Battle of Bowmans


‘Trespass’ allegations withdrawn after fiery clash with councillor

  • Les Pearson reports

    Councillor Darryl Pain (left) and Roger McQuire

A FORMAL deputation by Balco spokesperson Roger McQuire sparked furore at Wednesday night’s Wakefield Regional Council (WRC) meeting.
Mr McQuire requested to make the formal presentation to council, itemised in the agenda to provide “clarity in relation to the community’s understanding of the Bowmans Intermodal Project status”.
Mr McQuire’s original speech went on for about 20 minutes but his allegation councillor Darryl Pain had trespassed on Balco’s construction site provoked half an hour of heated argument.
His original comment quizzed Cr Pain on whether he had visited the Balco site at Bowmans, before making a claim he knew of a member of Mr Pain’s family entering the site without Balco’s approval, breaching occupational health and safety laws.
Cr Pain asked Mr McQuire to clarify his statement. “I refute the claim that my family are using my position to enter your property,” Cr Pain said.
“I did not say that,” Mr McQuire responded.
“What I said was, you or possibly some of your supporters or family entered the Balco property.”
It was a statement that drew the wrath of Cr Pain, which Mr McQuire was later forced to withdraw and submit an apology.
“I strongly suggest that if council is going to sit here and listen to an allegation against a councillor (who) has entered a property illegally they might want to conduct an investigation into if the allegation is true or not,” Cr Pain said to mayor James Maitland.
Mr McQuire then clarified it was Cr Pain’s father, Richard, as the person alleged to have entered the Balco site without permission.
Richard Pain was contacted for comment but declined, citing legal reasons.
“There was no reason for him to say ‘either you or your family’, there should be an apology from Balco for that allegation,” Cr Pain said.
Mr Maitland asked Mr McQuire if he was prepared to withdraw the comment and apologise.
“Mr Mayor, I think we can bring this part of the conversation to an end, if I may, and that is by saying I have no intention, either on my own behalf or Balco’s, of offering a written public apology,” Mr McQuire responded.
Cr Pain responded, saying: “Mr Mayor, then through you I suggest council should seek to take action to ramify that public apology.”
“He (Mr McQuire) has now admitted I was not on the property after he accused me of being on that property.”
Cr Rodney Reid had seen and heard enough.
“I don’t believe any person of the public, whether it be question time or any form of deputation to the council, really is in a position then to make allegations against the council or councilors,” he said.
“I believe a statement, not being a question, in the form of what we’ve heard tonight, is an allegation against a councillor and I don’t believe it is the right thing in any form of deputation or from the public gallery to make that.
“I don’t think any of us here that are volunteers or staff on the council are here in a role to be put in that position by any member of the public.
“Therefore, I am happy to move that Mr McQuire be asked to withdraw his comment and apologise to Cr Pain for the allegation.”
The motion was carried and Mr McQuire then apologised and withdrew his comment.