• Mayor Michael Regan

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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Saturday 23 February 2019

Times have changed in a big way from when our current waste contracts were negotiated some ten to twelve years ago. There used to be a large market in recyclables which just doesn’t exist in the same way anymore. The bottom has fallen out of the glass recycling market in Australia and we don’t get as much for other recyclables either.

Put simply, it now costs us to recycle. Plus, there are higher tipping costs and significant taxes the State Government charge which we see very little returned to Council. It is a user pays system supposedly designed to makes us use less waste.

Yet, through the amalgamation, we are managing to contain costs for our ratepayers. In the case of former Manly and Pittwater Council households, your charges dropped by over $90 this financial year. The new waste service will see that number drop again next financial year.

And for the former Warringah Council residents who already paid significantly less than their neighbours, it was capped. In future those that switch from the 120 litre to the 80 litre red garbage service, which has been standard in the other two Council areas, you will see a significant saving on what you are paying today.

If you need more capacity, no worries, you can order additional bins. All of this despite the fact that costs have risen dramatically over the past decade.

But wait – there is more. Right now the rubbish you put in your red general waste bin goes straight to landfill. Under our new service from 1 July, one hundred percent of this waste will be diverted to a special processing plant which removes everything that can be salvaged.

Plastic bags are literally ripped open and any plastic and paper recyclables are removed, metals are extracted using a magnetic process, food organics taken out, diverting more waste from landfill. This waste technology will be a massive environmental improvement on the current approach to waste across our whole area.

Finally, Clean up Australia Day is only a few weeks away. Register now for an event near you.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 16 February 2019

We know that here on the Northern Beaches we have a community who are very passionate about our environment. We are avid recyclers, we strive to remember our reusable coffee cups and shopping bags, and increasing numbers of us have garden compost and worm farms.

Council’s new household waste service will support the war on waste, diverting more of our waste from landfill and avoiding the equivalent of 42,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – like taking more than 8,400 cars off the road.

And it won’t just be greener but also cleaner. Our fleet of brand new high-tech waste trucks will further reduce carbon emissions, are safer and are fully enclosed to prevent any litter or odours.

Our new waste service uses the latest in smart technology. Residents will be able to track their own waste service using an app and at Council we’ll be able to track every service and demand greater accountability from our collection contractors. That means a better service for our whole community.

The new contract will not just improve service levels and provide good environmental outcomes, but will also deliver savings that will be passed on to ratepayers.

The new waste service starts on 1 July. In preparation, over the next few months we are undertaking the biggest bin delivery and take back program ever undertaken in Australia.

The program will replace our ageing stock of residential bins with new smart bins and recycle one hundred per cent of collected bins.

This is a significant logistical exercise, rolling out 330,000 new bins to around 100,000 residents. You’ll be receiving more information in the coming weeks as to when to expect your new bins and how to make sure your old ones are collected.

Finally, a reminder that the Seniors Festival is now in full swing. Plenty to interest everyone with a selection of workshops, events and activities, book in now.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 9 February 2019

Technology is rapidly changing the way we live, the way we get around, how and where we work and even how we spend our leisure time. It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when a baby born today enters the workforce twenty years from now.

And yet, as a community we must turn our attention to the Sydney of the future because the planning decisions we make now will impact on that baby’s quality of life into adulthood.

Good planning is all about looking ahead and ensuring we have the housing, infrastructure, transport, parking, services and environment to support our lives now, and in the future.

Sydney is growing. By 2036, it is estimated Sydney’s population will grow by 1.7 million people to around 6.4 million people. Every Council area will be made to take a share of this growth. By current trends, the State Government will require us to house around 45,000 more people over the next 20 years - we won’t have a choice.

What we do have is a great opportunity, as one new large Council, to create a single planning vision for the Northern Beaches - a roadmap for managing the way our area evolves, in a sustainable way, over the next 20 years and beyond.

The State Government has asked us to take our four current Local Environment Plans and, working with our community and other stakeholders, create one new plan. This will be a significant project, over three years, to make sure we have plenty of time to get it right.

Be assured, it won’t be one size fits all - we are unwavering in our commitment to maintain the unique characters of all our various neighbourhoods and areas.

And in the meantime, we continue to advocate for better State Government planning rules. It’s not okay that State rules override our local planning controls and place enormous pressure on existing infrastructure and services. Boarding houses, seniors developments, and even schools, whilst much needed, are using State Government loopholes to allow them to be developed in inappropriate places. And we still need to see an east west rapid bus transit delivered ahead of any new development around the new hospital at Frenchs Forest.

Register your interest on our website now to help us plan for our sustainable future. I look forward to engaging with you as we take on this important project together and create a place we will be proud to hand on to our children and their children.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 2 February 2019

This week we welcome teenagers from our Sister City, Brewarrina, in far western NSW who are here as part of Council’s Youth Exchange program, now in its nineteenth year!

We are hosting four young women, 14 to 17 years old, who will spend a week learning to surf, snorkelling, trying their skills at laser tag and even attending a gala dinner in the city.

This program is about providing a unique experience for young people and promoting lifelong friendships between beach and bush communities. It was great to spend some time with them and see city life through their eyes.

In April, Council will send some Northern Beaches teenagers to Brewarrina so they too can experience what life is like far from the coast. Stay tuned for more details on how you can get involved.

And while we’re on the youth theme, entries are now open for our very popular youth band competition, Northern Composure. Get in quick, entries close 18 February.

Here on the Beaches we are lucky to have such an active arts and creative community. There are many opportunities for Council and the community to work together to deliver a greater sense of vibrancy and imagination across our region.

To that end we’ve developed a draft strategy which looks at supporting the arts through partnerships, planning, investment and events and we’d love your feedback on if we have it right. You can learn more at the info evening at Glen St next Wednesday night from 6pm or check it out online.

We also love our cycling and we’re keen to hear from you as we look at developing our cycling network, new infrastructure and priority routes for the next five years. Drop a pin on our online interactive map or come to one of the many drop-in sessions to have your say.

Finally, from mid-Feb we celebrate the Seniors Festival with a range of events, exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Learn about the latest tech developments, hear from gardening guru Peter Rutherford, try your hand at poetry or join the dementia-friendly Barefoot Bowls. It’s a packed program with something for everyone so get in quickly to book your spot.

Enjoy the weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 26 January 2019

Happy Australia Day!

One of the things I love most about Australia Day is the opportunity to recognise those who do incredible things in our community throughout the year.

A huge congratulations to Narraweena resident Graham Whittaker for taking out this year’s Northern Beaches Citizen of the Year Award. Graham has spent much of his life supporting others and his work with young people will have long and lasting impacts on many lives.

Founder and director of the youth suicide prevention charity, One Eighty Avalon Inc, Paris Jeffcoat, is a well deserving recipient of the Young Citizen of the Year; Maureen Rutlidge has been awarded Senior Citizen of the Year for more than 25 years bringing support and fun to people with disability; and Sportsperson of the Year, Wallaby Reece Hodge, displayed incredible determination to overcome significant injury and get back on top of his game.

The fantastic bi-annual Special Olympics Northern Beaches’ Festival of Sport took out the Community Event of the Year for providing a unique experience for people with disability. And fifteen deserving community members were also recognised with Outstanding Service Awards for their various contributions supporting, among others, veterans, young people and the vulnerable as well as working to enhance our local environment.

Our community is truly enriched by these individuals who make such a significant difference to the lives of so many on the Beaches. We thank you all.

Plenty more community spirit is on display today as over 500 volunteers from almost 40 community groups head out to serve pancakes and bacon and egg rolls, host thong throwing, temporary tattoo and hair spray stalls, sell raffle tickets and much more at our various Australia Day events. I hope you can get out to support them and have some good Aussie fun at Council’s Dee Why, Narrabeen and Newport events or enjoy one of the pool parties at our aquatic centres.

I’m also looking forward to welcoming new citizens today. One hundred and forty four residents from 33 nations will become Australian Citizens, from all across the world including Ecuador, the Czech Republic and Mexico. How lucky are we to welcome them to our amazing Northern Beaches.

Enjoy the day, however you choose to spend it.

Michael Regan

Saturday 19 January 2019

With the astonishing heat we’ve been having across NSW I hope you’ve been staying cool and safe. It’s no surprise that our beaches and pools have been jam-packed this past week with locals and visitors flocking to favourite swimming spots to relax and manage the heat.

The work of our Lifeguards, local surf club volunteers, field crews and Rangers who work through the heat so locals and visitors can enjoy this beautiful place hasn’t been unnoticed – thank you!

At the beginning of summer we put on extra resources and increased the cleaning schedule of our facilities such as toilets, ocean pools and bins, to cope with the anticipated higher demand. We also increased the cleaning frequency of public beaches amenities across the region in early January (continuing till the end of summer) in response to customer feedback. Despite increasing service it’s not always easy to know when a facility or site needs extra attention, so I encourage you to contact our Customer Service staff by phoning 1300 434 434 or reporting the issue online where there’s excess mess, overflowing bins or illegal dumping. We will always try and respond with our rapid response teams to clean up problem areas as an urgent priority.

With Australia Day just around the corner, we are certainly gearing up for additional services to accommodate extra crowds. More importantly, we’re planning a line-up of ‘bonza’ Council run events for everyone to enjoy across the area. Find out what’s happening near you by visiting our website.

To help keep our community safe on Australia Day we are working with the local Police to discourage anti-social behaviour. A number of temporary 24-hour Alcohol Prohibited Areas will apply from 6am on Australia Day until 6am on 27 January to public parks, beaches and reserves, overriding the usual restriction hours at some locations, including East Esplanade, Manly. To find out more head to our website.

Have a great weekend…I hope you get a chance to either visit your favourite spots or discover a new Northern Beaches gem.

Michael Regan

Saturday 12 January 2019

Summer. How great is it here on the Northern Beaches? It’s good not to go too far from home at this time of year because it’s such an incredible place to spend time with friends and family.

Our teams are busy making sure locals and visitors can soak up everything on offer. Our lifeguards as always are doing a stellar job keeping an eye on all our patrolled surf beaches. Our cleaners, parks and waste staff are working round the clock to keep up with the additional demand on our parks and beaches. We’ve put on extra staff to keep the public toilets clean too.

If you need a break from the beach, Council has plenty of other things to keep you and the kids busy throughout January.

Check out the Destination Sydney Re-imagined exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum which celebrates the work of nine eminent artists with Sydney as their theme.

Our two aquatic centres have some great indoor pools to keep you cool and out of the midday sun, Warringah Aquatic Centre even has a giant inflatable on Thursdays throughout January. And our libraries have some really interesting programs on offer for the kids like stained glass craft and reptile shows.

Don’t miss Avalon Car Boot Sale next Saturday – lots of bargains and treasures to be found and thanks to great support from all the vendors, this is a successful plastic free event. BYO reusable cups and shopping bags.

And I am enjoying seeing both kids and adults searching about for tiny doors! Pick up a passport and map from your local library and get hunting for them. I’ve found the tardis and a very cute snoopy in Dee Why. You?

Have a great weekend.

Saturday 22 December 2018

At our last meeting of the year this week Council ticked off a number of important items - reductions to parking fees at Rowland Reserve, renewal for the playground at Manly Warringah War Memorial Park (Manly Dam), rules to control share bikes and support for an international surfing event to name a few.

One of the most exciting items endorsed for public exhibition is what is known as our Walking Plan. It includes a proposal for the doubling of the investment in footpaths over the next ten years to more than $30million, funded by developer contributions, grants and Council’s operating surplus.

Footpaths, their condition and their placement are one of the issues most raised with me as I travel around the area so I am pleased we are giving them the priority our community expect. I have asked Council’s team to go even further and see if we can get more done, faster – one for every street. The plan will be available for comment from mid-January and I encourage you to jump online and have your say.

I’d like to thank the thousands of people who gave us input this year on more than 50 projects we had out for consultation. Many provided comments or submissions, others attended our face-to-face sessions or even fronted Council meetings and our projects improved as a result. We’d love to have even more people share their views and we are looking at innovative ways to ensure people of all backgrounds and ages contribute to the exciting infrastructure, arts and cultural projects we are planning next year.

Finally, a shout out to all those who are keeping us safe and entertained over the holiday period. Our lifeguards, customer service and parks staff, our cleaning, waste and events teams and our aquatic centre and library staff are all on deck periodically over the next few weeks. Check out all our opening hours on the website.

I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe holiday season. I look forward to doing more fantastic things together in 2019.

Michael Regan

Saturday 15 December 2018

It’s fantastic to be able to finish off the year by seeing some big ticket projects complete and ready for our community to use over summer and plenty more coming online soon.

The fences are down at East Esplanade, revealing a fabulous upgrade including new sandstone seating walls, freshly laid grass and timber decking. At Collaroy, the new accessible toilet and shower building is finished including better all abilities access to the whole precinct. This will no doubt be a high traffic area over summer! It was great to have the Sargood Foundation involved in this important project.

Clontarf pool has also seen some urgent repairs finished this week including replacing damaged pylons, broken beams, netting and a paint job. Similar urgent repairs are also underway at Forty Baskets. Given the sensitive sea grasses and precious marine critters at both locations, including pregnant endangered seahorses, these jobs have required significant environmental controls but I am pleased to say both pools will be able to be used throughout the summer. More detailed assessments are also underway with a view to more significant improvements to these pools over the coming years.

At North Harbour Reserve the upgraded amenities block has just opened and we’ve turned the first sod for our newest inclusive playground at Frenchs Forest. Sport lovers will welcome the brand new sports building at North Narrabeen Reserve which is not far off completion with a new kiosk, change rooms and toilets. And the roof structure is up for the new amenities building which will serve our biggest sporting field complex at Nolan Reserve.

We are continuing to implement the Palm Beach masterplan and it’s great so many locals and visitors are making use of the much needed new path at Federation Place.

Millions of dollars have gone in to all these important projects and it is exciting to see our one Northern Beaches Council with the capacity to keep delivering the community infrastructure that in too many cases is long overdue.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 8 December 2018

The sign of a strong community is an inclusive community. At Council we’re passionate about ensuring all residents are considered when we’re upgrading or building new facilities. Our progress report for our Disability Inclusion Action Plan provides an insight into how we’re reducing and removing barriers for people with disability, with 39 actions completed over the 2017/18 period already.

We’ve improved accessible amenities on the Marine Parade section of Coast Walk, at our newly refurbished Harbour View Children’s Centre, Collaroy rockpool, Manly Soldiers Memorial Hall, Cromer Park, Warriewood Rugby Park and the Berry Reserve Playground. Additionally, 28 percent of our playgrounds are now accessible; up from 19 percent last year. While we are making progress, there is still a lot to do and we have more planned in the coming year. Construction has commenced at Lionel Watts all-abilities playground and Tania Park will kick-off in February.

If you are like me, and tend to leave Christmas gift shopping to the last minute, our Creative Made Makers Market is the place to shop. On today at the newly refurbished Tramshed at Narrabeen, there will be plenty of creative and unique gifts on offer.

On a more cultural note, feast your eyes on a new exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum - Destination Sydney: Re-imagined. Responding to the inspiring works of trailblazing Australian artist Ethel Carrick Fox (1872 -1952), Northern Beaches’ artist Peta Dzubiel will have her paintings transformed into a large-scale outdoor photographic installation. I can assure you the exhibition is well worth a look.

And don’t forget to head to Dee Why Beach this Friday, where Santa will make an appearance along with some great stage entertainment for the kids for Christmas by the Beach.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan