Highlights of the 23 April 2018 Council Meeting

Date

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Release

Council calls for urgent action on asbestos at Wamberal Beach

A Management Plan will be developed and reported to the next Council meeting on how the asbestos issue at Wamberal and Terrigal Beaches will be resolved in the interests of public safety.

Council has also requested that the Acting CEO proactively release the Wamberal Beach NSW Storm Erosion Remediation Report.

Mayor Jane Smith there was genuine concern in the community about the potential presence of asbestos containing material at Wamberal and Terrigal Beaches, and that Council needed to  take decisive action to resolve it.

“I commend staff, and particularly Acting CEO Brian Glendenning for their swift action in removing asbestos from these beaches and securing the beach for the safety of beachgoers,” Mayor Smith said.

“Council has certainly been proactive in the short term but the focus now needs to be on coming up with a long term strategy that will satisfy beachgoers, local landowners and the community.

“We are committed to continue to working with the State Government, particularly the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), to resolving this issue in the best interests of our community.”

Council staff are currently conducting at least twice weekly inspections of Wamberal and Terrigal Beaches Council reminds residents to report any material potentially containing asbestos at either beach to the Environment Protection Authority or Council straight away and not remove the material themselves.

The Council also requested that the Acting CEO publish an information sheet concerning the potential risks associated of contact with asbestos material, and distribute that information sheet to residents that live next to Wamberal and Terrigal beaches.

Council resolves to deliver Regional Performing Arts Centre for Gosford CBD  

Council tonight has reconfirmed a Regional Performing Arts and Conference Centre (RPACC) will be built in the Gosford CBD.

A rescission motion to move the site to Poppy Park instead was lost with the Mayor using her casting vote to confirm RPACC will be built as part of a cultural precinct starting at 51-71 Mann Street (Old Broadwater Hotel site).

Mayor Jane Smith said with the discussion and debate now finalised, it is time to work together with the community and the state and federal governments to ensure this key project is delivered.

“There is significant state and federal funding at stake that we will lose if we do not get on with delivering this project,” Mayor Smith said.

‘We have run out of time to deliberate - it is time for decisive action.

“The community has significant investment and interest in progressing this project and have waited long enough.

“Our energy and focus must be on making it a reality and that is what we intend to do.

“The RPACC will be key drawcard to the Gosford CBD and will help create an active and engaged arts and cultural hub in the region’s capital.

“We can now move with confidence to the design phase and are committed to working with all our partners, including the Conservatorium of Music, to ensure we meet the needs of arts and broader community, by delivering an iconic and economically viable facility we can all be proud of.”

The community and key stakeholders will be consulted on the detailed design as this project moves forward.

Current construction schedule is the build is expected to get underway in January 2019 and will take 18 months.

Council defers decision on Regional Library

Council has deferred a final decision on a Regional Library to consider the commercial viability of a modern facility the community have said they want for the Gosford CBD.

Following a detailed Councillor workshop, a further report on a revised proposal for a Regional Library in Gosford will be presented to the 28 May 2018 Council meeting.

Mayor Jane Smith said that although this delays the final decision a little it provides a final opportunity for Councillors to look at a more detailed design in the context of a cultural precinct and reach consensus on a way forward.

“We need to ensure we create a truly iconic building in the city centre, helping to attract business and investment to the area as well as increase connectivity amongst educational institutions,” Mayor Smith said.

“This catalyst project for the CBD must be a central meeting point for locals and visitors alike creating a true innovation centre and drawcard to the city centre.

“Libraries are at the heart of creating liveable, connected and sustainable cities and that is definitely what we want to see for the Gosford CBD.”

Council Director of Connected Communities, Julie Vaughan, took the opportunity to emphasise that the development of the Gosford Regional Library is not dependent on the closure of any existing branches.

“I want to be very clear – the development of a Regional Library is not contingent on branches in the Peninsula, or elsewhere, being closed,” Ms Vaughan said.

“Our ability to meet contemporary and future needs of the region has been constrained for a long time due to our current library buildings size and capabilities.

“This has highlighted an overwhelming need for us to provide a multi-use Regional Library where our community can meet, connect and learn.

“Next financial year we will be carrying out a review of our current Library Services in order to create a better and more sustainable service for the community.

“The review will include consultation with the community to gain an improved understanding of what resources and services they value and want to see from our Libraries.”

First ever Central Coast Community Strategic Plan released

Council has released One – Central Coast, a draft of the first ever Community Strategic Plan for the region.

Read full media release here.

New Chief Executive Officer recruitment on track

The process to appoint a new permanent Chief Executive Officer for Central Coast Council is on track following a confidential discussion at tonight’s Council meeting.

Mayor Jane Smith said she was pleased that the process of selecting a new Chief Executive Officer for Central Coast Council was on schedule and she expected an announcement to be made in the next few weeks.

“With the assistance of the appointed recruitment agency, Davidson, the Councillor panel made up of myself, Deputy Mayor Holstein, Councillor Burke and Councillor Hogan conducted interviews with shortlisted candidates,” Mayor Smith said.

“All Councillors were then invited to a second interview and presentation with the final shortlist and we are now in the process of completing final checks.

“Following tonight’s meeting and the resolution of Council, we will complete the final checks and move to offer the Chief Executive Officer position to our preferred candidate.

“This has been an important process and I look forward to being able to provide further information soon,” Mayor Smith said.

Council calls on State Government to prioritise dredging of Ettalong Channel

Council has reconfirmed its position that the State Government is responsible for navigable waters and should completely fund the dredging of the Ettalong Channel.

Council will request that the NSW Minister for Roads receive a delegation from Council, to attempt to make dredging of the Ettalong Channel a priority for the NSW Government.

Mayor Jane Smith said it was important the community understood the NSW Government collect significant fees from marine activities in Brisbane Water and it is that funding that should be put back into making the Channel navigable.

“The State Government collects significant fees from maritime activities on Brisbane Water including licensing, boat registrations, licences issued to the ferry service itself and the use of moorings and other State-owned facilities – what we need to understand is just how much money that is,” Mayor Smith said.

“I believe it will be more than enough to pay for the dredging without Council needing to take money from other essential services to pay for what is a State Government responsibility.

“That is the position we will take directly to the Minister and we ask the community to join us and call on the State Government to prioritise dredging of the Ettalong Channel.”

Council will publish a fact sheet for marine users and local residents detailing how dredging is a State Government responsibility and what they can do to request action.

Council supports best practice in proactive release of information to the public

Council has resolved to support the development of a robust Proactive Release Program over the next 12 months to give the community greater access to a range of Council held information, including documentation that helps Council make informed decisions.

The Program will create a framework to promote the efficient and useful release of Council information. Australian and international best practice will be harnessed and members of the community will also be consulted to assist with prioritising the release of information.

Mayor Jane Smith said the development of this new program is evidence of Council’s commitment to transparency, accountability and efficiency.

“We want the community to have faith that we are making informed decisions in their best interests,” Mayor Jane Smith.

“We want to be proactive and release information that will inform our residents about the history of projects and the basis of decisions.”

“Council’s Acting CEO has already proactively released a considerable about of information relating to the Wyong Employment Zone and Central Coast Airport. Tonight it has been announced that documents relating to Mangrove Mountain Landfill will very soon also be made publically available.

“There will continue to be times when information does need to remain confidential – and there are good reasons why this is the case. However, Council will be seeking to make these reasons clearer at the time.  After some time, that information too may be able to be released proactively.”

Council recognised that restrictions imposed by the Federal Copyright Act are a source of frustration for some members of the public attempting to obtain copies of certain documents. However, to reproduce documents without the express permission of the Copyright owner would open Council up to prosecution and monetary damages. Council will very shortly write to the NSW Information Commissioner and request the issue be raised with the Federal Government.

Every year Council responds to hundreds of requests for information. In the long term an expected outcome of the new Proactive Release Program is that the number of formal applications will decrease because the type of information being requested has already been proactively released by Council.

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Last updated : Wed 18 Jul 2018