Mayor retracts statement in Inner West Courier on Homebush density

A debate over an article that appeared in the Inner West Courier erupted at Strathfield Council’s Ordinary Meeting.

It concerned a quote from the Mayor, that led to questions over when he speaks for Council and when his views are personal.

Mayor Gulian Vaccari claimed the reporter quoted his personal views, but the words got lost in the editing process.

Cr Helen McLucas, however, wanted a correction, claiming the quotes were “demeaning to the residents”.

The article, which concerned the increasing density in Homebush and the Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Strategy, stated, “Strathfield Mayor Gulian Vaccari disagrees with claims there hasn’t been enough community consultation on the Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Strategy.”

Cr Vaccari was quoted as saying: “I think anyone who hasn’t been on the moon for the last six months is aware of what’s going on if they want to be aware… all council areas need to take their share – and I just feel 25% to 33% in the Homebush precinct is a lot.”

While Cr Vaccari maintained he told the journalist that it was his personal view, Cr McLucas was adamant that the Mayor retract his statement and apologise.

“We, the Council have stated a position that we want to restart the community consultation period. I want to know whether you [Cr Vaccari] were misquoted. If you were not misquoted, then it is demeaning to the residents,” said Cr McLucas

“If you are not going to properly represent the community, then you should step down.”

The debate continued when Cr Raj Datta tabled a motion to write to Premier Mike Baird and Planning Minister Pru Goward, questioning why the State Government reduced the number of consultation exercises from 170 to two.

Cr McLucas continued by saying that the residents have once again been misled by
the process and Council needs to do everything in its power to ensure that residents are informed.

“Council has already requested that we restart the community consultation process… it is not sufficient that we get a quote from the Mayor saying that residents who haven’t ‘been on the moon’ should be aware of the situation.

“We took an oath of office saying that we will fight for our residents and it is our only responsibility on this Council. Our residents don’t know about this and you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Cr Vaccari said that when he spoke to the Inner West Courier, he believed he was expressing his personal views, and not that of the Council.

“I believe I was misquoted. We have to set the record straight. I don’t think she knew that what I was expressing was my personal view, and maybe I didn’t convey that clearly enough. There was no ill will and if the other councillors want, we can print a retraction in the Strathfield Scene, the Burwood Sceneand the Inner West Courier,” said Cr Vaccari.

Council will be printing a retraction in the three local newspapers.


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