Highlights of the 12 March 2018 Council Meeting

Council commits to strong action on climate change

Council will explore the option to join the Cities Power Partnership (CPP) and develop a policy including mitigation and adaptions measures in a bid to take strong action on climate change.

In January 2018 the Climate Council released a report confirming the 2013-2017 period has been the hottest on record with 2017 the third hottest year on record

Mayor Jane Smith said climate change is real and action needed to be taken to mitigate its effect on the region’s water resources, coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, health, agriculture and biodiversity.

“The effects of climate change pose a serious threat to our way of life on the Central Coast,” Mayor Smith said.

“Climate change is a risk to our economic prosperity so doing nothing is not an option.

“We want our legacy to be that we stood up and said we value our way of life and want to protect it for the generations to come.

“Council needs to take the lead on this and develop an action plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and get our industry, businesses and community on board as well.”

CPP is a national local government program that focusses on supporting the emission reduction successes of local councils in Australia. Member councils, of which there are 70, commit to 4 pledge items across renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and working together.

Council will develop a climate change policy in consultation with staff and the community and once drafted it will be put out for formal public exhibition.

Council to urgently review six sites for RPACC in Gosford CBD

In a move to expedite the building of the Regional Performing Arts Centre for the Coast, Council will urgently review six key sites in the Gosford CBD.

The location of the sites is currently confidential for commercial-in-confidence negotiations but must meet the operational requirements of the RPACC and the funding agreements with the State and Federal Governments.

Mayor Jane Smith said this was a key project for the Gosford CBD and the Central Coast and a site needs to be confirmed once and for all.

“Everything is in place for this project – the business case, the community support, Federal, State and Council funding commitments – it is all good to go – we just need to decide on the best possible site once and for all.

“The RPACC is one of the catalyst projects to stimulate the revitalisation of the Gosford CBD and we will deliver it for our community.”

“Once the site is finalised it will be all systems go to the design phase to create a world-class financially viable stage for our local and touring talent to shine that the Coast can be proud of.”

In December 2017 Council revised the RPACC business plan to ensure the business model and venue specifications meet community need and are economically viable.  For the RPACC to be successful the modelling show in must include a 950-1000 seat auditorium, a fly tower, an orchestra pit, smaller function and meeting rooms and large foyer over two stories.

The NSW Government have committed $12 million which includes $2 million for the construction of an adjoining conservatorium.  $10 million  has been committed through the Federal Government’s Stronger Regions Fund in 2015. Council has committed $10 million to the project.

Site analysis and negotiations are expected to take about six weeks with the outcome to be reported back to Council.

What’s in a Name – Central Coast to Boast Regional Sporting Complex

The adoption of a name change incorporating the words ‘Central Coast’ into the title of Council’s $23.7 million sporting and recreational regional facility at Tuggerah, is a significant milestone in the lead up to its opening in September this year.

The initial concept of the ‘Tuggerah Regional Sporting and Recreation Complex’ was an initiative of the former Wyong Council with a $13.71 million contribution from Council and the support of a $10 million grant from the Australian Federal Government.

Mayor Jane Smith said renaming the Complex will greatly assist in realising its purpose of attracting major regional level sporting and recreational events to the area and was a unanimous decision of Council.

“We have a strong regional identity, and rebranding the Complex to acknowledge its regional ownership will only enhance the opportunity to stimulate our local economy through the increase of visitors to our area,” Mayor Smith said.

“This is the first Complex of its kind for the Central Coast region and the first significant project completed by the Central Coast – so it is appropriate it is renamed to honour that.

Stage 1 of the Complex covers 18.28 hectares, and consists of nine playing fields and accessible amenities and shared pathways. Stage 2 – subject to funding – will offer a 1500 seat grandstand and a multipurpose, indoor sporting centre.

With its close locale to public transport and the M1, the Complex will offer a viable alternative to Sydney and Newcastle for premier event organisers when it opens in September 2018.

“I was there for the laying of the hallowed turf and along with my fellow Councillors when we visited recently, I was amazed by its sheer scale and potential”, Mayor Smith said.

“We believe in this Complex and its ability to attract major sporting events and opportunities for our community for generations to come.”

Council asks for reports on how to better revitalise the Gosford CBD

Council has asked its Acting CEO to prepare a detailed report and brief Councillors on the current planning controls and initiatives  for the Gosford CBD, to continue the push for revitalisation of the Coast’s capital.

It’s not well known that the current planning controls already allow developments up to around 20 storeys in different locations.

Council formally noted the extensive work of the former Gosford City Council to incentivise development in the CBD, which included generous development incentives, and extensive investment by all levels of Government.

Mayor Jane Smith said it was time to find ways to activate the development consents in place already.

“Council has been doing what it can to get development moving on the Coast, we have planning controls in place and are directly investing millions in catalyst projects,”

“There are numerous empty or dilapidated buildings in the CBD that were granted consent under generous planning incentives, and they could be built now – that is what we are all waiting for.

It’s time that developers step up and deliver on the approved development applications. Gosford is the regional capital of the Central Coast and should reflect that title and we will continue to do everything we can possibly do to ensure that happens.”

Council’s sound investment portfolio to include green bonds

Council’s strong investment portfolio will be expanded to include green bonds for the first time.

Green bonds were created to fund projects that have a positive environment social and/or climate benefits including but not limited to renewable energy (solar, wind and hydro), carbon reduction, commercial property energy efficiency improvements, asset finance for low emission passenger and commercial vehicles and community housing.

Mayor Jane Smith said investing in green bonds will allow Council to provide finance to projects that generate positive social impacts and help create a vibrant and sustainable Central Coast.

“Green bonds are all about funding sustainable initiatives including renewable energy projects and better waste management in landfills that we can all benefit from and address the impacts of climate change,” Mayor Jane Smith said.

By investing in Green Bonds, Council is choosing an option that will contribute to a sustainable future.

Council awards more than $10,000 in community grants

Council tonight awarded more than $10,000 to three local community groups as part of the Community Support Grant Program.

Council’s Community Support Grant provides support for the community to deliver activities which require a small amount of funding and/or in-kind support.

The successful recipients were:

  • The Entrance Neighbourhood Centre for their Community Welfare Relief Project
  • Hardy’s Bay Community Church for their Easter Holiday Festival
  • Volunteering Central Coast for their Volunteering Expo 2018.

Mayor Jane Smith said it’s great to see the community taking advantage of the funding opportunities available to help make their big ideas happen.

“Our Community Grants and Sponsorship Funding give our community more opportunities to support their events, programs and initiatives,” Mayor Smith said.

“These grants awarded tonight will provide a number of benefits to our community such as creating vibrant neighbourhoods through increased participation in public spaces, enhancing a sense of local identity and support for volunteers and events on the Coast.

“This financial year we have allocated more than $1.4million in funding available for community projects.”

The Community Support Grant is open all year round.

Council’s Community Grant programs have been designed to provide support to our community to deliver quality programs, projects or events that build connections, celebrate out local community and build capacity across the Central Coast.

To find out more on Council’s Community Grants and Sponsorship Program, visit centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/makeithappen