Mayor lashes out at memorial plan

At last month’s council meeting, Cr Brian Corr moved a motion for the City to recognise the ‘significant importance’ of lot 971 Creaney Drive in Kingsley and to request a report on the possibility of installing a memorial plaque.

But Mayor Troy Pickard said he was ‘disturbed’ to ‘receive a formal correspondence from the football club’ to find out they had not been consulted on the proposal.

Cr Corr said lot 971 ‘flowed’ in to Kingsley Reserve and a plaque would be ‘highly visible’ and recognised as belonging to both the community and the Kingsley sporting clubs.

He said the existing memorials, in place at the Kingsley Memorial Clubrooms since 2004, were ‘part of the sporting club, in the sporting club and just outside the entrance’.

‘The community generally, unless you’re playing sport or visiting as a parent or whatever, don’t see it but they would see it out in lot 971, particularly in that open area where it would be seen from the sporting ground, from the clubhouse and by the people using the footpath and the park,’ he said.

‘What I’m asking for here is one that really belongs to the community as well as the football club and the other sporting clubs.

‘It’s a big difference and I think a lot of people use lot 971 and are now aware of lot 971 and its importance, so a plaque in there would be a terrific memorial to the people who lost their lives in the Bali bombings.’

He said the sporting groups would be consulted on what the memorial would be and its location.

Mr Pickard said not only should the club have been consulted but the club should be the one to initiate and drive such proposals.

‘I think that is an affront to the memorial that currently exists and I think it is disgraceful,’ he said. ‘I’ve never seen in 12 years of local government such a sensitive issue like this being treated the way it has; highly disrespectful and I’m gutted on behalf of the football club for the way they’ve been treated over this issue.

‘We should let the club retain full ownership of it and allow them to drive it if they think it’s a good initiative.’

Cr Corr said he had been in email communication with a committee member of the club who was currently in Canada.

Mr Pickard read a letter from the football club.

‘In our judgement, the Kingsley Memorial Sports Hall, encompassing the memorial room with photos and information outlining our club’s experience in the bombing tragedy of October 12, 2002 in Bali, where seven of our members’ lives were lost, honours our commitment to establish a magnificent facility memory of our lost boys,’ he read.

‘We consider the use of memorial unnecessary and diminishes the significance in this instance.

‘It is a term of consequence and gravity and not to be used lightly or as emotional leverage.’

Cr Liam Gobbert said the ‘tragic event was being used as emotional baggage to drive a personal issue’.

‘In the report, the officers have provided comment that there already is a memorial,’ he said. ‘I further believe that reports previously presented to this council have indicated that the land does not display significant importance, even being surplus.’

Cr Sam Thomas said he voted for the retention of lot 971 ‘because of the fauna and flora, nothing else’.

‘There was no intention in my mind to utilise that piece of land as a memorial for the Kingsley Football Club,’ he said.

Cr TeresaRitchie said the motion only asked for a report to be prepared and during this process, ‘the Kingsley Football Club along with other significant stakeholders in the community would be consulted and once the information is provided to the council, then we will have a process whereby we can make a fully informed decision on the matter’.

The motion was defeated 10-2, with councillors Corr and Ritchie voting for it.