All of the Snowy Valleys Council candidates showed up for the ‘Meet the Candidates’ meeting in Batlow this week, the first time that’s happened since the meetings began.
The session was hosted by the Batlow Development League, with Chair Ray Billing throwing a spanner in the works by allowing the candidates to question the community, rather than solely the other way round. He said he believed that that allowed the candidates to learn more about the needs of Batlow as well as highlight their own priorities.
“There was a lot of two-way conversation that lead into questions,” he said.
“For example, on a lack of building blocks in Batlow and what we see as the need for development in that regard. In Tumbarumba the council developed an area for housing estate in the past and now they’re doing another one – so maybe the Snowy Valleys Council should look at that in places like Batlow.”
It wouldn’t be a Batlow community meeting without discussion of the old cannery, and another frequently raised topic around town was also brought up on Tuesday: the need to move the caravan park to a more attractive location. The Tumut-Batlow rail trail proposal was also on the table for debate.
The Batlow Road/Snowy Mountains Highway intersection came up, and the community also advocated for a lower speed limit within the town centre.
“There’s a very strong feeling from the community about slowing the limit down to 40 kilometres,” Mr Billing said.
“We’ve got a couple of dangerous corners, and the hardest part is that the retirement village is opposite IGA and the Club and the bank. They have to cross the road, and sometimes that can take three of four turns, they have to go out and come back and go out and come back… the trucks and some of the cars just go a bit too fast.”
Mr Billing said all in all he thought it was a good meeting, with all involved leaving with a greater understanding of the other parties.
“I think all those that attended the meeting were very appreciative that [the candidates] made the effort to attend,” he said.
“The community understood where the candidates were coming from and the candidates left with a greater understanding of the needs of Batlow. It was good to put names to faces; I think the meeting was very necessary in that regard.
“It was all very agreeable, there was no tension. It was a good open forum for discussion.”