Clr Sharon Kauppila resigns at KI Council meeting

LIVE STREAM: The Islander live streamed the first half of Tuesday's meeting of the Kangaroo Island Council.
LIVE STREAM: The Islander live streamed the first half of Tuesday's meeting of the Kangaroo Island Council.

Councillor Sharon Kauppila resigned at the March meeting of the KI Council on Tuesday. Clr Larry Turner resigned last month, meaning the council will now have to run a by-election to replace these two councillors. 

Clr Kaupplia tended her letter of resignation to deputy CEO Greg Georgopoulos and her resignation was effective as of 5pm on Tuesday. She read out the letter at the meeting.

"I understand this will be is a disappointing outcome for the people of Kangaroo Island who elected me to represent their interests on council. I thank them for their trust and support and their understanding in this decision,"  she read.

"Unfortunately, I don’t have the benefit of Parliamentary privilege or I would speak more strongly. However, I am concerned that procedural fairness and good governance have not been demonstrated in the very short life of this current council. I am extremely disappointed with the chain of events that have led to the dismissal of the CEO. Procedural fairness is concerned with the processes and procedures used in decision-making, rather than the outcome of a decision."

She went on to elaborate more about former CEO Andrew Boardman. "The loss of Mr Boardman as CEO takes away eight years of hard work, positive change, major project delivery and excellent financial results - all that two different councils asked him to deliver – and more. There are many other projects in the pipeline that he and staff were working on that I had great faith in as a progressive and forward-thinking council, with financial sustainability and sound business development within our grasp."

Mayor Michael Pengilly said he was disappointed with both the resignations. "Regrettably we now have to have a by-election because that is the law," Mr Pengilly said. "It is democracy at work but it will be expensive for ratepayers."

Mr Georgopoulos said the council would now go to the Electoral Commission to seek advice on how the by-election would need to be run.

The council still had a quorum with seven of the nine remaining, however it did need to have a by-election when two councillors resigned in short time after the election. 

The council meeting on Tuesday began with two deputations, one from Russell Hicks about the fire hazards at American River, while Jackie Kelly and Bernie May spoke about the need to replace the bowling green at Parndana.

Tribute was also paid to Jack Meakins read out by clr Peter Denholm, with members of his family present. 

New green

The council on Tuesday received a deputation from Janice Kelly and Bernie May from the Parndana Bowling Club.

Long-term green keeper Dennis Perkins, who has provided a voluntary service for the care of the green for over 15 years, was about to retire from his duties. The club now wanted to replace the grass surface with a synthetic green, but that could cost $200,000.

The club had fundraised for the last four years, but despite receiving a grant of $20,000 from the council, it was still a long way short. Mayor Michael Pengilly said one solution would be for the club to apply for a self-servicing loan with the support of the council, and then pay off the loan over the life of the new synthetic green.

River fires, Andermel sign

The council received a deputation from Russell Hicks about the fire hazard at American River. Mr Hicks spoke about native species such as prickly acacia building up on certain properties.

Council staff informed the council that the Native Vegetation Act allowed vegetation to cleared if it posed a fire risk, and that land owners served with a notice to clear had two to four weeks to act. Mayor Michael Pengilly said the two fires in the centre of town this season had heightened everyone's awareness. The council will discuss the issue further.

In another action, the council after some debate passed a motion to remove the brown tourism sign pointing to the Andermel marron farm. 

Chapman bridge, feral cats

Mayor Pengilly informed councillors on Tuesday of meetings he had in recent weeks, including a trip to Antechamber Bay where he met with officials from the Department for Environment and Water about the possibility of a bridge over the Chapman River, as well as improving camping and day facilities on either side.

He also informed councillors of an update on the feral cat control program on the Dudley Peninsula. While 1080 was being trialled on private property, it had come to light that the Department was having trouble securing easements for its proposed cat-proof fence.

He then informed the council that he attended Regional Express airlines' board dinner in Sydney. He was questioned by clr Kauppila about the cost of the trip, and he informed the council that he paid for the trip himself.