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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With the beach patrol season officially ending last Sunday, I thought I would take the opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic work by our professional Council lifeguards as well as volunteer lifesavers across the Northern Beaches.
No lives were lost during patrol hours across our 21 beaches stretching from Palm Beach to Manly, a wonderful effort from all involved.
It shows the importance of expert training, with a number of incidents which required basic first aid or resuscitations dealt with promptly and professionally. Thanks to all involved.
Elsewhere, on Tuesday night, six students made their way to the PCYC Northern Beaches in Dee Why to reflect on their recent time in far western NSW, Brewarrina.
In what was described as an ‘unforgettable experience’, teenagers Noah Sawyer, Eliza Lo Russo, Luka Vajdic, Davis Koorey, Aleta Wassell and Bianca Aiello recently swapped the beaches for a week in outback New South Wales.
They were the envy of many on their return and rightly so - after all, how many local residents can say they stopped by to see the world famous opal mines at Lightning Ridge or learnt the secrets of the Brewarrina fish traps which stretch back 40,000 years - in under a week?
The cultural journey for the students is part of Council’s City Youth Exchange program, with the primary aim to forge lasting friendships between beach and bush communities.
Finally, our 2019/20 budget is out on public exhibition and I encourage you to get along to one of the many info sessions to make sure you get all the facts. It’s a responsible budget which delivers a massive $99 million capital works program, ensuring we maintain and renew our assets as well as provide the events and services that make living on the Northern Beaches even better.
Plus it shows we will achieve and reinvest an estimated $161.6 million in savings over 10 years, exceeding those promised by amalgamation, and continue to shave millions more off our inherited debts. And with our new waste collection service coming online we’ll not only be improving service and providing environmental benefits but many residents will actually see lower charges too.
Have a great weekend.
I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of Anzac Day services over the last two weeks at our local schools, retirement villages, in our public parks and RSL Clubs.
I love spending time with veterans and their families and hearing the many stories they have to share. We will never fully know the things you saw and the things you did, but we know you did them to protect the rights and freedom
of those more vulnerable and for that, on behalf of the Northern Beaches community, I say thank you.
One hundred years on, in 2019, why do so many of us still gather on Anzac Day? I think it’s an important question that goes to the heart of who we are as a community and who we are as a nation. Like those generations before us, this week I saw people there to mourn and to grieve; to express gratitude and respect; to belong to something bigger and express solidarity.
But of course Anzac Day has become not just a day to look back but also a day to look forward; to reflect and commemorate the past but also an opportunity to evaluate and plan for the future; to talk about the type of community we have become and to recommit ourselves to the ideals we share. Always such an honour to be a part of it.
A shout out to our dedicated Council staff who acted quickly to replace a vandalised sapling from Lone Pine that makes up part of the Collaroy memorial. A trip to the Central Coast found a replacement in time for the sunset service on Saturday. Great work.
Tomorrow the Friends of Ivanhoe Park Botanic Gardens will be holding the Inaugural Garden Festival. There will be heritage tours plus refreshments care of the local Scouts and Country Women’s Association. Council and the Friends have been working on the implementation of the adopted masterplan for the gardens with a view to embracing the historic elements such as the Merrett Historic Gate, the old tramway alignment, and the ANZAC memorial as well as creating a real botanic theme throughout. And the Friends always welcome new members - come down tomorrow and find out how you can get involved.
Have a great weekend.
Next Thursday we commemorate Anzac Day.
It is always a sombre day, as we remember all Service Men and Women who have served our nation and the incredible sacrifice they have all made to protect our way of life – they have all sacrificed their time and their innocence and for too many of them, the ultimate sacrifice was made. Over the course of that “Great War” alone from 1914 to 1918, seventy-seven-thousand Australian and New Zealand sons and daughters would lose their lives on foreign soil.
And sadly the peace of the post-War era was faltering and short-lived – only to crumble a mere 20 years later to another brutal world war.
Since then we have seen the world dragged into more wars, conflicts and terrible acts of violence, too often filled with hatred, fear and bigotry.
We were all reminded of that by the awful events in Christchurch, only a month or so ago.
Yet, from the coastal sands of Anzac Cove - to the desert sands of Iraq - Australia and New Zealand have stood together in defence of fundamental principles - faith in democracy, the rule of law, peace between nations and respect for human rights.
Anzac Day has come to symbolise the unshakeable bonds of friendship and those core values that link Australia and New Zealand and which have endured for more than a century. Over recent years, I’ve been really moved to see the New Zealand National Anthem being sung at more and more events and the Kiwi flag being flown alongside our own. It’s a reminder of that bond and of our common shared values.
There are many events being held across the beaches over the next week to mark Anzac Day and particularly on Thursday, including dawn services and marches. I hope to see you at one of them.
Lest We Forget.
Enjoy the break over the Easter weekend and the extra time for friends and family or just to take time out. For those travelling, please drive safely and smartly.
Happy Easter all.
We are all trying to get on board the war on waste and I’ve had lots of great feedback on Council’s decision last week to provide a free compost bin or worm farm to local residents who’d like one.
According to the EPA, more than a third of the contents of an average red lid garbage bin in NSW is wasted food - around $3,800 worth for every household.
All this food waste is not only a hit to the hip pocket but also the environment, releasing greenhouse gas as it breaks down and contributing to climate change.
We can all shop better and reduce what we throw out but of course, there will always be some food waste that we can’t avoid.
A worm farm on your verandah or a compost bin in your back yard is a relatively easy way to help the environment and make some great fertiliser for your garden.
We are just working through the logistics and we’ll be in touch soon to let you know how you can get yours.
If composting is not for you, from 1 July, under our new waste service, new technology will be used which means all food waste in the red lidded garbage bin will be recovered and processed for beneficial re-use.
Make sure you visit Council’s website for more information on great waste reduction workshops run all year with plenty of tips on ways to reduce your waste.
Do you recall last year’s successful ‘Human Library’ activity in which real people went ‘on loan’ to the public as ‘human books’, sharing their stories about overcoming challenges and stereotypes?
Well, to celebrate Refugee Week, Council is hosting another Human Library event.
We are calling for community volunteers with refugee backgrounds who are willing to share their stories to take part. Visit our website to express your interest.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in this year’s tremendous Youth Week events.
Highlights include the ARTDECKO exhibition of unique skateboard designs on display at the PCYC Dee Why until 17 April, and Manly Art Gallery & Museum’s Express Yourself exhibition of HSC visual arts students’ works, until 28 April.
Such great young talent, make sure you get out and see it.
Have a great weekend.
We are gearing up for winter sports and 122 fields in 62 locations have posts changed over, goals put in and line markings done to get ready for the new season.
St Matthews Farm Reserve major upgrade is complete and open this week in time for the rugby league and soccer season with an additional field, better playing surface and improved lighting. These are some of the final actions in the St Matts masterplan which has seen a new clubhouse, skatepark and cricket nets for this popular Cromer park.
We’ve also recently seen new drainage, improved surface and better lighting at Rueb Hudson and Denzil Joyce Oval at Curl Curl, improved drainage for Beacon Hill Oval and installed irrigation at Newport Oval. All these improvements will make the fields more resilient throughout the season.
Join me tomorrow for the official opening of the Community Native Plant Nursery and the Curly Community Garden open day. There’ll be scavenger hunts, plant giveaways and more fun - a lovely family event.
The new community nursery is the second on the Beaches, the other is at Manly Dam which has been operating for around 10 years now. The community nurseries are managed as part of Council’s Bushcare program, with volunteers working alongside staff to propagate plants used to rehabilitate and revegetate our precious bushland.
A shout out to the hundreds of Bushcare volunteers out there doing this important work across the Northern Beaches every month. We always welcome an extra pairs of hands - get in touch with Council if you’d like to join a group.
Finally, thanks to the emergency services and many Council staff involved in the emergency response to the fire at the Brookvale storage facility this week. It was a complex and difficult fire to fight for NSW Fire and Rescue, with many public safety challenges. All of our hearts go out to the many people who lost precious items they had in storage at the site, there have been some devastating stories emerging.
Repairs for surf clubs, a new off-leash dog park, slashed parking rates, an upgraded scout hall and a compost program for residents are just some of the great community outcomes endorsed at the Council meeting this week.
Collaroy, Narrabeen Beach, Queenscliff, South Narrabeen and Whale Beach surf lifesaving clubs will all share in almost $500,000 worth of repairs, equipment and refurbishments which we have been able to accelerate and get on the works schedule this year.
Avalon Beach Reserve will add to the suite of off-leash dog areas with an additional commitment to improve the fencing, gates, plants, path and other infrastructure. Dog owners will also be pleased that we’ll be increasing the numbers of free one-hour parking spots at Rowland Reserve.
At Rowland Reserve we have also endorsed slashing the hourly and all-day parking rates by around 40% - good news for both visitors and residents as it is one of the few carparks on the Northern Beaches where the resident parking sticker is not valid because of the terms of a state government grant.
Elanora Scouts were out in force in the gallery on Tuesday night, so industrious with their string animals while they waited for their item to be heard! They will be pleased that Council is providing them with the upgraded hall they have been waiting so many years for. Council also resolved to offer the hall to other groups to use during the times when Scouts don’t need it.
I am also excited about a new program your Council endorsed to provide residents with a free compost bin or worm farm to encourage waste reduction. Stay tuned for more information about how you can claim yours.
Finally, as a community we have a real opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint using solar panels. On the Northern Beaches we produce around two million tonnes of CO2 each year and almost 50% of that comes from households. At Council we are installing solar panels on many buildings, but as a community we can have an even bigger impact. I am intrigued to look at the barriers that prevent more of our community from taking them up and what Council can do to encourage greater uptake.
Have a great weekend.
The vibe in Manly this week for the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro has been incredible. With drawcard Kelly Slater, lots of homegrown and up-and-coming talent and local businesses getting involved with specials for the spectators, this event is showcasing the best of Manly to an international audience.
These kind of events raise the profile of our extraordinary area, attract new visitors and can have a real impact on our local economy. Plus I’ve seen lots of kids down on the beach this week who have loved watching their heroes compete. Given Manly’s proud history as the home of surfing in Australia (alongside Freshwater Beach) and being named Australia’s Best Beach again in 2019 by Trip Advisor, this event ticks all the boxes. Don’t miss it.
We’re only weeks away from the school holidays. Don’t worry, we have you covered with a heap of activities, not just in our Vacation Care program but at other venues like our Coastal Environment Centre, libraries and cultural centres. During the first week we’re celebrating Youth Week in a big way with a massive lineup of things to do.
We’ve also introduced a new online booking system for our Vacation Care. It’s now even easier to jump onto our website to book in for great excursions like the Star Wars Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, Taronga Zoo, and Warehouse 11 to name a few.
It’s with a sadness that I need to acknowledge the feelings of many people I have spoken to recently about the terrible events in Christchurch last week. So many of us were shaken to think something so violent and full of hate could have occurred in such a peaceful nation so close to home. Our hearts go out to those who have experienced loss. The outpouring of love and support, from New Zealanders, Australians and from people across the world in the aftermath gives us all hope for humanity despite the hate of a minority. Council’s flags have flown at half-mast all week as a small token of respect and compassion.
Finally, don’t forget to vote (and enjoy a sausage sizzle) at the state election today.
Great news last week on the announcement of a B-Line style rapid transit from Dee Why to Chatswood.
As some of you may remember, last year fellow Councillor Kylie Ferguson, some intrepid Council staff and I took on the ‘Chatswood Challenge’ to prove how poorly serviced this corridor is. We raced to see who could get to Chatswood from Mona Vale the fastest using bus, car and bike transport. And in a perfect illustration of our point - the cyclist pipped the lot of us!
That’s why this new rapid transit will be a game-changer for so many residents who live and work on this route, encouraging cars off the road, improving journey times and actually delivering viable public transport infrastructure ahead of the planned precinct in Frenchs Forest.
Council is proud to be supporting the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro kicking off in Manly today. This prestigious international qualifying event is a great addition to our events calendar, attracting visitors to our businesses and lots of great side events for our community. Plus of course it gives our many up and coming surfing talents the home town advantage.
And in case you missed it, Manly was again named Australia’s best beach in 2019 as voted by TripAdvisor travellers. That’s the second year in a row Manly has got the top gong. (Shh..little do they know we have a host of beaches just as good all the way up to Palm Beach!)
Manly was given the full make over treatment at the end of last year by what we affectionately call our SWAT Team - Special Works and Transformation Team. They will be similarly storming the streets of Mona Vale next week, cleaning bins and bollards, repairing paving and refurbishing the public toilet block outside the library.
Finally, look out for opportunities to apply for our various grants programs over the coming weeks. From Monday applications open for our Community, Arts and Culture Grants Program to not-for-profit organisations who undertake projects or activities that bring direct benefit to the community. Come to one of the many grant information sessions or grant writing workshops to learn more.
Have a great weekend.
We had some great news over the last week which shows just what can be achieved when Council and community work together.
The state government changed the state planning rules to put a cap of 12 units on new boarding house developments in low density residential areas. That’s finally a win for common sense and will prevent a proliferation of 100-unit developments in quiet suburban streets that we were being asked to assess and had little power to reject.
Thanks to those in the community who stood with Council in our many representations to the state minister and department to get this change across the line. We have some existing applications we will still need to fight but it’s good to know that any future applications will have to adhere to the new 12-unit rule.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for six Northern Beaches teenagers is on offer this week as part of our youth exchange program. We are looking for three girls and three boys to spend the 13th to the 17th of April in our sister city Brewarrina, some 800km from Sydney.
These lucky ambassadors will swap the beach for the bush and learn about Aboriginal language and culture, visit a sheep station and get a glimpse of a different kind of life. Applications close tomorrow so apply now.
For young people who don’t want to venture so far from home, join ARTDECKO - a series of workshops running throughout March where 10-24 year olds are invited to paint designs on skate decks with the help of professional artists, leading to an exhibition at the PCYC during Youth Week.
We’ve also got heats starting next week for Northern Composure, the largest and longest-running youth band competition in the area. This comp has produced some great bands over the years and I can’t wait to see what comes through this year.
I’m proud that Council is able to provide such an array of high quality events and activities for our young people throughout the year. A special shout out to Council’s youth team whose boundless energy make it all happen. You can stay in touch with the team by following KALOF on Facebook.
Have a great weekend.
This week Council made some exciting decisions that will see millions spent on new surf clubs, community hubs and creative spaces.
I’m thrilled we have an approved concept for the Long Reef Surf Club ready for the next step, DA lodgement. As someone involved in this project over many iterations, over many years, it was great to see all the red and yellow in the Council gallery on Tuesday night, surf club members and nippers throwing their support behind this critical new community infrastructure.
The new club design is set in behind the dunes, using lots of natural building materials - a great community asset for years to come.
On Tuesday night your Council also endorsed the new Mona Vale Surf Club to the next stage, approving full funding. Another incredible facility and only a reality thanks to lots of community involvement.
A decision was also made on the locations of new creative spaces at both Avalon and Mona Vale. The lower floor of Avalon Golf Club House will be turned into studio and teaching spaces with scope to expand. Plus Mona Vale Civic Centre will be repurposed for exhibitions as well as more workshop and studio space. The Mona Vale location ticks all the boxes as a high traffic area with access to public transport to ensure the exhibition space is a success for our local artists.
Some good news for community service organisations too. Rental space on the Northern Beaches is expensive and for not-for-profits almost prohibitive. We have committed to investigating the subsidised use of Council buildings by community groups, creating community hubs in central locations across our area. The ground floor of Manly Soldiers Memorial Hall on Raglan St is the first to be considered.
Finally, this week we released the proposed waste charges for next financial year. As you’d be aware we are launching a new household waste service from 1 July which replaces the expired waste contracts of the former Councils. Despite rising costs of recycling and waste disposal we have kept costs down and, thanks to the economies of scale of the larger council, most residents will see money back in their pocket next year.
Have a good weekend.