Gallery comments abruptly halted

WELLINGTON Shire Council’s Tuesday night meeting concluded with mayor Peter Cleary forcefully stopping comments from a member of the public gallery.

Outspoken shire critic Ralph Barraclough had brought to council’s attention a leakage of what he asserted was raw sewage in front of the public toilets, adjacent to the Licola CFA.

Mr Barraclough had dramatically brought a sealed bucket of what he said was a sample of the sewage into the council chambers to impress on councillors what he said was a serious situation.

He claimed hundreds if not thousands of people had waded through the sewage, unaware of its nature, and potentially spread a health risk to the community.

He accused council of not having decontaminated a previous sewerage leak and being complicit in creating a health hazard.

Having brought the problem of the sewerage failure to council’s attention, Mr Barraclough had then launched into a litany of the shire’s faults and perceived neglect of Licola when he accused a former shire employee of failure to carry out a duty of care.

At this point mayor Cr Cleary intervened to prevent litigious comments.

“Perhaps I can put it in a letter to the editor of the paper,” Mr Barraclough responded.

“Would it help if I got Channel Nine or Seven in there?” he asked.

“Mr Barraclough, I don’t care whether you got the Queen to walk in the door,” Cr Cleary said.

The Gippsland Times has been informed council staff inspected the toilets on Wednesday and replaced a faulty dispersal valve in the facility’s grey water system.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.