ORANGE Ratepayers’ Association (ORA) president Colin Young is hoping that now the protracted court case involving one of its members and a former member is concluded it will encourage people to return to the association.
“I do believe there is a future for the association but our membership has dropped to about 20 members and there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.
“I think people were just waiting until the case was over before renewing their membership.”
Mr Young said while the organisation continued to receive complaints from members of the community over Orange City Council decisions and concerns that affect ratepayers, it wasn’t transferring into membership.
“It seems in some ways people want us to do their work and complain for them but they don’t want to become members,” he said.
“I would like to think that will change.
“It is a relief that it is all over.”
In Bathurst Local Court on Thursday magistrate Michael Allen turned down former Orange councillor Fiona Rossiter’s application for personal violence orders against ORA member Brian Wood and former member Cyril Smith but was scathing in his remarks about the behaviour of the men as ORA members. Mr Allen said the pair had instilled fear into then Cr Rossiter, potentially affecting her decision not to run for council in September last year.
Outside the courthouse after the ruling Mr Young, who was sitting in the courtroom when Mr Allen delivered his findings, said he had taken particular note of the magistrate’s comments and would take them back to the ORA’s next meeting.
“It was not our intention to cause fear in Cr Rossiter,” he said.
Mr Young said he genuinely believed members did not go to Orange City Council meetings to be disrespectful to Cr Rossiter or other councillors, which was used in evidence presented to the court.
“I was at most of the meetings in the public gallery with other members of the ORA and honestly I can only remember us laughing on one occasion but that was in context along with everyone else in the gallery,” he said.
“It was during the pipeline debate when Cr Rossiter stood up and quoted her little girl, saying her daughter had asked her what the people of Orange would do for water if there wasn’t a pipeline,” he said.
Mr Young said anyone in Orange was eligible to join the association, which meets at Kelly’s Hotel at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month.