King’s message trivialised the work of headspace
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Councillor Murray King’s comments to The Border Mail (‘Ex-mayor accused of bullying approach at pool forum’, October 5). Before I respond, I should inform you that I am an active member of the water polo community. I am also the sister of a young man who took his own life.
Cr King stated that “former mayor Stuart Baker should be removed from negotiations to end the Border’s stand-off over lane hire fees”. Like many members of the community, Mr Baker has voiced his concerns over the proposed changes to lane hire at Albury-Wodonga pools. He is not alone, nor is he the most vocal in opposing this profit-generating policy.
It has become evident in recent weeks that pool users are passionate, civic minded people who feel the council’s proposed policy was not in the best interests of the community.
To be clear, Stuart Baker is not the reason negotiations between user groups and the council had failed. The negotiations had failed because the council was attempting to introduce a profit-generating policy that will have a negative impact the community.
I am frustrated that Cr King is dismissing the many voices of his community because of his opinion of one person. Cr King claimed that “Mr Baker is undermining the anti-bullying message of mental health body ‘headspace’ with his actions”.
I am disappointed with this comment and I find it distasteful that an elected official would suggest bullying when a member of the community voices their concerns. In this case, many voices within the community voiced their concerns.
My family has been impacted by suicide and I have seen the positive work headspace has done in breaking down stigma and promoting strategies aimed at improving the Border’s mental health.
Cr King’s comments are trivialising the message headspace has been communicating.
Furthermore, the council’s proposed policy directly contradicts headspace’s strategies to improve mental health. Headspace states that physical activity and staying connected are two of the most effective strategies in combating poor mental health. Swimming and water polo clubs have been facilitating these strategies for years in the Albury-Wodonga area.
I find it frustrating that on one hand Cr King is using the headspace message to promote his political agenda, all while contradicting headspace by supporting the removal of key groups that are providing avenues to support mental health.
I would like to remind Cr King that he is an elected official.
You are responsible for representing all members of the community, regardless of your personal opinions. Your community has been very vocal in not supporting the proposed lane hire fee. I implore that you and your fellow councillors put the mental health and physical needs of your community ahead of profit making.
Tegan Miles, Albury
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