Cr Shae Foenander queries Minister for Local Government meeting

Something not right: Cr Foenander has concerns about a Liberal councillor's meeting with the Minister and a person with a financial interest in the Wayzgoose cafe.
Something not right: Cr Foenander has concerns about a Liberal councillor's meeting with the Minister and a person with a financial interest in the Wayzgoose cafe.

The sole Independent Blue Mountains councillor, Shae Foenander, has queried a meeting organised between a Liberal councillor, the Wayzgoose cafe owner, a former Liberal MP and the Minister for Local Government.

Nothing untoward: Cr Kevin Schreiber says he was looking after a constituent.

Nothing untoward: Cr Kevin Schreiber says he was looking after a constituent.

Cr Foenander said a published diary entry of the Minister for the Environment, Local Government and Heritage, Gabrielle Upton, from April 20 this year, showed she had met with Cr Kevin Schreiber, Mark Alchin and former Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage “to discuss Blue Mountains Council”. 

This preceded a vote on the cafe’s future.

Cr Foenander said: "As an Independent I have questions I want answered. I'm over the game playing with party politics. I want to know what is going on.”

The Gazette understands Mayor Mark Greenhill wrote to Cr Schreiber about the matter a month ago and is waiting on a response.

"A request has been made for an explanation and none is forthcoming. When a councillor accompanies one party in a controversial matter to a meeting with the state government minister responsible for councils, one has to ask what the meeting was for?” Cr Foenander said.

“Was Cr Schreiber lobbying on Mr Alchin's behalf? If the meeting discussed the Wayzgoose would it have been prudent to be open about it?”

She asked if Cr Schreiber would issue a statement that “categorically makes it clear he took no part at all in a discussion about Wayzgoose”.

But Cr Kevin Schreiber, who served on Sutherland council for 21 years and was a former mayor, said he found it “most strange I have to answer these questions when all I was doing was trying to help a small businessman find out the way this saga was being handled and if it was the correct procedure”.

“All I was doing was what I was elected to do, represent a constituent. A number of councillors are concerned Mr Alchin is asking questions.

“He is entitled to ask such questions.” 

Cr Schreiber added he found it “very interesting that the Independent councillor is over playing party politics, when [she] votes with Labor on most occasions.”

He also added “the minister was not at the meeting. I think it was her chief of staff”.

Former Liberal MP Roza Sage said Cr Foenander was “Labor’s attack puppy … she’s not as Independent as she claims” and council had conducted a “vendetta” against Mr Alchin.

“Had council maintained the building none of this would have happened,” she said.

The cafe saga dates back to 2015 when a routine inspection found significant damage.

An independent panel will now look at the DA.