And the force is with… Forster…


The Feudal Master of Midcoast is going hell-for-leather before the council elections in  September, to garner as much as possible for his kingdom by the sea. 

Meanwhile, the serfs and peasants of the former Greater Taree City Council environs, the downtrodden strugglers in Wingham, and the brave barefoot minions in Gloucester, drag their wagons and horses through the mud and potholes of their sinking roads and byways to their dying townships, as they watch the rainbows and gold coins fall into the King’s coffers in Forster.

Meanwhile, only crumbs fall from king’s feast for the humble servants in Wingham.

Ruling the Roost

It was always a fear of local councils that, if amalgamated, there’d be a dominant faction who’d rule the roost.

And, in the Manning Valley, now called the meaningless Midcoast, the crown has come to roost in Forster, as the former Great Lakes Council sets up home, as close to a dictatorship as possible under the rule of  Administrator, John Turner and General Manager Glenn Handford and, judging from their arrogant media exposures, two more cocky (unelected) masters we have yet to see.

The unprecedented, deceptive and secretive rush to ram through a rate rise, (SRV), against the expressed plan of the former, (but not missed) Premier Baird, that no amalgamated council would have a rate rise for four years, the plan to build an edifice to replace the Cedar Party  Bridge and knock out the Wingham Swimming Pool, and now the plans for a six million dollar precinct development in Forster, plus a redevelopment of the Forster Beach swimming pool complex, have all gone down like a lead balloon. One has to ask, is this a priority given the backlog of other work in the electorate?

Meanwhile, Wingham has been tossed crumbs to remake itself. A $50,000 grant to the Chamber of Commerce to beautify the town won’t go far, especially after the inevitable consultants were brought (presumably expense free) from Sydney, and paid thirty thousand dollars out of the pot of fifty thousand, to come up with ideas. (They did donate ten thousand back after being here.)

The initial invitation from the Chamber was for “business types” to come and throw around ideas. Later, the humble community was invited to provide input. There were some good ideas. One, from a now-resident Sydney architect, was to use the money as 50% of the funds required to paint/restore the more rundown shopfronts, with the owners/tenants paying the other half. Not an exciting suggestion but, as it would effectively double the funding, it would have a greater impact on the quality of the Wingham streetscapes. One idea went further, to seed the cost of hiring a movie set designer to  façade the main street like they do for period movies, and make it look like the grand old days of Wingham. Another idea was using the money as seed capital  to fund/design/build a properly exciting and imaginative children’s playground.

Investigation Area

Another was a bandstand in the park for concerts, kids’ bands, and entertainment from local musicians, and more comfortable seating around the park for watching sports, and for older citizens to enjoy the sunshine and conviviality.
However, it seems that all Wingham can afford will be some planters, maybe a tree or two (scarcely the wonderful arborium of plantings that would look spectacular) and  some seats along the street. (Though it seems the local shops and cafes offer plenty of seating at present.)

What happened to ideas to cover the sewer lid of a roundabout at the bottom of Isabella street? That could be planted with beds of seasonal flowers, as they do in Byron Bay. (editor’s idea.)

Perhaps we should all learn to be consultants, sounds more profitable.

Meanwhile back in the kingdom . . .we wait breathlessly to hear what will be lavished next on Forster, before we get to elect a true council.

Get new blood in there. Find new good candidates, encourage people with heart and decency to stand.

So, whinge now! Because, once the new lot gets in, we will have no-one to blame but ourselves.


  • All too true. It’s a sad fact that if you are employed by council where ever that you should treat others in the community with the disrespect that the senior staff believe the community deserves. And then we vote in councillors who protect them. PLEASE NOT THIS TIME

    • I agree wholeheartedly with what has been said yes we were told that with amalgation there would not be a rate rise but boy council could not wait to put one on.we have been told many times that due to demographics we are. A low socioeconomic area well pitting a rate rise on nowwith everything else going up is not going to help the area just cause more heartache for the hard working families living here whether they be pensioners retirees young families etc.
      There is so much wastage of money by councils just look at the number of feasibility studies that have been done on old bar and now manning point where are the results from these numerous studies,we were told recently by the member for the area that they would have to do a wave action study before doing anything. It would have been more effective to put that wasted money into our roads and bridges.
      We have a beautiful valley here with Gloucester wingham tinonee taree oldbar etc all offering something different . we have many people relocating to our great valley and many visitors to the area.not everyone wants beaches and over crowded areas. Its time we had good decent people in council willing to work with and for the community ,I sincerely hope we get them with the next council election

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