• Tony Bosworth

Hawkesbury councillor warns council under pressure from “powerful outside influences”

Progressive independent Hawkesbury City councillor Pete Reynolds is warning the sudden and unexplained departure of General Manager Peter Conroy means the council is now under growing pressure from developers.

Councillor warns agricultural land under threat from developers

The council is currently reviewing all its major planning documents, says Cllr Reynolds, and warns council staff, “are being placed under immense pressure”.

“I have great faith in our council, our staff and the utmost respect for the role of local councillors. However we know in recent times large lots of Hawkesbury rural lands west of the river have been purchased by foreign interests and others with a view to development, even though development is not permitted,” said Cllr Reynolds.

General Manager Mr Conroy left the council suddenly on November 13, just three days after tendering his resignation. No reason for the resignation – or any explanation about the events leading up to the resignation - has been given by Mayor Patrick Conolly, either to ratepayers or independent and Greens councillors, who were surprised by the resignation.

The Post asked Mayor Conolly a number of specific questions about the events leading up to the resignation. The Mayor did not answer the questions, instead telling us in a written statement, The arrangements, to give effect to the resignation and the discussions of the Councillors present, are confidential at Mr Conroy’s request and as required by Council’s Code of Meeting Practice”.

“With the sudden and unexplained departure of the General Manager it is now very apparent council is under pressure from powerful outside influences and vested interests,” said Cllr Reynolds.

Councillor Pete Reynolds speaks out

Cllr Reynolds says the planning documents being reviewed by staff will determine what sort of development is allowed in the Hawkesbury, and where.

“One of my election commitments was to protect the Hawkesbury from inappropriate development, especially west of the river and on our precious agricultural lands,” Cllr Reynolds said.

And he issued a stark warning about powerful interests at work.

“If, in the next few months, anything happens to the employment of our planning staff or other senior staff then the community should ask who controls their council.”

Mr Reynolds says he could get in trouble for speaking out.

“But the community is my tribe. I represent them and nobody else.”

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