BELINDA Coates was dumped as the City of Ballarat’s waste management representative and replaced with mayor Joshua Morris last night, in a decision that sparked a bitter split in the Ballarat City Council.
The row began when councillors were asked to pick a representative for the new regional Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Region Forum.
The current Central Highlands Regional Waste Management Group, which Cr Coates deputy chairs, is set to amalgamate into the new regional one.
Deputy mayor Des Hudson nominated Cr Coates for the position and she accepted, expressing her commitment to the role.
But when it came time to take the vote, Cr Samantha McIntosh said she had an alternative motion to appoint Cr Morris to the position.
“I recognise the amazing contribution of Cr Coates,” Cr McIntosh said.
“I do believe this is a really important role and a very important group. I believe the significance of the regional board warrants us engaging our mayor for our representative in this forum.”
Cr Hudson’s earlier motion was defeated 4-5 by councillors McIntosh, Morris, Amy Johnson, Vicki Coltman and John Burt.
"The significance of the regional board warrants us engaging our mayor for our representative"Cr Samantha McIntosh
The decision came hours after IBM announced Ballarat as a recipient of a $US500,000 ($542,540) Smarter Cities Challenge grant to develop the city’s waste management systems yesterday.
Supporting Cr Morris for the job, Cr Vicki Coltman said the new regional group was an opportunity to put waste management at the top of the council’s priorities
But Cr Coates questioned why waste was suddenly such an important issue when it had always been an important issue to the region.
“Not that I object to the idea of waste having more prominence,” she said.
Cr Coates also said she expressed interest in the role “a while ago”, and the change of heart came very recently.
It gave the appearance of a process that was not transparent, she said.