Cr Robert Hayes has published the letter shown above in the Rivertown Times and Express Examiner urging the broader community, as their elected representative, to let Dr Gates, President of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee, “know how disappointed they are with his negative interference” with a “nursing home facility in Evans Head” on the State Heritage Listed Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.
Basically it’s an invitation to the public to have a shot at Gates dressed up in polite language.
It’s interesting to see Hayes take on the issue and particularly the clear shifting of blame for the failure of the proposed retirement village on the site to Gates and the aerodrome committee when the retirement village proponent very clearly fingers Richmond Valley Council as the culprit.
In their five page letter to Council RSL LifeCare does not mention Gates’ Committee once but does round on council many times.
Clearly council is smarting over criticism from RSL LifeCare and Hayes has taken it on himself to shift the blame to someone else.
Sadly Hayes hasn’t done his homework. Gates’ Committee has never been opposed to a nursing home at Evans Head, a position stated repeatedly by the Committee.
What it has been opposed to is the building of a retirement village complex on an aerodrome which puts residents in ‘Harm’s Way’.
Gates has shown support for aged care for Evans Head right from the beginning as the following letter from Ex-Services Home, Ballina shows:
It’s time for Cr Hayes to face up to the facts: Council stuffed up badly and spent at least $6 million doing so, a pretty impressive achievement at our expense by any standard. There was no business plans despite repeated requests.
The community should know the record shows Hayes as a builder/developer has pushed for years to carve up the aerodrome for residential development. Need we say more.
Hayes’ claim that “Council over the years of these negotiations has done all it could to accommodate the concerns of a Dr Richard Gates-led minority group…..” When? Hayes needs to inform the community of when this supposed accommodation occurred.
Was this the time when council tried to irrigate the aerodrome with effluent and put forward a plan which would have destroyed part of the drainage system on the aerodrome or was it when council approved an application to rezone the land and failed to mention that the land was contaminated even though it had clear independent evidence showing that this was so? Or was it when the consultant for the Plan of Management presented Gates’ committee with a plan for the aged complex which the consultant was forced to admit at the time was only one third actual proposed size (see below).
On the contrary council went out of its way to make it difficult and often failed to be accountable for its actions hiding behind closed doors to make decisions out of the public view.
Perhaps the ‘broader community’ needs to let Cr Hayes know how disappointed they are with his blame shifting and incorrect claims. No “airpark has been approved by the council and the broader community”. The land sale hasn’t been finalised and there is no Development Application for an airpark before council. Cr Hayes needs to get his facts straight.
And there would be no facility to preserve our history if Gates community-based committee hadn’t prepared the application for State Heritage Listing in 2000 and Hayes had had his way.