Last night at Council Kelvin Avenue was given it’s last rights. The mood on the night, indeed before the night, was such it was obvious it was going down (for the count) in spite of an 11 to 1 vote in favour of a road closure only two weeks ago.
I think I could write a book on this one as an introduction to council for this elected member.
The decision was unanimous and yes that means I helped to vote it down in spite of maintaining up until now a stance in favour of the silent majority of residents in favour of a treatment of one kind or another. In voting against it I spoke in the chamber and below is a copy of the text I used.
To Be or not to be is the question.
As I speak to this motion I find myself in an absolute quandary, wondering why we are yet again debating the now infamous Kelvin Avenue, the street that bears its name on my residential address.
Kelvin Avenue must go down as the issue of this term of Council. Born in a previous term it has become the issue that has proved to by the Achilles Heel of this term.
It seems that no matter how many times we survey the community and get a majority in favour of doing something and no matter how many times it gets the nod from those in this chamber, it seems it simply can’t get past go.
We have had numerous debates about the Kelvin Avenue Pocket Park, Road Closure, Driveway Link, Landscape Treatment. We have discussed ETSA easement issues, road safety issues, and cost amongst other things. We have argued whether or not it fits the policy (determined by our predecessors) on Greening the City of Unley.
Stumbling our way through survey after survey we found a majority of residents in favour of the original concept, a majority of residents in favour of the compromise solution put forward to appease those against the original and yet here we still are. There were of course many who were critical that the surveys were not wide enough, and yet no matter how wide we increased the survey area the result remained similar. Just as an aside we had last week yet another survey but this time not by council and the residents of Kelvin Avenue were not included in the survey.
Never having had an opinion of my own and vowing to all my residents and rate payers that I would vote as they ask me to I find it unbelievable that I am being asked to vote yet again in a climate where the majority (being in favour) are not voicing their wishes as passionately as the monitory (being against the project).
I find myself conflicted between two paradigms and I believe that this conflict and not easement, safety, cost issues etc are what we are debating tonight.
There are fights you can win and fights you can’t win. It is important to know which fights you can or can’t win and to avoid going to battle on the ones you can’t. And in spite of it winning every quarter it seems that until it is voted down it will continue to be fought.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil. In other words those speaking the loudest and who are the minority of those surveyed are those still presenting to Council and those who are the majority are happy to speak only when asked to.
So in other words if the minority keeps protesting they will get their way because their passion and their persistence simply becomes a fight that cannot be won.
The irony is that a vote in the affirmative, as I understand it, on the motion before us will only produce (you guessed it) yet another survey because DPTI needs to be assured that the residents are in favour. Of course the area they survey will be different again to that conducted by us and whoever conducted last weeks.
So with apologies to the majority of residents who I promised I would support I find myself seeing no point in keeping that promise because it is a battle that cannot (in the longer term) be won.