Willoughby Council owns a wide range of ageing assets. This includes roads, footpaths, kerb & gutter, stormwater pipes, bridges, buildings, sportsgrounds, parks and playgrounds. The ability to raise funds to maintain these assets to an appropriate level is arguably one of the biggest challenges facing Council in the coming decades. For decades under the nSW Government’s ‘rate pegging’ regime, Councils across NSW (including Willoughby) have been under resourcing asset renewal.
Council has completed an assets survey, so now has a good idea of its assets and the condition they are in.
The next part of the process was to determine the ‘renewal threshold’ for each category of asset. RenewaL thresholds range from 0 (for a brand new asset) to 6 for an asset at the end of its life. Depending on the ‘renewal threshold’ adopted between 0 & 6, the cost of maintaining or replacing an asset will be lower (if say a category 2 threshold is adopted) than higher (if say a category 4 threshold is adopted). Council Officers have looked at the assets and formed an opinion regarding the renewal threshold that should be adopted. In addition, a Citizen’s Panel was used to obtain the communities’ view as to what renewal threshold should be adopted. Largely, the Citizen’s Panel outcomes were similar to Council Officer’s recommendations (it was refreshing to see in some instances, based on technical issues,that the Council Officers were recommending a lower level of threshold that the community was prepared to accept).
It was recommended that Council adopt the asset renewal thresholds for each category of asset. Council staff are to report in December with revised scenarios for asset expenditure, recommendations about funding and a works program to address any gaps identified.