AS the prospect of a toilet in Robertson Park looks increasingly doubtful, Orange councillors say a decision to reverse its development approval failed to meet proper standards.
After expressing initial concerns about the council’s decision making last month, councillors Jeff Whitton and Glenn Taylor have asked Orange City Council general manager Garry Styles to carry out an internal review of how the matter was handled.
Councillors approved the development application on December 4, nine councillors to three, only to rescind the decision two weeks later, seven votes to five.
The matter technically remains open as councillors did not formally refuse the DA, but no forward direction was endorsed.
Cr Whitton said a toilet in the park was likely dead as neither he nor Cr Taylor would press the matter again.
A refusal needs to be based on planning law.Councillor Jeff Whitton
But he said the way the DA was dealt with could set a troubling precedent for future council decisions.
“I want to know whether the process was compromised because it was a DA process,” he said.
“Even though council was the applicant, it still goes through the same process as any other DA – a refusal needs to be based on planning law.”
Cr Whitton said the information before councillors did not change between the two meetings and questioned whether opponent pressure, a lack of detail or a failure by councillors to read their papers had a bearing.
“Irrespective of a decision for or against, why did the system fail?” he said.
“That’s the concern for the community when councillors are making decisions on development applications – do they understand their obligations?
“It compromises every DA that’s controversial.”
Cr Taylor said the toilet had been considered at several workshops since councillors decided to abandon the CWA Hall location for the eastern side of the park.
“It went through amendments and councillors put in their two bobs worth saying we want this changed and that changed and all of a sudden, it’s overturned,” he said.
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