New Chief Executive Officer presides over first Council meeting

New CEO Gary Murphy was officially welcomed to the Central Coast by a unanimous vote at tonight’s Council meeting.

Mr Murphy has been in the role for just over a week taking over from Acting CEO Brian Glendenning.

Mayor Jane Smith said Mr Murphy’s had the full support of the Council and leadership and his extensive experience and passion for community made him the ideal choice to lead the Central Coast.

“We need an experienced CEO who will deliver stability and certainty for the Coast and we have found that.

“I look forward to working with Gary and delivering our first ever Community Strategic Plan for the Central Coast.

“I think Brian and the entire leadership team for their outstanding leadership as we have transitioned to this period of the elected Council and a new CEO.”

Mr Murphy is in the process of relocating to the Central Coast and has signed a five year contract.

Rescission motion lost again in respect to the Aviation Hub Masterplan for Central Coast Airport

A motion to rescind the 27 November 2017 Council resolution to suspend works at Central Coast Airport and divert funds to other employment generating projects has been lost for the second time.

The original resolution, which still stands, reallocates $6 million from the Airport to an employment generating strategy for the north of the Coast.

Mayor Jane Smith said Council remain steadfast in its view that better value for money for residents would be found beyond the airport.

“Council must take the lead in advocating for its residents and making the right investment that will create the jobs the Coast needs now and as it continues to grow,” Mayor Smith said.

‘There are other options for employment generation projects beyond the Airport that can and must be explored.”

“The time for debate on the airport is over.

“We now have our first ever Community Strategic Plan and the Operational Plan for the Coast and it is those Plans we must focus on delivering. That is our contract and promise to our community.”

There are no limits on the amount of times a rescission motion can be brought before Council, however the same motion can only be put up every three months.

Council confirms cats will be accepted at Animal Care Facilities on the Coast

Council owned Animal Care Facilities on the Coast will continue to accept cats handed in by members of the public.

A screening process is in place at the facilities at Erina and Charmhaven in an attempt to reunite cats with their owners.

Mayor Jane Smith acknowledged and thanked staff or their support of animal welfare and said a recent misinterpretation of legislation had led to confusion amongst the community staff which had been rectified.

“Council has listened and have moved to ensure our policies and procedures relating to cats are in line with community expectations,” Mayor Smith said.

“Council will do its part to protect our natural environment and wildlife by taking in cats and encourages responsible pet owners to do the same.

Council’s new CEO will report back to Council on the feasibility and benefit of forming a Central Coast Companion Animals Advisory Committee.

In the last financial year 312 cats were surrendered to the Facilities with the overwhelming majority rehomed or returned to their owners.

Former ‘Masters’ building site green light to transition to bulky goods retail hub

The ‘Riverside’ site, located at Mann’s Road, West Gosford has been given the green light by Council to triple the size of its maximum floor area and continue its use as a bulky goods retail.

This modification of the floor space, from 10,700m square metres to 32,870m2 is considered to be appropriate use of the former “Masters” building as it provides flexibility to respond to future outcomes of the Southern Growth Corridor Strategy as well as regional retail and employment land supply studies.

Mayor Jane Smith said the additional ‘bulky goods premises’ floor space would encourage activation of this dormant site and potentially bring employment opportunities to the coast.

“The site is located within the Southern Growth Corridor which is designated as a priority location for future jobs, services and business growth within the southern half of the region,” Mayor Smith said.

“Bulky goods retail is a logical land use for this site with surrounding areas to the north and south of the subject site are transitioning to become a bulky good retail hub.

“This expansion in an already busy retail hub, could potentially create 150 to 200 jobs on the Coast, and flow on effects to the local economy.

“Council is committed to driving employment and growth as we create a vibrant and sustainable Central Coast.”

Council celebrates National Tree Day with free tree hand out

Council will increase the green canopy across by handing out 1500 native trees to the community and developing an Urban Forest Strategy.

Trees will be handed out at community events, including National Tree Day and the Lakes Festival, over the next few months at a cost of around $6000, that can be planted on private property.

Mayor Jane Smith said protection and enhancement of the natural environment is a key priority of Council’s first ever Community Strategic Plan and this program was a great place to start.

“As a community, we place immense value on our green spaces and now we can be all a part of creating a green canopy on the Central Coast,” Mayor Smith said.

“The environmental, social and health benefits of plants are well documented – increased air quality, along with improved physical and mental health all assist in improving the overall quality of life on the Coast.

“I encourage everyone to plant a tree for our environment on National Tree Day and we will begin handing out plants as soon as possible so the community can benefit from this great program.”

National Tree Day will be held on 29 July this year.

Shade trees will be included in the development of the Urban Forest Policy to give consideration of ways to facilitate easier planting of trees on residential nature strips and road reserves. It is expected that the Policy will be placed on public exhibition in late 2018, with the opportunity for community members to provide input at that time.

State of the art Integrated Composting Facility to be built in Somersby

Council has approved an integrated composting facility able to process up to 5,000 tonnes of organic waste which will be converted into 3,000 tonnes of saleable material every year.

The facility, located at Grants Road Somersby, will receive and compost organic waste from commercial and industrial waste streams including mulch, paper sludge, fruit and vegetable organics, chicken litter and food waste including plate scrapings. The end product, a humified soil conditioner, will be used for agricultural and horticultural purposes.

Mayor Jane Smith said the Council had carefully considered this application and balanced the concerns of the local community with the benefits of this type of composting facility.

“As our community grows, we need to continue to tackle the issue of how to deal with the waste we create and facilities and such as this one at Somersby does just that,” Mayor Smith said.

“Council is committed to sustainability and increasing reuse and recycling opportunities.

“Council proposes to develop a Central Coast Council Waste Strategy this financial year to align with Council’s and the communities’ strategic direction, which will identify future opportunities for reuse and recycling through emerging new technologies.”

The facility will divert waste away from landfill in accordance with the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-21 and the Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative which is funded through the waste levy and is the largest waste and recycling program in Australia.

Council establishes Committee to advise the Council on the Crown Land Negotiation

Council has established a Committee of 5 councillors to advise the Council on its participation in State Government’s Crown Land Negotiation Program. The Program involves voluntary, multi-party negotiations between the NSW Government, Council, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council over who ultimately own and manage Crown Land on the Coast.

Mayor Jane Smith said Council the Committee would ensure the Council understands this complex and important Program, and makes informed decisions that reflect the views of the broader community.

“This is an opportunity for Council to identify qualified State-owned land that Council can seek to manage in the best interests of our community and protect our natural environment for generations to come,” Mayor Jane Smith.

“We also need to ensure that if we do take on additional land ownership responsibilities from the State we can realistically manage them from a financial and maintenance perspective.”

Membership of the Committee includes a Councillor representative of each ward  – Mayor Jane Smith and Councillors MacGregor, Hogan, Holstein and Matthews.

Council has deferred endorsement of the ‘Central Coast Council Principles for Claiming Interests in Crown Land until the next Council meeting so the Committee has time to meet and review the Principles.

The Program is in the assessment phase which includes Council identifying Crown Land they wish to manage – which will ultimately be a decision of the full Council.

 Council removes kerb and guttering charge for ratepayers

Council resolved it will not charge contributions from property owners for new kerb and guttering or a new footpath constructed adjacent to private property as part of planned works.

Under the Roads Act 1993 Council can recover up to half the cost of constructing footpath paving and kerb and guttering.

Mayor Jane Smith said Council was prepared to cover the full cost of kerb and guttering and footpath construction required as part of planned projects.

“Removing the possibility of being charged when new kerb and guttering or a new footpath is installed in front or your property will be welcome news for our rate payers,” Mayor Smith said.

“New kerb and guttering and a new footpath adjacent to a private property could cost a rate payer $1,500 on average – Council will now cover this cost if the work is part of a planned project.”

This change will come into effect from 1 July 2018.

Council to fast-track the masterplanning of Carters Road in Lake Munmorah

Council will review traffic issues in Carters Road in Lake Munmorah with a view to starting works that could include intersection, parking and signage changes this financial year.

Mayor Jane Smith said Carters Road needs a traffic solution to cater for the two Primary Schools, two High Schools, an Early Childhood Centre and the growing population in the area.

“The community can be assured that Council is listening to and we will work with the local schools, residents and the State Government to implement a solution this year.”

Two more big screens approved for Hoyts Erina

Council has approved an extension of the Hoyts Cinema Complex at Erina Fair including a building extension, internal fitout and two new cinema screens.

The original 8 cinema complex was built in 1996 when the estimated population of the Central Coast was 263,050. The Central Coast area population forecast for 2018 is 342,548, and is forecast to grow to 414,615 by 2036.

The expansion of the existing cinema complex within the Erina Fair shopping complex is considered to be in the public interest as it will extend the life of the existing cinema within the region and will continue to provide additional employment opportunities in an accessible location.

The extension to the Hoyts Cinema complex is worth over $8.5 million and will increase the capacity of the cinemas by 296 people.

Open Pile Burning Policy provides consistency for landowners across the Coast

Council has adopted the Draft Open Pile Burning Policy which will provide consistency across the Central Coast region for open pile burning requirements for large rural zoned land parcels.

The draft policy, exhibited earlier this year, received 258 submissions of which 82% were in support of the policy and recognised Council’s common sense approach to consistent land management across the Central Coast.

The draft policy was developed in consultation with the NSW Rural Fire Service and recognises the specific needs of those eligible land holders to be able to appropriately dispose of excessive dry and dead vegetation waste generated on these land parcels.

Mayor Jane Smith said the policy provides clear conditions of consent for owners of large environmental and rural zoned land parcels to self-approve open pile burning on their property.

“Council has worked closely with the NSW Rural Fire Service and the community to make sure we have a policy that delivers clear and consistent rules for open pile burning including specific pile size, what can be burned under this policy and requirements about notification.

Council will undertake a community education program for open pile burning in collaboration with the NSW Rural Fire Service and review the policy within two years. Data regarding the open pile burning and the number of permits issued will be reported to Council on a six monthly basis.

Council to support local businesses by participating in Easy to do Business program

Central Coast Council are showing their support for small, local businesses by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Easy to do Business program.

The aim of the Program is to bring together agencies, local councils, and industry bodies to make the process of opening or expanding a small business simpler and faster.

Mayor Jane Smith says that participation in this free program provides both Council and the Central Coast community with a number of benefits.

“This program is a great tool for those looking to start up a café, restaurant or small bar on the Central Coast, as they will receive the step by step guidance they need to get them through the application process,” says Mayor Smith.

“They will be provided with a dedicated person to help them through what can sometimes be considered a lengthy and confusing process, as well as find out upfront the time, fees and effort involved.”

Easy to do Business has been developed by Services NSW, and is a joint initiative between the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Customer Service Commissioner, the Office of NSW Small Business Commissioner and Service NSW.

In addition to participating in this program, Council will also become a member of the Small Business Friendly Councils (SBFC) initiative.