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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After days of lockdown and with many in our community now in isolation at home, it is somewhat welcome news that over the Christmas period there will be a slight easing of restrictions.
While I appreciate this is not what you may have had planned, the Premier and the health officials have had to make a call with our best interests at heart and your health and safety have to come first.
I encourage you to make sure you understand the conditions that will be in place for the two zones across the Northern Beaches.
Please take this opportunity to reach out to friends, family and neighbours who may be doing tough but remember the rules and play it safe.
We are a resilient bunch and we’ll get through it supporting each other.
Wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas.
Our community is facing an enormous challenge, in a situation that is evolving day by day.
I can’t thank you enough for responding to the call to stay home, get tested and wear a mask. It’s our spirit of community that will get us through again.
Remember your local small businesses. Get your take away, home delivery and buy a gift voucher from your local retailers, so together we can help them through this too.
Get familiar with the restrictions in the Public Health Orders for the Northern Beaches that is in effect until midnight Wednesday 23 December.
The government also announced today restrictions for Greater Sydney, measures to help all of us get ahead of the threat. Your health and safety is the priority right now.
Again, thank you. Keep looking after yourselves and each other. We got through this once, we will do it again.
Please stay safe.
I am so proud of the way our community has responded to the call to stay home and get tested, so together we can get ahead of this COVID cluster that has hit us all hard.
The advice is loud and clear and has been drilled into us all year, keep 1.5 meters from others, keep up with good hand hygiene, follow the advice on wearing face masks in high-risk areas and most importantly – stay home this weekend and play it safe.
I have seen the long queues for the testing clinics and I can’t thank you enough for persevering. It is important we follow the advice so together we can beat this. Council has been helping NSW Health to open up as many new pop-up and drive through testing clinics as needed to try and get a handle on the extent of the spread.
While it may be a setback, we will get through it if we all do the right thing now.
I encourage you to follow the updates from NSW Heath, do what they advise and look out for each other over this weekend. It is a rapidly evolving situation. Let's have confidence in the State’s Trace team and remember, we are responsible for our own actions. Be kind to each other and check in on your neighbour.
I was thrilled to open the incredible Bare Creek Bike Park this week, alongside Member for Davidson Jonathan O’Dea.
Created from a rehabilitated portion of the former Belrose Waste Management landfill site, this world-class bike park provides for riders of all skill levels and is an incredible asset for locals, and will no doubt provide a tourism boost to our area.
This is the result of a good 10 years of collaboration and would not have been possible without the advocacy of some passionate locals and significant investment from the NSW state government.
A shout out to mountain bike trail builders, Dirt Art, who have built this amazing facility and to Trail Care for advice on design and ongoing help with maintenance.
I know many a rider who has been patiently waiting to see this park open – now you can see just how great it is for yourselves. Don’t forget your helmet!
And if you missed last week’s gorgeous rendition of Silent Night on Shelly Beach by 2020 Northern Composure Unplugged winners Nat & Jules, I encourage you to take a look. It is really something special. This was the first of a series we are recording to get you in the Christmas mood. Today we launched Prinnie's version of Away in Manger and we will be launching two more performances by local artists in the lead up to Christmas, so stay tuned for more to come.
Have a great weekend
As restrictions continue to ease and with the summer holiday season fast approaching it’s fantastic to be able to welcome back events to the Beaches.
Sun Run returns in February and registrations are now open for the new 10km course. Details of the Cole Classic will also be released soon.
We’re hosting two open air cinema nights at Lionel Watts in Frenchs Forest in early January with some great family movies. Tickets are limited so do get in quickly.
The World Food Markets have also kicked off again, at Freshie and Narraweena on selected Friday nights in December and January respectively. Bring a blanket, grab a bite from the many food trucks and enjoy the live music, it’s a lovely way to spend a summer evening.
In other good news, it’s great to see the new sports courts at Warriewood already getting a work out and we’re counting down to the opening of the world-class Bare Creek Bike Park in mid-December – stay tuned.
And bookings are open for the summer vacation care program with heaps to keep the kids busy from 17 Dec and throughout January.
Have a great weekend.
An annual report can be a dry document - an account of what’s been achieved in a twelve month period and a record of income and expenditure over a financial year.
Yet, for a publicly-funded organisation such as a Council, the annual report is a critical document, a mark of accountability and transparency for our ratepayers.
In a year highlighted by bush fires, storms and a global pandemic, Council’s 2019/20 annual report, endorsed by Council this week, details how we were able to continue to deliver key projects, introduce new initiatives such as the library home delivery service and provide rate and fee relief to businesses and the community. (We have extended our business support package until the end of March next year.)
We recorded $29.5m in efficiency savings and invested over $97 million in capital works. The incredible recreation hub at Lionel Watts was completed, the aquatic boardwalk on Narrabeen Lagoon Trail opened, Manly Youth Centre modernised and the scouts finally got their new hall at Bilarong reserve. $2.5 million was spent on new footpaths across the area, we progressed new surf clubs for Mona Vale and Long Reef and we added more sections to our magnificent Coast Walk from Manly to Palm Beach.
For all this and so much more, I thank our committed Councillors and staff, working through a time of great uncertainty to maintain focus on delivering for our community.
You can read the Annual Report 2019/20 here.
Have a great weekend.
Our Children’s Centre at Belrose became one of only 17 of the 5,626 services in NSW to receive an Excellence Rating by exceeding all seven quality areas of the National Quality Standards and for its outstanding commitment to inclusion within the community.
Our children’s centres work to nurture, develop and educate our youngest community members. They recently took the opportunity to focus on NAIDOC week and teaching the children about the various aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
Unfortunately many NAIDOC week activities had to be scaled down this year, but it was great to see everyone finding other ways to recognise the world’s oldest continuous culture.
Another great achievement, we are now officially the Most Sustainable City in NSW after taking out a number of awards at the Keep Australia Beautiful Awards recently. A shout out to Seaforth Primary School who were also winners and Northern Beaches Secondary College Cromer Campus who were finalists at the event.
In more good news, the State Government have allocated funding that will now enable us to carry out the flood mitigation works on Wakehurst Parkway. We are very grateful to them and particularly to our local State Members for Pittwater, Wakehurst and Davidson for their support. We look forward to bringing you more details on this project very soon.
On a final note, I want to wish Wallace Edwards OAM a happy 104th birthday. Wal has lived and worked on the Northern Beaches for decades as well as serving in WW2. Wal continues to contribute to our community, volunteering as the Harbord Diggers Club Welfare Officer for the last 26 years. His advice to us all is to reach out every day to others. In these unprecedented times this seems more important than ever. Happy birthday Wal.
Have a good weekend.
Next Friday we mark White Ribbon Day, and soon after the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
These days are a reminder in the calendar every 12 months of what we should be aware of every single day – that levels of family violence are as high as ever and we all should be doing what we can to help prevent it from happening, and support those in need. We all need to step up to prevent and eliminate domestic violence.
In previous years, we have said no to domestic violence with our community walk, but as with everything in 2020, this year will be a little different.
We are encouraging everyone to pop on a white t-shirt next Friday, take a walk to raise awareness, and then post an image on social media with the hashtag #BeachesSaysNo.
With our local community organisations reporting increases in violence due to COVID isolation, it’s more important than ever for us all to show our solidarity for those experiencing psychological, financial and physical abuse in the home.
And if you do need support, you’ll find all the information you need here. Sometimes that first phone call is the hardest but can really help you consider your options. If you don’t have access to a computer, 1800 RESPECT is a great resource.
Finally, a huge congratulations to Council and our community for being named Keep Australia Beautiful NSW’s Most Sustainable City, a massive recognition for the work being done across our area to enhance and protect our environment.
How’s our finances? I’ve had that question a bit this week thanks to unhelpful media coverage of council budgets, COVID impacts on the bottom line and the financial success or otherwise of amalgamations.
We are transparent with our books and invite the community to have a say when we put our budget and delivery program out for public comment before it’s endorsed each year.
While throwing three different organisations together hasn’t been without challenges, we are on track to more than double the state government’s projected efficiency savings from amalgamation, to reach $161.6m in efficiencies over ten years.
That’s through savings on employee costs, insurance premium reductions, consolidation of legal and IT services and much, Much more.
Those savings give us millions of dollars to invest back in community infrastructure and services, so far funding, among other things, increased cleaning of our public toilets and spaces, new footpaths and longer customer service hours.
Like most organisations we’ve taken a hit thanks to COVID, this financial year to the tune of $12.6million. This includes $6.9 million worth of COVID support packages for local businesses and our community, support we are able to provide thanks to our strong and sustainable long term budget position.
We continue to pay down debt of the previous Councils while ensuring we keep on top of maintenance, as well as close the gap on the backlog so we don’t leave a hole for future generations to grapple with.
How’s our finances? In a good place, with a focus on COVID recovery and an eye on the future needs of our community.
Have a good weekend.
Congratulations to both the Manly Warringah AFL Women’s Premier Division team and the Manly United Women’s Football Premier League team on their success in taking out their respective competitions this season. It’s fantastic to see women’s sport thriving on the Northern Beaches, particularly during what has been a challenging year for teams of all sporting codes.
In other good news, the unused Glen Street Theatre restaurant space is set to get a new life. This week, following a feasibility study, Council decided to put the space out to tender to realise its potential as an incredible new venue. Stay tuned, I’m looking forward to seeing what creative local operators come up with.
Thanks to the introduction of energy efficiency measures and negotiation with power utilities, Council has cut our electricity bill by a quarter in a year, saving rate-payers some $1.71million. That’s not just a win for the bottom line but comes with a 2,000 tonne reduction in carbon emissions. A great outcome.
And finally I’d like to thank everyone who sent me get well messages in the last few weeks after I did myself a serious foot injury. Please be assured I have read and appreciated every one of them. And again, to all the staff at Northern Beaches Hospital, a special thank you!
Have a great weekend.