Heritage listed

9 Centennial ProtestAfter a concerted campaign by local residents Willoughby Council has voted to Heritage list the house 9 Centennial Avenue, Chatswood.

However, local residents are worried that the owner might challenge the decision in the NSW Land & Environment Court.

Train every 3 minutes?

stationdoorsWhen the Epping to Chatswood line reopens in May it is likely that there will a train every three minutes to the city during the morning peak.

The concern is that Chatswood station will become overcrowded with passengers from Rouse Hill/Epping and from Chatswood looking to transfer to already crowded trains to the City (many of which come from the Central Coast and might be full).

READ AN EXCELLENT STORY ON THIS ISSUE

OH Reid Oval reprieve?

PowerfulOwlCouncil unanimously adopted the following motion moved by Clr. Campbell:

That Council:

  1.  In response to community concerns, defer any decision regarding the installation of lights at OH Reid Reserve until the master planning process is completed in February 2020.
  2. As part of the consultation process, endorse the formation of a Citizens panel by June 2019 to inform and guide the development of the OH Reid Reserve master plan.
  3. Delegate the development of the Terms of Reference, including indicative membership, of the aforementioned Citizens panel to a committee consisting of the three West Ward Councillors, the Mayor, and General Manager.
  4. Be provided with terms of reference with a timeline by July 2019.

Commentary

On Monday Feb 25 a motion was put to Council by Craig Campbell that the Council should form a Citizen’s Panel including a few OH Reid Residents to provide input into a Strategic Management Plan for OH Reid Reserve. This motion was passed by all Councillors. This means nothing will happen regarding floodlights (so we have been told by Council) at OH Reid, until the Plan is finalised around Feb 2020. The plan we hope will not include a recommendation to proceed with floodlights.
So what’s next?
– Citizens Panel will be formed around June 2019
– Panel to include residents, sporting reps, wildlife expert etc.
– Draft Mngt. plan to be out for public comment around Oct.
– Finalise Plan early 2020
So the battle is not over regarding potential floodlights at OH Reid but being involved in the Citizens Panel is a major step forward to allow us to have our say within the process. Hopefully our objections will be accepted and the Mngt. Plan will recommend – ‘NO Floodlights’.

Neighbourhood shops?

shoptophousingThe West Ward Councillors recently nominated the Fullers Road/Greville Street area and the Mowbray Road/Hinkler Crescent area for potential shopping centres. However, this might mean surrounding high rise residential development to support the centres.

On the Have Your Say Willoughby site Council invites you to attend the combined West Chatswood possible new centres Design Roundtable. When: Wednesday 10 April 6.30-8.00pm. Where: Willoughby Council Chambers, Level 6, 31 Victor St, Chatswood

Or CALL INTO A DROP-IN SESSION focusing on the Penshurst St/ Willoughby Sth Local Centre. When: Saturday 6 April, 10.00am -12.00noon. Where: West Chatswood Library 565 Mowbray Rd W, Lane Cove North

Candidates forum

NSWGovernment.pngOnly two of the candidates for the upcoming State Election for the seat of Willoughby fronted a community forum last night organised by the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations.

 

The registered candidates are:

Bennett Emma Jane Animal Justice Party
Berejiklian Gladys The Liberal Party of Australia New South Wales Division
Keogh Daniel Terence The Greens NSW
Penn Larissa Jan
Reiss Justin Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)

Only the Premier and Larissa Penn attended the forum.

There was a good rollup pf local residents who put questions to the candidates.

Questions were varied – except as politicians do, the actual question often wasn’t really answered. Rather it was used as a topic. Only about 75% of questions were put as Gladys had to go at 8.30.
Larissa Penn spoke passionately about her concerns with the Northern Beaches tunnel.
Security was tight.
Crowd was polite

Is less, really less?

Clr. Saville has asked the following question of the General Manager”

Dissatisfaction

 

“It would appear that there is a decrease in level of service and extent of infrastructure
due to decrease in staff numbers. Is this correct?”

 

The General Manager’s response: NO.

High customer satisfaction ratings, an increase in staff since 2017/18 and declining vacancy rates do not support the assumption of declining services and staff levels.

During 2018 Council undertook a Community perception Survey. Results of this survey highlighted an overall performance satisfaction index score of 72. This compared favourably with available comparisons (Sydney Metropolitan Councils satisfaction index 61 and Victorian Councils satisfaction index 64). This indicates a high level of satisfaction with Council’s performance.

Since the 2017/18 financial year Council’s staffing establishment full time equivalent (FTE) from 406 FTE to 410 FTE. These positions have been allocated to facilitate more roadside vegetation trimming (two positions), improved urban design (one position) and other minor staffing adjustments.

Since the adoption of the budget, staffing turnover (staff departures as a percentage of establishment staffing) has fallen from 9.21% as at December 2017 to 7.88% as at December 2018. This does not support the assertion of a decrease in staff numbers.

The reduction in expenditure in staff costs is a combined result of the fact that Council budgets for full employment of its 410 FTE as well as the time taken to recruit new staff following a departure from the organisation. In some cases, short term labour hire/agency staff or contractors are engaged to maintain service levels during these periods.

Infrastructure spend and the number of infrastructure projects has increased, rather than decreased over recent years.

New Code of Conduct

CodeOfConductCouncil is considering changes to its Code of Conduct. The new Model Code consolidates all ethical standards for local government into a single document resulting in a better understanding of compliance with ethical standards. It will allow pecuniary interest breaches by councillors to be treated as ‘misconduct’ and afford greater flexibility and efficiency by allowing amendments to be made by way of Regulation amendments.

In adopting a new code of conduct and procedures, Council may include provisions that are supplementary to those contained in the Model Code of Conduct and Procedures. These requirements may be more onerous than those prescribed under the Model Code of Conduct. However Council must not dilute the standards prescribed under the Model Code in the adopted code of conduct.

The draft WCC Code of Conduct incorporates the mandated provisions of the Model Code not in our current code or policies. It also contains the inclusion of supplementary clauses from existing council policies and those regarded as best practice provisions.

New mandated standards relate to discrimination and harassment, bullying, work health and safety, behaviour at meetings, access to information and maintenance of Council records. They also contain new rules governing acceptance of gifts including mandatory reporting and ongoing disclosure requirements for councillors and staff.

Supplementary provisions recommended by the draft Code of Conduct include standards relating to fraud and corruption prevention and internet access and use of social media provisions. The draft also includes clauses / wording from existing council policies.

Going, going …….

CouncilCab

After over a decade of operating a service to get mainly elderly people to important appointments, it looks like Council may cease operations of its Council Cab service.

Council Cab is a free point to point transport service provided to residents, via a Council fleet
vehicle driven by a professional taxi driver employed by Council as a casual.

Historically, Council Cab required a $5 fee for a commercial taxi, booked through Council on the resident’s behalf. Advice from RMS in December 2015 identified that the fee for service model did not comply with the Transport Passenger Act 1990. In order to comply with the Transport Passenger Act 1990, the service has been provided since January 2016 via a Council fleet vehicle operated by casual staff with no fee charged to users.

Amongst other things, Council Officers are recommending: “The transition of Council Cab users to alternate transport providers, including Council’s At Home with Willoughby services, and the introduction of additional conditions of use from 31 March 2019 to increase equity.

A full report can be accessed as Item 17.1 in the Council Agenda papers for 11 March, 2019

 

 

Shops & Population

LocalShopsA member has made the following observations:

I have recently registered to participate in the Local Centres Design Roundtable to consider growth and development issues out to and beyond the next 20 years.

A key input to those considerations must be the forecast impacts on our existing infrastructure and institutions. Those impacts do not come from population influx alone.

Mapping to Reflect Impact of Tidal & Waterway Inundation from Global Warming

There are grave predictions of global warming consequences and associated sea-level rise and tidal inundation which in turn will affect large areas of Willoughby LGA in the East and West. Those impacts are rooted in climate science which has been proven irrefutable.

I would appreciate, and will be pressing for, evidence of “Climate Change Adaptation” planning measures underway by WCC which will reveal strategic adaptive countermeasures facing the community. This could range from:

  • extensive additional air-conditioning of public and private infrastructure to ensure habitability in the presence of hotter days,
  • vital relocation of roads and pedestrian pathways inundated by rising tidal variation,
  • loss of public park areas adjoining waterways due to higher mean tidal levels,
  • loss of trees due to a drying climate and imposition of water restrictions and associated loss of habitat,
  • consequential loss of private real estate in the riverine and estuary areas and consequential relocation of families elsewhere within the Willoughby LGA or beyond,
  • the consequential impact on residents of the Willoughby LGA of the loss of associated amenity, and
  • the consequential impact on Willoughby LGA Ratepayers of Council’s future operating budget.

It is inconceivable that any Design Roundtable could begin to consider the issues without such information.

 Residential Growth Projections

Moreover, any further residential growth development in the Willoughby LGA should be immediately suspended or deferred until all public infrastructure has been resized to redress current overcrowding and additional capacity provided ahead of any future residential growth. I refer here particularly, but not only, public school capacity, off-street parking, public parks, and electric vehicle (EV) recharging points.