Blue Mountains mayor resigns


Blue Mountains mayor resigns

By Denis Kevans

WENTWORTH FALLS — Mayor Peter O'Toole has resigned from the Blue Mountains City Council after the council failed to back his actions in regard to a controversial development.

O'Toole had suspended Ron Fennell, town clerk-city manager, and Rick Harris, director of environmental health and development services, after learning that a development application from former mayor Ralph Williams had been passed through council processes by the "delegated authority" of Fennell and Harris.

Williams was mayor at the time. He owns a construction engineering company. The building, a DSS office in Waratah Street, Katoomba, now looms over residents in a lower street. The building as built is different from the plan.

Fennell and Harris were given a $10,000 pay rise each by Mayor Williams after the approval.

In December 1989, Mayor Williams was appointed to the Board of Directors of Ombrane Holdings Pty Ltd, a land purchasing company. While he was mayor, directors of Ombrane bought scores of blocks of land in the Blue Mountains. Williams has never been questioned on these matters.

However, council members voted 11 to one against supporting O'Toole on the suspensions. Those against the three ALP councillors and four Greens. O'Toole also resigned his long membership of the ALP because of this lack of support.

Ralph Williams has a good angel somewhere. His file for non-payment of $14,000 tax fines, held in a police station, was marked "not to be proceeded with, political representation". Williams recently appeared in Penrith Court requesting time to pay.

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