Council intentionally left Southsiders in the dark
SOUTHSIDE residents’ two-year-long confusion about the future of its long-promised sewerage scheme was caused by an internal Gympie council direction to stop releasing information unless directly asked, it has been revealed.
The revelations were made as part of a briefing at yesterday’s Gympie Regional Council workshop on what options were available to finish the scheme, which has been in limbo for more than two years.
The staff report said about 75 inquiries had been made to the council about the scheme’s progress since the start of 2019.
The last residents officially heard about the project was in 2018 when affected residents received a letter telling them the council needed access to their properties between February and April 2018.
Digging on stage eight of the scheme would not start until July 2018, it said.
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It was the last proactive communication released about the scheme.
Staff revealed during yesterday’s workshop that the freeze on releasing information was the direction council decided on during an internal briefing.
This was supported by the accompanying staff report which said “the strategy at the time was to not distribute any further information and only answer any inquiries involved”.
A strategy that has left many residents in the dark – staff said the council had even been asked by some residents about to go on holidays if they needed to leave a key to their property with the council to allow access.
The council’s staff recommended the creation of a fact sheet to update residents about the scheme as councillors grappled with the future of the project, and how to pay the $15m bill it would carry if completed.