It is highly likely that an amalgamated Council will see less Councilors and Wards then currently in both Councils.
The population of each Council area is roughly the same
Willoughby has a Popularly-elected Mayor and 4 wards of 3 Councilors – thirteen Councillors. North Sydney currently has the same structure. However at the last Local Government election North Sydney ratepayers voted to reduce the number of Wards to 3.
If you assume that the Boundaries Commission will possibly look to make the structure similar to the current arrangements, you could see the existing wards reduced to 4. In which case Willoughby would be divided into 2 Wards. In broad terms, there would need to be a decision how to combine wards: West Ward/Middle Harbour ward and Naremburn Ward/Northbridge ward OR West ward/Naremburn ward and Middle Harbour ward/Northbridge ward.
If the Boundaries Commission were to pick up on North Sydney’s move to three wards the outcome would possibly be 3 wards across the amalgamated area which might end up with 2/3 of Willoughby and 2/3 of North Sydney in a ward each with the remaining ward coming from both Council areas.
If you have any thoughts on ward names or boundaries, please leave your comments below.
Depending on the model chosen, the new Council could comprise either a Popularly-elected Mayor and twelve Councilors or a Popularly-elected Mayor and 9 Councilors. The later model hands more power to the Mayor as he/she might have a casting vote more often.
The possibility that the Government might do away with Popularly-elected Mayors is also in the offing. The new larger Councils make it easier for politically aligned Councilors to take control of a Council. A Mayor elected from amongst5 their peers fits the political paradigm better.
The NSW Government has announced its intention to forcibly amalgamate Willoughby and North Sydney Councils. This begs the question: What will the new merged Council be called.
It could be the Willoughby-North Sydney Council or the North-Sydney Willoughby Council. Both these options seem a tad messy.
Willoughby Council : Willoughby is a far older Council than North Sydney. The original Parish of Willoughby encompassed bot the current Council areas. However, the majority of people currently have no idea where Willoughby is (unlike say Chatswood).
North Sydney Council: The original Township of North Sydney was wholly within the current Willoughby area.
St Leonards Council: The St Leonards CBD is currently split between Willoughby, North Sydney (and Lane Cove Councils. It is toward the middle of the amalgamated area.
Cammeraygal Council: Both Willoughby and Noprth Sydney Councils are on Cammeraygal land. However, it might be unusual to name a Council area after it original owners.
North Shore Council or Lower North Shore Council: Whilst both Willoughby and North Sydney are part of the North shore they really represent only the Lower North Shore.
A less compromised name could be Northern Shore Council.
If you have any further suggestions for a name for the new Council, please leave your comments below.
City Council, Municipal Council or Council ?
Willoughby is termed a City Council. North Sydney is known simply as Council.
From a branding perspective the smaller the number of words the better.
This morning the State Government announced it is planning to amalgamate Willoughby and North Sydney Councils.
Previously, Willoughby had voted to merge but North Sydney is stringently opposed and threatening legal action.
It appears that amalgamation will proceed via way of a Boundaries Commission Inquiry. This provides for further public submissions on the proposed merger.
The Government is hoping that the process will be completed in time for new elections in September 2016. However, if more time is needed, elections could be deferred intil March 2017.
A large development is planned for next to Chatswood Public School. The development at 688-692 Pacific Highway is located between Chatswood Public School and Kenneth Slessor Park.
Council’s former GM and Town Planner now work for the proponent.
The developers are seeking twice the permissible height and a 50% increase in Floor Space Ration. However, they are offering to provide the school with 530 sq.m of office space plus parking for 25 teachers. Also, they are offering a $150,000 contribution for upgrade of the park.
There is some concern that the roles of former Council staff is not disclosed in the application.
There are two public schools within West Ward – Chatswood and Mowbray. Every child is entitled to be enrolled in a public school.
Schools have what is known as an ‘enrolment area’ (refer to the map of Chatswood PS enrolment area on the left). You are entitled to attend the school if your home is within the specified enrolment area. If the school is full, demountables will be used to cater for increased enrolments.
The catchment for Mowbray PS is shown on the right. Please note that these catchments may change. So be sure to consult the school or its website directly about enrolment entitlement.
Mowbray Public School has recently been expanded from a few hundred students to cater for up to 1,000 students. New enrolments at the school are largely coming from the new units on the Lane Cove Council side of Mowbray Rd. There have been gossip that the enrolment area boundary between Chatswood PS and Mowbray PS might change at some point. So again, refer directly to the school for enrolment advice.
This entry on school enrolments has been established to monitor any changes to school enrolment areas. The information in this article should not be relied on in determining your enrolment entitlement.