YourCouncilWebsite

The NSW Government has launched a new website to showcase the great work of the State’s 128 local councils.

Your Council website – www.yourcouncil.nsw.gov.au – allows ratepayers to access comprehensive statistics on the operations of their local council and the profile of their local community including:
Council expenditure in a range of areas including roads, bridges, footpaths, libraries, recreation and culture, community services, and the environment

 

Community facilities including the number of swimming pools, public halls, and libraries as well as the length of roads and amount of open space

Key operational information including council staffing levels and average rates and charges

 

Demographic information about the local population and councillors as well as economic statistics including the unemployment rate, average income, and number of businesses.
The data for each council is also benchmarked against the average for like councils so ratepayers can compare how their council is travelling.

The new website also celebrates the sheer size and scale of our councils as a whole with a Statewide snapshot of the NSW local government sector.

The one-stop-shop for local government is a valuable resource for residents, ratepayers and the general community, as well as councillors, council staff, local government peak bodies, researchers, academics and State Government agencies.

The website draws on data already collected by the Office of Local Government (OLG) from NSW councils and other agencies and presents it in an easy to understand and user friendly way. It will be updated annually as new data becomes available.

OLG will continue to work with local councils to further develop the website’s functionality. It will also help guide development of a new Performance Measurement Framework with consistent benchmarks for all NSW councils.

 

Your Council website fast facts on NSW councils (2017-18)

  • There are 128 councils in NSW represented by 1,293 councillors
  • Collectively they employ 44,936 staff
  • NSW councils spend $11.379 billion providing infrastructure, facilities and services for local communities
  • They maintain 165,213km of roads
  • Councils control assets with a total value of $150.7 billion
  • There are 460 public pools and 1,835 community halls in NSW.

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To become a member of CWWPA, direct deposit $20* with your name in the reference field to BSB: 032090 Acct: 548083 & complete our Membership Application. Renewing members $10. *Non-refundable and subject to meeting membership criteria.

 

 

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Community participation in planning

CommunityParticipationBelow is the Association’s response to Council’s Community Participation Plan:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the  Draft Willoughby Community Participation Plan for land use planning processes under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

It is good to see that Council has used the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) framework in developing this plan.
However, we do have concern that the  AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard 2016 by AccountAbility used is not best suited for use within a local government environment. AA1000 is a commercially developed ‘Standard’ lacking peer review. The majority of organisations that use the ‘Standard’ are commercial organisations not government bodies.
We note that “relevant progress associations, societies or other community organisations whose comments, in the authorised officer’s opinion, would assist the assessment of an application” will be notified. This approach fails to meet the Transparency commitment of ”  Our Future Willoughby 2028″. We acknowledge that not every applications requires notification as above. The more appropriate wording would be “progress associations, societies or other community organisations for some Category B & all C applications will be notified”.
With regard to Part E, for clarity and certainty, the category B & C and C tables should be annotated to reflect the fact that Progress Associations etc will be notified.
 
One of the major issues facing community activists is the difficulty tracking the submission of opportunistic Planning Proposals. An opportunistic planning proposal generally is inconsistent with the Local Environment Plan that was accepted by the community. We believe that Council should treat a planning proposal as a category C application.
Integration of applications: Community participation with the planning process would work better if the community can find the development application, between Willoughby Local planning panel, Sydney North Planning Panel, State planning Panel and the council DA website, it is hard to find information. It would be good if there was a system that could point to all current applications. We believe that this could be achieved with minimal change to Council’s current system.
Exhibition timelines should be more than 14 days or 21 days.  Australia Post current delivery standard is now 4 days in Sydney Metro area. the exhibition period should start 5-6 days after the notification letter has been send and the exhibition period run for 14 days!

Report urgent issue

urgentWillougby Council has provided updated information about how to report a neighbourhood problem. The key change is that they now differentiate between URGENT problems and non-urgent.

Urgent issues (an issue requiring immediate action to resolve) should be reported to Council by phone on 9777 1000. Even if the problem occurs after hours ring 9777 1000. The call will automatically be diverted to someone that can initiate the appropriate action.

For non-urgent issues, these can either reported by calling 9777 1000 during Council hours or by email yo email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au

They have advised that URGENT issues include:

  • Roaming dogs.
  • Dog attack.
  • Illegal tree felling.
  • Pollution (water, sewer)
  • Illegal parking.
  • Obstructed footpath
  • Obstructed road

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To become a member of CWWPA, direct deposit $20* with your name in the reference field to BSB: 032090 Acct: 548083 & complete our Membership Application. Renewing members $10. *Non-refundable and subject to meeting membership criteria.

 

 

Electrical building cladding

Time for clean change

In a recent letter to the North Shore Times a writer proposed using ‘electrical solar panels’ instead of combustible cladding on the walls of high rise buildings (see full letter below).

We posed the following questions about the proposal (and are eagerly awaiting a response):

  • Is there independent authoritative research that proves using solar panel as wall cladding is safe for the occupants of the buildings?
  • what is the relative cost for solar cladding compared to fire rated cladding?
  • what is the fire rating of the cladding?
  • who in Australia has certified the cladding?
  • where is the cladding being used in Australia?
  • what is the reflective index of the cladding compared to traditional cladding?
  • what colours does the cladding come in?
  • what studies have looked at and certified the cladding from an Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR) perspective, noting that the panels could be installed quite close to humans in workplaces and bedrooms.
  • is it safe for these locations?
  • given that there may be sections of the walls that do not receive sunlight, are there matching non-solar panels available?
  • what is the carbon efficiency of manufacturing the panels compared to traditional panels?
  • are these panels manufactured in Australia?
  • would it be more prudent to adopt the Precautionary Principle when considering this matter?

Time for clean change

Recent reports state many high rise buildings in Chatswood score very poorly (on) energy efficiency. At the same time, over 60 buildings within Willoughby LGA have been found to have combustible cladding.

Where removal of combustible cladding is required to reduce fire risk, an obvious solution would be to install solar cladding and other exterior building materials embedded with photovoltaic cells as used successfully in Europe, Brazil and the Middle East.

Innovative renewable energy technologies must be embraced, particularly as solar panel prices have fallen up to 90 per cent in recent years, and long term running costs using renewable energy will decrease. This in turn will help reduce carbon emissions and damaging effects from climate change. At the same time it would demonstrate confidence in the local renewable energy sector, rather than going off shore, and importantly contribute to local jobs.

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To become a member of CWWPA, direct deposit $20* with your name in the reference field to BSB: 032090 Acct: 548083 & complete our Membership Application. Renewing members $10. *Non-refundable and subject to meeting membership criteria.

 

 

Citizens’ Panel Update

CitizensPanelWe would like to provide you with an update regarding the issue of the proposed floodlights at OH Reid Reserve.

With the support of our three West Ward Councillors (Lynne Saville, Craig Campbell and Tony Mustaca) Mayor, GM and Council, a Citizens Panel has been formed to enable input from local residents and sporting associations regarding short and longer term use of the reserve. The Citizens Panel will provide input into an OH Reid Masterplan which will include the issue of potential floodlighting.

The Council recently called for ‘expressions of interest’ for nominees to the Panel. I am pleased to inform you that several local West Chatswood residents have been selected to join the panel – myself and Diana Pryde, included.

The Panel will have four meetings between Aug and Oct. with a OH Reid Masterplan going to Council late this year or early next year, for review and hopefully endorsement. Our first meeting occurred on Aug. 19 and was facilitated by professional external facilitators and attended by 10 panel members including – West Chatswood residents, representatives from various sporting groups and a representative from Chatswood High School.

Rest assured we will be consulting further with you as the development of the plan progresses to keep you informed and seek your feedback on various issues and contents of the plan. In the interim, if you have any questions please get back to either of us.

Regards

Phil Sharratt/Diana Pryde

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To become a member of CWWPA, direct deposit $20* with your name in the reference field to BSB: 032090 Acct: 548083 & complete our Membership Application. Renewing members $10. *Non-refundable and subject to meeting membership criteria.

 

 

Confucius no more

ConfuciusAfter reviewing the Chines-government funded ‘Confucius’ culture and language program in  13 of its schools, the NSW Department of Education has decided to replace the program with its own language programs to teach Mandarin at the schools.

One of the affected schools is Chatswood Public School. The new Chinese language program will commence in 2020.

As a reason for canning the very popular program the Department cited concern that there were “a number of specific factors that could give rise to the perception that the Confucius Institute is or could be facilitating inappropriate foreign influence in the department” However, the Department did not actually discover any evidence of political influence being exercised.

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To become a member of CWWPA, direct deposit $20* with your name in the reference field to BSB: 032090 Acct: 548083 & complete our Membership Application. Renewing members $10. *Non-refundable and subject to meeting membership criteria.

 

 

Fireys backlip

Backflip2The State government seems to have backed down on their insistence that local Councils fund expanded benefits to the state’s firemen. Firemen are to be automatically guaranteed workers compensation for a range of ailments without the need to prove these were job related.

In the past the bulk of the cost for running our emergency services was raised as part of our home insurance policies. Since not everyone takes out home insurance the government decided that the cost would be transferred to local Councils, coming from the rates. However, the government still insists that Council rates would be capped.

Naturally, Councils objected, citing that they would need to cut other services.

In an apparent back-flip, the state government will cover the cost of the new benefits for the next year.

It is still open as to how the benefits will be funded in subsequent years.

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To become a member of CWWPA, direct deposit $20* with your name in the reference field to BSB: 032090 Acct: 548083 & complete our Membership Application. Renewing members $10. *Non-refundable and subject to meeting membership criteria.