Merimbula Letters to the Editor, December 4

Lunch donations

We have volunteered our Merimbula and Bega offices to be a collection point for presents for the Sapphire Coast Community Christmas Lunch taking place at the Bega Civic Centre this year.

Please feel free to drop off your donations to our Merimbula office at 2/6 Alice St, Merimbula or the Bega office 4/225 Carp St, Bega (opposite Betta Electrical). We are open 9am- 5pm Monday to Friday. We ask anyone donating to ensure their donations reach us by December 19.

Presents can be wrapped or unwrapped as our staff will wrap those that aren't. If they are wrapped please provide details of the gift. We would like to encourage anyone donating presents to consider gifts for adults as it is especially important to ensure our older residents receive presents too.

Danielle Pearson, Sapphire Conveyancing

Wheelers apprentice Kim Phicharachot and her mother Koranit Khamrin are both TAFE Bega commercial cookery students.

Wheelers apprentice Kim Phicharachot and her mother Koranit Khamrin are both TAFE Bega commercial cookery students.

Take some responsibility

As a long-standing resident of Mirador (21 years) I have had a fire evacuation plan in place for years. I live in Camilla Court where the emergency access road that joins Berrambool is. I was at the meeting on Wednesday night and would like to thank the RFS for their informative information.

To those Mirador residents that want the emergency road open on a permanent basis do you really think Camilla Court residents wouldn't have the gate open if needed well before you have to leave your house?

Sorry, homes can be replaced, people can not, so don't leave it too late to leave if you have to. Also where do you think the land is to put a permanent road in? It is up to individuals to be prepared. Stop using the fires as your excuse to get a shortcut to town on a permanent basis.

Ross Emerson, Mirador

Less than honest

In response to your editorial on the shire's swimming pools, the Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association contends that from the outset of the current debate around the merits of council's proposed special rate variation (SRV), council officials - both paid and elected - have been less than honest with the community as to the facts of the matter and have made false claims in an attempt to both justify their actions and enlist community support for their plans, while failing at every step to examine alternate avenues of funding, including those designated by current council policy.

The BVSRRA was one of many groups and individuals in our community who took the time andtrouble to make submissions to council detailing the alternate avenues for funding that council should examine before committing to pursue an SRV. Based on the reports to council and the discussion in council meetings, none of those options have been examined. The BVSRRA's submission, along with the others and the majority result of council's own opinion poll, were simply ignored by council.

In your editorial, you also referenced the fact that council has experienced significant difficulties in managing its financial responsibilities.

In that regard, few would be aware that a couple of weeks ago, council quietly released its unaudited financial statements for 2018/2019, reflecting a consolidated net deficit, before grants and contributions for capital purposes, of nearly $10million, against a budgeted deficit of $1.7million.

More seriously, while council has refused to make an income statement for its general fund available for public scrutiny, the BVSRRA believes that, based on council's published information, the general fund has recorded an unprecedented net deficit, before grants and contributions for capital purposes, of $18.6m against a budgeted deficit of $3.8m.

The above results should be ringing alarm bells in our community, at the Office of Local Government and the NSW Audit Office, as should the fact that this information was published without any comment or explanation from council officials.

Most importantly, the BVSRRA believes that council has failed in its primary obligation to residents and ratepayers of acting honestly and is simply unworthy of the community's trust.

John Richardson, BVSRRA

TAFE Industry Dinner

Wheelers apprentice Kim Phicharachot and her mother Koranit Khamrin, who works at the Eden Fishermen's Club (pictured), are both TAFE Bega commercial cookery students. They were hard at work on Tuesday night for the annual Industry Dinner, helping prepare and serve a seven-course degustation menu to the region's employers and guests.