• 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 December 2017

In my last column for the year, I would like to thank our community for their input into Councils’ decision making.

Tuesday was our last Council Meeting for 2017 and it was good to see such a large community turnout. Apologies for the air-conditioning not working. We got through a very full agenda and passed some key initiatives such as the East Esplanade upgrade and the Glen Street open space masterplan for public exhibition.

To everyone who has been involved with Council over the past 12 months as we transitioned from Administration to an elected Council - a massive thank you. It has been a challenging period but also rewarding, and a testament to the community, the volunteers, Council’s dedicated staff and my fellow Councillors that we have achieved so much. We are all committed to the Northern Beaches and look forward to a productive 2018.

Before I finish I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. I hope you can get out to one of the Northern Beaches’ great New Year’s Eve events at either Bayview, Dee Why or Manly Cove.

And please look out for each other over the holiday period. There are so many people in our community who can be especially lonely at this time of year, and a little Christmas spirit can go a long way.

Have a great weekend and holiday break.

Michael Regan

Saturday 16 December 2017

With summer having very firmly arrived, it’s timely to announce an initiative to help make visits to our wonderful beaches safer.

In a partnership between Northern Beaches Council, the Australian Lifeguard Service and Westpac Little Ripper, a roving drone will be stationed between Freshwater and South Curl Curl beaches and another at Bilgola, thanks to a large donation from local Marcus Blackmore.

The drones allow floatation devices to be deployed within seconds to struggling swimmers, as well as a loud speaker to relay warnings and instructions. We are the only metropolitan council in NSW protecting beach users in this way. The drones also have the latest evolving shark spotting technologies.

Staying on the theme of summer, I encourage families to take advantage of our wide range of school holiday activities. Whether it’s the everpopular Kids on the Coast, the exciting variety of engaging library events, our Learn to Swim holiday program and clinics, or the summer skate nights starting on 6 January.

A reminder that Council's ever-popular Vacation Care is open for bookings, with a holiday program from 19 Dec to 27 Jan (closed 26-30 Dec) for children aged 5-12. Activities include art, cooking and sport, as well as excursions to places like Taronga Zoo and Luna Park.

Please visit Council’s website for full details but be quick as these activities can fill up fast.

And finally, the last Council meeting of the year is on this coming Tuesday evening. As always, we have a packed agenda and welcome attendance from the community. Hope to see you there.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 9 December 2017

The Northern Beaches prides itself on being an inclusive community and we’ve just opened five new sensory playgrounds in Belrose as part of a pilot project.

These innovative spaces offer a unique experience, each taking inspiration from one of the senses. There are galvanised and tuned woks, a rope car wash, solar powered cubby house lights, furry-leaved plants and edible herbs!

I’d like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of Caroline Ghatt and Tim Smith, local parents who challenged Council to consider our policies and reimagine playground design so there could be more places of exploration for all children – including those with disability.

Right on cue for Christmas, Council will reopen Macpherson St in Warriewood at the end of next week after an extensive $10 million upgrade. I would like to thank the local community for their patience while this critical project was undertaken which will vastly improve local road access and flood management.

It’s a little-known fact that Manly has produced more Olympians and Paralympians than any other town or city in Australia and been represented at every Olympics since 1900. Today I will have the honour of adding three more names to our great “Pathway of Olympians and Paralympians” in Manly - Lea Yanitsas, Lisa Darmanin and Cameron Clark.

And finally, can I remind everyone of the fantastic Christmas activities Council is putting on, including Christmas by the Beach at Dee Why next Friday evening from 4-8pm. See you there!

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 2 December 2017

A call out to the community this week to help guide us as we embrace the opportunities of our one new Council. We are looking for people to nominate for one of our six new Strategic Reference Groups which advise on issues as diverse as the environment, transport and partnerships. Nominations are open until 4 February.

We’re also seeking feedback on the proposed masterplan for the Freshwater foreshore. We’re looking to improve the area around Freshwater Beach and I thank the many local residents who have worked with us to get the proposal to this point.

Another way you can get involved with Council is to have your say at a Council meeting. It was pleasing to have a number of active local residents address Councillors this week on issues they feel passionately about. You can address Council at any time by lodging a request prior to the Council meeting in mid-December.

Finally, it’s a bumper week for exciting summer events on the beaches. Check out Manly's Ocean Care Day, take a kayaking tour on Narrabeen Lagoon at the Coastal Environment Centre Open Day and get Christmas sorted at the Creative Made Makers Market at North Curl Curl. And save some energy for the gorgeous Christmas concerts coming up over the next few weeks.

There’s plenty going on to keep you busy and get involved.

Enjoy the weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 25 November 2017

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and I am privileged to have attended a number of events this week where women have shared their stories and men have taken a stand to help prevent violence.

One in three women experience violence by someone known to them and one in five women experience harassment at work. It will take a total community response to turn these terrible statistics around.

As local government we can play our part and I am thrilled that Northern Beaches Council is supporting the growing world-wide campaign to prevent violence against women. Council will seek accreditation as a White Ribbon Workplace and commit to creating a strong culture of respect and a zero tolerance for violence of any kind.

Also this week Council extended the deadline for applications for the 2018 Australia Day Awards. I know we have so many deserving volunteers on the Northern Beaches who contribute to our community and this is a great opportunity to make sure they are acknowledged.

There are six categories to choose from, celebrating the outstanding contributions of our most remarkable citizens. Nominations now close on Monday 4 December; check out Council’s website for details and make sure to get your nominations in.

Finally, a reminder that the new B-Line bus begins services next week. There are many route changes and new timetables in place so be sure to check Transport NSW’s online tools to plan your trip.

Have a great weekend

Michael Regan

Saturday 18 November 2017

Some good news this week with the announcement of an international surfing event to replace the Australian Open of Surfing in Manly in March next year.

The new event has been listed on the international surfing calendar and is expected to attract the best competitors from around the world. Council will continue to provide a significant level of support and work in partnership with Surfing NSW, the state government and local business to ensure the event is sustainable for the long term.

On a less positive note, frustrations continue for motorists around the new Frenchs Forest hospital. Thursday was a particularly bad day, compounded by an early morning accident. Although managing traffic here is a state government responsibility, Council continues to advocate for residents calling on our local MPs to get the RMS to step up and resolve the issue and address each and every residents proposals and solutions. Transparency and accountability is not hard and local residents are fed up.

Over the next few weeks I am fortunate enough to be attending many end of year school presentation days. It’s always a thrill to get out into the schools and see the incredible talent we have coming through here on the Northern Beaches.

I especially enjoy the end of year speeches by the Year 6 students. They are always surprising and clever and full of optimism for what lies ahead. There are few other events that serve as such a strong reminder about the importance of making good decisions for our community, now and for the future.

Have a great weekend

Michael Regan

Saturday 11 November 2017

On this day 99 years ago soldiers on the Western Front downed their guns, marking the beginning of the end of the First World War. Throughout the four-year war, millions of lives were lost and too many communities like ours were left in mourning.

Remembrance Day gives us pause to remember and honour those who gave their lives then, and since, in war zones and conflicts across the world.

Yesterday I attended a very moving ceremony at Manly Dam to mark this significant day. I invite you to join me at Jacka Park in Freshwater from 10.30 this morning, or to attend one of the many other RSL events being held across the Northern Beaches.

On a lighter note, Council has just launched its Artist in Residency program for 2018 and is looking for two emerging and one established artist to take part in programs at Eramboo and Kimbriki. Successful applicants will be supported through grants, mentoring and studio space. We have had some incredible local artists supported through this program; we are so fortunate to have so much talent on the Northern Beaches.

Following calls from both Rob Stokes and myself this week to hand some crucial planning controls back to Council, the State Government has proposed some changes to the legislation. We don’t want to see a repeat of what is happening with the seniors living development in Terrey Hills and infrastructure and community services not considered in the planning process. Council will now look very closely at the proposed changes and will be making a submission to ensure that rural areas are appropriately protected.

Have a nice weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 04 November 2017

The Northern Beaches is home to some of the world’s most spectacular beaches and we have a proud history as a major surfing destination.

The world’s first surf boat was launched at Manly in 1907, Manly hosted the first World Surfboard Riding Championships in 1964, and Manly-Freshwater had the honour of being listed as Australia’s first ever World Surfing Reserve – protected for its historical, cultural, economic and ecological significance.

Significantly, North Steyne Surf Life Saving Club celebrates its 110th anniversary this month - one of the oldest surf clubs in Australia. Best wishes to all the club officials and the many, many volunteers who have made this club so successful over so many years.

Sadly, Manly’s annual Australian Open of Surfing lost critical funding last week which means it won’t proceed in 2018. We have been actively pursuing a replacement event and I met with local member James Griffin this week to see what support the State Government can provide in order to keep a major surfing event running at Manly. More news on this to come.

Another significant milestone is coming up - 99 years since the end of the First World War. Remembrance Day on the eleventh day of the eleventh month each year provides an opportunity for us all to remember those who have fallen in wars and conflicts around the world and think of those still in conflict. I encourage you to attend one of the many events being held next Friday and Saturday both by Council and RSLs across our region.

Finally, a note on transport. I know that getting in, out and around the Northern Beaches is a major issue for many residents. Since Council has announced the development of a transport strategy, State and Federal members are also advocating for change. We welcome ideas and funding and look forward to making this a priority in the coming months.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 28 October 2017

As many of you who struggle with a long daily commute will know, there is an urgent need to address our local transport network. And getting around the Northern Beaches efficiently needs urgent attention if we are to become the 30 minute city which the State and Federal governments want us to strive for.

On Tuesday night, your Council made this very issue of 'getting the Northern Beaches moving' a major priority. A comprehensive Transport Strategy will be developed to provide a clear plan for solving long standing transport issues. And it is timely given the release this week of the revised District Plan for this region by the Greater Sydney Commission.

Finally, rapid public transport connections between Dee Why and Chatswood have been identified by the commission as a priority. Separately, Mona Vale to Macquarie Park will be considered as part of the mix for rapid transport. Both are key employment centres for Northern Beaches residents and we must focus on taking advantage of Mona Vale Road widening and the possible development of a town centre around the new hospital which promises to become a future employment hub.

We’ll be working with the State Government and consulting with our community as we progress the new Transport Strategy.

This week we also mark Children’s Week - a national celebration of all things kids!

Council runs a range of great services which help nurture and develop the children of the Northern Beaches, through long day care centres, family day care services, pre-schools and school holiday programs.

As an example, Belrose Children’s Centre is one of only 100 centres across Australia chosen to participate in a new STEM program, introducing science, technology, engineering and maths to pre-schoolers to help give them the best start in life.

We know those early years are critical so it is great that our programs and committed early educators are making a difference to young lives across our community.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 21 October 2017

Northern Beaches Council will benefit from an additional $21.1 million funding from the NSW Government for a range of high priority community projects as part of the Government’s continued commitment to support new councils.

The 11 projects include buying ‘Pasadena’ at Church Point and converting it into a community park; a regional performing arts centre at Mona Vale Public School, a performance space and amphitheatre at Barrenjoey High School and several surf club refurbishments.

Other important projects include the much needed flood mitigation on Wakehurst Parkway, heritage refurbishments at Currrawong Beach, a wastewater feasibility study for Scotland Island, permanent netball courts in Avalon and foreshore improvements at Palm Beach, Clareville and Careel Bay.

This funding builds on the earlier $28.6m funding from the NSW government to deliver the Palm Beach to Manly walkway and the extensive cycleway and shared path network focussed on the B-Line, as well as vital funding support to 53 worthwhile community-run projects.

Australia Day might still be three months away but I want to take this opportunity to encourage the community to nominate citizens for Australia Day Awards. If you know someone who deserves this special accolade, please go to Council’s website to nominate them by 27 November.

I also encourage you to get involved in helping set Council’s service delivery priorities for the next three years. Get involved in this important process because your input will shape our roadmap for the future. Details of the consultation workshops.

And finally, I hope you can attend today’s Brookie Show. With a circus theme and featuring highlights such as aerial acrobatics, live music, delicious street food and a 7.45pm firework spectacular – there really is something for everyone. Come along and don’t forget to bring your refillable water bottles because there will be no plastic water bottles being sold as we strive to reduce plastic pollution on the Northern Beaches.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Regan