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Read the Mayor’s Message for updates on new recreational facilities and libraries, development of the ambitious coastal walkway from Manly to Palm Beach and big picture issues that affect the Northern Beaches.

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Saturday 14 July 2018

A message from the Deputy Mayor

The Northern Beaches is rich in Aboriginal history and home to many inspiring Aboriginal women who celebrate and share their culture every day.

This week, to mark NAIDOC Week and as part of the 2018 Gai-mariagal Festival, over 150 woven art pieces were installed on the Stuart Somerville Bridge at Queenscliff.

The art display is the result of a community project where people shared stories and creativity during weaving workshops under the guidance of Northern Beaches Aboriginal artists.

It’s an impressive sight as you walk over the bridge - I encourage you to have a look.

As we head into the final week of the school holidays, there are still spaces available in some of our vacation care centres, libraries and arts and environment programs. If the kids are at a loose end, you’ll find lots to keep them busy.

Finally, in a sign of how far we have come since amalgamation, our Mayor was named the most influential person on the Northern Beaches by the Manly Daily this week.

There is little doubt our new size and capacity gives us greater ability to advocate for our residents and get real results - with runs on the board already in areas such as planning and transport. As we continue to streamline the work of the new Council we can only go from strength to strength.

Enjoy the weekend.

Candy Bingham

Saturday 7 July 2018

A message from the Deputy Mayor

Our hard-working Mayor is away this week, so let me fill you in on some first-rate Council initiatives.

Firstly, some exciting news about cheaper night parking in Manly. We all know what a fantastic place Manly is for dining and entertainment after dark but one of the common issues residents raise is how much parking can add to the cost of a great night out.

So from this week, Council has dropped our evening parking flat rate to just $5 after 7pm in all four of Council’s parking stations in the Manly CBD. Plus, for an additional $5 you can leave the car there overnight and not attract any additional charges until 8.30am the next day. This is down from the previous $50 fee!

Manly has a vibrant after-dark culture and we’re sure this initiative will not only benefit residents and visitors but will mean even more people will support Manly’s great businesses.

Plastic Free July is in full swing as residents take on the challenge of reducing their plastic usage. If we all avoid plastic straws, swap plastic water bottles for reusable ones, take our reusable bags to the supermarket and always carry our own coffee cup, collectively we’ll make a real dent in the trillions of tonnes of plastic that ends up in landfill and our oceans, each year.

Finally, if you’re stuck for ideas to keep the kids entertained these school holidays, be sure to look out for the many Council-run activities through our vacation care centres, libraries, aquatic centres and arts and environment centres.

Have a great weekend.

Candy Bingham

Saturday 30 June 2018

One of the many ways Council gives back to our community is through our grants program.

We have over $500,000 committed in the next financial year to support community, sports and cultural groups who can demonstrate that they are delivering tangible benefits to the Northern Beaches community. Come to one of the information sessions next week or join a seminar on grant writing to give yourself the best chance at securing one for your organisation.

Great to see that Randwick Council has followed our lead this week by introducing bans on single use plastics at Council events and within Council premises. We continue to wage the war on plastics here on the Beaches and encourage residents to get on board with Plastic Free July kicking off tomorrow.

On Thursday I was fortunate enough to meet some of the great young people who attended our inaugural youth summit. They came to hear from a range of industry leaders, change makers and entrepreneurs. I loved seeing so many bright young minds ticking over, imaging all the possibilities! We are in good hands if they are our future leaders.

This week Council endorsed our 18/19 budget and a huge thanks to all residents who worked with us to set the priorities. I’m thrilled about the program of services and infrastructure we will be delivering including doubling the spend on new footpaths. You’ll soon see plenty of activity around the place as we get on with making improvements to our many playgrounds, roads, cycleways and sportsfields.

Finally, Council also resolved this week to again make formal representation to the State Government for a moratorium on affordable housing and seniors living developments. We need an opportunity to plan properly for the future and ad hoc rules passed down from on high are making our job unworkable.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 23 June 2018

Regular readers of this column will know Council has been concerned for some time about the influx of development applications for boarding houses and seniors’ living accommodation. Council has limited power to reject these applications when they are in inappropriate locations, thanks to State Government planning policies which override our own.

While we categorically support more affordable housing options on the Northern Beaches, we object to having our hands tied when it comes to planning, resulting in ad hoc development which impacts on, and infuriates our community.

We’ve had some very positive discussions with the NSW Planning Minister on these issues and are seeing some progress. It’s been great to have our local state MPs backing us up.

However, in the short term these policies could be a disaster for the new Frenchs Forest precinct.

Significant work is underway to plan for the new precinct and further community consultation will be activated soon. In the meantime we have received several development applications for boarding house and seniors’ housing development within this precinct.

These jeopardise our plans for the area and undermine what we have been working toward with the State Government and the community.

Council will discuss this issue at our June meeting on Tuesday night with a view to call for an urgent moratorium of the application of these state policies for the Frenchs Forest Planned Precinct. This is in addition to our existing call for a full review and overhaul of the policy altogether.

We’ll also be discussing the impact of the State Government’s plan for medium density housing and what we need to do to defer this policy for the next twelve months so again we can better plan where development goes and make sure it is properly supported by relevant infrastructure.

These are just two of the many items on our packed agenda for Tuesday. See your Council at work - we live stream all our meetings.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 16 June 2018

This month Council will continue running a census-type survey seeking to understand what makes our towns and villages unique, vibrant and exciting to you. Findings will help guide us with our ‘place making’ efforts - this is essentially better planning for local villages and centres so that they are places that reflect the community’s values and needs and places where people want to spend time.

Face-to-face surveys are being conducted in most town centres and you can jump online to take the survey too. Make sure your views are in the mix.

The school holidays are coming around and there are heaps of activities planned for kids. Bookings for our Vacation Care programs are open and with a new Manly Vale centre opening, there are even more spots available to local families. The Coastal Environment Centre at North Narrabeen is running its popular ‘Kids on the Coast’ program and there is lots happening at our libraries, Manly Art Gallery & Museum and both aquatic centres.

For our seniors and people with disability, I encourage you to come along to one of our three course community lunches happening at various times across the month at Manly and Seaforth. Enjoy a nutritious meal, meet other people and connect with a supportive network. Everyone is welcome.

Be aware there are going to be significant traffic changes in Dee Why for the next three weekends as part of state government road improvements along Pittwater Road. Continuous weekend shifts during the day and night will run throughout these weekends in June. Lane closures and detours will be in place on Pittwater Road on two of the weekends so we have been advised to allow more travel time. For more information, visit mysydney.nsw.gov.au or livetraffic.com.

Northern Beaches Council was honoured last week with two prestigious NSW Local Government Excellence Awards.

Special congratulations to Council staff member Russell Peake who won the Col Mills Scholarship – one of only two awarded each year to young professionals in the local government sector. This award is a huge testament to Russell’s commitment and I believe demonstrates the high calibre of staff working at Council who are dedicated to delivering services, infrastructure and projects for the community’s benefit.

The other award was to the Northern Beaches PCYC at Dee Why which was recognised in the Community Partnerships and Collaboration category. This $26 million investment for our young people is the result of years of genuine collaboration between Council and the community.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 9 June 2018

This week, I want to talk about the often taboo subject of suicide.

Did you know mental health issues are the biggest killer of men in Australia aged between 15 and 44? Six blokes every day. That's the ages of my eldest son and myself.

It's fair to say at Avalon Surf Club on Monday night you could hear a pin drop when that stat was read out to over 250 Northern Beaches men ranging in ages from about 13 to over 70.

Some of the conversations and stories shared between complete strangers was somewhat overwhelming and yet so very powerful. There was a lot of grief but also hope in the room.

Gotcha4Life is a foundation you need to go find out more about and get behind. They put on the event with Tomorrow Man, to help disrupt male stereotypes, redefine masculinity and make a difference to men's lives.

Of course suicide is not just a male problem.

On Thursday the Community Safety Committee met and we heard even more horrific stats from the Northern Sydney area. In our broader region, suicide remains the highest cause of death of young people.

Our Local Area Police Commander and your Northern Beaches Council are leading the charge to help address this devastating issue and will be setting up a separate committee to investigate and implement a range of strategies to deal with this growing problem.

They will liaise with organisations like Gotcha4Life and many others across the Beaches that are working every day to improve mental health and prevent suicide. Men's Sheds help address the crippling impacts of social isolation for older men and Headspace are incredible with our young people. Not to mention the great work of many others - Lifeline, Community Care Northern Beaches and the Burdekin Association to name just a few.

Hats off to everyone in the room who stepped up on Monday night and shared their story. The more we all learn about the issue, the more we are all inspired to do something about it.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 2 June 2018

Congratulations to all involved in the 32nd Taste of Manly food and wine festival last weekend.

With crowds nudging 120,000 over the two days (up by some 20,000 on last year), the event provided a great lift to local businesses at the start of winter, adding immeasurably to the fun and excitement of Manly.

Special thanks go to the more than 200 Taste of Manly volunteers who took part too, welcoming patrons and providing information and tips to ensure a great festival.

Among the outcomes of the recent amalgamations is a new, fully-integrated online catalogue system to provide seamless access to all Northern Beaches Council Library collections. Look out for more information from your local library about how you can get access.

It’s an amazing fact that library membership is upwards of 179,000 – a significant portion of the Northern Beaches community. Between them, members make over a million visits to our six libraries each year. More users than ever are also accessing eResources with more than 117,800 eLoans over the last 12 months.

Not to mention the four busy community libraries which span from Avalon to Seaforth. The volunteers which run these services enhance access to reading and recreation for all.

Over the last two weeks, our library patrons have even enjoyed the option of donating canned food in lieu of paying overdue borrowing fees. As a result almost 1400 cans have been donated to Street Mission who will use them at their two community cafés at Dee Why and Balgowlah. What a fantastic outcome.

Have a great weekend!

Michael Regan

Saturday 26 May 2018

Some good news this week from the Minister of Planning on his decision to allow us to defer some parts of their medium density housing code.

This is a step in the right direction toward better planning for our neighbourhoods. We’ll continue to advocate against blanket housing codes that result in ad-hoc and inappropriate developments which threaten the character of our area and put more pressure on local infrastructure already at capacity. The Minister along with our State MPs are working collaboratively and effectively with your Council and proof is in the pudding. Positive actions.

At this week’s Council meeting, we got through a packed agenda, progressing a large number of projects, including the Freshwater Coastal and Glen Street Open Space Landscape masterplans.

The Freshwater plan has been subject to exhaustive community consultation. Its adoption will in time revitalise that whole coastal area, provide enhanced open space, all connected by a safe path network.

The Glen Street Masterplan heralds the redevelopment of the sports precinct adjacent to the theatre. It includes construction of a new skate park, synthetic sports field, a new inclusive regional playground and a carpark.

Today is Sorry Day - and the first day of the Gai-mariagal Festival, Sydney’s longest running Aboriginal cultural celebration (formerly the Gur-ing-gai festival). There are events across the northern Sydney area including a fabulous exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum and Aboriginal singing and dancing in Terrey Hills this evening. The Gai-mariagal Festival runs through to the end of NAIDOC Week on Sunday 15 July.

Also, this weekend, don’t miss the Northern Beaches’ pinnacle food and beverage event, Taste of Manly 2018. Showcasing our best local restaurants and brewers alongside Australia’s finest wine producers, Taste of Manly is one of the Northern Beaches’ most exciting foodie events – all unfolding against the backdrop of beautiful Manly Beach! Might see you there. Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 19 May 2018

Next Thursday will see the final in a series of budget roadshows - an opportunity for people to learn about the exciting things we are doing over the next 12 months and beyond to make the Northern Beaches even better.

Since amalgamation we have already achieved so much, consolidating much of our functions to find real savings for residents which we are using to reduce debt and invest in community projects and infrastructure.

As smaller Councils, we didn’t always have the scale or capacity to keep up with asset maintenance or afford to deliver the big projects the community was crying out for. That’s why it’s incredibly exciting to look to the next one, three and five years and see what can now be delivered. Learn more and come along to Thursday’s roadshow or provide your feedback by Sunday 27 May.

Next week is National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration to say a huge thanks to the six million volunteers who give their time to help others every day across the country, contributing an estimated $200 billion to the Australian economy annually.

On the Northern Beaches I know we have a huge active volunteer army who coach sporting teams, staff school canteens, patrol our beaches, support our seniors, run community events, fundraise for important causes, run art and theatre projects and clean up our bushland and waterways...to name just a few areas.

Indeed, it is hard to imagine the difference to our society without volunteers so, thank you all, young and old!

This Wednesday I was fortunate to attend a great event at Glen Street Theatre where Council invited our creative community to come together to share ideas and give us feedback on some of our arts and culture projects and initiatives.

There was a great buzz and excitement in the room as like-minded people connected with us and each other and I can’t wait to see some of the inspiring ideas come to life over the coming months and years.

And finally, a reminder that Council meets next Tuesday night.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 12 May 2018

How fantastic it was to see over 125 local businesses and property owners come together this week in Brookvale to learn more about Council’s plans for their area and take the opportunity to connect with us and also each other.

There was an enthusiastic exchange of great ideas and I am looking forward to engaging with even more businesses across the coming months as we roll out our initiatives to support businesses.

Today, if the weather is kind, I will be at the launch of another fantastic piece of new public infrastructure which grew out of the passion of a young Beaches resident, Matt Plunkett. The new Terrey Hills Skate Park, now affectionately named Plunks Park, will be put through its paces by the young people of the area for many years to come.

Also this week, we joined hundreds of other local councils and communities across the nation to commit to five pledges that will see new initiatives to help reduce our energy and carbon footprint. The first initiative is Charge Ahead which includes an interactive online tool for calculating savings from rooftop solar and a free and independent advice service.

Got an outstanding library fine? Over the next two weeks, donate in-date canned food in lieu of these fees at any one of our Northern Beaches libraries and we’ll donate it to Street Mission.

Finally, the State Government continues work around the hospital precinct and some changes to traffic arrangements come into play this weekend. Council has been advocating for residents and actively working to try and reduce the impacts of the works on local roads. It is expected the works will have significant impacts on residents and commuters over the coming weeks. Avoid the area if at all possible, revise your travel plans or change your travel times. For more information on the works you can visit livetraffic.com, email nbhcommunity@ferrovialyork.com.au or call 1800 014 307.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous mums out there - hope you are suitably spoilt this weekend.

Michael Regan

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