Parks Upgrades

Council is calling for suggestions for upgrading two parks:

Campbell Park

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Chatswood Park

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You can find details at www.haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au

 

 

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Councils: 1w+1ns+1m = 2

Willoughby Council last night (Council Meeting of 29 March) resolved to not support the State Government’s three-council merger proposal of Willoughby City Council, Mosman Municipal Council and North Sydney Council. (Council had previously determined to support a Willoughby/North Sydney merger).

Council does not support a merger proposal which includes Mosman Municipal Council because of its high rates, concerns about its asset base and, in particular, limited community connectivity between Willoughby and Mosman.

Council also endorsed a submission based on research, data, publicly available information and community feedback, including that given by attendees at a Council-held Public Meeting on Monday 21 March and the two Public Inquiries held on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 March.

Authority has been delegated to the General Manager to finalise the submission by the closing date of 8 April.

Background

On 25 February 2016 a new merger proposal for Willoughby, North Sydney and Mosman councils was released on the NSW government’s Council Boundary Review website. The new proposal resulted from the Minister for Local Government accepting the legitimacy of a community initiated boundary proposal to create a ‘Northern Beaches’ Council (Warringah, Pittwater and Manly).

The new proposal is separate to the State Government’s Willoughby/North Sydney merger proposal, which Council endorsed a submission for at its meeting on 22 February 2016. Council had previously indicated its preference for a Willoughby/North Sydney voluntary merger to the State Government in November 2015, as part of the Fit for the Future review.

The Willoughby/North Sydney Delegate, Ian Reynolds will also assess the Willoughby/North Sydney/Mosman proposal. The two proposals will be assessed independently of each other.

 The Submission

In addressing the three-council merger scenario to the inquiry Delegate, the submission:

  • reflects community sentiment
  • provides commentary on the veracity of estimated savings
  • recommends due diligence for the merging entities to independently establish their financial, liability, risk and asset baselines at the time of the merger presents options to address community concerns regarding local representation which include options for the number of Wards and indicated Council’s preference.

Three different options for Ward boundaries are explored (covering four, five and six wards), taking into account competing factors including:

  • creating completely news wards or wards that follow existing boundaries;
  • the number of Councillors;
  • creating wards with increased diversity versus wards with similar communities; and
  • developing boundaries around Census, planning, infrastructure and transport factors.

Like the previous Willoughby/North Sydney proposal submission, this submission also makes recommendations regarding the unification of St Leonards and Roseville Chase. The St Leonards CBD and suburb are currently split across three councils, namely Willoughby, North Sydney and Lane Cove. Council seeks to unify the suburb within one local government area to improve strategic land use and infrastructure planning through the extension of the boundary to include that part of St Leonards currently contained in the Lane Cove Council. Residents in Roseville Chase could also be united in the one council area, if they wish.

The draft submission can be viewed as Item 15.1 on the Agenda of Tuesday 29 March 2016’s Council meeting at www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au

 

 

Councillors to apply for jobs

The State Government has announced that Councillors of merged (amalgamated) Councils will need to apply for a variety of roles when their Council is merged mid-year.

When Councils are amalgamated an Administrator will replace elected Councillors until the next election in March 2017.

Councilors have until April 15 to apply for various roles under the control of the Administrator. These include:

  • Administrator
  • Councillor on new Council
  • Member of a Local Representative Committee
  • Member of an Implementation Advisory Group

This move by the State Government is generally unprecedented. It smacks of a ‘jobs for friends’ of the Government. Incumbency in Local Government is a distinct advantage come election time.

Between the amalgamation of a Council until the next election, the Administrator performs all the functions of the Mayor and Councillors. Will former politically aligned Mayors or Councilors be favoured as Administrators for some Councils?

Perhaps the strangest job would be that of a Councillor on the merged Council under the control of an Administrator. They would no longer be involved in the oversight of the day-to-day operations of the new Council.However, the Government has suggested some other activities. They have recommended that the newly merged Council:

Establish collaborative working arrangements within, and preferably between, councils. It will be particularly beneficial for councils working together to form a working group or committee to lead preparation for a potential merger. This could include councillors and/or senior cross-organisational representation from all councils working together. A transition working group could be chaired by one of the General Managers or Mayors for the entirety of the preparation phase—or by each of the General Managers or Mayors on a rotating basis.  A transition working group or committee could have a range of functions, including overseeing: • preparation of an Interim Transition Plan • preparation and initial delivery of communication and engagement plans for the community and staff • preparation of an Information and Communications Technology Plan • a wide range of due diligence activities. Councils may also want to form sub committees focused on preparing for key areas like human resources or finance.

Source: Preparing for Change: Guidance for Councils, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, February 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Election for Council

The Minister for Local Government has announced:

 
“We have made it very clear in relation to proposing council elections that if a council is a merger proposal then those council elections are scheduled for March of next year; and we have told other councils that it is business as usual and to prepare for an election in September this year …”

As it is proposed to merge Willoughby with North Sydney and possibly Mosman as well, our next election will be i March 2017.

Amalgamation Public Meeting

Council to hold Public Meeting on Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby Merger Proposal

 PublicMeetingWilloughby City Council is inviting residents to express their views on the State Government’s Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby merger proposal at a public meeting from 4pm – 5.45pm on Monday 21 March, 2016 in the Council Chambers at 31 Victor Street, Chatswood. Speakers will be required to register on arrival.

Council will listen to views expressed at the public meeting to assist with its preparation of a submission to the Delegate, Ian Reynolds, as part of the Public Inquiry into the merger proposal. This meeting is separate from the formal Public Inquiry meeting being conducted by the Delegate.

Council will finalise its submission on the Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby merger proposal at the Council Meeting of Tuesday 29 April, 2016.

Public Inquiry

The merger proposal for Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby councils is in addition to a previous proposal for Willoughby and North Sydney Councils only, and therefore a separate Public Inquiry for this new three-Council merger proposal must be conducted.

Community members who wish to make a formal submission must do so by:

1)       Attending the Delegate-run Public Inquiry

  • 5pm – 10pm, Tuesday 22 March 2016 at The Chatswood Club, 11 Help Street, Chatswood
  • 5pm – 10pm, Wednesday 23 March 2016 at The Mosman Club, 719 Military Road, Mosman

2)       Making a submission online at the Council Boundary Review website www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au. The closing date for submissions is 8 April 2016.

As this is a new and separate process, previous submissions on the North Sydney and Willoughby merger proposal will not be considered for this new proposal.

For further information on the public meetings, submission process, and topics relevant to the consideration of merger proposals, please visitwww.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au

 

Demand for Office Space

ChatswoodCBDNew research indicates that demand for office space within the Chatswood CBD is returning. After the large floor plan sites in the Macquarie area opened, demand for the small sized office floors in Chatswood waned. The recent upswing in demand has been described as a “perfect storm of demand for commercial space“.

Commercial leasing is heating up as population grows. New residents means new workers, this then generates demand for office space.

In Chatswood over the past five years, commercial vacancies bottomed around at 21%. Now the figure is 12%. It is expected that more businesses will move to Chatswood from St Leonards where residential conversion is taking over commercial spaces.

Over the past five years on the Chatswood CBD, the State Government approved many conversions of commercial buildings to residential use. It was argue at the time that such a move was very short-sighted.Maybe the next news we will here is that there is an undersupply of office space in Chatswood.