Community angry as council cancelled


by Evelyn Leckie

FRUSTRATED community members confronted councillors at the City of Whittlesea’s first meeting of the year which was cancelled due to poor attendance.

This is the third time a council meeting regarding Mernda Town Centre has been delayed.

The meeting, on Tuesday, started off with quorum after councillors Mary Lalios and Alahna Desiato walked in two minutes before the meeting was due to be canned.

The meeting did not last long with Cr Lalios running from the meeting room three minutes into a confidential discussion, with Cr Desiato and Cr Caz Monteleone leaving shortly after her.

As the councillors filed outside, angry residents yelled at Cr Desiato and Cr Monteleone.

Doreen resident Denise Ferguson vented her frustration by telling the councillors they still need to represent their constituents.

Ms Ferguson told the Whittlesea Review she was angry with the events that occurred.“I’m a rate payer and we deserve better,” she said.

“When three councillors walk out of this place like they did tonight – nothing can get approved – again!

“When my children were little they used to spit the dummy – that’s what these people do they spit the dummy but this involves millions of dollars – and the three of them spit the dummy and walk out of here.”

Mayor Cr Lawrie Cox announced the meeting will be delayed until this Tuesday.

“If councillors can’t be bothered to turn up to meetings, then they need to retract on their position,” Cr Cox said.

“If they’ve lost interest or don’t want to turn up, then they should make way for someone who is prepared to actually be here.”

Cr Emilia Sterjova told the North Central Review she was disappointed with her fellow councillors.

“I am very disappointed, once again we don’t have quorum – I can’t believe we are delaying our Mernda Town Centre and this is costing our taxpayers,” Cr Sterjova said.

Cr Monteleone said the minority have elected not to continue because his colleague [Cr Lalios] had been under pressure, which had caused her an enormous amount of grief.

“This is not about grandstanding – this is about standing up for one of our own,” he said.

Federal Member for McEwan Rob Mitchell took to social media to call out the absent councillors.

“Once again delays to infrastructure and programs in @CityWhittlesea as petulant clowncillors boycott meetings again,’ Mr Mitchell said on Twitter.