Tears and cheers as Hunters Hill celebrates
BY OUR CIVIC ROUNDSMAN
A night mixed with pride and emotion characterised Monday night’s final meeting of Hunters Hill Council before the September 9 local government elections.
The night was especially poignant for Mayor Richard Quinn and Clr Dr Meredith Sheil who will not be standing for re-election as well as for retired Clr Peter Astridge who could not attend but has devoted more than two decades of service to the municipality.
Mayor Quinn and General Manager Barry Smith received ovations from a packed gallery at the meeting alongside anti-merger campaigner Phil Jenkyn OAM who was awarded the Freedom of the Municipality from Mayor Richard Quinn, pictured right.
Phil Jenkyn Honoured
No thanks to gutless MPs
But it was a night where the Hunters Hill community took pride of place after a long and successful fight against the State Government’s proposed forced merger with the City of Ryde and Lane Cove.
Described by councillors as “the most important battle in Hunters Hill’s 150 year history” this incredible community based victory against all odds not only forced Premier Gladys Berejiklian to backflip on the proposed merger but saw the Court of Appeal award Hunters Hill all costs associated with the legal case against the government.
Emeritus Mayor Ross Williams gave the keynote address. “This recent, ill conceived and flawed NSW Liberal Government forced amalgamation process was by far the greatest challenge for our community to overcome,” Mr Williams said
“To the great disgrace of the Liberal Government and our local State Government member, Minister Roberts, this has been a blight on the Hunters Hill community for almost five years.”
“But the Hunters Hill community will fight for our independence and right to local governance, to preserve our heritage, environment and sense of place.
“When it rallies together it is a formidable body of passionate, determined and immensely talented individuals.
“And we have not been fighting this alone .. it is also important to acknowledge the significant role played by the media broadcaster Alan Jones and our own The Weekly Times newspaper.”
Councillor Dr Meredith Sheil called for a standing ovation for Mayor Quinn.
“This is my last council meeting but it has been an enormous privilege for me to fight for Hunters Hill and its independence,” Clr Sheil said.
“We do have a community council and this has been evident to me in the outcome we have achieved, a community worth more than money can buy.”
Councillor Sheil urged the community to keep fighting to keep Hunters Hill independent.
“The abject and revolting way the Liberal Party has treated its most ardent supporters in Hunters Hill has convinced me there is no place for party politics in local government.”
Alongside Mayor Quinn, Clr Sheil and Clr Astridge were praised for standing up for Hunters Hill at every opportunity with Clr Sheil even fronting former Premier Mike Baird on the issue at a recent local government conference in Wollongong.
Deputy Mayor Mark Bennett spoke of the resolve of Mr Jenkyn and General Manager Barry Smith.
“There were times I felt like crying, to be honest, but it was Phil who kept saying keep fighting, we will win this,” he said.
Councillors heard the State Government is still determined to find ways to abolish Hunters Hill, but for now the most pressing task is for Mayor Quinn to write to Hunters Hill’s Friendship Pact township of Le Vesinet, in Paris, with the historic news of La Victoire Est A Nous ..The Victory is Ours ! !