11.2 Right of reply
(a) Cr Delahunty.

“I feel that my decision making has been misrepresented by comments made by the friends of Caulfield Park president David Wilde and reported in today’s Caulfield Glen Eira Leader on-line and I seek to restore the balance to the public debate. In other mediums by the same person purporting to represent the entire group I and one of my colleagues was described as grossly incompetent and treacherous. In a further public flyer it was intimated that I said the conservatory was an icon and that I was hypocritical and deceptive. In yet another piece of correspondence I along with other Councillors were described as arrogant and deceptive. About these comments I would like to say that I will always defend the rights of people to disagree with me but I will not stand by and allow unprofessional and seemingly contradictory insults to be used. I condemn those comments as I have done in the past.

So onto the misrepresentation of my decision making in the comments today. The comments today suggest that we have snubbed our nose at the community. So to address the survey results. The report showed that the structural issues were so great that retention as the community called for was not really an option. Instead, as I spoke about at the Council Meeting
at the time the conservatory would have been a substantially new one if we were to go ahead with it. I therefore felt that the community consultation was based on a now unrealistic premise that there was an option to actually retain the conservatory in the first place. The advice we received also said there is no heritage value in to current structure. Instead it is largely, like my house, owed to 1970s architecture.

The cost is significant not as the comments say today merely insignificant and I take all decisions on costs very seriously regardless of how minor they might seem in the overall budget. The comments today also suggest that we should be condemned for the money we are spending on open space in other areas of the municipality areas that do not have parks let alone ones as large as Caulfield Park. Areas where residents get into a car to drive to find access to public space. It is money well spent and it is spent at the behest of the wider municipality. We could go back into consultation and check with the community and we could ask. So substantially the question would probably be; would you like to build a pretty much new conservatory using elements of an old conservatory without any historical significance in Caulfield Park for around half a million dollars at the very least. If so, please nominate which areas of Glen Eira you would like us to remove services from or which areas of open space you would like us to forego in order to provide this or please indicate if you are happy to have your rates increased to accommodate this expenditure. See, I don’t need to spend more ratepayers money to have this conversation because I already know what the answer will be. With the cost of living increases that families are facing in Glen Eira in the face of a cruel Federal Budget it seems rather elitist to insist that Council reach into the pockets of residents to deliver a conservatory to Caulfield Park and I hope this goes some way to balancing the public debate in this area.”