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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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.
This week I was fortunate to join many others in the community to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).
Council hosted a fabulous breakfast where great sporting legend Melinda Gainsford-Taylor gave a tremendous address.
Melinda grew up on a farm racing her sheep dogs across the paddock and spoke of the highs and lows that come with injury, triumph and heartache on the professional athlete circuit. She now plays a critical role mentoring other young girls, and boys, to be the best they can be. We are lucky to have her as part of our local community.
The Zonta Club of Northern Beaches also held a wonderful breakfast with Liesl Tesch, another amazing athlete whose drive seems to know no bounds. Medal-winning Paralympian, professional basketball player, world champion sailor and now local MP, she is another incredible role model for young women, and men, everywhere.
Council is modelling the IWD theme this year, #pressforprogress, by progressing our accreditation as a White Ribbon workplace.
And I am proud to say Council also walks the talk in our own workforce. Fifty-eight per cent of our current employees are female and just shy of 40% of our senior managers. We have a way to go for real gender equality but we are well on the way.
Also right now three local young women have the chance to join a once in a lifetime trip to outback NSW as part of our Youth Exchange program. We are looking for six teenagers to swap beach for bush and head out to Brewarrina with Council’s youth team. Applications close Monday.
Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to Council’s interim CEO Mark Ferguson who steps down at the end of next week. Mark has had a 40 year career in local government and has been at the helm of the Council since amalgamation. I wish him all the best.
Have a good weekend.
I hear a lot of discussion when I am out in the community about the need for more affordable housing. Too many residents struggle with high rents and stressful mortgage payments – we know the Northern Beaches is one of Sydney’s most expensive spots for housing.
As a community we need to make affordable housing provision a priority or we won’t just have our kids leaving the area in search of cheaper accommodation but all our key workers too. There are too many stories of our critical workers couch surfing or travelling long distances because they can’t afford to live near where they work. And let’s not forget the seniors, where are they going to downsize to?
However, like all developments, affordable housing initiatives must be planned properly. Right now we have numerous applications before Council for large boarding houses in quiet residential streets. In one case a single house is proposed to be replaced by 100 units.
The rub is that Council has virtually no power to stop boarding house developments in these quiet residential streets as the state government regulations override our local controls. And don’t get me started on the infill affordable housing which exploits the SEPP and creates units in streets not zoned for it. Units that can be sold in 10 years time to anyone.
This week Council unanimously resolved to call on the state government to urgently review the legislation and work with us to identify areas suitable for new affordable housing developments.
I invite the relevant local MPs, Minister and the state department to sit down with us and develop a strategy and a target for the Northern Beaches so we can address this critical issue sensibly.
Finally, a shout out to all the locals, many who packed the gallery at the Council meeting on Tuesday night, who are keeping up the pressure to protect their neighbourhoods and elicit some action from the state government.
Have a great weekend
In case you missed it, Manly was named Australia’s best beach this week in TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travellers’ Choice Awards.
No better timing given the inaugural Vissla Sydney Surf Pro kicks off today and we welcome such a prestigious international surfing event back to the home of surfing, Manly Beach.
Of course, events like this don’t just help support and foster local talent but are a great attraction for visitors and provide important opportunities for local businesses.
We are proud to be a major supporter of this event. It’s plastic free so don’t forgot to bring your refillable water bottle and make use of our portable water stations.
On the issue of plastic waste, Clean Up Australia Day is fast approaching on Sunday 4 March. Last year, incredibly almost nine tonnes of rubbish was removed across 82 Clean Up Australia Day sites across our region. Get involved and join one of the existing community events or register your own. It’s a great way to make a difference to our bushland, beaches and waterways.
Our first Council meeting of the year is on Tuesday evening and as always we have a very full agenda. If you are interested in what issues are being considered by your Councillors you can see the full agenda. You can also attend the meeting at Dee Why Council Chambers or watch the proceedings through the live stream.
Historically, residents had limited opportunities to communicate with elected Councillors other than at Council meetings. These days, we now have many and arguably more effective ways for the community to engage with their elected representatives. The State Government has recognised this shift in community engagement and it is reflected in their newly released draft Model Code of Meeting Practice. It proposes removing public addresses to items not on the agenda from Council meetings.
We all recognise it is vital that the community is able to connect with the elected Council on any issue regardless of if it being on the agenda or not. To be clear, we will continue to encourage people to address Council on items on the Council agenda but for matters that sit outside the agenda, we are proposing to step up our dialogue with residents by holding regular town hall style meetings in the community. It’s a win for both residents and Councillors as we will be able to hear more from residents and more often across the region to ensure maximum opportunity for all interested residents to participate.
Take for example complex planning proposals which allow four speakers for each proposal, let alone the many other important matters that each allow for multiple speakers. We want to ensure that we can complete the ordinary business at the meeting as the Act intends and get on with doing what we need to do for our community.
That’s more transparency, more efficiency, and bringing the Council to the community on a direct and more frequent basis.
This will of course complement existing channels including the online ‘Have Your Say’ hub and customer help portal, our community information briefings, drop-in sessions, our six community Strategic Reference Groups (which will kick off their first meeting in March), plus the four Customer Service Centres who can be contacted 24/7 via email or phone. And your Councillors continue to be available by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter and so on.
We know people have busy lives but are both passionate and curious about what goes on in our region. We will continue to explore every available channel to make sure we provide opportunities for you to tell us what you love and what you’d like to see improved.
Have a good weekend.
There is a host of great opportunities right now for young people across the Beaches to get involved and have some fun.
Entries are now open for Northern Composure, the largest and longest-running youth band competition in the area. Most band members need to be under 19 and available for the heats in March and the final in April.
The competition can be fierce. Last year’s winner, Black Iguana, has recorded their first EP and are playing gigs all around Sydney.
If music is not your thing though, we are asking young people aged 12 to 21 to tell us what they do like by joining our Youth Advisory Group. They’ll get some great experiences, tickets to Council events and have real input.
And for the more adventurous, applications are also now open for our Youth Exchange Program. Six lucky teenagers will travel with our team to the far western NSW town of Brewarrina for a week in April. They’ll visit the Lightening Ridge opal mines, shear sheep, check out Aboriginal fish traps and spend time with other local young people – a once in a lifetime trip for our beach dwelling teenagers!
Young talent will also be on display from next Friday at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum’s Express Yourself exhibition showcasing the incredible work of 40 HSC Visual Art students from local schools.
I hope you’ll encourage any young people in your life to get involved.
Have a great weekend.
A Message from the Deputy Mayor
Our hard working Mayor is on holidays this week so let me fill you in on what has been happening on the Northern Beaches.
Council has had a bumper summer school holiday period, keeping thousands of kids busy through our four vacation care centres, the Coastal Environment Centre, our aquatic centre swimming programs, summer skate nights and kid’s library events.
This week we were also delighted to host four children who travelled 800km from Brewarrina as part of our Youth Exchange Program with Brewarrina Shire Council. They will spend a week exploring Sydney and our beaches – a huge change from their normal life in far western NSW.
We’ll be doing a call-out soon for nominations for six Northern Beaches’ teenagers to go to Brewarrina in April as part of the 2018 National Youth Week celebrations.
Council has also been busy continuing to deliver major works and maintenance projects up and down the Peninsula including looking after our beaches, parks and reserves, delivering roadworks and new pathways, and continuing major projects such as the Palm Beach walkway, Cromer 2 synthetic sportsfield and Church Point carpark.
Finally, I encourage our creative residents to submit an expression of interest to be part of the next Creative Space exhibition, Fire in June this year. It’s the fourth in the incredible Four Elements - Earth, Water, Air, Fire exhibition series showcasing incredible local talent.
Enjoy the weekend.
Australia Day is a great opportunity to reflect on what makes Australia - and the Northern Beaches in particular - such a great place.
More than the sum of our iconic beaches and bushland, this is a special area because of the incredible community who make the Northern Beaches home.
I was honoured yesterday to welcome our new Northern Beaches citizens and humbled to present Australia Day Awards to locals who have made such outstanding contributions across areas including community work, the environment, sports and so much more.
Along with Maria Elena Chidzey (Citizen of the Year), Harry Elliffe (inaugural Senior Citizen of the Year), Aiden Baldwin (Young Citizen of the Year), Cameron Malone (Sportsperson of the Year), and the Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services ‘Go Wild Gala’ (Community Event of the Year), there were also 15 more Outstanding Community Service awards presented – and there could have been many others. View the full list of winners
To shine a spotlight on our Citizen of the Year, Maria Elena Chidzey stands out for her lifelong dedication to promoting multiculturalism and diversity. She has been an incredible voice for migrants, refugees and disadvantaged groups - as an advocate, advisor and through frontline support. The contribution she has made is truly inspiring and we are lucky to have her in our community.
A huge congratulations and thanks to Maria Elena and each and every one of our awardees, along with all of our other unsung local heroes. And to our very busy team of Australia Day volunteers: thank you, too, for generously offering your time and good will to feed and entertain the rest of us!
Have a great weekend.
Next Friday, January 26, is of course Australia Day which marks 230 years since the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove and also 230 years since Governor Phillip set foot at Manly.
There is a monument at Manly’s West Esplanade which marks this historic event, and another famous cross-cultural event in 1790, where Governor Phillip was speared by an Aboriginal man named Willemering, during a meeting with Bennelong at Manly. Governor Phillip made a full recovery and the incident was passed off as a misunderstanding.
In 2018, Australia Day means different things to different people. It’s a time to reflect on our national journey, acknowledge our chequered past, and celebrate the incredible mix of cultures and diversity that make up our nation today. I’m looking forward to welcoming new Northern Beaches citizens on the day, 42 of 16,000 new Australians choosing to become citizens on 26 January.
I will have the honour of presenting our Australia Day Awards to locals who have made an outstanding contribution to our local community. We have so many incredible people on the Beaches and I am thrilled we can recognise them in this way.
Council is also working with the community and a great army of volunteers to put on some fantastic activities. Check out one of our big BBQ breakfasts, join a thong throwing comp, listen to some great local music, splash out at a pool party or ride a camel up the beach. See all the details.
And enjoy Australia Day however you choose to spend it.
On behalf of Council I wish everyone a Happy New Year and very best wishes for 2018.
I hope you all had a great holiday break and like me are raring to get stuck into the year ahead. And it will certainly be a big year for Council, building on a very busy 2017.
I would like to recognise the many people who worked through the holidays so the rest of us could enjoy a safe and fun break. Our pool, childcare and library staff; our dedicated waste collectors and cleaners; our events team and rangers and the many many others on deck across Council. And to our local community in hospitality, transport, hospitals and security to name but a few - thanks to all of you for keeping things moving.
Of course it’s a very busy time of year for lifeguards too. Since the start of December our beaches saw more than three million visitors and our lifeguards have made over 760 rescues and administered first aid to almost 2,000 people. A timely reminder for everyone to please swim between the flags.
If you are fortunate enough to still be on holidays or looking for ways to keep the kids entertained, check out all that’s on offer across the beaches in January. From rock pool rambles and skate nights to world food markets and an incredible array of art and culture, you’ll find something for every age and taste. Check out Council's website for all the details.
Have a great weekend.