Napier resigns in protest from Camden Council committee

Camden disability advocate David Napier.
Camden disability advocate David Napier.

CAMDEN disability advocate David Napier has resigned from the Camden Access Advisory Committee in protest, claiming the group was being ‘‘mismanaged’’.

Mr Napier told the Advertiser Camden Council had marginalised the committee.

He said the committee had become a ‘‘box ticking exercise’’ for the council.

‘‘We were completely disregarded and there was no feedback as to why,’’ Mr Napier told the Advertiser.

‘‘They used to be monthly meetings and they were changed to every two months which I wasn’t happy with.’’

Mr Napier said at one time the committee would have had the opportunity to make recommendations on any development applications that could impact on disability and elderly access, but this was no longer the case.

‘‘I think we’ve done a very good job,’’ he said.

‘‘We still see stuff, but not everything and not everything we see do we get a thorough sense of.’’

He said some of the committee’s most successful moments included ensuring the complete accessibility of the Camden War Memorial Pool and the provision of better disabled spaces in the Camden CBD.

Mr Napier said other members of the committee were also feeling frustrated at the mismanagement of the committee.

‘‘The committee used to have a fairly vibrant number of people who used to attend, but now it’s down to two or three.

‘‘I want to use my time where I can do some good.’’

Mr Napier said he had resigned in writing to mayor Lara Symkowiak and council general manager Ron Moore, but had received no reply.

Cr Symkowiak referred the Advertiser to committee chairman Syd Lee for comment.

In response to the Advertiser's questions, Camden Council sent a statement saying the council "considers the views of the Access Advisory Committee in relation to development applications as a valuable and important part of the assessment process."

"When a DA is for a building that will be open to the public and council is the consent authority, the matter is referred for comment to the committee through the scheduled bi-monthly meeting, or via email if there is an earlier deadline is required,'' the statement said.

"The committee’s comments are taken into consideration in determining DAs."

The statement said meetings were moved to every second month "to suit the availability of committee members" and an option was included to "increase the frequency of meetings if required".

The statement said membership of the committee had remained steady over the past three years.