CULBURRA Beach Progress Association is in danger of losing its status as an official community consultative body.
Shoalhaven City Council was last night expected to call for an urgent report into the organisation, following a meeting earlier in the month in which people raising questions were heckled and abused by members.
Several membership applications lodged since have been refused without explanation, while a long-term member has had her membership revoked, again without explanation.
Environmental advocate Frances Bray had been a member of the progress association since 1993, but all that changed when she received a letter saying her membership had been cancelled by a full executive meeting.
The letter gave no explanation of the action, only that it was done under a section of the organisation’s charter that applied to disciplining members.
Association secretary Anne Hollis-Coates refused to say why Ms Bray’s membership was cancelled. “That’s a private matter,” she said.
While the letter to Ms Bray did not spell it out, she had seven days to appeal the decision, according to Ms Hollis-Coates.
She said simply referring to the organisation’s charter, and leaving it up to Ms Bray to check the charter to find out if there was any appeal process, was sufficient.
“They will be given a chance to respond to that complaint when they follow the procedures laid down in the constitution,” Ms Hollis-Coates said.
“If the member had the good manners to ring me and find out rather than running around making a fuss, they’d find out.”
Council’s executive support manager, Greg Roberts, said in a letter to Ms Bray that all meetings of a progress association and a community consultative body were open to the public.
He stressed all residents, ratepayers and business operators within an area covered by a community consultative body were entitled to attend body meetings and vote on issues brought forward.
Applicants are baffled
CHRIS Profke, a Culburra Beach resident for 12 years, said he filled out a membership form during the July meeting and when he asked members about the nomination was told “don’t worry about it”.
Erin Bell, who had been visiting Culburra for 34 years and living permanently in the village for six, said she was told a similar thing.
However when her application was rejected she approached three association members to have them sign her nomination, but all refused.
“Everyone I asked, no one would sign it,” Ms Bell said.
She said she wanted to join the association because “I’d just like to have a say in community issues, but I’m being told I can’t do that.”
Mr Profke said his interest in the association was prompted by claims from president Jack Kerr that 95 per cent of the community supported the proposed West Culburra development.
“Ever since all this talk of development came up, and they said 95 per cent of the community supported it, it sparked my interest and I wanted to find out more,” he said.