SHAME ON HIM! Mayor Takes Aim at Coffs MP Gurmesh Singh Over Cultural & Civic Space Project

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"SHAME ON HIM!" Those were the words of Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight during the council meeting on Thursday night about Gurmesh Singh.

If follows a letter sent from the Coffs Harbour MP to each of the Coffs Harbour City Councillors and the NSW Planning Minister questioning the request of support funding of State and Federal Government.

While speaking, Cr Knight said, "no one understands a pandemic like i do".

"How dare he deprive our community of jobs", Cr Knight said.

In the letters obtained by Triple M, Mr Singh said that councillors would be voting on two items which he believe “go hand in hand”.

During a different type of Council Meeting where all councillors were on video link, a Mayoral Minute asked for State and Federal Government financial support, while another item considered a suspension of work on the Cultural and Civic Space Project.  

In his correspondence, Mr Singh wrote, “Covid-19 has had many unfortunate consequences with many businesses closing and many people losing their jobs.

“Council revenues are understandably down.  The airport is all but closed.  People are struggling to pay rates”, his letter read.

The Coffs Harbour MP questioned the continuation of work on the Cultural and Civic Space project.

“To suspend this project for a period of time will be seen as good civic leadership.  Suspending the project until our economy begins to open again will also see higher sale prices for the council assets”, he said.

In a separate letter, Mr Singh also wrote to the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Places, Rob Stokes asking for a public hearing.

“The vast majority of correspondence is against the proposed development.

“There is widespread community concern that the community consultation during the process was not thorough and was conducted with hand-picked community members”, he wrote.

“To this point, there are now many requests for public hearings to be held before the consideration of the Development Application is finalized.  With Covid-19, I understand the reluctance to hold public hearings.  But with modern technology I believe this can be overcome”.

During the Council meeting, Cr Paul Amos acknowledged the letter, which was also backed by Cr Arkan, while, Cr Sally Townley and Cr Cecato both questioned the relevance of a letter from the local member.

“Why are we even considering a letter from the local member”, Cr Townley asked.

While discussing the Mayoral Minute, Cr Swan asked whether the ‘higher paid’ council staff would consider taking a pay reduction similar to many other organisations as a sign of leadership.

Mayor Knight said this was an operational matter that will need to be discussed.

The Mayoral Minute asking for support was passed unanimously.

The notice of motion calling for the Cultural and Civic Space to be halted was voted four-four, with the Mayor using her casting vote to see the have the motion lost.

23 April 2020




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