Council should respect community's wishes
I attended my first council meeting last week, and I was far from impressed.
The lack of consideration and respect from the elected Camden councillors towards the Camden people and their concerns was very disappointing.
The council seem blinded and motivated to prove everyone else is wrong and they are right.
It is not a matter of who is right or who is wrong.
The issue is respecting the community's wish to be heard.
As the elected council they are there to represent the people and businesses and listen and engage with everyone.
However, I believe the true focus is lost on this council as they continue to disregard what their own people are asking.
Delay the proposed works and re-engage with their people. Just maybe a more attractive solution could be found.
Kerry Wintle, Camden South
Party hacks blow in
In years gone by Camden was never known for having a council dominated by political party people, they chose people who knew Camden and its people and did what was best for the area.
Unfortunately, as the local area grew, blow-ins appeared to contest for seats on the council. So, what did they do even before their bottoms had warmed the council chamber seats?
They fired a much-loved general manager and used some obscure council regulations for blatantly ignoring questioning from the ratepayers of Camden.
We also found we had a female mayor who revelled in having her picture splashed across the local papers.
Have we sussed her agenda?
To me she seems to be trying to build a picture of a person who transformed (destroyed) a country town, so surely she deserves a seat in either State or Federal Parliament.
The extensions to Macarthur Square and Narellan Town Centre will see the shopper depart from the businesses. The fire station left Camden town centre followed by the police, then the courts.
Council (with money paid by the poor ratepayers of Camden) are going to build a beautiful ivory tower taking away what is left of clients for the local businesses.
We will have a monstrosity of a main street and a carpark for which Woolworths will be eternally grateful.
Please remember these names when the elections come around: Therese Fedeli, Penny Fischer, Lara Symkowiak, Peter Sidgreaves, Debby Dewberry.
Sheila Williams, Camden South
Good ideas ignored
I attended the Camden Council meeting last Tuesday night to hear about the proposed changes to Argyle Street.
I was so sickened and angered by what our mayor and one particular councillor kept telling us, that I decided to leave before the meeting ended.
I now believe this redevelopment plan was hatched by the mayor, who then employed consultants, at ratepayers' expense, to agree with her ... which I believe they didn't, but that was somehow overlooked.
The three civic centre meetings held by the council to consult with the community were a sham.
I was at the first meeting, where many good alternate ideas were raised by members of our community.
Obviously as they didn't line up with our mayor's plans, they were ignored.
I don't disagree with change or progress as such, but I don't like being conned.
And I certainly don't want traffic lights on Argyle Street.
Ray Swain, Ellis Lane
Community opinion has been ignored
Regarding the proposed town centre plan.
I believe the Camden community and council agree on three matters.
We need to update infrastructure, preserve the unique heritage qualities of Camden town and meet the challenges of a rapidly growing area.
We disagree on some of the current proposals and the speed with which they are proceeding.
My wife and I attended two community consultations last year and were very disappointed that they were primarily information sessions promoting council's pre-determined plans dressed up to look like consultation.
Many good ideas were proposed by participants but there have been virtually no significant changes to the council's plans.
The council's town centre plan will degrade Camden from a lovely, unique heritage townscape to an unattractive cityscape with traffic lights and dark grey pavers, like those seen in Sydney.
There are other alternatives.
Please, councillors, pause and allow for extensive and genuine community consultation and input.
Together we can create a Camden which will serve the needs of its citizens and visiting shoppers and tourists well into the future.
Ken Newton, Grasmere
Who in their right minds could conceive of a council which would descend on a heritage town and cut down its trees, slow traffic with traffic lights and intersections, reduce visibility of pedestrians by narrowing its roads and replace heritage street lights, fences and seats with characterless modernity?
However, this is what Camden Council insists it has the right to do, in arrogant disregard for the ever-rising tide of residents' protests.
Many residents lead busy lives trusting that councils are competent, honest and can be trusted not to do stupid things.
This trust has been betrayed.
Thus this infamous period of council maladministration continues, having been characterised early by the dismissal of a chief executive officer who has been judged to be exceptionally competent.
At least one council member has argued in print et al, that the footpaths need widening because the footpaths are rough.
Any sensible person would simply resurface what was there.
The council sees no foolishness in slowing down the traffic, the better to fill with exhaust fumes the lungs of the footpath drinkers and diners the council professes to encourage.
The key issues are: the council's plan is a disaster for Camden's heritage ambience; the council is incompetent; the council is discredited; and the council is arrogant.
Louis Solomons, Narellan
Move car park away
Camden Council's mayor repeatedly tells us that the Macarthur district is growing rapidly and hence Camden must have a decked car park to meet the needs of those coming to shop or visit.
The question is why does Camden Council want to concrete up the only viable and valuable parcel of land into a permanent decked car park?
If the area is to grow so rapidly surely the better use of the land in Oxley Street would be for future commercial, retail and community use.
Attractive buildings, suited to the heritage nature of Camden, plus an open plaza as a community meeting place connected to the civic centre would attract more people to the area.
A decked car park will not attract people to Camden or add to the future prosperity of Camden.
The mayor also seems so keen for people to walk only 40 metres to the car park from Argyle Street (which is an inaccurate figure).
But then any future building development in Camden will be relegated to the distant side streets, far from Argyle Street.
Surely the vision should be to have the businesses together and a car park on the periphery of the business district, not in the very heart of town.
The soon to be built decked car park in Oxley Street will be a monument to lack of insight and lack of vision.
It will be a monument to the bad management and misunderstanding of how Camden's town centre should be developed for the long term.
Jennifer Wright, Elderslie