Residents of Tingha and property owners within a proposed new council boundary area will have even more waiting ahead before they learn if Armidale Regional Council (ARC) will shift the land to Inverell Shire after a democratic action.
A letter dated February 27, with a questionnaire, maps and self-addressed stamped envelope, was sent out to ARC residents within the proposed boundary to ask households which council they would prefer.
The final deadline was Monday, March 28, for responses, and an early statement issued that day from ARC director of planning and environment Greg Meyers said the majority seemed to lean toward an Inverell shift.
By Thursday afternoon, there had been no confirmation of the numbers or an indication of a majority decision from ARC.
ARC administrator Dr Ian Tiley said in an email late Thursday, March 30 he was yet to receive the ARC officer’s report on the matter.
“I will then give it due consideration and have a report taken to and considered by council, probably on 12th April when a decision will be made,” Dr Tiley said.
Inverell council general manager Paul Henry said their council had not yet received any news of the numbers, but understood from previous discussion following the close of the survey period, a report would be prepared on the results received and it would go to the next available ARC meeting, with Dr Tiley making formal decisions on the adjustment.
“In the discussions, Dr Tiley was of the mind that if the majority of respondents favoured being transferred to Inverell, then that would be the position that he would be likely to take when the report was presented to him,” Mr Henry said.
“We can only deal with the facts, and if the majority of respondents favour coming to Inverell, I believe that would be sufficient grounds for council to continue with its view, and that is the area should be part of Inverell Shire.”
Tingha Citizen’s Association (TCAI) president Colleen Graham was cheered by the indications a change could take place.
“The Community of Interest is definitely much stronger than realised at the beginning of TCAI’s endeavour for a boundary alignment for the area of Tingha to belong to the Inverell LGA,” she said.
“We are delighted with the response from the rural property holders. It’s a good feeling to have a united community looking forward to becoming as one with the Inverell LGA.
“Proud to say, ‘Inverell is our hometown!’”