RESIDENTS of the municipality will celebrate Kiama’s independence next February.
At Tuesday evening’s council meeting, councillor Neil Reilly proposed that each year, council set aside February 3 as ‘Kiama Independence Day’.
Cr Reilly proposed that council mark this day with a morning tea and host a public speaking competition on an appropriate topic.
This particular date was suggested, as February 3 this year marked the date of the council merger public inquiry meetings.
Public inquiry meetings regarding the state government’s then proposed merger of Kiama and Shoalhaven councils took place.
Dozens of Kiama residents registered to speak at the meetings.
The merger ultimately didn’t proceed.
There were two sessions at Kiama Leagues Club, and another at the Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club.
At the time, then Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said he was “humbled” by the number of residents who had indicated their support for retention of Kiama council.
Cr Reilly said “we’ve just come through a very trying and tiring election, where through the good grace of the community we’re all here”.
“However pressured or put upon we may feel by the rigours of that election, we should pause and think for a moment (that) we’re very lucky to have had an election at all,” he said.
“It’s only through the community, the thousands of them, that spoke as one voice in defence of our independence.
“They rallied, they argued, they put their views to the democratic test, and they prevailed.
“Their faith was put in us, and we must never forget that.
“To continually remind us of our obligations to put the people first in our policy… We could set aside a day of the year, and use it to ensure that the future remains un-amalgamated.”
At the meeting, some councillors had expressed concerns that the date may fall too close to the resumption of classes after the school holidays, and schools wouldn’t have sufficient time to be organised for it.
However, councillors voted in favour of the move.
Current Mayor Mark Honey said the community’s efforts should be recognised.
“February 3 was a very important day in the history of Kiama,” he said.
“It’s a good idea… If it’s only a once-off, or it’s recognised annually.
“I think the idea that it’s basically directed at young people… Just to show that this is what people can do for Kiama.
“I think that’s a good idea, but whether we have to set February 3 in stone or not (is up for discussion).”