The following submission regarding the proposed amalgamation of Willoughby, North Sydney and parts of Lane Cove Councils has been lodged with the Boundaries Commission. The submission is based on the resolution carried unanimously by Association members.
The Chatswood West Ward Progress Association represents approximately 18,000 persons within the Willoughby City area. The issue of amalgamation has been discussed at the Association on numerous ocassions. At its last meeting, the Association determined:
Prefer not to be amalgamated, however, if amalgamated we favour:
Popularly elected Mayor
4 wards of three Councillors
Part-time Councilors (as at present)
Pre-election local government training of candidates
Centrally located office (St Leonards)
Inclusion of the whole of St Leonards within the new LGA
Name of new Council: Lower North Shore Council
Maintenance of Progress Associations rather than Precinct Committees
Continuation of Willoughby Council services and the E-restore Levy
There was also some support for including the whole of the current Lane Cove Council area in the amalgamation of Willoughby and North Sydney Councils. This was on the basis of communities of interest. For thirty years prior to 1895, the current Lane Cove area was a Ward of the then Willoughby Municipal Council.
An additional aspects of amalgamations was that it is preferred that LGA boundaries are not down the middle of streets (this can destroy communities of interest). Rather boundaries should be along natural features or the back fences of properties fronting major roads.
From a resident:
2. Overall Willoughby Council favours a merger with North Sydney who do not favour this proposition. You cannot have a successful marriage unless both parties consent. North Sydney has lower rates and cash at bank – Willoughby has Concourse debt and higher rates.
3. I understand that the NSW Government ties a GRANT to councils that agree to merge. Only problem is this subsidy may fall far short of the upheaval required. Any shortfall will be overcome by increasing rate levys. For example a new Administation building for Council Chambers would have to be built possibly at St.Leonards or Crows Nest. Some staff would be retrenched – we can’t rely on KPMG modelling!
4. New Name: Lower North Shore Council
5. The whole of St.Leonards needs to be incorporated removing Lane Cove Council area. LCC made promises but never delivered on Mowbray Road opposite Beaconsfield Road. A different can of worms!
6. Each Council has gifts from the community. Eg Royal North Shore Hospital. It is wrong to sell off land, buildings or remove names.
7. Administration works best when there is a career possible. Continuity of employment in say THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT is essential. The State Government needs to respect council planning controls. Disrespect is the track record where Developers appeal to the JRPP etc. to attempt to breach council regulations with VPA’s.
8. The people have to have a voice through representation on Council. They must be able bodied people who will attend Progress Association Meetings. There has been a problem in this regard at Chatswood West Ward Progress Association Inc that needs to be aired and fixed.
9. Willoughby stands for maintenance of green spaces – Parks, Golf Courses, Lane Cove NP
10. Infrastructure: The roads are gridlocked in daylight hours. High density has been insisted on by the Government but the bureaucracy gets paid to maintain 1980 standards. High rise tower blocks create overshadowing, wind tunnels, sewer and water pressure problems and also on the Telephone exchange at Chatswood.I have lived on the lower north shore for seventy three years and there is a clear problem. I would recommend elimination of the State government with the Federal Government and a stronger Local Government as I believe it is done in New Zealand.
11. Governance: There should be twelve councillors and one elected Mayor. There should be six wards of two councillors each. One General Manager reporting to Council.