviour of Cr Milne over the past week,” Cr van Lieshout said.
“I'll be conferring with my colleagues as to what kind of action Council can take.
“There certainly has to be a warning sent that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.”
The Mayor joins a growing chorus of concerned residents and business owners who are calling for an explanation from Ms Milne and rally protest group No Rally Inc, after their fears of “environmental catastrophe” were not realised.
Letters and SMS comments to the Tweed Daily News show the depth of community anger towards Cr Milne and the protesters, with some calling for her resignation.
“Shame on you Katie Milne for inciting the wilful, senseless damage by your so-called environmentalists, not to mention risk to all road users and the cost to ratepayers,” messaged TH of Uki.
Pebbles from Tyalgum messaged Cr Milne should stop wasting ratepayers' money.
“Katie. Get on with the job as a councillor instead of wasting our taxpayers' money gallivanting around the forest disrupting rally cars.”
Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce president Toni Zuschke believes rally supporters should feel vindicated by the event's success and called for Cr Milne's resignation.
“Yes, I think she should resign, or at least apologise for the embarrassment caused to the whole community by their actions - they made us all look foolish,” Ms Zuschke said.
“Where is all the road kill they said would be on the roads?
“She (Cr Milne) was the public face of the rally so she should be the one who apologises for the disgusting behaviour of the few protesters who spoilt the event for the rest of us.
“She is a leader of our shire, but her actions have shown that she doesn't represent the whole shire, but just the radical opinions of the few.”
Uki environmentalist Jim Warburton, who supported the environmental measures put in place by Repco Rally Australia to protect native wildlife and habitat, was more forgiving of Cr Milne and the protesters.
“I have nothing against Katie or the No Rally group; Katie is actually a friend of mine,” Mr Warburton said.
“But I think their actions have definitely damaged the reputation of the Greens and the environmental movement on the Tweed,” he said.
“I drove around one of the stages out the back of Byrrill Creek after the rally cars went through, and it was like they had never been there.
“With the noise those cars make no self-respecting koala would go anywhere near the track.
“When I drove on a bitumen stretch of road between Byrrill Creek and Kyogle three weeks before the rally, I counted 12 road kill; so I question which road use is worse for the environment.”
Cr Milne failed to return phone calls and emails from the Tweed Daily News yesterday. No Rally Inc also failed to respond.