A celebration to mark 160 years since Council’s first meeting in 1849 gathered together four former mayors, and five former councillors (or aldermen) with the current officeholders.
The occasion was used to honour our history, look to the future and recognise achievers with awards. Sue Eggins has received Kiama Council’s Community Achievement Award for her tireless advocacy for our local heritage. She is a life member of the Kiama & District Historical Society, and currently its President and Secretary.
The 2019 Robert East Award, which recognises the efforts of council volunteers, was presented to John Knox, and the recipient of the 2019 Megan Dalley Award, which recognises the efforts of a council trainee or cadet, is Jason Pappas.
Mayor Mark Honey ended his speech outlining the path to where we are now by saying, “Cost shifting from state to local government is now a major concern to our Council and we are increasingly affected by Government regulations.
“Litigation is also an issue, with developments being referred to the Courts by disgruntled residents and developers.
“There are those who welcome future development and those who are vigorously opposed – especially when it is in their own backyard.
“We will never keep all residents – old and new – happy.
“There are many beliefs and ideas to be addressed and with modern technology and social media it is so easy to attack local government without the responsibility of being true and honest – and without having to talk personally with councillors and staff about an issue and look you in the eye.
“It is the elected Aldermen and Councillors who have directed the Council over the last 160 years.
“They have given up many hours – in fact years – of their free time in the interest of the community, often without acknowledgment and often with criticism – but always with the good of the whole community as a goal – not small self-centred pressure groups.
“The Municipality is in good hands because of the work done by former elected and employed members of Council,,” said the Mayor.
“Who know what the future holds – but I am sure the Kiama Municipality will continue to be one of the best places in the world to live.”
The role of the community in staving off amalgamation with Shoalhaven Council was highlighted.
“I think the commissioner was blown away by the number of residents who spoke against the amalgamation and their passion for their community.
He also praised the work of Town Clerk Tony Matterson, and the aldermen lead by Mayor Neville Fredericks, for bringing Council back from the brink of insolvency; Emeritus Mayor Brian Petschler, former General Manager Michael Forsyth and General Manager Kerry McMurray for their work on Blue Haven; and Emeritus Mayor Sandra McCarthy for making Kiama part of the Healthy City network.