Thanks to the Manly Ward Councillors for their advocacy and the other Councillors for making the common sense decision to reject the Notice of Motion by a Frenchs Forest Ward Councillor to cancel the Hop Skip Jump Bus. After 20 years of solid service to the Manly community the HSJ is set to remain and indeed be improved with new buses and opportunities for more people to avail themselves of this service.
During the one hour debate, three hours into the Council meeting when the debate on the future of the HSJ commenced, Councillors were reminded that Manly ratepayers contribute substantially more to the revenue of the Northern Beaches Council than the other wards and that it was pretty poor form for the Frenchs Forest Councillor to call for the service to be cancelled in order to save ratepayers money, but then demand that the money be spent on footpaths and roads.
Not everyone uses all council services any or all of the time, but it is important that they are funded and available for those who do. A ride on the Hop skip jump bus costs ratepayers an average of about $4.50 per passenger while a round of golf at the Avalon Golf course is subsidised to the tune of $20 per round. Not to mention the pools, theatre, and all the other community services and resources across the region that are subsidised by Council. It is challenging to ensure fairness in the distribution of council resources and services in this diverse local government area but most of the current Councillors do an excellent job advocating for and balancing all the needs and wants of their particular communities.
Hopefully we will not see this type of Notice of Motion again where one Councillor wants to cancel a service for no other reason than it not being provided elsewhere. Manly Ward ratepayers would be within their rights to demand more and better services in accordance with their financial contribution.