Goosegate GM opts for circuit breaker

IN a classic case of “who dunnit” the Derwent Valley Council general manager will take leave, effective today, while an independent review unravels the decision behind using chemically laced bait to cull 14 geese and two ducks at Tynwald Park.

DV Council general manager Greg Winton said he notified council staff late yesterday of his decision to take leave until the review reports back to the elected council. The report could take several weeks before it’s presented.

“In the last couple of days after my fact-finding discussions to find out what influenced going from exploring relocation options to resulting in a euthanised decision requires further examination,” Mr Winton said.

“I have authorised legal counsel to commission an appropriate independent person to undertake such a review and present findings to council.

“I have decided until the report is presented to the elected council it’s my intention to take leave in case of any anticipated suggestions of conflict of undue influence being made.

“My leave will act as a circuit breaker to the situation.”

Mr Winton said the Mayor Ben Shaw and councillors had no knowledge or were informed of the removal of the geese and ducks.

It was an operational decision made to cull introduced species at the park, Mr Winton said, and now the hunt is on to find where, when and who made that call to cull much-loved park geese and ducks.

“I apologise to the community for the distress caused putting the blame squarely at the foot of operational decisions. We will do a review of processes.”

Mr Winton said he acknowledges mistakes were made and the independent investigation will look at the decision-making and processes around the decision that resulted in the death and removal of the birds.

“An independent review will be transparent and with no assertions about the decision making. We need to be aware of the facts. A council officer spoke with the local veterinarian about possible solutions to cull the introduced species, but those options were deemed not viable,” Mr Winton said.

“Instead a decision was made for a licensed pest management company to effectively cull the species. It’s a decision I certainly would like to be aware of and that decision will be in the review.”

Plovers were found at Tynwald Park with indicators suggesting they had been poisoned. The plovers have been removed from the site so that no dogs or other animals can be affected.

“Those birds have gone off for toxicology reports,” Mr Winton said.

Cr Shaw said he was “shocked” by the cull and wanted answers.

“I want to make this statement so the public know myself and my elected member colleagues are taking what happened very seriously and will get to the bottom of this,” Cr Shaw said.

“We are all very upset that this has happened and that we were not consulted.”