COUNCILLORS debated for just over an hour in a closed session before deciding on the makeup of the Cumberland Local Planning Panel (CLPP), including the appointment of five community representatives.
Former Auburn Councillor Irene Simms says she was surprised but pleased to be selected as a community representative for the Regents Park Ward for a term of three years.
Stepping back from direct involvement in local politics after failing to win a council seat at last year's elections, she admitted she nearly didn't nominate for the CLPP.
"I'd had several people approach me, they stopped me and suggested I do it and I decided why not and give it a go," she said.
Replacing the council in determining developments that exceed the staff delegation and reviewing planning proposals (rezonings), the Panel also includes independent experts, and Ms Simms says she thinks the role of the community representatives is to bring "some 'local knowledge' of the area to the deliberations".
"I'm happy to be able to serve the community in a useful capacity," she said.
"And I think this is the vehicle to do it again. I will make sure I am a voice for the community."
In report tabled at last week's meeting, one of her former Auburn Council colleagues, Hicham Zraika had been recommended for the position, and told the Review he was "disappointed that politics is put before community with those that lead the charge".
"It appears that certain councillors had defied the council's professional recommendation after an extensive vetting process had been undertaken for the appropriate candidate based on merit and credibility," he said.