Highlights of the 30 November 2020 Council Meeting

Date

Monday, 30 November 2020

Release

Sale of assets will help Council’s bottom line

Central Coast Council’s sale of several properties will deliver a much-needed boost to Council’s financial position and financial sustainability.  

The properties which include the Administration building and old Broadwater Hotel in Gosford, and land in Wyong, Warnervale and Jilliby are considered surplus to Council’s current and future needs and will deliver a significant return for Council and the community.

219B and 219C Albany Street North Gosford, which currently house a community based long day care centre, a dementia centre and the Rumbalara Hostel will be removed from the asset sale. The Administrator promised to also review the rental agreement with the leasee.

Administrator Dick Persson AM said tough decisions needed to be made to get the Council finances back on track and a sale of assets was the obvious and sensible place to start.

“I understand this may make the community nervous, however we need to take an urgent approach to our financial recovery,” Administrator Persson said.

“I am a big believer in affordable housing and that Council should help deliver it. With that in mind I have taken immediate steps to remove the three lots at 23-25 Ashton Avenue, The Entrance from the asset list for sale so that it can be considered for affordable housing.  

“The rest of the properties are there because there will be buyer interest and the private sector can use this land to create jobs and opportunities for the community at a time when Council cannot.

“This is not a fire sale. We will be ensuring that we get the best return for these properties, providing a significant boost to our bottom line.”

Real estate agents and valuers will be promptly appointed to start the marketing and sales campaign for the properties as soon as possible.  

Council will establish a Property Advisory Committee to advise Council on property matters going forward.  

Pruning of trees given green light to improve safety at Warnervale Aircraft Landing Area

Council will undertake the pruning of trees at the northern end of Warnervale Aircraft Landing Area (ALA) which will improve the safety of aircraft landing and taking off from the runway. 

Pruning was also a key recommendation of the recent Review of the Warnervale Airport Restrictions Act and will ensure Warnervale ALA can maintain an Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) of 3.3% to the north, in line Civil Aviation Authority night flight operation guidelines.

Administrator Dick Persson AM said that he had taken into consideration the need to protect the environment around the ALA with the need for a functioning and safe Aircraft Landing Area.

“The challenge with this issue is we have to make safety paramount, while protecting this important wetland environment," said Mr Persson.

"The expert environmental assessment tells us that the risk is manageable, and this is the best way to achieve what we need to do. No work is proposed to the South of the ALA within the sensitive wetland area.”

Council has received quotes to prune the trees and will determine a preferred provider for the works as soon as practicable. Council will be seeking Ausgrid’s cooperation to ensure the trees are pruned appropriately near their infrastructure.  

Council adopts new organisational structure

Council has adopted a new organisational structure, reducing the number of Executive Leadership Team (ELT) positions from 9 to 5.

The new directorates of Council will focus on the five core areas of water and sewer; community and recreation services; environment and planning; infrastructure and corporate affairs.

Mr Malcolm Ryan’s position as Chief Operating Officer is a temporary appointment to assist with the implementation of change within the organisation.

Administrator Dick Persson said an organisational structure review is a key action of the Business Recovery Plan adopted by Council to identify savings to improve the financial sustainability of Council.

“This Council is too top heavy. It is something I noticed as soon as I came here, and this restructure will help alleviate that by reducing four senior positions,” Mr Persson said.

“More reductions to management are expected now this restructure is in place.

“This structure will ensure there is a strong focus on finance and good governance as well as the core services of water and sewer, infrastructure, environment and planning and community and recreation services.”

An Administrator report on Council’s financial situation will be presented at an Extraordinary Meeting on Wednesday 2 December.

Corridor of Certainty is approved from Tuggerah to Wyong

Council has adopted a Strategy to stimulate economic growth and investment in development for the Pacific Highway corridor from Tuggerah to North Wyong and provide local jobs for the community.

Administrator Dick Persson AM said community participation and feedback from key stakeholders has made a real impact on the development of the Tuggerah to Wyong Economic Corridor Strategy.

“The adoption of a clear strategy is much more than a plan, it promotes an investment pathway and I’m pleased to say the strategy provides a literal ‘road map’ for this Northern Growth Corridor.

“The strategy is backed by economic analysis and a transport study that identifies several improvements that can be made to public transport, walkways, cycling, roads and parking. In the short term, this strategy also enables the alignment of development contributions to help finance the works that are needed,” Mr Persson said.

“Clear strategies create investment certainty and that in turn stimulates local job opportunities. This 20-year strategy will support a corridor of certainty for the Tuggerah to Wyong area to become a dominant commercial and economic centre for the Central Coast and ensures both Council and the NSW Government deliver on priorities for this area.”

Decision on purchase of Davistown Wetlands deferred

Central Coast Council has deferred the decision on purchasing the land known as Davistown wetland to allow the land owners further time to discuss an alternative proposal with Council staff.

Council takes further steps to ensure best practice in governance

Central Coast Council has taken steps to further ensure decisions and actions remain clear and transparent for the community with the development of a Governance Lighthouse report, in line with the structure of the NSW Audit Office Governance Lighthouse, as well as a draft Lobbying Policy.

Council’s Governance Lighthouse report will provide independent assurance that management is achieving objectives in an ethical and legal way. The report will be provided to the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee and then Council each quarter.

And to ensure that lobbying activities remain fair, transparent and will not undermine public confidence in impartial decision-making, Council resolved to place its draft Lobbying Policy on public exhibition for 28 days.

The draft policy sets out guidelines for ensuring clear and transparent interactions with developers and lobby groups including:

  • individuals or groups with a direct interest in matters, advocating for themselves or on behalf of others, and
  • Council advocating on issues affecting Council, the Central Coast Community, and Local Government as a whole.

The draft policy is anticipated to go on public exhibition for 28 days in February next year. Submissions received from the public will be considered in a future report to Council.

Report on artificial reefs finds little immediate benefit for coastline management

Council tonight received a report on the suitability of artificial reefs for coastline management on the Central Coast.

At this stage artificial reefs are not considered a suitable solution to coastal protection due to the inherent cost and low certainty of success in the Central Coast’s coastal landscape.

Council Administrator, Dick Persson AM said the upcoming development of a Coastal Management Program would consider a range of options in depth.

“As we move through the process of developing a new Coastal Management Program, appropriate and feasible options for any identified issues will be assessed,” said Mr Persson.

“This may well include artificial reefs if they are considered an appropriate and feasible solution to specific issues raised as part of the studies."

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Last updated : Tue 1 Dec 2020