Friday, February 22, 2013

Willow Court film all but approved

A FILM documenting a paranormal investigation at the Willow Court historic site has been given in-principle approval to be released for public viewing. Last night's Derwent Valley Council meeting voted 7-2 in favour of allowing the film to be released after it has been viewed by the council's lawyer.

Produced by the Australian Paranormal Investigation Unit (APIU), the documentary was one of several contentious issues on the agenda for the February council meeting, and there were nearly 30 people in the public gallery. During public question time at the start of the meeting, Friends of Willow Court chairwoman Anne Salt reminded the council of its obligations under a Memorandum of Understanding and asked why the council had not involved the Friends in the approval process. Mayor Martyn Evans said these issues would be discussed when the item came up for discussion later in the meeting.

Contained in the agenda item headed "Willow Court Paranormal Documentary" was general manager Stephen Mackey's recommendation "That Council authorise release of the Willow Court Paranormal Documentary as provided to all councillors in February 2013." Councillor Judy Bromfield then proposed an amendment, seconded by Cr Damian Bester:
  1. That Council authorise the release of the Willow Court Paranormal Documentary as provided to all councillors in February 2013, subject to the documentary being viewed by council's solicitors.
  2. That Council recognises APIU as the creator and owner of the Willow Court documentary film, If These Walls Could Talk, and gratefully acknowledges APIU's offer to contribute 100% of the net proceeds of the sale of DVD copies of the film to the Willow Court Fund for a period of 18 months followed by a review.
Most councillors spoke in favour of releasing the film, including Cr Bromfield who said she had originally been opposed to the project but having seen the film she believed the historical component was "fascinating" and it would be excellent for everybody to see it. However, Deputy Mayor Barry Lathey and Cr Nicholson were not in favour, with Cr Lathey calling for advice from experts in the disability field. Cr Chris Lester said the council's solicitor would view the film and provide his opinion.

When put to the vote, Cr Bromfield's amendment was endorsed by all councillors with the exception of Crs Lathey and Nicholson.

  • ABC TV News has tonight reported that complaints about the film have been made to the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Commissioner, who has asked the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to review the documentary. Watch the ABC News item here.
  • Oponents of the release of the film posted their objection on Facebook and the Willow Court Advocacy Group website before the council meeting had ended.
  • The film's proponents posted their view of the meeting on Facebook and the royalderwent.com website late this morning.  


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