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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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 014 307.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous mums out there - hope you are suitably spoilt this weekend.
There is still some confusion about rates and I am being asked “why is there a rise?”. There are also claims I have made a back flip on the rate freeze.
Unfortunately, there has been misleading information promoted by a few Councillors which is very disappointing.
Recently, Council voted to align rates with inflation or some people may have heard the term CPI. Like all living costs including health insurance, car registration, power bills, etc, rates also go up annually with inflation. This is the same for all Councils.
Council is not seeking to increase rates above what IPART has already set.
I am also asked “what happened to all the money that was going to be saved by the amalgamation?” And the simple answer is that with the modest surplus we can continue to pay off debts from the former Manly and Pittwater Councils. Over $50m has been paid down to date and we have $38m left to pay.
We have also allocated $9.4m in additional savings for a range of much needed projects including the renewal of surf clubs, footpaths, childcare and sports facilities to name a few.
All former Manly and Pittwater residents will also receive a reduction of more than $90 for waste charges. Former Warringah residents who already pay significantly lower waste charges than the other two amalgamated councils, will benefit from no increase.
There are so many positives to being amalgamated included the walkway being constructed from Manly to Palm Beach and everyone is now able to park at any beach without restriction.
We will be commencing our roadshows on the draft Delivery Program and Budget on Monday so if you still have any concerns about where your money is being spent, I encourage you to come to one of these sessions and ask us.
The new Tramshed Café at Narrabeen’s Arts and Community Centre opens on Monday - complete with a restored vintage tram!
In 2014, the former Warringah Council came to the derelict tram’s rescue and, over 12 months, Council staff worked with volunteers from The Forest Men's Shed to bring ‘Tram 1753’ back to life. They’ve done a great job!
The Community Centre is also undergoing a total refurbishment and will soon re-open for a wide range of arts, leisure and fitness activities.
The new Church Point Carpark opens on Tuesday, providing much-needed extra parking in the area, particularly for offshore residents.
An additional 133 parking spaces will be available on two levels - the top level accommodating 68 motor vehicles in spaces reserved for the Church Point Carpark Reserved Parking Space Scheme.
The lower level operates on a 'pay-and-display' basis for visitors from 6am-6pm. Church Point Permit holders can park in the lower level at all times, with exclusive use from 6pm-6am.
The full Church Point upgrade should be completed before the end of 2018.
Finally, there is much confusion about a so-called rate rise. The State Government has already announced a freeze on the rates path until at least 2020 for amalgamated councils.
I can assure residents there is no additional rate rise. On Tuesday Council voted to keep up with inflation. This 2.3% Rate Cap set by the NSW Government (via IPART) is suggested for all NSW Councils – nothing more, nothing less.
This will mean we will continue to deliver services to the community to the same level we have been and proceed with agreed projects. Not proceeding with matching inflation would be reckless and threaten Council’s long term financial sustainability.
Wednesday marks 103 years since Australian and New Zealand troops forever etched the name 'Gallipoli' in all our minds.
Since the day the ANZACs went ashore at Gallipoli in 1915, more than 102,000 Australians have died in battle - a vast ‘lost battalion’ of future teachers, farmers, doctors, parents and of missing sons and daughters who would never return.
Anzac Day reminds us that these men and women who volunteered to serve our Nation, and continue to do so to leave the world a better and safer place, risk their lives on a daily basis.
For those who have family or friends on active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere - I extend to you my deepest appreciation. I express hope for their timely and safe return… We Will Remember Them.
A Northern Beaches University is on the cards with Council inviting universities to establish a campus here in a Council-owned building. A university could support a number of academic disciplines and would provide significant economic and social benefits.
Council will be inviting expressions of interest from the higher education sector to set up a satellite campus of an existing university.
Some proposed sites could include the Seaforth Village Community Centre (within the former Seaforth TAFE site), the Dee Why Library, the existing Civic Centre and Council-owned administration offices at Vuko Place in Warriewood among other possibilities. There is also the future potential for a campus near the new Northern Beaches Hospital, as part of the Frenchs Forest ‘Planned Precinct’.
The Northern Beaches is already home to the popular International College of Management Studies and this is an opportunity to expand the tertiary education offering and increase opportunities for our local students.
Finally, don’t forget to ‘have your say’ on Move - Northern Beaches Transport Discussion Paper which outlines a 20-year transport strategy for the region.
Traffic congestion in and out of the Northern Beaches ranks among the worst in the Sydney area.
On the Warringah Road corridor, traffic averages between 30 and 40 km/h throughout the week. Traffic speeds on the Spit Bridge and Military Road are typically below 13 km/h during afternoon peak periods.
Each day, we all struggle with long commutes, traffic jams and bottlenecks. Yet, because alternatives are limited, many residents are left with little choice but to use cars.
In fact, sixty percent of the Northern Beaches’ commuting trips in 2016 were made in a car.
This all impacts terribly on our health and safety, the environment, the local economy and our quality of life.
So, this week, Council released our first Transport Discussion Paper to stimulate public discussion on what we can do to improve the traffic situation on the Northern Beaches now and over the next 20 years.
Traffic will only get worse unless we improve public and active transport options to give us all good reason to get out of our cars.
Is light rail or a train from Dee Why via Frenchs Forest to Chatswood worth exploring? Are hybrid trams, capable of double the capacity of a bus, to Chatswood, or connecting Mona Vale and Macquarie Park, an option?
What do you think?
Move - Northern Beaches Transport Discussion Paper gives you a chance to guide Council’s advocacy with the NSW Government and commercial transport providers to improve the Northern Beaches’ transport network.
Council is hosting a number of public events where you can have your say - including drop-in sessions, listening posts and an online survey.
Visit 'have your say'
Your input is essential to ensure we develop a Transport Strategy that reflects your priorities.
Have a good weekend.
There has been some discussion this week about the Northern Beaches beach parking permit.
Let me reassure you that Council is not considering any proposal to change the one sticker. This single sticker unites us. Residents can enjoy the benefits of one Council and continue to use their parking sticker from Manly to Palm Beach and everywhere in between, for many years to come.
I hope the community will be just as passionate when we release our transport discussion paper in the coming weeks. We know this is a hot topic in our area with so many people struggling to get in, out and around the Beaches.
We will be looking for as much input from residents as possible on the discussion paper and providing many opportunities for you to have your say. Stay tuned for more on how you can get involved in how we directly influence the state government positively on transport, now and into the future. They want our help, so let’s give it to them.
The school holidays are almost upon us again. This year the holidays coincide with Youth Week so we have even more activities than usual on offer to keep the kids entertained.
Book into vacation care for a day of bubble soccer, fishing or bowling. Design your own t-shirt or skate deck at a PCYC workshop. Check out the 'escape room' at your library. Become a marine scientist at the Coastal Environment Centre or improve the kids swimming through some intensive classes at one of the local aquatic centres. There are so many fun activities to choose from for kids of all ages.
Good luck to all the young groups going head-to-head next Friday night in the finals of Northern Composure – our youth band competition. It’s a tough competition and past winners have gone on to great acclaim.
And don’t forget the NSW Seniors Festival also continues all month with a packed program of interesting creative arts, fitness and wellbeing activities. I particularly like the sound of laughter yoga which is one of many activities on Monday! But there is something for everyone next week – from men’s cooking classes to happy hour tours and cyber security workshops.
Have a great weekend.
As I drive around our area it’s great to see so much work being done to improve our cycleways, paths, sportsfields and playgrounds.
I’m particularly excited about progress on the iconic Manly to Palm Beach coastal walkway - a 36km continuous path featuring some of the most spectacular views in the country.
Council teams have been busy working on critical links at Palm Beach, Curl Curl, Mona Vale, and Newport and consulting on the next stages at Mona Vale and Warriewood.
Almost 30km of cycleway has also been completed with more under construction at Dee Why, Mona Vale, Warriewood and Newport.
Plus we’re currently looking at community feedback on the design of a number of kids' playgrounds for construction over the next few months.
Much of this work has been possible through a $36.6 million partnership under the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund and funding from Transport for NSW.
We’ve also just finished the new synthetic field at Cromer in time for the winter sports season and lots of work is underway upgrading lighting and facilities at many sportsfields across the region.
The NSW Seniors Festival kicks off next week with a Wellbeing Expo next Friday at Dee Why RSL. It heralds more than 90 events through April including a seniors versus young people pop up table tennis comp, comedy night and free classes and tours. You can download the full program here.
Finally, a huge thanks to all who turned up to share their views at the Council meeting on this week. It’s great to be part of such a passionate community.
Hope you are enjoying a safe and relaxing Easter break.
Millions of people in over 180 countries will switch off their lights for sixty minutes tonight to mark Earth Hour.
At Council we’ll be switching off the lights at key buildings and are also running some fun events across the region including night walks, lantern making and nature workshops for kids.
But of course we strive for environmental sustainability every day. We have reduced our energy consumption by installing solar panels on 33 Council buildings with more to come later this year, and are running a cogeneration plant at the new Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre.
Today we also launch an exciting new energy challenge to encourage residents to go beyond Earth Hour. You can register to participate over a six month period and take action around your home to reduce your energy footprint.
Register now, take action, accumulate points and even win some prizes. Do one challenge or do them all - the more you do the bigger your impact on the environment and your hip pocket. You’ll find all the information to register on our website.
Tomorrow the Royal Far West in Manly is throwing the doors open and inviting the community to an open day. They provide a fantastic service connecting regional kids with all the healthcare they need.
Finally, Council meets again on Tuesday night. You can see your Councillors in action at Dee Why Council Chambers or watch the live stream online.
Have a good weekend.
American author and activist Corretta Scott King once said that the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. Well, our community is displaying greatness in spades this week.
For a start, you’ll be seeing many shaved heads around, the result of the World’s Greatest Shave, raising awareness and funds for the Leukaemia Foundation. I know quite a few local schools got involved again this year and it’s fantastic so many kids are getting under the clippers for such a good cause.
Over the weekend men’s mental health will be the focus at the Gotcha 4 Life’s Cliffside Run & Sea Festival at Collaroy Headland, where hundreds are registered to run 3, 5 or 10kms. Get down to the festival outdoor cinema tonight and watch the movie Paper Planes under the stars or cheer on the runners tomorrow.
The Melanoma March (close to my heart) and stand up paddle is also on Sunday morning, Manly to Fairlight, another important event which raises funds to find a cure for Melanoma.
I’ll be starting the gun for the fantastically named Run Forest Run event on Sunday raising funds for Forestville Public School and getting loads of families out exercising bright and early.
And tonight the very creative Allambie Amateurs are back with Song Contest: The Almost Eurovision Experience. Limited tickets are still available for tonight and next weekend performances and all money raised goes back into Allambie Heights Public School.
So that’s a packed weekend of fun activities to choose from which are all doing their bit to give back to our community. And that’s just what we know!
Have a great weekend. And go the Sea Eagles. See you at Brookie.