MOST Ballarat City councillors believe due process was followed in the decision to demolish the Civic Hall.
Mayor John Burt said he “strongly disagreed” with Councillor Belinda Coates’ concerns over governance, statutory planning and ethical issues around the vote at last Wednesday’s council meeting.
Councillors Joshua Morris, John Philips, Amy Johnson, Des Hudson and Peter Innes all agreed.
Cr Morris said he was “very surprised” by Cr Coates this week proposing a notice of motion to rescind the 6-3 vote but would not change his vote to demolish the hall.
“From my position, Belinda has raised issues about the advice we received around due process but I’m happy with the due process carried out,” Cr Morris said.
Cr Philips, who also didn’t believe he would change his yes vote, said he believed all the appropriate due diligence had been done.
“I think it is unnecessary at this stage,” Cr Philips said.
“When the planning application (to demolish the hall) comes up will be the time for people to have their say.”
Cr Innes said it was Cr Coates’ democratic right to put up the notice of motion but was disappointed with the way it had happened.
“We have followed due process,” Cr Innes said. Cr Hudson said rescission motions were not used flippantly, recalling only three previous ones in his 11 years on council.
“If Cr Coates can present any new information, given the amount of information we and previous councils have received, will it be enough to sway our mind?” Cr Hudson said.
“I’ll be disappointed if this is a stalling tactic.”
Cr Johnson said she stood by her previous social media comments in which she criticised Cr Coates’ actions and said she would not be changing her vote.
However, Cr Vicki Coltman, who voted against the proposal and said she would second Cr Coates’ motion, said her concerns included the planning process and the meeting’s conduct.
She also emphasised it was not a party political decision and comments aimed at Cr Coates being a Greens party member were disappointing.
“Concerns have been raised by various members of the community (who) have come from all walks of life, all backgrounds, private school, public school with no political alignments,” Cr Coltman said.
She said she had stated all along she did not have an opinion on the Civic Hall as long as the process was followed correctly and was economically and socially responsible.
Cr Samantha McIntosh, who voted against the proposal, said she thought the notice of motion was appropriate.
“It is for all the right reasons. We’re not just kicking rocks here,” Cr McIntosh said.
“We need to truly and wholly investigate all the information,” Cr McIntosh said.
However, Cr McIntosh would not comment on any plans to second the motion.