The Keep Kiama Council Local committee chairman Rob McKinnon, a former mayor, says the poll on May 7 is the most important local government vote in the council’s 157-year history.
“Mayors and councillors come and go, but we face the prospect of losing the whole council and everything that this community has worked so hard to develop, and the high quality services we currently enjoy,” he says.
“We have so much to lose if we are forced to become part of a greatly expanded Shoalhaven. We will lose representation, services and our identity, as well as valuable community assets such as the Blue Haven retirement complex.”
Kiama Council’s Director of Finance, Corporate and Commercial Services Kerry McMurray says by Tuesday afternoon (3 May) more than 2,200 people had cast their vote at the pre-poll and he was expecting around 2,500 to have voted prior to the official 7 May poll date.
He described the voter turnout at the pre-poll as “a solid start” but added this accounted for just 16 per cent of eligible voters in the Kiama Municipality and encouraged everyone to take the opportunity to make their opinion known.
Organisers are hoping for a 60% turnout for the voluntary trip to the ballot box, to give weight to the result. An 80% turnout is usually achieved at normal council elections.
In the meantime we have learnt from Joanna Gash that she has put up her hand to help implement any merger proposal. Kiama councillors unanimously rejected the offer because of the terms on which it was made.
At the last meeting, it was resolved to try to ensure that Kiama was represented in some way should the merger proceed.
“It is unthinkable that the wishes of our community wouldn’t be included,” says Mayor Brian Petschler.