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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The vibe in Manly this week for the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro has been incredible. With drawcard Kelly Slater, lots of homegrown and up-and-coming talent and local businesses getting involved with specials for the spectators, this event is showcasing the best of Manly to an international audience.
These kind of events raise the profile of our extraordinary area, attract new visitors and can have a real impact on our local economy. Plus I’ve seen lots of kids down on the beach this week who have loved watching their heroes compete. Given Manly’s proud history as the home of surfing in Australia (alongside Freshwater Beach) and being named Australia’s Best Beach again in 2019 by Trip Advisor, this event ticks all the boxes. Don’t miss it.
We’re only weeks away from the school holidays. Don’t worry, we have you covered with a heap of activities, not just in our Vacation Care program but at other venues like our Coastal Environment Centre, libraries and cultural centres. During the first week we’re celebrating Youth Week in a big way with a massive lineup of things to do.
We’ve also introduced a new online booking system for our Vacation Care. It’s now even easier to jump onto our website to book in for great excursions like the Star Wars Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, Taronga Zoo, and Warehouse 11 to name a few.
It’s with a sadness that I need to acknowledge the feelings of many people I have spoken to recently about the terrible events in Christchurch last week. So many of us were shaken to think something so violent and full of hate could have occurred in such a peaceful nation so close to home. Our hearts go out to those who have experienced loss. The outpouring of love and support, from New Zealanders, Australians and from people across the world in the aftermath gives us all hope for humanity despite the hate of a minority. Council’s flags have flown at half-mast all week as a small token of respect and compassion.
Finally, don’t forget to vote (and enjoy a sausage sizzle) at the state election today.
Great news last week on the announcement of a B-Line style rapid transit from Dee Why to Chatswood.
As some of you may remember, last year fellow Councillor Kylie Ferguson, some intrepid Council staff and I took on the ‘Chatswood Challenge’ to prove how poorly serviced this corridor is. We raced to see who could get to Chatswood from Mona Vale the fastest using bus, car and bike transport. And in a perfect illustration of our point - the cyclist pipped the lot of us!
That’s why this new rapid transit will be a game-changer for so many residents who live and work on this route, encouraging cars off the road, improving journey times and actually delivering viable public transport infrastructure ahead of the planned precinct in Frenchs Forest.
Council is proud to be supporting the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro kicking off in Manly today. This prestigious international qualifying event is a great addition to our events calendar, attracting visitors to our businesses and lots of great side events for our community. Plus of course it gives our many up and coming surfing talents the home town advantage.
And in case you missed it, Manly was again named Australia’s best beach in 2019 as voted by TripAdvisor travellers. That’s the second year in a row Manly has got the top gong. (Shh..little do they know we have a host of beaches just as good all the way up to Palm Beach!)
Manly was given the full make over treatment at the end of last year by what we affectionately call our SWAT Team - Special Works and Transformation Team. They will be similarly storming the streets of Mona Vale next week, cleaning bins and bollards, repairing paving and refurbishing the public toilet block outside the library.
Finally, look out for opportunities to apply for our various grants programs over the coming weeks. From Monday applications open for our Community, Arts and Culture Grants Program to not-for-profit organisations who undertake projects or activities that bring direct benefit to the community. Come to one of the many grant information sessions or grant writing workshops to learn more.
Have a great weekend.
We had some great news over the last week which shows just what can be achieved when Council and community work together.
The state government changed the state planning rules to put a cap of 12 units on new boarding house developments in low density residential areas. That’s finally a win for common sense and will prevent a proliferation of 100-unit developments in quiet suburban streets that we were being asked to assess and had little power to reject.
Thanks to those in the community who stood with Council in our many representations to the state minister and department to get this change across the line. We have some existing applications we will still need to fight but it’s good to know that any future applications will have to adhere to the new 12-unit rule.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for six Northern Beaches teenagers is on offer this week as part of our youth exchange program. We are looking for three girls and three boys to spend the 13th to the 17th of April in our sister city Brewarrina, some 800km from Sydney.
These lucky ambassadors will swap the beach for the bush and learn about Aboriginal language and culture, visit a sheep station and get a glimpse of a different kind of life. Applications close tomorrow so apply now.
For young people who don’t want to venture so far from home, join ARTDECKO - a series of workshops running throughout March where 10-24 year olds are invited to paint designs on skate decks with the help of professional artists, leading to an exhibition at the PCYC during Youth Week.
We’ve also got heats starting next week for Northern Composure, the largest and longest-running youth band competition in the area. This comp has produced some great bands over the years and I can’t wait to see what comes through this year.
I’m proud that Council is able to provide such an array of high quality events and activities for our young people throughout the year. A special shout out to Council’s youth team whose boundless energy make it all happen. You can stay in touch with the team by following KALOF on Facebook.
Have a great weekend.
This week Council made some exciting decisions that will see millions spent on new surf clubs, community hubs and creative spaces.
I’m thrilled we have an approved concept for the Long Reef Surf Club ready for the next step, DA lodgement. As someone involved in this project over many iterations, over many years, it was great to see all the red and yellow in the Council gallery on Tuesday night, surf club members and nippers throwing their support behind this critical new community infrastructure.
The new club design is set in behind the dunes, using lots of natural building materials - a great community asset for years to come.
On Tuesday night your Council also endorsed the new Mona Vale Surf Club to the next stage, approving full funding. Another incredible facility and only a reality thanks to lots of community involvement.
A decision was also made on the locations of new creative spaces at both Avalon and Mona Vale. The lower floor of Avalon Golf Club House will be turned into studio and teaching spaces with scope to expand. Plus Mona Vale Civic Centre will be repurposed for exhibitions as well as more workshop and studio space. The Mona Vale location ticks all the boxes as a high traffic area with access to public transport to ensure the exhibition space is a success for our local artists.
Some good news for community service organisations too. Rental space on the Northern Beaches is expensive and for not-for-profits almost prohibitive. We have committed to investigating the subsidised use of Council buildings by community groups, creating community hubs in central locations across our area. The ground floor of Manly Soldiers Memorial Hall on Raglan St is the first to be considered.
Finally, this week we released the proposed waste charges for next financial year. As you’d be aware we are launching a new household waste service from 1 July which replaces the expired waste contracts of the former Councils. Despite rising costs of recycling and waste disposal we have kept costs down and, thanks to the economies of scale of the larger council, most residents will see money back in their pocket next year.
Have a good weekend.
Times have changed in a big way from when our current waste contracts were negotiated some ten to twelve years ago. There used to be a large market in recyclables which just doesn’t exist in the same way anymore. The bottom has fallen out of the glass recycling market in Australia and we don’t get as much for other recyclables either.
Put simply, it now costs us to recycle. Plus, there are higher tipping costs and significant taxes the State Government charge which we see very little returned to Council. It is a user pays system supposedly designed to makes us use less waste.
Yet, through the amalgamation, we are managing to contain costs for our ratepayers. In the case of former Manly and Pittwater Council households, your charges dropped by over $90 this financial year. The new waste service will see that number drop again next financial year.
And for the former Warringah Council residents who already paid significantly less than their neighbours, it was capped. In future those that switch from the 120 litre to the 80 litre red garbage service, which has been standard in the other two Council areas, you will see a significant saving on what you are paying today.
If you need more capacity, no worries, you can order additional bins. All of this despite the fact that costs have risen dramatically over the past decade.
But wait – there is more. Right now the rubbish you put in your red general waste bin goes straight to landfill. Under our new service from 1 July, one hundred percent of this waste will be diverted to a special processing plant which removes everything that can be salvaged.
Plastic bags are literally ripped open and any plastic and paper recyclables are removed, metals are extracted using a magnetic process, food organics taken out, diverting more waste from landfill. This waste technology will be a massive environmental improvement on the current approach to waste across our whole area.
Finally, Clean up Australia Day is only a few weeks away. Register now for an event near you.
Have a great weekend.
We know that here on the Northern Beaches we have a community who are very passionate about our environment. We are avid recyclers, we strive to remember our reusable coffee cups and shopping bags, and increasing numbers of us have garden compost and worm farms.
Council’s new household waste service will support the war on waste, diverting more of our waste from landfill and avoiding the equivalent of 42,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – like taking more than 8,400 cars off the road.
And it won’t just be greener but also cleaner. Our fleet of brand new high-tech waste trucks will further reduce carbon emissions, are safer and are fully enclosed to prevent any litter or odours.
Our new waste service uses the latest in smart technology. Residents will be able to track their own waste service using an app and at Council we’ll be able to track every service and demand greater accountability from our collection contractors. That means a better service for our whole community.
The new contract will not just improve service levels and provide good environmental outcomes, but will also deliver savings that will be passed on to ratepayers.
The new waste service starts on 1 July. In preparation, over the next few months we are undertaking the biggest bin delivery and take back program ever undertaken in Australia.
The program will replace our ageing stock of residential bins with new smart bins and recycle one hundred per cent of collected bins.
This is a significant logistical exercise, rolling out 330,000 new bins to around 100,000 residents. You’ll be receiving more information in the coming weeks as to when to expect your new bins and how to make sure your old ones are collected.
Finally, a reminder that the Seniors Festival is now in full swing. Plenty to interest everyone with a selection of workshops, events and activities, book in now.
Have a good weekend.
Technology is rapidly changing the way we live, the way we get around, how and where we work and even how we spend our leisure time. It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when a baby born today enters the workforce twenty years from now.
And yet, as a community we must turn our attention to the Sydney of the future because the planning decisions we make now will impact on that baby’s quality of life into adulthood.
Good planning is all about looking ahead and ensuring we have the housing, infrastructure, transport, parking, services and environment to support our lives now, and in the future.
Sydney is growing. By 2036, it is estimated Sydney’s population will grow by 1.7 million people to around 6.4 million people. Every Council area will be made to take a share of this growth. By current trends, the State Government will require us to house around 45,000 more people over the next 20 years - we won’t have a choice.
What we do have is a great opportunity, as one new large Council, to create a single planning vision for the Northern Beaches - a roadmap for managing the way our area evolves, in a sustainable way, over the next 20 years and beyond.
The State Government has asked us to take our four current Local Environment Plans and, working with our community and other stakeholders, create one new plan. This will be a significant project, over three years, to make sure we have plenty of time to get it right.
Be assured, it won’t be one size fits all - we are unwavering in our commitment to maintain the unique characters of all our various neighbourhoods and areas.
And in the meantime, we continue to advocate for better State Government planning rules. It’s not okay that State rules override our local planning controls and place enormous pressure on existing infrastructure and services. Boarding houses, seniors developments, and even schools, whilst much needed, are using State Government loopholes to allow them to be developed in inappropriate places. And we still need to see an east west rapid bus transit delivered ahead of any new development around the new hospital at Frenchs Forest.
Register your interest on our website now to help us plan for our sustainable future. I look forward to engaging with you as we take on this important project together and create a place we will be proud to hand on to our children and their children.
Have a great weekend.
This week we welcome teenagers from our Sister City, Brewarrina, in far western NSW who are here as part of Council’s Youth Exchange program, now in its nineteenth year!
We are hosting four young women, 14 to 17 years old, who will spend a week learning to surf, snorkelling, trying their skills at laser tag and even attending a gala dinner in the city.
This program is about providing a unique experience for young people and promoting lifelong friendships between beach and bush communities. It was great to spend some time with them and see city life through their eyes.
In April, Council will send some Northern Beaches teenagers to Brewarrina so they too can experience what life is like far from the coast. Stay tuned for more details on how you can get involved.
And while we’re on the youth theme, entries are now open for our very popular youth band competition, Northern Composure. Get in quick, entries close 18 February.
Here on the Beaches we are lucky to have such an active arts and creative community. There are many opportunities for Council and the community to work together to deliver a greater sense of vibrancy and imagination across our region.
To that end we’ve developed a draft strategy which looks at supporting the arts through partnerships, planning, investment and events and we’d love your feedback on if we have it right. You can learn more at the info evening at Glen St next Wednesday night from 6pm or check it out online.
We also love our cycling and we’re keen to hear from you as we look at developing our cycling network, new infrastructure and priority routes for the next five years. Drop a pin on our online interactive map or come to one of the many drop-in sessions to have your say.
Finally, from mid-Feb we celebrate the Seniors Festival with a range of events, exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Learn about the latest tech developments, hear from gardening guru Peter Rutherford, try your hand at poetry or join the dementia-friendly Barefoot Bowls. It’s a packed program with something for everyone so get in quickly to book your spot.
Enjoy the weekend.
Happy Australia Day!
One of the things I love most about Australia Day is the opportunity to recognise those who do incredible things in our community throughout the year.
A huge congratulations to Narraweena resident Graham Whittaker for taking out this year’s Northern Beaches Citizen of the Year Award. Graham has spent much of his life supporting others and his work with young people will have long and lasting impacts on many lives.
Founder and director of the youth suicide prevention charity, One Eighty Avalon Inc, Paris Jeffcoat, is a well deserving recipient of the Young Citizen of the Year; Maureen Rutlidge has been awarded Senior Citizen of the Year for more than 25 years bringing support and fun to people with disability; and Sportsperson of the Year, Wallaby Reece Hodge, displayed incredible determination to overcome significant injury and get back on top of his game.
The fantastic bi-annual Special Olympics Northern Beaches’ Festival of Sport took out the Community Event of the Year for providing a unique experience for people with disability. And fifteen deserving community members were also recognised with Outstanding Service Awards for their various contributions supporting, among others, veterans, young people and the vulnerable as well as working to enhance our local environment.
Our community is truly enriched by these individuals who make such a significant difference to the lives of so many on the Beaches. We thank you all.
Plenty more community spirit is on display today as over 500 volunteers from almost 40 community groups head out to serve pancakes and bacon and egg rolls, host thong throwing, temporary tattoo and hair spray stalls, sell raffle tickets and much more at our various Australia Day events. I hope you can get out to support them and have some good Aussie fun at Council’s Dee Why, Narrabeen and Newport events or enjoy one of the pool parties at our aquatic centres.
I’m also looking forward to welcoming new citizens today. One hundred and forty four residents from 33 nations will become Australian Citizens, from all across the world including Ecuador, the Czech Republic and Mexico. How lucky are we to welcome them to our amazing Northern Beaches.
Enjoy the day, however you choose to spend it.
With the astonishing heat we’ve been having across NSW I hope you’ve been staying cool and safe. It’s no surprise that our beaches and pools have been jam-packed this past week with locals and visitors flocking to favourite swimming spots to relax and manage the heat.
The work of our Lifeguards, local surf club volunteers, field crews and Rangers who work through the heat so locals and visitors can enjoy this beautiful place hasn’t been unnoticed – thank you!
At the beginning of summer we put on extra resources and increased the cleaning schedule of our facilities such as toilets, ocean pools and bins, to cope with the anticipated higher demand. We also increased the cleaning frequency of public beaches amenities across the region in early January (continuing till the end of summer) in response to customer feedback. Despite increasing service it’s not always easy to know when a facility or site needs extra attention, so I encourage you to contact our Customer Service staff by phoning 1300 434 434 or reporting the issue online where there’s excess mess, overflowing bins or illegal dumping. We will always try and respond with our rapid response teams to clean up problem areas as an urgent priority.
With Australia Day just around the corner, we are certainly gearing up for additional services to accommodate extra crowds. More importantly, we’re planning a line-up of ‘bonza’ Council run events for everyone to enjoy across the area. Find out what’s happening near you by visiting our website.
To help keep our community safe on Australia Day we are working with the local Police to discourage anti-social behaviour. A number of temporary 24-hour Alcohol Prohibited Areas will apply from 6am on Australia Day until 6am on 27 January to public parks, beaches and reserves, overriding the usual restriction hours at some locations, including East Esplanade, Manly. To find out more head to our website.
Have a great weekend…I hope you get a chance to either visit your favourite spots or discover a new Northern Beaches gem.