Thursday 9 April 2009

Kirsten lectures Sno

Our youngest Regional Councillor, put one of Cairns' longest-serving local politicians in his place, at yesterday's Planning and Environment meeting.

Kirsten Lesina held Sno Bonneau to account, after he claimed that the Trinity Park community wanted a licence to be approved for a new local tavern in his Division.

In his support for the application, Bonneau said that the proposed venue will provide a focus for "community interaction in the Trinity Park area and there has been positive community feedback supporting the proposed establishment."

However, this is at odds with local residents, who have loudly objected. The proposal for a commercial hotel license was lodged with the Department of Liquor Licensing and Gambling at the yet to be built Bluewater Tavern at Trinity Park.

A number of complaints have been lodged with the Department. An objector's meeting was held on 16th March. Trinity Park's John O'Grady told the meeting last month that the proposed pub is at odds with the community, as it is to be positioned in the centre of a residential area.

"There's concerns of late night noise and disturbance from patrons coming and going," O'Grady says. "Some locals are wondering why our Councillor Sno Bonneau is supporting this at Council saying the 'community was right behind it', when he never asked any of the affected locals such as us."

"He is already aware of other noise and nuisance issues from around the boat ramp and marina areas late at night," O'Grady says.

Children dismount school buses on Reed Road and will have to walk on the footpath right past this proposed liquor outlet.

"Young children should not have to negotiate the possibility of seeing drunk or unruly patrons or people coming and going from a bottle shop," John O'Grady said. "We realise a tavern needs a liquor license to effectively operate, and we are not against that," O'Grady says.

"What we do have real concerns about is the hours of operation, possible noise and nuisance, and a take-away bottleshop in an area that is already well-serviced with another just 300 meters away. There is also a Dan Murphies currently being built at Smithfield."

Surprisingly, when the proposal was submitted to Council's Safe Communities Coordinator for review, no comments or concerns were raised. However, after numerous concerns from residents about the licence, Councillor Sno Bonneau still said there were no local objections.

"Councillors should listen to the recommendations of the elected Councillor in the respective Division," he told Councillors yesterday.

Kirsten Lesina, elected last March at the age of 21, told the meeting that every elected Councillor takes an oath. "We all vote in the best interests across all Divisions," she said.

At an earlier meeting to discuss this same matter, a similar claim was made by Councillor Sno. "Are you sure you have the support of the community for this Councillor," asked the assiduous Kirsten. "Because I know there are some who don't want this in their community," she explained. No answer was forth-coming.

The red-faced Bonneau was in disgust when the vote for the licence was not approved.


Jude Johnston said...

And we mustn't forget that Councillor Bonneau provided the Developers with a half page endorsement of the Bluewater Development for use in their sales pitch either.
Nor should we forget that all the destruction of waterways, and the removal of a road in front of Agentea on Clifton Beach, the inappropriate development - all of this happened on his "watch" when he was Divisional Councillor and "being listened to". He was given delegated authority by the former Council to do dastardly deeds with Developers.

Ice Breaker said...

Yes, Sno performed his usual "Snojob" for everyone yesterday at the Council meeting and full credit must be given to Kirsten, who stood up for the residents in his electorate and told the meeting, of several emails of objection that she had recieved. The man lied to everyone in the meeting, and at the end of the day was made to look the fool that he really is!

Unfortunately, the Clifton Views developments is another one of the "Snojobs" that is a real mess.

His total lack of respect for residents,non inclusive policy re residents when making decisions, and making decisions that primarily benefit developers, remains a fact to this day.

Sno should be made to apologise to the residents of Trinity/Trinity Park for his lack of representation and his dishonesty at yesterday's meeting. He did not do his job and I believe that is unlawful, under his code of conduct.

This man needs to be made accountable to the elected position he holds. Clearly, he has a conflict of interest when he puts the developer's interests before those of residents time and time again!!!!!!!!!!!

Clifton Ratbag said...

Sno Bonneau is thought by many in Clifton Beach to be a bald-faced liar. He routinely told porkies to appease any group he was appearing in front of, only to tell other groups the opposite.

Bonneau is, I believe, now the only councillor who doesn't live in his division. What does he care about noise at Trinity Park? He's kilometers away still living in Clifton Beach!

He's a snake. The new council is now on warning about his antics. You've got to wonder who's pocket he's in - it surely isn't the public!

Cliff Ton said...

I know of at least one other case where Bonneau forwarded to a developer, a private email sent to him by a concerned citizen prior to a council meeting, so that the developer would have final say.

Bonneau sides with developers on the northern beaches in virtually every vote.

I really hope this guy is on the take with these developers, because otherwise he is making these decisions purely as a power play over the people who elected him.

Trinity, Tony P said...

Sno Bonneau has another tool he uses to stifle dissent.

A few months back I visited council chambers to read over a development application in my area. My details were recorded by the council officer in order to give me the file to look at.

These details were then given (or taken) by Sno Bonneau, who passed along my name and personal details including phone and email, to the developer who began calling me to "inquire" about my concerns!

This was a clear breach of privacy legislation - which the Queensland government promptly advised did not apply to local councils!

Council is aware of this breach (as well as one other one) by Bonneau) yet claims this isn't a breach of councillor behaviour!

It's a travesty this councillor continues to operate in a rogue and constituent-hostile manner.

Fiona Tulip said...

That story Tony is totally believable because it happened to me also.

A few years back, our community was organising a barbeque on the beach. Sno did not like this so he ordered Council minions to ring me.

The problem was that they contacted me at work, by using phone numbers stored in a database for another purpose held by council. They rang me twice in one day and the second Officer, was very rude and agitated! Obviously, this Officer was being bullied into this act and he was under pressure.

An offical complaint was made and I did recieve a written apology (of sorts) by the CEO for his behaviour, but clearly, this Councillor has learnt nothing from this episode.

You also need to take this matter further, Tony, as it documents a picture of bad/poor behaviour which must be effectively dealt with. If not, residents of his electorate, need to be aware of his inability to do his job, because of serious conflicts of interest, a concept that Sno continually fails to grasp!

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

the ceo must respond to this: what has he been going on behind the scenes to support this councillor in this way. have similar incidents taken place involving other developments. have any state or federal laws been broken. is this a matter for the CMC. who are the officers responsible. have they broken any council rules. has the ceo taken any action. this is a very serious matter and i would encourage those people, a couple of whom I know, to take this matter further.

Sue E said...

Tony P of Trinity, as one discovers, Councillors are for want of a better description “protected species.”
When a councillor takes office he/she is required to sign a declaration of office which includes an agreement to comply with the Code of Conduct. Under Section 243A (1) of the Local Government Act a councillor must comply with the obligations stated in the local government’s code of conduct (CRC Policy No 1:02:22) However, a contravention of the code is not an offence unless it breaches a statutory obligation.
There are 4 kinds of Code of Conduct breaches : a meeting breach; minor breach; repeat breach and a statutory breach. Statutory breaches have penalties and could result in court action – prosecution by council.

A statutory breach may be “official misconduct” and it is the CEO who decides if a statutory breach is “official misconduct” which must then by law be referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission if there is a suspicion that a complaint, or information or matter involves, or may involve, official misconduct.
If the CEO decides it is not official misconduct the matter is referred to the conduct review panel. Council may decide to take no action; give a written reprimand; suspend the councillor from up to 2 or all future meetings or prosecute. [the latter I suspect would be zero]

Under Local Government Section 250 (1) & (2) Improper use of information by councillors ( which is reflected in CRC Policy No. 1:02:22) is a statutory breach with the penalty under both sections, 100 penalty units or $7500. Straightforward you might think until you look at the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001.

Official misconduct is any conduct connected with the performance of an officer’s duties that is dishonest or lacks impartiality, involves a breach of the trust placed in the officer by virtue of their position, or is a misuse of officially obtained information.
A local government is a unit of public administration so councillors and council staff are captured by the definition of “conduct” under the C&M Act. All well and good you might think until you look at the definition of “official misconduct” (s15 Div 2)

Official misconduct is conduct that could, if proved, be—
(a) a criminal offence; or
(b) a disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for terminating the person’s services, if the person is or was the holder of an appointment.

Councillors are elected officials and there are no provisions under the Local Government Act by which a councillor’s appointment can be terminated so (b) is ruled out regardless of whether they are incompetent or their conduct is in complete breach of the Code of Conduct or the Ethics principles for local government councillors, namely: integrity of local government, primacy of the public interest, independence of action by councillors, appropriate use of information by councillors, transparency and scrutiny. The only “official misconduct” by a councillor, is conduct that could, if proved, be a criminal offence.

If you wonder why so many people in the community are aggrieved and have lost total faith in Council and those who are supposed to represent their interests in a fair and balanced way, the above says it all.

Jude Johnston said...

Arthur FBT, I once thought like you, believed that those in Council, State and Federal positions would take complaints seriously, would investigate thoroughly and ensure that those in authority would be accountable."ROTFLMAO". However, my own personal issues raised with Council and eventually the Ombudsman showed that noone wants to rock the gravy train. I don't think the CEO actually has any sting in the tail, and would speculate that the strings are pulled by others.

John O'Grady said...

I have a copy of 12 letters to Sno Bonneau from very concerned individuals back in July 07 stating their worry about the liquor licence hours of operation etc. for the Bluewater Tavern.
Further to this and in all letters, these people specifically called on Council (through Sno) to consult with them prior to this proposal.
Sno Bonneau clearly knew about this and it now seems aparrent that he lied to the Council meeting.
We have now written to the Mayor and the CEO asking what they intend to do about this.
We have also written to the head of Liquor Licencing & Gaming, asking that they suspend any decision on this application until this matter is sorted.
I believe it should now be placed back on the Council agenda for a re vote and serious necessary action be taken against the Councillor.

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

Of course the 12 could lodge an official complaint of misconduct under council's code of conduct?

Noel Bricks said...

Which Code of Condust would that be Arthur?

I understand they can choose whichever one suits them on the day...