Continuing the myth

Councillor John Letchford spoke at length at the council meeting on August 27, about Hanging Rock, as he had presaged in an article in one of the local papers earlier in the week.

He mentioned in the article that he was going to "clarify a number of untruths and misrepresentations" about the Rock, so it was with a sense of eager anticipation that I rushed along to the council meeting, thinking that at long last council was going to come clean on its Hanging Rock fiasco. No such luck, of course.

Instead, Cr Letchford again waved around the 1994 Management Plan, and told us that the former Shire of Newham and Woodend had adopted it. Hardly breaking news - the whole world has known that for 20 years. If he means to refer to the Appendix 'Possible recreational/opportunities', these were only suggestions by the authors as possibilities, to be investigated by council. They were never intended to necessarily be concrete proposals, but as items thrown into the mix for discussion and consideration.

Cr Letchford also referred to a photograph which he claimed showed that there was no development around the Rock, and he mentioned the years 1970 and 1993, although it was not made clear when the photograph was supposed to have been taken. If it was 1993, then there was considerable development; if it was 1970, then I would refer him to no less a local authority than John Keating, who has provided me with an aerial photograph taken in 1969, which shows several houses already built (the land 'Hanging Rock Estate' having been subdivided into 32 lots in 1965, something that the then council would have been unable to prevent).

Finally, continuing the myth that this council constantly promotes, Cr Letchford coupled the possibility of rate-capping with council rates having to rise to accommodate maintenance costs at the Rock. It is about time that this nonsense was put to bed forever, and that officers and councillors acknowledge that no money raised by council rates is used at Hanging Rock at all.