What does it take for a councillor to finally come to the conclusion that he has to quit local government?
This is the vexed question confronting supporters and opponents of City of Victor Harbor councillor Peter Charles, pictured. Don’t you worry, Mr Charles sure has a legion of supporters, but he also has plenty who dislike his confrontational style. It is fair to say Mr Charles polarises the community of Victor Harbor.
One thing you must say about Mr Charles during this term as an elected member he has worn his heart on his sleeve when fighting for what he believed was right. And the bloke is honest. If he has a problem, he will tell you.
It is a strange time to resign as an elected member, as it is only two months away from the local government elections. So Mr Charles was only two months from serving a full term?
In his honest way, he openly admits that he is “grandstanding”. He wants to create attention to the many fights he has lost over almost four years.
Mr Charles cites 74 Hindmarsh Road and the loss of a bikeway for the community, toilets which could have been built much cheaper, the failure of council to implement a Ward system and the Crozier Hill development, which has plagued, not just this current council, but past councils, as issues he has not been able to gain a breakthrough.
However, this is not quite true, as with the arrival of a new CEO, Mr Charles has been a catalyst for an Independent investigation into Crozier Hill with a report pending and on Monday evening a public meeting was held on the issue.
For seven years, landowner Ben Blatchford has wanted some investigation into the development and now it is happening.
How Mr Charles is received by the community for this action of quitting will be interesting, as he has not ruled out whether he will stand as a candidate for the November election.
One thing is for certain, he has raised awareness on what is required to be an elected member.
“You need to know your community is not providing you with a casual part-time job for the next four years. This is a task, if you apply and are accepted, which will take-over your life, requiring you to read, research, listen, speak and think in more than one direction at the same time,” he said. Mr Charles lived those words for nearly four years.