Seriously ill and with mobility issues, Wendy Hunter claims she was told by a shire councillor to "ride a bike home" in a dismissive slight following Wednesday's heated council meeting.
Cr Robyn Bain had earlier told the public gallery "I hope you all walk home and save the energy" as they applauded the lost "climate emergency" rescission motion. But she doesn't recall the exchange with Ms Hunter.
Ms Hunter says chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has turned her from a very active person to someone who struggles to catch her breath and is reliant on a walker to get around.
She said the incurable condition is exacerbated by poor air quality, so any focus on improving our environment, such as council's inclusion of the current climate emergency in its resilience strategy, was essential.
Outside chambers Ms Hunter said she tried to engage with Cr Robyn Bain to explain what the climate vote meant to her and that she would love to walk if possible.
"She just said to me 'you better ride a bike then' and walked off," Ms Hunter claimed.
However, Cr Bain said she did not recall that exchange, only that she was keen to leave the building following "robust discussion".
"We've had the debate. We lost, they won, life goes on," Cr Bain said when asked about the alleged exchange.
"It can be harrowing, to fight for what you believe in in front of an audience that despises what's coming out of your mouth.
It can be harrowing, to fight for what you believe in in front of an audience that despises what's coming out of your mouth.Cr Robyn Bain
"I was very keen to get out the door. If I was dismissive of anybody it was because I wanted to get out of there. But I don't recall that."
Cr Robyn Bain's comments during the council meeting weren't the only ones raising eyebrows.
Cr Mitchell Nadin was repeatedly called to order by Mayor Kristy McBain for singling out another councillor for criticism and attacking council's previous decision to approve the climate emergency motion as "ill thought" and "dysfunctional".
During the discussion Cr Jo Dodds called for a point of order, as she believed Cr Nadin was not speaking to the mayor appropriately.
The situation became visibly heated when Cr Nadin accused Mayor Kristy McBain of having "political" motives and "a bone to pick" when she asked him to take his seat after he exceeded the allowed five minute period. He was eventually told by the mayor to take his seat or leave the chamber.
It's fair to say petty agendas have given way to actual debate todayMayor Kristy McBain
Cr Nadin continued his criticism of councillors and the majority decision after the meeting by telling the Bega District News the decision "is an indictment on the leadership of this council, who have shown they care more about petty symbolic politics than practical action".
"These councillors, including the mayor, have shown their true colours. They're green to the core," he said.
Councillors are entitled to debate a motion in chambers, but are not supposed to be critical of an approved resolution of council.
Deputy Mayor Sharon Tapscott was asked to take her seat when she too exceeded the five minute period
In the meeting Cr Tony Allen used his speech to criticise the Greens, saying "this whole issue of climate change has been taken off the rails" by the political party.
But Cr Cathy Griff called for a point of order, saying "the climate emergency declaration is a grassroots movement and has nothing to do with the Greens".
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Cr Allen also alleged jobs at Bega Cheese were going to be "collateral damage if this motion gets up", but Mayor Kristy McBain said it was an "absolute furphy" that the original motion would impact on jobs in the Bega Valley.
While Cr Russell Fitzpatrick said he believed in climate change, he also said "these weather episodes will continue, no matter what they will continue" and that he does not "have a lot of faith in the United Nations".
This whole issue of climate change has been taken off the railsCr Tony Allen
On the other side of the debate, Cr Dodds also used strong words in her speech.
"If the word 'emergency' scares or offends you fine, stick your fingers in your ears," she said.
"If you'd rather play semantics, if you'd rather we turn the lights off, shame on you."
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Near the discussion's conclusion, it was clear Mayor Kristy McBain had been unimpressed with the councillors' conduct in the chamber.
"It's fair to say petty agendas have given way to actual debate today," she said.
"The greater debate about whether this is a Green movement doesn't mean anything to [council's upcoming climate resilience] strategy.
"This isn't about carbon policy. This is about local action. It's about saying how can we mitigate, how can we adapt."
COMMENT: Deny climate emergency at our peril