Left wing councillor left red faced over royal portrait row


Monarchists Rachel Bailes and Phillip Benwell shake hands after the defeat of Labor Clr George Simon’s motion to remove the Queen’s portrait from Ryde Council Chambers. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO.

THE Queen’s portrait will continue to preside over Ryde Council Chambers after a Labor Party motion to support to dump it was defeated by eight votes to two on Tuesday night.

Councillors also voted against several other Labor republican motions and backed an amendment to continue to honour the Queen, refuse to take sides in the republican issue and leave future debate to Federal Parliament.

The motion to dump the Queen was proposed by Labor Clr George Simon who was accused by Independent and Liberal councillors of single-handedly embarrassing the City of Ryde and causing outrage in the community.

The debate heard community speakers for and against Clr Simon’s motion who included Australian Republican Movement spokesperson Peter FitzSimons, Australian Monarchist League spokeswoman Rachel Bailes and loyalist Phillip Benwell.

Mr FitzSimons said the republican debate should be heard at a Local Government level because it is the ‘closest democracy to people’ while Ms Bailes described Clr Simon’s motion as absurd, disgraceful, offensive and repugnant.

Some right royal humour was brought into the debate by Clr Roy Maggio who suggested the TWT Miss Gladesville Teen Queen’s portrait by hung at the council chamber while student Satyajeet Marar said McDonald’s should be involved in the debate because he’d sooner swallow a McChicken burger than republican propaganda.

Crestfallen but unrepentant, Councillor Simon conceded defeat.

“The allegation that I’ve embarrassed the Council is the one that hurts me the most,” he said.

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A PROPOSED 14 room boarding house at 95 Balaclava Road in North Ryde was rejected by Ryde councillors on Tuesday night despite legal advice the developer would defeat the Council in court.

The Ryde Liberals used their numbers to ensure a seven to three rejection vote on the grounds the boarding house had unsatisfactory parking, was inconsistent with local character, would impact on neighbours and was opposed by the community.

But Independent Clr Jeff Salvestro-Martin warned that the Council would lose a appeal in court brought by the developer because the proposal met all relevant zoning requirements and State Government provisions.

“Let’s be honest, we’ll be spending ratepayers money trying to defend what we can’t defend, in fact we’ll lose bucket loads of money going to court on this,” he said.

The Liberals argued that even losing court cases against boarding houses will act as a deterrent to other boarding house developers, who will seek to go elsewhere to avoid court actions.

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SYNTHETIC turf at ELS Hall Oval One will go ahead under a city wide Synthetic Surfaces Program endorsed by Ryde City councillors on Tuesday night.

The councillors’ decision was applauded by the North West Sydney Koala’s Womens Soccer Club, which was represented by 13 year old spokeswomen Eliza Coleman and Alice Clark.

“Our competitors have nicer fields than we do and are shocked by our field,” they said.

“A new field will be awesome.”

The Ryde Eastwood Hawks Rugby League club has argued that it cannot play on Oval One if a synthetic turf is installed but and councillors voted to give the Hawks ‘priority allocation’ at an alternative oval.

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A NORTH Ryde building proposal with a controversial elevated driveway was deferred by Ryde City Council on Tuesday night.

The proposed development at 38 Conrad Street was deferred to allow applicant Robert Carbone to submit amended landscaping plans that address many concerns raised by neighbour Robyn Slothouber.

“This is proposing an elevated driveway higher than a fence when there are feasible alternatives .. this proposal is totally out of character with the street and I’m asking for privacy, safety and amenity,” she said.

Mr Carbone was disappointed councillors did not accept what he believes is a ‘reasonable compromise’ in his current plan, discussed with council staff, which include a privacy barrier on the driveway.

“At the end of the day I’ve got a young family and we just want to get our renovations done,” he said.

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RYDE City Council’s future policy on residential tree removals will be determined by resident feedback.

Councillors voted on Tuesday night to put a number of options on public exhibition that include a proposal to allow residents to prune 10 per cent of the crown of a tree without an application to council.

The issue of how many meters a tree can encroach on a home and be lawfully removed by residents without approval sparked a heated debate with councillors suggesting three to five meters and council staff favouring four metres.

Circumstances where residents can arbitrarily remove tree roots will also be considered in the exhibition process and State Emergency Services will be consulted.

The public exhibition will occur early next year.