One of Chester Hill’s favourites will keep front seat

COUNCILLORS noticed there was someone missing from the chambers last night ahead of Mayor Bilal El-Hayek advising of the passing of passionate supporter Alison Allmark who’d attended nearly every meeting since 1974.

The Chester Hill resident’s husband Robert was employed as a council clerk for over 50 years.
“I propose her seat in the front row be reserved at all meetings leading up to the elections and council considers placing a plaque behind her seat,” the Mayor said.
The Mayor’s minute read:
“As you entered the chamber tonight, some of you may have noticed something missing. . . . a warmth, a glow, a friendly loving smile noticeably absent. . . . you would have also noticed the corner seat of the front row empty. . . .
“It is with some sadness I inform you of the passing of Ms Alison Allmark. . . a Chester Hill resident who attended nearly all Council meetings since 1974. . . . there was of course the odd occasion she couldn’t make it, due to illness or holidays but she still made it her business to catch up on the proceedings.
“Her daughter Helen, who was a teenager at the time, remembers attending the very first meeting with her mother and said her mum loved it so much she kept coming back. I am told Ms Allmark’s late husband Robert was employed by the former Bankstown Council as a Sundry Debtors Clerk for more than fifty years before retiring.
“Interestingly, it was a casual conversation with Robert that sparked her curiosity to attend the meeting. He mentioned to her that Council would be discussing a matter which had not been included in the business papers. . . and you guessed it. . . curiosity got the better of her and the rest is history. . . .
“Over the years, Ms Allmark had a front row seat and was witness to some significant and life-changing moments . . . she was present when vast tracks of market gardens where rezoned for housing, she followed the development of Paul Keating Park after the great fire which destroyed Councils Administration building, she loved what Council did at Lake Gilawarna and the many boardwalks and recreation areas around our waterways. She was also here during amalgamation and saw the many changes came with it. . .
If she had only written down some of the things, she saw over the past years it would have made for some interesting reading . . . numerous “Mayors with all their different antics and robust behaviours, Councillors being ejected for unruly behaviour, not to mention the occasional Councillor pulled up for looking a little tired and glassy eyed. . . . and there were of course the protests and threats of abuse in the public gallery. . . . . and she was quick to pull me up on occasion and tell me to speak into the microphone. . .
“Before wrapping up, I will share that the occasional bad language did cause her to shift in her chair but it was nothing like the time Councillor Cahill rose from his chair to speak about a matter. . . unfortunately, his phone which had been in his back pocket got caught on the chair, pulling down his jeans and exposing a little too much. . . . ..
“Councillors, Ms Allmark has lived in Chester Hill since 1958 and has been very passionate in standing up for her community on many issues like opposing the Chester Hill Shopping Centre project. She was a loving mother, and a mother to many children she looked after in family day care.
“To honour her memory, I propose that her seat in the front row be reserved at all Council meetings leading up to the Council elections later this year, and that Council considers placing a plaque near the seat she occupied over the many, many years.
“As she did on many occasions for others, I now ask you to stand and observe a minute silence . . .
“Her funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 9, at 10.15am at the Rookwood Crematorium East Chapel.”