Mayor no-show at community forum

Seven empty chairs was the response to residents wanting answers about controversial decisions made by Blacktown Council this year.

Around 350 people packed Bowman Hall for a United Services Union community forum last week to demand an explanation from mayor Len Robinson, who was a no-show.

Residents were due to confront the mayor at last night’s extraordinary council meeting.

The closure of Mount Druitt Pool, the abolishment of the pensioners rate debate, the mayor’s plan for council to get out of childcare were high on the forum agenda.

‘‘This is the most important meeting you will attend in the next few years as it sends a message to Liberal councillors,’’ state spokeswoman for local government Sophie Cotsis said.

While all seven Labor councillors attended, Walter Smith was the only Liberal or independent councillor who faced the music.

While some took their frustration out on him, many others admired Cr Smith’s courage.

‘‘It comes down what council can get for their dollar,’’ Cr Smith said.

‘‘Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made that you have to live with.’’

But he wouldn’t explain why Mount Druitt pool was closed or comment on the mayor’s views that the council was dysfunctional.

There was a lot of Mount Druitt representation at the forum to have their say about the pool.

Rooty Hill High School student Emma Brown told how the school was forced take its year seven learn to swim scheme to Quakers Hill  this term because everywhere else was booked out.

‘‘Mount Druitt pool was a 10 minute walk up the road,’’ she said.

‘‘It was our little piece of paradise.’’

Another speaker, Alf, worked at the council’s pools for 37 years until he retired three years ago.

Many were at Mount Druitt pool, which was busy all six months of the year it was open.

‘‘In all my years I worked for council, there was never a problems with the pools,’’ Alf said.

‘‘I still use the pools and now have to travel from Minchinbury to Blacktown.’’

Liberal councillors have just under two years to change constituents’ minds.

‘‘I have lived and worked in this LGA since 1976 and this has to be the worst representation on council I’ve ever seen,’’ Ray Johnson said.

‘‘They have no consideration for the community, only for their own interests.’’

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