It was a full house at last week’s council meeting, with many sitting on the floor and others spilling out into the foyer in a show of support for council’s anti-Badgerys Creek airport position.
With the mayor vowing to revisit the subject of council’s stand, they came in droves, cheering and whistling as most councillors reaffirmed the long-held opposition.
Cr Mark Greenhill raised the issue again after public comments by two councillors – Liberals Brendan Christie and Kevin Schreiber – critical of the money council has spent on the anti-airport campaign.
He introduced a mayoral minute, reaffirming council’s opposition policy.
“They will tell you we can’t win, they will tell you it’s all over,” said Cr Greenhill, to applause.
“They are among the monied interests of Sydney. They are among the most powerful people in the land. But we have something they don’t have – we have each other, we have our community.”
He conceded “the elephant in the room is the position of my own party on this but if I have to fight them I will”.
Cr Daniel Myles said his view opposing the airport “has been the same for the past 20 years but it’s reinforced every night when an A380 flies over my house on a warm night with the windows open”.
Cr Christie, who voted against the mayor’s motion, said: “Badgerys Creek is going to be built. The airport is coming, it’s happening.”
He said the campaign to have the merge point over Blaxland removed had succeeded.
He said council should stop the “political rock-throwing and work together to get the best outcome”.
Cr Kevin Schreiber said he supported the parts of the mayoral minute that noted the money spent so far had been sanctioned by council and all future spending should also be the subject of a council resolution.
But he couldn’t support council reaffirming its opposition to the airport.
“We need jobs desperately in the Mountains – the unemployment rate is 19 per cent in the top of the Mountains. There’s nothing on the agenda to give jobs.”
He said Blue Mountains should join with Penrith council “to lobby for a direct rail link between Penrith and Badgerys Creek”.
In reply, Cr Greenhill urged the cheering audience: “Don’t give up. Don’t you let them tell you it’s over.
“Don’t let our flora and fauna suffer. Don’t let our mortality rates increase. Don’t let our World Heritage area be threatened. Don’t accept public office holders at all levels of government falling short of the mark.
“And above all, don’t you dare surrender.”
The mayoral minute was passed with Crs Christie and Schreiber voting against.