Council committed to consulting on development to move the Coast forward

Council is committed to creating a vibrant and sustainable Central Coast with Gosford as the regional capital and consultation with all stakeholders as a core principle.

Council is currently reviewing its section 94 contribution plans, preparing a consolidated Local Environment Plan for exhibition including a developer and community forum and is set to consult on an adjustment of the threshold for referral of a development application to Council to 15 objections.

Read separate release in full here.

Council proactively releases documents relating to the Wyong Employment Zone and defers budget allocation to Airport

On 23 October 2017 Council resolved to request that its CEO authorise proactive release of information relating to the future development of the Wyong Employment Zone (including the Central Coast Airport) on Council’s website and for public viewing at Council’s chambers. This evening the Council received a report on the proactive release of documents by the Acting CEO.

Mayor Jane Smith said there had been a perception of secrecy around the airport in the past and the proactive release of these documents would go a long way to restore confidence in open and transparent decision-making.

“If the community feel assured they are being given all the information they need to understand an issue, then they will then be able to better appreciate the decision-making of Council,” Mayor Jane Smith said.

“Council tonight has deferred a decision on the re-allocation of budget to the Airport and the Wyong Employment Zone for site visits and a full briefing.

“We understand there may be implications for current lease arrangements at the Airport and want to ensure we have all the information we need to make the right decision.

“This will not derail our focus and plans to create much needed employment opportunities in the growing north of the Coast.

“We must invest in initiatives that will create the much needed jobs are growing community need now and in the future.”

Documents relating to the Wyong Employment Zone that can be made fully public will be available on Council’s website with some available for viewing only at Council buildings due to copyright or other legal issues.

Council to consider Woy Woy Bowling Club DA before JRPP determination

Council will review the assessment report for Seniors Housing and a new Bowling Club in Woy Woy before it is determined by the consent authority, the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

As the development is valued at over $20 million it is the JRPP, not Council who is the ultimate consent authority.  However the elected body of Council can make a submission to the JRPP that is separate and additional to the assessment report that must be provided by Council officers.

Mayor Jane Smith said due to the significant concern in the community about the proposal and as the elected Council want to be across the detail and community impacts before it goes straight to the JRPP.

“We are aware the JRPP is an independent process and community submissions will be considered,” Mayor Jane Smith said.

“We are interested to see the assessment report and it may be appropriate to add the weight of a Council submission to reinforce the concerns of the community in relation to flooding and parking impacts and see what can come out of that.”

Assessment of the DA is in its early stages with community consultation only just completed.

The Hunter Central Coast Joint Regional Panel is made up of three members appointed by the State Government and two Council appointed members – currently Councillors MacGregor and Burke.

Gosford Regional Gallery to be expanded to create a Japanese Tea House

Council has accepted a donation from the Urasenke Foundation to build a Japanese Tea House in the Japanese Gardens at the Gosford Regional Gallery.

Council will take over ownership of the Tea House once it has been built, at a cost of around $250,000, and has committed to its long-term maintenance.

Mayor Jane Smith said Council welcomed the generous donation which would help enhance friendship and promote cultural exchange between the Central Coast and Japan and would be a great drawcard for the gallery.

“We are grateful for this generous donation which will certainly strengthen our ties and knowledge of Japan within the community,” Mayor Jane Smith said.

“The Japanese Garden is already a major drawcard for the Gallery and the addition of the Tea House will certainly enhance its appeal and I am looking forward to the project coming to fruition.”

A working party has been set up to ensure the project is realised with the President of the Chasdo Urasenke Tankokai Sydney Association, Mr Yyoshiaki Matsunaga, Mr Ken Lamb who designed and built the Edogawa Commemorative Garden at the Gallery, Mayor Jane Smith and relevant staff.

The Tea House will be built on Council-owned land behind the current fence line, increasing the size of the Commemorative Garden by 15 square metres.

Council meeting schedule confirms commitment to open and transparent decision-making

Council has adopted a new Code of Meeting Practice confirming webcasting of bi-monthly meetings from February to November, finishing times of 10.30pm, community forums once a month and a simplified order of business including a limit of three minutes for Councillors to address the meeting.

Meetings will alternate between Gosford and Wyong Chambers.

Mayor Jane Smith said the changes would give the community confidence that Council decisions would be timely, open and transparent with plenty of opportunity for community input.

“We have a big job to do, and the community want us to get on and make the decisions that will move the Coast forward and more regular meetings will ensure that,” Mayor Jane Smith.

“Openness and transparency is the key which is why we will continue to live stream all Council meetings so everyone can see what is going on without having to travel to be in the Chamber.”

“Residents will be able to address Council on items on the agenda or seek to speak at a community forum to raise a specific item of concern to them with all Councillors there.”

“So there will be more opportunities for the community to be actively involved in the decision-making process of Council and we certainly encourage that.”

The next Council meeting will be held on Tuesday February 26 at the Wyong Chamber from 6.30pm.  Agenda papers are available on Council’s website three business days before the meeting.

Terms of Reference adopted for the Mangrove Mountain and Spencer Advisory Committee

Council has confirmed the Terms of Reference for the Mangrove Mountain and Spencer Advisory committee following its inaugural meeting on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

The Terms of Reference confirm the Advisory nature of the Committee with  recommendations to be made by consensus with a quorum of three Councillors and six voting community members.

Mayor Jane Smith said the first meeting of the Committee was particularly positive and was a great opportunity to talk through the community’s concerns about waste management and how the Committee will work together to resolve them.

“There is genuine commitment by Council and the community members to be open and transparent and work together to ensure issues raised by the Four Corners program last year are considered thoroughly and appropriate action taken,” Mayor Smith said.

“That is what we all want to see. The community can be assured that we do have the right people around the table to make that happen.

The Advisory Committee is responsible for providing advice and feedback on:

  • The current situation at the Mangrove Mountain landfill site
  • The current situation regarding the illegal dumping at Spencer
  • Recommendations to address issues raised relating to the Mangrove Mountain landfill site
  • Recommendations to address issues raised relating to the illegal dumping at Spencer
  • The implementation of actions in relation to Mangrove Mountain landfill site
  • The implementation of actions in relation to illegal dumping at Spencer

The Committee will meet quarterly with all minutes, recommendations and action reported back to Council.

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 27 February at 5pm at the Mangrove Mountain Community Hall and is open to the public.

Council to call for Expressions of Interest to sit on key Advisory Groups

Community members will have an opportunity to provide their advice and expertise to Council when Expressions of Interest are called for six key Advisory Groups.

Community members interested in the development and implementation of Coastal Management Plans are encouraged to apply for positions on the Catchment and Coast Groups – one of which will focus on Brisbane Water and one on Tuggerah Lakes.

EOIs will also be called for the Coastal Open Space (COSS), Employment and Economic development, Gosford CBD and Waterfront Committee as well as a Heritage Advisory Group.

Mayor Jane Smith said Groups had been established in the key strategic areas Council was focussed on progressing in the best possible way for the Coast and was a chance for community members to be actively involved in finding solutions.

“This is a real opportunity for those with a real passion, interest and expertise in our environment, waterways, economic development and heritage to bring that to the table and directly feed into Council decision-making,” Mayor Jane Smith said.

“We are a large Council area, representing over 330,000 residents and we need to ensure we are providing as many avenues as possible for community voice and representation and these Groups are one part of that,”

The Groups will also contain representation for Council staff in the relevant area and Councillors will also be invited to nominate for membership of the Groups.

Expressions of Interest will be open for a period of 28 days being from approximately 22 February 2018 to 21 March 2018.  A report will be provided to the 9 April 2018 Council meeting recommending Group appointments.

Information about the EOI process will be available on Council’s engagement hub This is where all current projects and initiatives Council is seeking input on are found.

Council makes it happen with community funding

At tonight’s Council Meeting, Council awarded more than $30,000 to 13 community groups as part of the 2017/18 Community Grants and Sponsorship Program.

Read separate release here