I ATTENDED Sunday’s community meeting at Tarraganda Hall where around 50 members of the public met with most of the candidates for the upcoming council election.
Thanks must go to the Civic Centre Action Committee for organising and hosting the meeting as I’m sure all present, including the candidates, benefitted from the lively discussion.
A couple of points.
Aside from one or two under-voting-age exceptions, at 33 I’d have to say I was the youngest in the crowd by a considerable margin.
My humble apologies if my estimates are off, I mean no offence.
I only point it out as everyone over the age of 18 is required to vote and, in fact, should see voting as the right and privilege it is.
Therefore, it’s a little disappointing to see the lack of representation from all ages in a crowd trying to gauge who will best represent them on the new council for the next four years.
The other issue raised related to the media’s coverage – or perceived lack thereof according to one candidate - of council matters.
There’s no need to name names – it’s a valid concern even if I do take issue to it as editor of the BDN.
The concern was raised as part of a wider topic on the need for better communication between the council staff, councillors and the general public.
I take issue that “nothing” appears in the paper following a Tuesday council meeting, but yes it’s true that not everything discussed during the meetings is covered in print.
It is my role as editor to determine what I feel is of most interest to readers of the BDN.
Do readers want to know about the (sometimes) hours of debate around how a particular water charge is calculated? Or do they just wish to know the result and how it affects them?
I’d argue the latter, as if the community was genuinely interested in the inner goings-on of an entire, open-to-the-public council meeting, the gallery wouldn’t be as empty every third Tuesday.
Do readers want to sift through the (sometimes) hefty reports prepared by council staff? Or do they prefer to have a summary followed by how councillors voted on the staff recommendation?
These are questions I have to ask myself every day (and to be fair, I do have to sift through the entire reports in order to provide balanced - and readable - coverage).
I don’t profess to be an expert on these matters and will happily accept any feedback on how council issues are reported in the BDN.