An extraordinary week for Shellharbour City Council has continued with a fiery meeting dominated by sponsorship requests and a proposal to give council wards Indigenous names.
As discussion on the Dharawal ward names heated up, one councillor was accused of lying, while the most passionate advocate for the renaming, Councillor Rob Petreski, was said to have had to google the Dharawal language for North, South, East and West.
Cr Petreski slammed a proposal to instead call the wards A, B, C and D, saying this was naming them after "nothing" instead of naming them after something significant for local Indigenous people.
"For us to ignore that cultural significance is arrogant at its worst," he said.
Cr Lou Stefanovski said for the council to perform acknowledgements of country, but not adopt the ward names, meant "we don't practice what we preach".
"This is an opportunity that will haunt us for a long time," he said.
"We could have been outstanding. It's like watching Titanic knowing how it's going to end."
Cr Petreski, Cr Kellie Marsh and Mayor Chris Homer became involved in more heated debate over recollections of a meeting where the issue was discussed, before Cr Marsh accused Cr Petreski of getting the direction names from Google.
Cr Petrevski said he had to use Google because Dharawal language expert and advisor Dr Jodi Edwards was not at the meeting in question, and he wanted to contribute the idea then and there.
After several "point of order" interjection attempts from Cr Petreski, voices being raised and Cr Petreski accusing Cr Marsh of lying.
He said her claim the place names issue was "engineered against" Indigenous people was an "egregious lie".
But Cr Marsh had actually said she was disappointed the issue had been as if the council was acting against the Aboriginal community.
Soon afterwards Mr Homer gave him a warning.
"You're disrespecting the chair," Mr Homer said.
"We've got a code of meeting practice here."
This was all over a motion to receive and note submissions received on the ward names.
The tension between councillors had been building after Tuesday's ordinary meeting and Monday's $17 million airport funding announcement that turned out to be not real.
Mr Homer, Cr Marsh and council staff attended the announcement by Kiama MP Gareth Ward, only to find out the "funding" was from a previous Budget.
When Labor councillors tried to question Mr Homer about this on Tuesday the Mayor shut down questions.
The extraordinary meeting also had to deal with several sponsorship requests unresolved from Tuesday.
On Tuesday councillors voted down a bundle of funding requests because it included $2700 of extra support for the Albion Park Show which had not gone through the proper process prior to the meeting.
This was approved on Thursday, along with several other sponsorship requests, despite Labor councillors Petreski, Maree-Duffy-Moon and Moira Hamilton voting against the funding package.
Recommendations from council staff included granting $7300 in in-kind support to the Albion Park show, $2500 for the Shellharbour City Festival of Sport and $5000 for the BMX NSW State Championships - which is on this weekend.
The Department of Education would be denied $5000 for the Southern Stars performance spectacular, KidsFest Shellharbour receive $3000 of the $10,000 it asked for, the Shellharbour Stand Up Paddle Boarding Festival receive half of the $5000 it wanted, and the Illawarra Convoy receive $7000 of the $10,000 it asked for.
Significantly, a request for $20,000 from new Airshows Downunder Shellharbour operator the AMDA Foundation was recomennded to be declined.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.