Council flustered over Lake Apex

FACTIONS between the elected members of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council came to a head on Wednesday after Mayor Steve Jones, Cr Peter Friend and Cr David Neuendorf excused themselves from a closed session meeting.
The closed meeting was held to discuss legalities which arose after a majority of trees were removed from an island at Lake Apex in Gatton.
A popular nesting site for protected bird species, the council was subsequently investigated by relevant environmental authorities after it was discovered the LVRC held no permit to carry out such a task.
LVRC CEO, Colin O’Connor, refused to take any information regarding the matter into open forum.
“It’s absolutely irresponsible of council to discuss this in open forum,” Mr O’Connor said.
Cr Peter Friend refused to be a part of the closed session.
“This shouldn’t be something that’s kept from the community,” Cr Friend said before excusing himself.
“You can label me as a follower but this is where I sit.”
Cr Neuendorf agreed with Cr Friend.
“The community knows we have a legal problem...I won’t be supporting any motion [regarding this],” Cr Neuendorf said.
Mayor Steve Jones said he was concerned with the way the matter had been dealt with.
Council returned to open session with the recommendation to move the motion which had been discussed in closed session.
Cr Jim McDonald outlined the motion which would allow the LVRC CEO to resolve the matter on behalf of the councillors.
Cr Neuendorf became angry, stating he didn’t believe the councillors should be held responsible.
“I’m not guilty for this fine,” Cr Neuendorf said.
Mr O’Connor agreed with Cr Neuendorf but warned him not to elaborate any further on the matter.
"If you think it's in the communities best interest to report me to the CMC, go ahead," Cr Neuendorf said
“You acted in good faith on my advice and it was a unanimous decision [at the time],” Mr O’Connor said.
“I gave you the wrong advice and I take 100 per cent responsibility and i accept that.”
Mayor Jones also outlined his concern regarding past negotiations between relevant government departments and the CEO.
“They’re totally wrong...there was no elected representative there,” Mayor Jones said.

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