Highlights of the 12 June 2018 Council Meeting
June 13, 2018
Council receives report on water and sewerage performance
Council has noted a report on the 2015-2016 performance for water and sewer operations, which has been used to help prioritise an ongoing program of work and to identify focus areas for major projects.
Mayor Jane Smith said performance reports informed the Water and Sewer Strategic Business Plan, which was recently endorsed by Council and will be submitted to the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
“Central Coast Council operates as a water utility and we implement a range of measures to ensure our community receives quality drinking water and effective sewer services,” Mayor Smith said.
“We operate in a highly regulated environment and this report demonstrates how closely we monitor our water and sewer systems.”
Performance indicators in the 2015-16 report highlight areas where Council is tracking well and areas where improvement is needed.
“This report shows the average Central Coast water bill is lower than both the NSW and National averages, which will be welcome news for our community,” said Mayor Smith.
“Council’s operating costs were also significantly below the NSW and National average.
“We acknowledge there are clear areas where improvements are necessary, including the number of water main breaks.
“A number of measures are being implemented and proposed to reduce the number of water main breaks, including over $4.7million flagged for the water main renewal program which is expected to commence in the 2018-19 financial year.”
“We are also planning a $10 million sewer main rehabilitation program over the next four years, which involves the installation of a synthetic pipe liner that reinforces the existing pipe structure, seals any leaks and prevents future tree root intrusion.
“The technology used minimises disruption to sewer services and generally avoids the need for any ground excavation.”
A number of performance indicators have improved in data captured for the 2016-17 report, which is due to be published soon.
Salary increase confirmed for Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors
Council has now fixed the annual fees to be paid to each Councillor at $29,970, a 2.5 percent increase, with additional fees to be paid to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in accordance with recommendations by the NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal (NSWLGRT).
Central Coast Council has been classified as a Regional Strategic Area by NSWLGRT, along with Lake Macquarie Council in recognition of the large population and because of the range of urban and rural settlements. Council has set the fee for Councillors at the maximum of the range in recognition of high demands placed on Councillors, Mayor and Deputy Mayors to fulfil their roles for the third largest Council in NSW and sixth in the country by population.
Mayor Jane Smith said she had reduced her commitments to take on the role of Mayor on a full time basis and is enjoying the challenges and opportunities in the role.
“We certainly have a big job to do now we are now a major region in our own right with a population of 335,000 and growing,” Mayor Jane Smith said.
“Councillors are committed to working together in the best interests of the community of the Central Coast and will continue to do so.”
The fee for the Mayor has been set at $86,440 with $8,644 of that to be given as an additional fee to the Deputy Mayor. Mayor Jane Smith will be paid $107,466 per year and Deputy Mayor Holstein $38,314. Both were elected into the positions for two years so the next Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral election is due in September 2019.
Council grants top $1 million for the financial year
Council has awarded more than $420,000 to 33 community organisations to help them deliver activities and events which build the community’s capacity and create stronger local connections.
Council committed to tackling homelessness on the Coast
Council has unanimously agreed to make urgent representations to the State Government to set up an assertive Outreach Team for the Central Coast to proactively tackle the issue of homeless people sleeping rough in Council parks and reserves and cars.
Council will seek the support of Local Members and non-government agencies in this endeavour and to invite the Minister for Family Services and Social Housing to visit the Coast to witness the situation first-hand.
Mayor Jane Smith said Council will continue to take part in any action that are within its jurisdiction in regard to illegal camping and caring for these individuals.
“This is a real issue on the Coast and we must show compassion,understanding and care for these most vulnerable members of our community,” Mayor Smith said.
“Council will work with all levels of government and key community organisations to find a real and lasting solution to this growing problem on the Coast.”
Council welcomes $46million infrastructure boost for the Central Coast
This financial year, Central Coast Council had also been the recipient of significant grant allocations from the NSW Government to fund key enabling infrastructure and community infrastructure projects. The NSW government has committed more than $46million for sewer and water infrastructure upgrades in the Gosford CBD, floodplain studies, and upgrades to wharves, parks and amenities.
The bulk of this funding is allocated from the NSW Government Housing Acceleration Fund for a $42M expansion and upgrade of the Gosford CBD water and sewage system planned for delivery over the next five years. Council welcomes the funding which will be used to future-proof the Gosford CBD water and sewer network, increasing reliability, capacity and performance.
Southern Growth Corridor Strategy to consider Somersby Business Park Expansion
Council has resolved to shelve the preparation of plans to rezone a number of sites within the Somersby Business Park and revisit expansion of this or alternate industrial areas as part of the proposed Southern Growth Corridor Strategy as part of the Central Coast Regional Plan.
A total of 14 individual sites had been part of a planning proposal initiated under the former Gosford City Council to rezone land on Acacia Road, Somersby Falls Road, Wisemans Ferry Road and Debenham Road (North), Somersby from RU1 Primary Production to IN1 General Industrial under the Gosford Local Environmental Plan 2014.
After Council undertook a detailed review of these lands, it was found that any potential rezoning will only result in a marginal increase in employment land supply and it is premature to rezone additional lands for employment purposes ahead of the Southern Growth Corridor Strategy and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Central Coast Biodiversity Project. Accordingly, Council has discontinued investigations into this rezoning.
Mayor Jane Smith said that whilst these proposed plans were appropriate at the time, given the new spotlight on Gosford as the commercial capital of the Central Coast, it is important to pause and review how to best identify and develop industrial lands as part of the bigger picture for the development and growth of the Central Coast.
“We know our region is growing quickly and that our proximity to Sydney and Newcastle makes us an ideal location for appropriate activation of industrial areas,” Mayor Smith said.
“Council will be consulting with the community on how and where we develop industrial areas as part of the Southern Growth Corridor Strategy, and how this can position the Central Coast to take advantage of opportunities for economic growth and job creation for our community.”
Council acquires land to facilitate growth of Somersby Industrial Park
Council has resolved to acquire land at the Somersby Industrial Park for road widening and to secure an easement for drainage purposes.
The Somersby land acquisitions include 85 Pile Road, Somersby, 191 Wisemans Ferry Road, 244 Debenham Road, 83 Gindurra Road and 25 Kangoo Road.
These acquisitions are necessary to facilitate the road infrastructure requirements of Somersby Industrial Park Infrastructure Upgrades Project.
Consultation will continue with land owners, with a view to acquire the affected parts of their properties by agreement.
Access, acquisitions and construction are to be completed by June 2019.
Tuggerah land acquisition paves way for safe access
Council has resolved to acquire land at 1 Hillview Crescent, Tuggerah and 25 Pacific Highway, Tuggerah for road widening and the construction of a shared pathway.
The acquisition of the land at Tuggerah will allow a shared path to be constructed, linking the existing path at Tuggerah Public School to the intersection of the Pacific Highway and Wyong Road, Tuggerah. This path will provide safe access for pedestrians and cyclists, in particular school children.
Construction and acquisition costs for the project have been provided for from Council’s Capital Works Expenditure staged over 2017/18 and in the draft 2018/19 budget.
Consultation will now continue with land owners, with a view to acquire the affected parts of their properties by agreement.