Making a stand

RESIDENTS of Moe hoping to send a strong message about the Moe Activity Centre Plan to Latrobe City Council will hold a rally to “save” the town’s future tomorrow.

Committee for Moe chair Manny Gelagotis, who organised the community information night, said the rally would be held at the site of the proposed civic square in George Street at 6pm to help the community “decide how they feel about the project”.

“There will be guest speakers, an array of information and people outlining the history of the project and an opportunity for people to voice their views,” Mr Gelagotis said.

The information night follows a council meeting before Christmas where a motion was carried to conduct a review of the MACP, resulting in a suspension of future works until the review was completed a decision which angered community members.

Following the meeting, councillors who voted in favour of the motion found themselves recipients of verbal abuse.

Councillors Sharon Gibson, Peter Gibbons, Christine Sindt and Michael Rossiter all supported the motion.

Mr Gelagotis said he invited all Latrobe City councillors to attend as well as anyone relevant to the project “so they can provide answers for people’s questions”.

“I challenge all councillors, especially our local councillors, to be there and if they have any respect for the community they should be there front and centre to answer any questions that people have and give their view,” he said.

When contacted by The Express, Cr Gibbons said he would not comment on whether he would attend or not.

Meanwhile, Cr Gibson said while she would not attend the meeting, she has written a response outlining her position on the issue which can be found in The Express’ letters to editor section on page 14. Councillors Rossiter and Sindt said they would not attend the meeting.

“I believe it would be inappropriate to attend a meeting run by people who behave in an aggressive and threatening manner towards my fellow councillors and their families,” Cr Sindt said.

However, Mr Gelagotis said the group “would not stand for any threatening or intimidating behaviour” from the public, adding police would be present.

“Criticism is a part of the position that they’re in, but there’s a difference between asking questions and abuse,” Mr Gelagotis said.

Mr Gelagotis said a “powerful” petition supporting the MACP and urging councillors to reverse their decision to conduct the review, which was circulated online and in locations across Moe, attracted more than 4000 signatures.

He said while the Committee for Moe respected councillors’ views, “if 80 per cent of the community are for this project then listen to the people and respect their rights and opinions”.

“The project belongs to the whole community; the community should decide the fate of this project,” he said.