Archive:   Macedon Honour Avenue

Last Updated  31/7/06


Council Reverses Dumb And Dishonourable Decision:  Macedon's Honour Avenue May Now Live

(3/7/06 - P)  One knee-jerk decision follows another as majority of Councillors are shamed into changing their minds


It started at the May 3 Finance and Operations Committee meeting, where Councillors Rob Guthrie and Tom Gyorffy respectively moved and seconded a motion that $12,000 be referred to the 2006/2007 Council budget, and $2,500 to the recurrent budget, to provide an irrigation system along Honour Avenue, Macedon.  Only seven Councillors attended that meeting. Crs. Helen Relph (South ward) and Cr. John Letchford (South ward) were absent.  MRRA understands that, in a 4/3 decision, Crs. Guthrie (South ward), Gyorffy (West ward), McGregor (East ward) and Mayor Neil (East ward) voted for the irrigation system; Crs. Connor (West ward), Harvey (West ward) and Bleeck (East ward) voted against.


Three weeks later, at the 24 May ordinary Council meeting, and with Cr. Helen Relph (South) still absent, the vote went the other way.  Cr. Henry Bleeck (East) moved, and Cr. John Letchford (South) seconded, a motion that no further action be taken on the Honour Avenue trees (i.e. let them die and then replace the pin oaks with eucalypts).  The motion was carried 5/3 with assistance from Crs. John Connor (West), Sandra McGregor (East), and Noel Harvey (West).  Crs. Rob Guthrie (South), Tom Gyorffy (West) and Mayor Geoff Neil (East) opposed the motion.


It seems the key factors in overturning the original resolution to irrigate the trees were Cr. John Letchford (South) - absent from the first meeting - who subsequently opposed watering the trees, and Cr. Sandra McGregor (East) who seems to have changed her mind between the two meetings.


Honour Avenue is located in South ward.  Of the three South ward Councillors, Rob Guthrie twice supported saving the trees, Helen Relph was absent both times, and John Letchford seconded the May 24 motion to let the trees die, i.e. not water them.


In the four weeks since the 5/3 decision to not irrigate the trees, public protest has been strong.  Consequently, at the 28 June ordinary Council meeting in Gisborne, Councillors voted unanimously (8/0 - Cr. McGregor absent) not to water the trees but to prepare a management plan to preserve the trees, with Cr. Harvey apparently now in support of using various water sources, not just recycled water.  Funding needed to 'preserve' the trees has not been included in Council's 2006/2007 budget.