By Craig Chappelle
THE first two motions passed at the September 17 shire council meeting in front of a packed public gallery were accompanied by cheers and applause.
Both were elected members’ motions, the local government equivalent of parliamentary private members’ bills.
The first, by Cr Kingsley Gibson, seconded by Cr Mark Allan and carried 7-1, was for council to formally recognise that Denmark faced a climate emergency and to call on all levels of government to act, through legislation and practical measures, to reduce Green House Gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and to zero by 2050.
The motion also requested council’s sustainability working group to create an action plan within 12 months.
At public question time preceding the official business of council, shire president Ceinwen Gearon asked how many people in the gallery were there to support Cr Gibson’s motion or to address council about it. A sea of hands was raised.
Several people indicated that they did not support the motion.
As the only councillor opposing the motion during formal debate Cr Ian Osborne criticised the “alarmism”, “quasi-religious convictions” and “social contagion” caused by climate change “fake science”.
One heckler in the public gallery was threatened by the chair with removal from the chamber if he did not desist.
The second member’s motion, moved by Cr Jan Lewis, seconded by Cr Peter Caron and carried unanimously, called for a public meeting with State water minister David Kelly, to explain what was behind the recently announced proposal to build a $30m Albany-Denmark water pipeline.
The motion proposed a range of related matters for discussion, including water saving options, diversion and reuse of treated waste water, improved water harvesting and a desalination plant.
After the vote was taken the public gallery again erupted, drawing a request from the chair to observe some decorum.
• See election candidates’ profiles, page 5.
• Council clippings, page 19.