Is Torbay to be the new 'Monte Carlo' or another 'Las Vegas'?
Went to a very interesting debate last night with Mayor Nick Bye and Civic Society leader Ian Handford slugging it between them the question of whether Torbay needs a new 'super Casino'.
The audience were almost exclusively drawn from the congregation of St Matthias church and so it was clear from the off that they were unlikely to be persuaded by Nicks argument that Torbay needs to meet the needs of visitors and provide a wider range of leisure activities than it does at the moment.
last night was a triumph for civilised debate (even though I suspect coming out in favour probably cost me a few votes !) and was well handled by chairman David Scott.
I thought Nick was outstanding - humourous in just the right measure - but also he showed a determination and sense of purpose which went down well even with those who oppose the Casino bid.
Perhaps if we had more public debates like this critics could understand more clearly the reasons why the Bay has failed to move forward effectively in the past; it's not just a lack of leadership by councillors but a reluctance on the part of the public to make or accept change.
One benefit of having a directly elected Mayor that is becoming clearer by the day is that there is now one person to passionately and (in Nicks case) patiently put the case for change to the local community.
I believe that they are already responding more positively than ever before; even if in the case of last nights audience they weren't persuaded about this particular proposal; Nick lost the final vote by a ratio of about three to one!