Mayor Sue Heins

Read the Mayor’s message for updates on new recreational facilities and libraries, latest major projects, news and big picture issues that affect the Northern Beaches.

Friday 17 May 2024

Here at Council we are strong advocates for getting people out of cars and onto bikes, easing local traffic, improving health and reducing emissions.

However, the increasing prevalence of e-bikes is a real safety issue and many in our community are concerned about how they are being used on our footpaths and shared paths.

That’s why this week we launched an extensive e-bike safety education campaign which asks riders to abide by a simple code to keep themselves and the community safe: 

  • Slow down to walking pace when others are on the path 
  • Ring your bell and call ‘on your right’ to let others know you’re approaching 
  • Be ready for sudden changes – people, pets and prams can be unpredictable 

You’ll see the campaign roll out through signage on our bike paths, in our schools, on social media, online, in local bike shops and through the media.

Councils are not the regulating authority for e-bikes but we do have a role to play in community education and we are fortunate to have the backing of the local police, Bicycle NSW and local schools. This is a shared issue which requires all our attention and will be most effective when we are all reinforcing it.

I believe this campaign is a Council-first across the country and I am proud the Northern Beaches is taking the lead on this important issue. Please share it through your networks and help get the message out.

We are also continuing our advocacy with the state and federal governments in the background, calling for a statewide education campaign with a focus on young riders, a review of the relevant road rules, better monitoring and control of the importation of non-compliant bikes and the introduction of a simple way to identify both legal and illegal bikes through a compliance plate or similar.

Finally, a shout out to local young surfer Jordy Lawler who took the Sydney Surf Pro men’s title this week at North Narrabeen - his first-career Challenger Series victory. So great to see a local surfer win this prestigious international event which Council supports, alongside the Gold Coast's Isabella Nichols. Congratulations to them both.

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 10 May 2024

A very happy Mother’s Day to all the mums and grandmas for Sunday. I hope you are all spoiled! And for those looking for last minute gift ideas, you can’t beat our local boutiques, nurseries, experiences and food and beverage offerings. If you are in need of some inspiration, check out our local Mother’s Day guide.

We have a range of projects across the area which are currently on public exhibition and we’d love input from the community.

You can now view the draft North Narrabeen Reserve Plan of Management which proposes a range of sporting, community and recreational improvements, including sportsfield upgrades and lighting, a play and recreation space for children and young people and new accessible amenities.

Our Budget and Delivery Program are open for comment until 2 June and there are a range of dates and locations where our team will be available to answer all your questions.

We’re in the first stages of updating the Governor Phillip Park Plan of Management and would love to hear from a range of people who use the park – we have an online ideas board and a survey ready to collect your thoughts. You can view the draft masterplan for Warringah Recreation Centre at North Manly or see what changes are proposed to parking at the Manly Seniors Centre carpark.

Feedback on the concept designs for the Jamieson Park Sports Amenities Building at Narrabeen and the Long Reef boardwalk and bridge replacement plans close on Sunday. And you can also have your say on the remedial works planned for Taylors Point Wharf and a road safety improvement for Cabbage Tree Rd at Bayview.

Our projects are enhanced when we hear from a cross section of the community, and I’d encourage all residents to get involved in the projects of interest to you. Councillors do read the consultation reports and your comments and feedback really assist in our decision making when projects come before Council.

Finally, with local government elections coming up in September, now is the time to think about putting your name forward if you’d like to be a candidate. I can say it is an absolute honour and privilege to serve your local community in this way. Find out more about the local government election process and register now for our candidate information session in June.

Have a great weekend,

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 3 May 2024

Each year Council releases the draft budget and proposed program of works for the next financial year for community input.

Our proposed 2024/25 budget has a focus on resilience and sustainability, prioritising projects and services that support and strengthen our community and environment in a challenging economic and environmental climate.

It balances the need to respond to the increasing occurrence of storms, floods and coastal erosion, and their impact on infrastructure, while maintaining the services and activities valued by our community.

It will deliver some important projects including stormwater management works to reduce flooding and pollution, flood mitigation works on Wakehurst Parkway, trials of circular economy initiatives for reuse, repair and recycling of household items, critical structural repairs to rockpools and improvements in roads, footpaths, playgrounds and sporting fields.

Council is not immune to growing pressure on our financial sustainability and the rising costs of materials, contracts, and construction. We continue to work hard to find ways to offset cost pressures while maintaining our services and assets. In recent years we have reviewed fees, found efficiency gains and cost savings, including over $2.4 million in savings in the last two years and within this proposed budget.

The draft budget will be available for review from Friday 3 May, including suburb by suburb snapshots and subject fact sheets so you can see what is planned for the whole area. You can also attend one of the information sessions to ask more or have your questions answered. Consultation will be open until 2 June.

In other news this week, disaster assistance has been extended to the Northern Beaches local government area following heavy rainfall and flooding at the beginning of April. The assistance measures are being provided by the Federal and NSW Governments through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and includes grants for eligible residents to replace essential household items or undertake structural repairs. Find out more about disaster assistance and apply.

Have a great weekend,

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 26 April 2024

With both housing and rental prices on the rise, affordable housing is a huge issue here on the Northern Beaches, and it’s only getting worse. It makes it hard for our kids to be able to raise families here and hampers our ability to attract key workers like teachers, bus drivers and health care staff.

Supporting sustainable growth will help alleviate these pressures alongside measures we have introduced like affordable housing targets on new developments.

At Council we have spent the last 4 years working alongside our community to develop our housing strategy and carefully plan sustainable growth based on extensive traffic, transport, hazards and workforce studies, as we prepare our new Local Environment Plan for the Northen Beaches. The Government’s plan disregards this work and community input and applies a one size fits all approach to housing in all of Sydney.

The NSW Government’s solution to the issue has the potential to do real damage to the character of our area with increased density and building heights where transport and infrastructure can’t support it.

It’s important our community really understand what’s at stake, which is why we are hosting information sessions in every Council ward in the coming weeks. I strongly encourage you to register to attend one of the sessions near you to learn more and find out how the proposals will impact you.

And a friendly reminder school is back next week which means 40km/hour school zones apply.

Have a great weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 19 April 2024

I know all of you will share in sending condolences to the loved ones of all those who lost their lives in the violent incident at Bondi last weekend.

For people to be killed so violently while simply going about their daily lives on an average Saturday is an unimaginable tragedy. Our hearts go out to them.

We also recognise the incredibly brave actions of NSW Police and other emergency services on the scene and to all those everyday heroes whose actions prevented more lives from being lost.

While we will await the details of the full investigation, the ailing state of mental health support in our country should be acknowledged. I commend the NSW Premier for his commitment to looking at the mental health system as part of the formal investigation.

Next Thursday we commemorate ANZAC Day, recognising the many men and women, past and present, who serve in our armed forces. We thank them for their courage, compassion and commitment to our country.

Council will host two dawn services and an 11am service which complement the many other events RSLs and others are hosting across the area. I encourage to find an ANZAC Day march or service near you.

Finally, good luck to all the young bands competing in the Northern Composure grand final this Saturday! We have some incredible young musicians who have won this event in the past and gone on to national and international success.

Have a great weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 12 April 2024

A shout out this week to State Emergency Service (SES), NSW Police and all in the community who pulled together in the face of the bucketing rain and floods last week. At Council we had crews out all weekend attending to blocked drains, managing traffic and road closures, assessing damage, monitoring conditions and backing up the great work of the SES removing fallen trees.

Incidents like this really showcase the incredible community spirit here on the Northern Beaches, with neighbour reaching out to neighbour and our wonderful local SES volunteers out in the elements, supporting the most vulnerable.

We are celebrating Youth Week this month with some fantastic events, workshops and activities aimed at 12- to 24-year-olds. There’s a young writers’ competition, inflatable obstacle course, open mic night, 3x3 basketball comp, second hand market, plus screen printing, car maintenance and managing money workshops. Check out the full program.

And good luck to all those competing in the semi-finals of Northern Composure, our youth band comp. I’m looking forward to the grand final later this month, supporting popular headline act The Grograns.

With school holidays upon us, there are still spots available in our vacation care program, or see our school holiday guide for some suggestions on how to keep your kids busy.

Have a great weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 5 April 2024

With significant rainfall predicted over the next few days, please prepare if you are in a flood-prone area. Never drive through flood waters, follow the advice of SES and stay safe.

A thriving local economy generates local jobs and promotes diversity in local business, supporting the vibrant local culture we all love.

Last year a staggering $3.6billion was spent by locals outside our local area – much of it in Chatswood and the city in businesses similar to those you can find on your doorstep.

That’s why this week we are launching the Go Local to Grow Local campaign, promoting the benefits of shopping locally.

We’ll be highlighting the diverse array of local services, dining and shopping options. Look out for distinctive green stickers in shop windows and on social media encouraging the community to shop local.

I encourage you to help by leaving an online review on your favourite local business, share and like them on social media, recommend them to friends and family, and use local tradespeople.

On a more sombre note, last week your elected Council renewed our Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy and went a step further by committing to look for opportunities to eliminate gambling advertising on Council property where possible.

Many people participate in gambling activity without it impacting their lives. But for others it can result in significant financial, emotional and psychological harm.

At Council we can play an important role in minimising the harm caused by gambling through education, advocacy and supporting local gambling help agencies.

Problem gambling is not just an individual problem, but a major social issue that impacts individuals, their families and the broader community. I am proud that Council is doing all that we can to reduce these impacts.

Have a great weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins

Thursday 28 March 2024

I’m thrilled to report that at the meeting of your elected Council this week the Waste and Circular Economy Strategy 2040 was endorsed.

Over twelve months in development and following extensive consultation with community and waste experts, the strategy is all about working with the community to reduce waste by implementing a circular economy – embracing reuse, repair and recycling initiatives.

That means we’ll be piloting programs to help reuse and repair household items, implementing trial collections of recyclables like timber and textiles. We’ll be running education and behaviour change campaigns, advocating for manufacturer responsibility, and supporting business to reduce single use plastics. We will also begin working with our community to understand how best to trial options for recycling of food organics which makes up such a large proportion of waste in our red bins.

A huge thank you to the hundreds of people who gave input to the strategy. I can’t wait to see the impact it will have to reduce waste in our community.

It’s that time of year where our crews are out in force getting our parks ready for the winter sports season. Congratulations to all the teams who made the finals for their summer sports – we are now seeing cricket and softball bats replaced with footies, netballs, frisbees and soccer balls!

We are halfway through the season changeover – covering cricket wickets, removing baseball and softball back nets, installing 120 sets of goal posts and line marking 150 playing fields. And a shout out to the Council team tasked with the challenging sports allocation process that tries to provide equitable access to our high demand fields.

It’s great to see so many already out for winter sport training and trial games. Good luck to all for a successful season.

Finally, a very happy to Easter to you all! And a reminder, double demerits are in place from Thursday to Monday – drive safely.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 22 March 2024

The fences are down and the long-awaited new amenities block at Shelly Beach is open for use.

Using natural materials to blend into the beach environment, it includes internal and external showers, change areas, baby change room, bench seating and plants. There are some finishing touches still needed, which will be completed in the coming months, but it’s great to have this new critical infrastructure ready for Easter swimmers and picnickers.

We have some incredible artists and designers here on the Northern Beaches and each year I look forward to the annual showcase of the best of the best in our Environmental Art & Design Prize.

Now in its fourth year, the Prize invites participants to submit works which explore our relationship with the environment and inspire action toward a sustainable future.

With a $20,000 prize for each category, a renowned judging panel and inclusion in the exhibition in August, the Prize is highly coveted and open to artists and designers of all levels and backgrounds. Entries close 19 May.

Or if music is more your gig, online voting is now open for the Northern Composure band comp – the largest and longest-running youth band competition in the area. Past winners have unearthed the likes of Ocean Alley, Lime Cordiale and The Rions. This year our grand final winners will support popular garage rock band The Grogans. You can watch all the heats and help your favourite band secure a spot in the live semi-finals.

Have a great weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins

Friday 15 March 2024

The 2024 Seniors Festival is in full swing with a heap of events up until 28 March. Try a virtual reality experience, Tai Chi class, painting workshop or Pickleball game. Get tech support at the library, meet your local seniors groups, enjoy a dance or join an Aboriginal Heritage walk – the program is packed with events to suit all tastes and interests. See the full program.

Next week also marks Harmony Week – an opportunity to celebrate diversity and bring together people from all different backgrounds. You might be surprised to learn that the Northern Beaches is home to people from over 110 different countries of birth and one in three of us were born overseas. I know lots of local schools and workplaces will celebrate by wearing orange next week and our libraries are running story time sessions in Mandarin, Serbian, French and Tibetan.

And a shout out for parents looking for care for their littlies. We have vacancies for 3 to 5 year olds at our long day care Early Learning Centres at Belrose, Dee Why, Harbour View (Seaforth) and The Roundhouse (Balgowlah). We offer affordable fees so do get in contact and take a tour.

Or if you need some help with the school holidays looming, our fun-filled vacation care program is now open for bookings or check out Glen Street’s NIDA workshops, circus and science shows.

Have a great weekend.

Mayor Sue Heins