JUNE 30, 2019.
On June 26th HVC decided to sell the Cygnet Medical Centre despite considerable community disquiet about the proposal.
A petition with 144 signatures was lodged and 13 formal objections were submitted to council presenting a wide range of concerns. In the words of the author of the consultation report on the potential sale “None of these objections raised any issue relating to who owns and operates the building or whether there is a personal impact to (sic) the objectors if Council no longer owns the building” All questions raised by objectors were deemed not relevant because “it raises a question but does not provide any evidence or argument”.
Various arguments were made by the author of the report including emphasis of the fact that the population of Cygnet is only 1556 without any mention of the fact that the Medical Centre is the closest such facility for over 4200 people (over 25% of the population of the municipality).
The report was clearly biased in favour of the sale of the facility and, while it emphasised valid arguments for selling, it presented no case for retaining ownership despite there also being valid reasons for doing so.
It is understood that some relevant information was requested by councillors but withheld.
We maintain that:
- ratepayers are entitled to know why decisions are being made, what arguments are being presented and by whom at all stages of decision making.
- information provided to councillors should be factual, complete and unbiased.
- unless confidential matters are being discussed there is no valid reason for the public be excluded from workshops/briefing meetings.
- if workshops are to remain closed to the public the 2017 HVC Board of Inquiry’s Recommendation #23 should become formal HVC policy.
BoI Recommendation #23 – “Information discussed in voluntary workshops should, where relevant to a council decision, be disclosed at council meetings and contained in council meeting papers.”