Council meeting productive but with some surprises

Sometimes councillors save the best for last in the Dubbo chamber.

In the two-hour long meeting on Monday they voted for road transportation strategies, a wombat crossing for schools in Dubbo’s west, an iPad policy and more.

But they also came up with some surprising stories and issues once they were given the microphone.

Most of the people’s representatives made full use of the comments session, which always wraps up meetings.

It was to a near-empty public gallery, but Daily Liberal journalist Faye Wheeler was there to capture the golden 10 minutes for readers.

Cr Walkom confessed that he may have been responsible for some of Cr Parker’s confusion about formal wear.

After the pair had talked about their intended glad rags Cr Walkom had learnt of a revised dress code for one of the dinners, but failed to pass on the information to his colleague.

The comment prompted laughter and Cr Parker to claim he had looked pretty good anyway.

Cr Walkom went on to stress the importance of the Dubbo saleyards.

The city needed economic drivers and this one should be a priority, he said.

Cr Mohr said he had been asked to judge a Dubbo College cook-off.

“I don’t know why,” he said, patting his stomach.

He was all praise for the students, who prepared a three-course meal, and particularly complimented their butter chicken.

He had also attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in an official capacity.

He had taken his son along with him, who “absolutely enjoyed” the day, having ancestors who had fought in the wars.

The mayor relayed a story from the day’s citizenship ceremony that had impressed him.

A Sri Lankan man who had lived at Dubbo for the past five years was one of those who became a citizen.

Cr Dickerson had asked him why he had chosen Dubbo and it had been no accident.

He had made the decision to leave his homeland and while investigating where to go he had found the people of Dubbo so friendly in online communication.

Dubbo City Council had also been the only council prepared to send information overseas to the man, Cr Dickerson said.

Cr Parker raised the issue of dress codes at council functions.

He said there was confusion at the recent Local Government Association of NSW (LGA) and the Minokamo delegation dinners about attire.

He wondered if it stemmed from a lack of understanding of the definition of ‘black tie’, which he said was a tuxedo.

He suggested he may buy a book on dress codes to give to the council for its benefit.

Cr Towney shared his experiences visiting the Dubbo Men’s Shed.

Some of the stories he had heard from the men were really heart-wrenching and Cr Towney was all praise for the organisation.

They did a fantastic job, even just with convincing men who had been through tough times to get out of the house, he said.

He encouraged his colleagues to drop in to the shed and introduce themselves.

Cr Towney also said he was disappointed Dubbo had lost the upcoming Parramatta versus Tigers game to Mudgee.

“I thought we’d get all those NRL games,” he said.

Cr Griffiths reported she was recently at Tamworth’s airport and was happy to declare that Dubbo had a far better terminal.

Dubbo’s airport cafe was also superior, she said.

Cr Griffiths also apologised for her “inappropriate footwear”, but said she recently had an in-grown toenail removed and would be unable to wear shoes for a time.

Cr Smith endorsed Cr Towney’s sentiments about the men’s shed, saying it was for “rich and poor, black and white”.

A digger had recently visited the men’s shed and Riverbank Frank Doolan had written a beautiful poem in response, Cr Smith said.

He also had a comment about rugby league, saying he noted that ‘Parramatta’ was Aboriginal for ‘where eels go to die’, which did not go unanswered.

“That’s your interpretation,” Cr Towney said.

Cr Smith recommended the city send a delegation to Minokamo, Japan.

He acknowledged it would cost Dubbo money, but the gift of the Shoyoen garden had proved to be so important in the past 10 years that it was worth it, he said.

The deputy mayor congratulated staff on the organisation of the 10th anniversary celebrations for Shoyoen Japanese garden.

He applauded the choice of gifts for the visitors from Minokamo - specially-commissioned bowls made from a mix of terracotta clay and red earth from Dubbo.

They had worked so well because they were simple and yet symbolic, he said.

Cr Reynolds raised a concern  the council had advertised it had childcare facilities available during the recent LGA conference.

A Rockdale councillor had brought her children only to find the facilities were not appropriate.

Cr Reynolds reported that Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre had stepped in, at its own cost, and provided child care.

It was one of the only negative pieces of feedback she had heard from the conference and the neighbourhood centre had turned it into a positive, Cr Reynolds said.

A Dubbo student had also noticed that a councillor was logged into Facebook while the students gave a presentation about their Minokamo exchange the week before, she said.

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