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Council row on "climate emergency"

Hobart housing

A social media slanging match has erupted between Hobart City Council aldermen after three walked out of last night's meeting.

Green Councillor Bill Harvey's motion to declare a climate emergency prompted Simon Behrakis, Damon Thomas and Jeff Briscoe to leave.

Councillor Holly Ewin accused the trio of a complete disregard for process. 

"I am completely disgusted by this complete disregard, especially given these particular councillor's [sic] apparent concern for "due process"," she wrote on her social media page.

But Alderman Marti Zucco has spoken out in their support, saying urgency motions aren't for leftist politicking.

"...the urgency motions were put in place for what is a matter of urgency and not for political means as was the case. You are totally wrong and those that walked out should be commended it not allowing the council to be used for political gain," he retorted. 

Ald. Behrakis defended the walkout. 

“Moving a motion when a quarter of the Council is absent and the dynamics of the chamber is so skewed, and avoiding the normal process of debating an item in committee, reeks of cynical politicking. Alderman Briscoe, Alderman Thomas and myself walked out in protest due to the way this motion was being rammed through the Council,” he said. 

Councillor Harvey says the walkout has backfired. 

"All they've done by refusing to debate it, by walking out of the room, is focus a bit more attention on the issue," he said. 

On other business, a deal for a new 40-spot car park off Lefroy Street in North Hobart has been locked in.

The move should provide some relief for the popular strip's parking difficulties, which have seen clashes between restauranteurs and food delivery drivers over scarce on-street parking. 

Council has also voted unanimously to scrap the irritating $3 minimum credit card spend on its new parking meters. 

“The meeting also endorsed a motion calling on the Council to engage the service providers of our new parking meters to find a technical solution to prevent parking meters from allowing people to illegally feed the meter, and subsequently be penalised,” said Ald. Behrakis. 

Councillor Ewen's motion for trans and gender-inclusive signs on council toilets was voted through.