Widow’s plea forces reconsideration

Eileen Simms told the Gazette her late husband, John Cumbers, was a natural leader whose inclusive community vision was often a sticking point that led to his ideas and plans being rejected at council level.
Eileen Simms told the Gazette her late husband, John Cumbers, was a natural leader whose inclusive community vision was often a sticking point that led to his ideas and plans being rejected at council level.

Eileen Simms told the Gazette her late husband, John Cumbers, was a natural leader whose inclusive community vision was often a sticking point that led to his ideas and plans being rejected at council level.

‘He had no time for detractors and stalling strategies,’ Ms Simms said.

‘This made John a fine adversary for many councillors, although those with progressive plans for the Town of Victoria Park were fierce supporters.’

Ms Simms said her husband was dedicated to community service in the Town between 1982 and 2000, but an application by the Historic Victoria Park Society (HVPS) to the Town’s culture and local history working group (CLHWG) to have that commemorated posthumously was recommended for refusal.

At last Tuesday’s ordinary council meeting, the Town’s councillors voted to send the item back to the CLHWG for further investigation after HVPS secretary David Crann read aloud a letter from Ms Simms.

It outlined Mr Cumbers’ involvement in the foundation of about 10 Victoria Park community groups, including the Town’s first community garden at Miller and Beattie streets in 1993.

The CLHWG had rejected an application that a plaque recognising Mr Cumbers’ community service be erected at Victoria Park Community Garden because it couldn’t verify or agree if his contribution was outstanding.

Ms Simms said after becoming tired of fighting against ‘ongoing opposition to his community work in the Town’, Mr Cumbers resigned from all committees and moved to Darlington. He died on April 5, 2008 aged 54.