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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 22 September 2018

It was around this time last year that your elected Council held our first meeting and took on the incredible responsibility of serving our community.

I am pleased with the progress we have made and I love seeing so much activity going on as I drive around our area. But there is still so much to do! Now we have bedded down the changes needed to bring three Councils into one I think the community will see even more results over the next few years - in the delivery of great new projects and continued quality community services.

As we contemplate the future, it’s also important to take time to reflect on our area’s rich history. Our Stories: Yesterday | Today | Tomorrow is a program of events that celebrate our unique heritage. It kicks off in Manly tomorrow and I encourage you to come down and record your memories and stories of Manly Cove at our pop-up story telling booth at Manly Art Gallery & Museum from 10am. It’s the first of three such events to be held over the coming months with others at Irrawong Reserve and Fisherman’s Beach.

And entries are now open for a brand new acoustic music competition for 12 to 19 year olds – Northern Composure Unplugged. Young musicians will perform one original or cover song to be in the running for some great prizes. Entries close 30 September.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 15 September 2018

I’m loving the feel of spring in the air this week and seeing all the cricket whites back out on our fields up and down the peninsula. For rugby union fans though, the season gets a bonus extension as Council is proudly supporting a one-off Invictus Games exhibition match between the Manly Marlins and the Australian Navy Rugby team. It kicks off next Saturday at Brookie Oval at 2pm. Bring a gold coin donation.

It’s hard to believe school holidays are rolling around again soon and as always we have plenty on offer for kids big and small.

Laser tag, wildlife visits and science days are just a few of the fun activities planned through our four vacation care centres. Kids can also sign up to become a coastal ranger at North Narrabeen’s Coastal Environment Centre, make a collage at Manly Art Gallery & Museum or improve their swimming or diving skills at one of our aquatic centres.

Our libraries also have lots of great stuff on for primary schoolers including lego and balloon making workshops. The big kids don’t miss out though - book in for screen printing or to build your own terrarium.

If you are lucky enough to have some time off with the kids, let me give a plug for our sister cities Gunnedah and Brewarrina, interesting places to visit at this time of year plus you’d be giving a boost to local economies impacted by the drought.

On the topic of the drought, did you see Wheeler Heights youngster Jack Berne’s Fiver for a Farmer campaign has now raised over a million dollars? Thanks to everyone for getting behind him - what an incredible young man who has really made a difference.

And a final shout out to our local Rovers - celebrating 100 years this month. We have four very active crews across the Beaches who fit in lots of local volunteering and service between their extreme sports and other adventures.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 8 September 2018

It’s incredible to see how far waste technology has come and we’re thrilled to announce a new high-tech waste collection service will be rolled out across the Northern Beaches from mid next year.

This will mean a highly improved level of service for all residents, some great environmental outcomes and cost savings we can pass on to our ratepayers.

You’ll see a fleet of brand new trucks fitted with the latest technology and safety features. The trucks will also have an enclosed loading hopper to prevent plastic or paper escaping and they are even fuelled by recycled plastic bricks.

Best of all, along with our new waste processing contract, we’ll be able to divert 70 percent of waste from landfill, a huge 40 percent increase on current rates. Stay tuned, we’ll have more information for residents when we get closer to rolling out the new service.

The future of District Park at North Manly was secured this week, with Council’s decision meaning it will remain in public ownership with an 18-hole golf course and an enhanced multi-sports facility for the whole community to enjoy, along with additional community benefits.

We resolved to negotiate with the top-ranked tenderer, thus freeing up some of the existing clubs to be able to now be at the table in discussions to ensure the best possible outcome. These discussions were not previously possible as the clubs were parties to the tender process.

All along, we’ve all wanted the same thing - an upgraded multi-sports facility that is expertly run and enjoyed by a range of sports users, meeting our community’s growing demands for better sports facilities.

Finally, the Manly Arts Festival marks an incredible 25 year milestone this year and the program is packed with great art, music and events. It launched yesterday and runs until 23 September, so be sure to pick up or download a program so you don’t miss out.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 1 September 2018

There was plenty of passion on display at the Council meeting on Tuesday night as we made some key decisions that will benefit our community.

Regular readers of this column will know how devoted I am to seeing some better outcomes for residents battling to get around on poor public transport or sitting in traffic gridlock.

This week Council endorsed a comprehensive draft transport strategy, Council’s first, which looks at what we need now and for the next 20 years to wean us off our reliance on our cars.

The strategy is now on public exhibition and I encourage you to take a look and make sure you agree with the priorities and strategies outlined.

Affordable housing is another big issue we face on the Beaches not least because the state government’s planning policies mean we are inundated by boarding house applications which we have little power to reject.

While we continue our advocacy for a moratorium on boarding houses we are progressing our own affordable housing action plan. This week Council resolved to partner directly with an affordable housing provider on housing stock in our new development areas.

This means over time we will be able to deliver new affordable housing which will allow our key workers, like our teachers and our nurses, to live near their jobs.

The future of District Park was also a key agenda item for Council this week and will be considered at another Council meeting this coming Tuesday night.

It’s important that you know my goal, and that of all of Council, is getting the best outcome for the community. District Park will remain in public ownership and will not include residential development of any kind. Get the real story on District Park.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 25 August 2018

Traffic congestion is crippling the Northern Beaches, with the Pittwater/Spit/Military roads corridor the most congested in Sydney and Warringah Road already exceeding capacity.

Our ‘Chatswood Challenge’, where four of us raced a car, bus, train and bike to Chatswood from Newport this week, showed how poor public transport can be a massive drain on our time and our economy. (Yep, the bike won!)

In our area we have a massive reliance on cars - more than half of our households have two or more of them - and our traffic won’t improve if we don’t have viable public transport alternatives.

In April, we put out a transport discussion paper to stimulate public discussion about both transport opportunities and challenges on the Northern Beaches. We received over 2,000 submissions in response to the paper and have listened to all you have told us.

I am excited that the draft Move - Northern Beaches Transport Strategy will be going to Council for endorsement next week and then back out to the community for further input.

The Strategy aims to change how we move around the Northern Beaches and travel to other areas of Sydney, make us less reliant on cars and use a more accessible, frequent and better public transport service.

By 2038 we want a quarter of all trips to be by public transport, to double the number of active travel trips and reduce journeys in cars by 30 per cent.

They are just a few of the ambitious targets in the Strategy, targets we think we can reach with the right investment and support from the state government and you, our community.

Imagine a future where cars don’t dominate our roads and congestion is a thing of the past. Let’s aim high and see what we can achieve through improved infrastructure, more public transport and better regional connections.

Also, as many of you know the state government has released their first detailed plan for the tunnel to the city. Make sure you give any feedback directly to the RMS as well as us at Council. It is the biggest piece of infrastructure ever proposed for the Northern Beaches and we need to ensure every voice is heard.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 18 August 2018

We are thrilled that Manly has been chosen to host the Invictus Walk and Talk, a fantastic mental health initiative as a precursor to the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games.

The Invictus Walk and Talk is designed to celebrate the spirit of the Invictus Games and the proven connection between physical activity and wellbeing. Download the fun conversation starters, grab a mate and walk some or all of the 2.6km scenic path. Start at Shelly or at Queensie, or pick it up anywhere in between. Enjoy the Walk and Talk over the next few months as we count down to the Games in October.

And don't miss Taste of the Beaches tomorrow - a fabulous food and wine festival taking over Mona Vale’s Winnererremy Bay. Grab a gourmet bite from one of our local restaurant pop-ups, enjoy some music, and top it off with a lazy craft beer brewed locally or wine from regional NSW. We’ve got the kids covered too with a special kids activity zone. All from 11am.

Finally, another shout out to young local resident Jack Berne who is an absolute dynamo. He has managed to raise over $230,000 for our farmers - and rising! Council got behind him yesterday and many of our staff donned their flanno shirts and dug deep for the cause. When I appointed Jack Mayor for a day this week he resisted calls for no homework and instead his wish as Mayor was “to make all the schools and all the businesses dress up as farmers and get behind this cause”. What a legend. Donate at afiverforafarmer.com.au

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 11 August 2018

Local 10-year-old Jack Berne is bringing Australians together one flanno at a time. His push to raise funds to help the drought-stricken farmers is gaining momentum across the country and donations are pouring in. Young Jack has inspired me to do something too, and throughout next week we’ll be encouraging all Council staff to dig deep and contribute to his campaign. You can get behind it too at afiverforafarmer.com.au.

I’ve been fielding some questions this week about what Council is doing to support residents who want to compost their food waste following the latest episode of ABC’s War on Waste. You’ll be pleased to know we’ve got something in the pipeline which will be rolled out mid-next year. New technology means that food going into the general waste bin will be able to be processed, the organics separated and used to produce compost for use in broad-acre agriculture and mine site revegetation.

It will make sure the maximum amount of organic waste is recovered without any need for you to separate it at the source, and will also ensure that the products made from our excellent garden vegetation recycling is not compromised. We’re expecting it will take our waste diversion rate from around 50% currently to over 70%. We’ll have more information in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Next Friday marks Vietnam Veterans Day. This day honours the 108 Australian and New Zealand diggers who fought in a fierce battle against over 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops in a rubber plantation not far from the small village of Long Tan in 1966. Fortunately the Australians prevailed, but like most wars at a cost to human life – 18 Australians lost their lives and 24 were wounded. Lest we forget. I will be attending a commemorative service at the War Memorial in Manly to mark my respects.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 4 August 2018

Manly Meals on Wheels’ popular Community Restaurant marked a 21-year milestone this week having provided literally thousands of locals with a nutritious meal and an opportunity to connect with others. The volunteers do an amazing job and are loved by everyone that attends.

At the 21st cake cutting, Charles Sumpter, a 92-year-old regular said, “It’s nice to have a meal with someone when you’re living on your own. You get a bit fed up with talking to yourself.” Sums up the benefits of this service perfectly!

This week I also attended a workshop with a range of creative residents about how arts and culture can bring vibrancy, energy and enhance health and social connections to the Northern Beaches. We discussed how we can challenge the status quo to bring about a new and meaningful direction for arts and creativity to our area.

It’s all about our community helping to drive our arts agenda and we encourage everyone across the Northern Beaches to get on board as we start to develop our arts and creative strategy.

And if you haven’t taken the survey on what sorts of public art you’d like to see on our magnificent Manly to Palm Beach Coast Walk, please have your say.

Also, while we are on the subject of the arts, don’t miss the exhibition of our Art Prize winners in the general and sculpture categories. With a history dating back to 1955, this is the Beaches most prestigious art competition. We had a whopping 900 entries this year and the calibre is just outstanding. The exhibition opens next Friday at the Creative Space in North Curly.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 28 July 2018

It’s not often I get an excuse as good as Local Government Week to boast about all the incredible things your local council does in our community every day.

While once we may have been known for roads, rates and rubbish, the modern council is so much more.

Yes, we pick up household rubbish and manage over 850km of local roads, but many people are surprised when I tell them that it’s Council who runs the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, our two aquatic centres and even Glen Street Theatre.

We manage over 120 sportsfields, 220 playgrounds and a growing number of skate parks, and we are developing more to support the Northern Beaches’ active lifestyle.

Our six libraries and community libraries attract over a million visits a year and are now operating a seamless, one-catalogue system with almost 180,000 members.

We provide childcare for over 4,000 kids and operate 41 community centres which host everything from cooking classes for seniors to life drawing and playgroups for children with disability.

We have a great team who look after our unique bushland and waterways, including environmental scientists, bushcare specialists, and engineers who manage floods and stormwater, and we patrol and clean our 21 beaches and 15 ocean rockpools.

Our incredible events attract people from all over the world to enjoy the best places, music, food and entertainment while supporting our local businesses.

Our education teams have a reach far and wide - just today they have joined forces with grass roots community groups for a Mega Beach Clean at Avalon.

And of course, our new size and capacity means we are able to influence decisions made by state and federal governments that impact on our community - such as planning laws and transport.

This year’s theme for Local Government Week is ‘the power of community’, and this is really where local government comes into its own. It’s our community who drives everything we do, every decision we make, and what makes local government so worthwhile to be a part of.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 21 July 2018

We are fortunate to have some of the world’s most spectacular coastline right on our doorstep. On a good day you’ll catch a pod of dolphins or see a humpback whale breach from one of many clifftop vantage points. On a bad day you will gaze out over some of the best surf breaks in the world.

In partnership with the state government, we are making more of our coastline more accessible, developing a 36km Northern Beaches Coast Walk all the way from Manly to Palm Beach.

There are plans to bring this incredible walk to life by working with our community to develop a strategic plan for public art along the Coast Walk. The much loved Oceanidies by Helen Leete at Shelly Beach is a great example of how art and sculpture can complement their surroundings to create something truly beautiful.

We are in the first stages of considering how and where we can use public art to create an extraordinary experience along the Coast Walk that reflects our environment, history, heritage and unique local culture. Let us know what you think. Come along to one of the pop-up sessions this weekend and next or have your say online.

In other great news for our community this week, Ray Brownlee was appointed Council’s new Chief Executive Officer. With over 30 years of local government experience and an impeccable record in financial and project management, I know he is the right person to work with us to deliver the best services for our community. We look forward to him joining Council in October.

Finally, if you are heading to the Avalon Car Boot Sale today, don’t forget your reusable bags, coffee cups and water bottles. Plastic Free July is the perfect time to start good habits and do your bit to end plastic pollution.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

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