Liberal Party councillors Daniel Myles and Chris Van der Kley have quit the party and will stand as independents at next year's council elections.
The Liberal Party's longest serving representatives on Blue Mountains City Council announced their resignations at Tuesday night's council meeting [November 24], saying the party had been taken over by a "pro-development" faction.
"For the last five years, the influence of people with a pro-development agenda has grown within the Liberal Party in the Blue Mountains," said Ward 3 Cr Myles, a former mayor.
"It has reached a point where I believe that the local Liberal Party no longer has the right to represent the the local community."
Ward 2 Cr Van der Kley, the current deputy mayor, said he didn't "want to see the Blue Mountains turn out looking like Penrith or Kingswood".
"We have a beautiful Blue Mountains and that's why I've made this decision to stand as an independent at the next council election with my colleague Daniel... I'm sad that I have taken the decision to resign but it's all about the community," he said.
Councillors Van der Kley and Myles have 35 and 28 years membership of the Liberal Party respectively and have served on Blue Mountains City Council since 1999.
Cr Myles said there were several reasons behind his decision to quit the party.
"For three years, the state Liberal government tried to suspend the mayor and councillors, despite no evidence that this was warranted. Our opposition to the state government's fast tracked medium density housing plans for the Blue Mountains would have been discontinued by a state government-appointed administrator. So too our opposition to the state government's plans to double the amount of freight carried on the Great Western Highway and to remove the ban on the largest B-Double and 30m trucks," he said.
"At state and local level in particular, the Liberal Party seems to be in opposition to the values of the people of the Blue Mountains who just want their quality of life maintained.
"Then there are the flight paths for Western Sydney Airport which the federal Liberal government tell us are 'not for discussion', despite construction proceeding rapidly.
"Chris and I care about the beautiful and fragile Blue Mountains and we have always aimed to protect it, not be complicit in eroding its character," he said.
Cr Myles said he was also "very disappointed" the Liberal Party organisation hadn't taken any action over a formal complaint he made against a senior local party member.
"This lack of integrity is very disappointing and confirms to me that we are making the right decision," he said.
The local government elections will be held in September, 2021.
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