• 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 26 October 2019

Your Council got through a big agenda this week with some good outcomes for our community.

One of the first items was a discussion about the extra waste we know comes around Christmas and how we can support our residents at this time.

While we remain focused on helping our community reduce our impact on the environment, we need to recognise that this is a unique time of the year and there is unavoidably more waste generated. I’ve asked for staff to investigate some options - I’ll keep you posted.

We also endorsed support for a partnership with Manly Life Saving Club to keep the Cole Classic and Sun Run alive after they were dropped when the Sydney Morning Herald merged with Nine. This is an iconic event for the Northern Beaches and I am excited to see how we will continue to build on the success of previous years.

On a similar topic, your Council also agreed to support a second location in Mona Vale for the ever-popular volunteer-run Park Run. A shout out to the unbelievably articulate young Dana who spoke in favour of it.

The Arts and Creativity Strategy: Connecting through Creativity 2029 also passed this week. Thanks to the many community members who contributed and helped develop this blueprint for supporting home-grown creativity, arts and culture over the next 10 years.

As our community grows and changes we must make more space for arts and creativity, building on our key cultural institutions on our doorstep - the Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Creative Space and Glen Street Theatre - and supporting the many community led galleries, collectives and businesses. I am looking forward to seeing the strategy implemented and working with our community to connect through creativity.

Plastic bags in our roads sound odd? We have decided to trial the use of asphalt containing plastics, glass, toner cartridges and other recycled materials on a couple of local roads to see how they stack up. We are always looking at ways we can reuse materials and reduce landfill and other Councils have found such a product to work well.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 19 October 2019

Did you know there are over 2.7million carers in Australia supporting a friend or family member in need?

This week is National Carers Week and an opportunity to recognise and celebrate those incredible people who give so much to others.

On behalf of the whole community, a huge thank you to all our carers. I hope you have been able to enjoy some of the many Carers Week events this week to have a little time out and have your contribution recognised.

October is also Mental Health Month and the theme this year is Share the Journey. Share the Journey is all about ways we can connect, for our own health and wellbeing, and that of others. It can mean telling your loved ones about not only your successes but also your challenges, reaching out to someone who might be withdrawing from others or asking for help when you need it.

Tomorrow, come along to the Narrabeen Markets between 8am and 3pm for a free event held by the Northern Beaches Mental Health Interagency where you can try out free yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, Tibetan meditation and meet with local mental health providers. Council also has a hub of great referral information to support those looking for mental health support.

How exciting to see all the activity at the brand new skate park at Lionel Watts this week. The fences were barely down and scores of kids on skateboards, scooters and bikes were drawn like magnets to the site!

This project was a great example of what can be achieved when Council works with our community. We had a great team of young people involved from the beginning to co-design the park with us and I hope they are as thrilled as us with the result.

The playground nearby is also progressing really well and we are planning a community celebration day in December to mark the completion of all the works in this area - the off leash dog park, playing fields, skate park and playground. Stay tuned.

Finally, a great opportunity to celebrate summer coming at the Warringah Aquatic Centre this afternoon. Entry is free and there is lots of family entertainment including inflatables, face painting and more.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 12 October 2019

School is back next week which means the 40km/h school zones are back in force.

For Year 12 students, term four means it’s HSC time. It all starts next Thursday with the final exams on Monday 11 November. As plenty of people will tell you, the HSC is an important life milestone. But it doesn’t have to be life defining.

My advice is simple – be as prepared as you can be and try your best in each exam, you can’t ask for anything more. And to help students prepare, Council is hosting a series of HSC study sessions at our libraries. The evening sessions have free pizza!

We’re also getting ready to celebrate our budding musicians and bands with entries open for Northern Composure Unplugged. Now in its second year, this acoustic music competition is for young musos aged between 12 and 19. With over $4,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, what do you have to lose? Entries close Friday 18 October.

This Monday is the beginning of national Get Online Week. Running until 20 October, this initiative promotes the importance of learning computer skills in our digital age and celebrates digital inclusion.

We’re embracing it with several free online technology courses at our libraries, starting at Glen Street in Belrose (14 October), Manly (15 October), Dee Why (16 October), Forestville (17 October), Warringah Mall (18 October) and Mona Vale (19 October). No bookings are required.

You might be pleased to learn we are teaming up with Sydney Water to tackle the drought with a new partnership that will help local businesses and residents in strata buildings find water-saving opportunities. Together we will achieve region-wide water savings and help protect our water supply for future generations. Stay tuned for more information.

On another front, we are developing the Community Safety Plan and I encourage you to share your local experiences of safety in a 5-minute survey. It’s a very important survey for future planning. Please share.

Finally, some fun things are happening this weekend: Narrabeen’s iconic Tramshed will host the 73rd annual Northern Beaches Art Society Exhibition. Visit between 9am - 4pm.

If you are looking for family fun tomorrow afternoon, head down to Manly Oval. The Waratahs are playing Gordon in a T20 cricket match from 2.30pm. Or maybe check out the Belrose Public school fete on Sunday!

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 5 October 2019

October is NSW Small Business Month and we are celebrating the incredible contribution of the 32,000 businesses across the Northern Beaches, of which 90% are small businesses.

Our local economy thrives thanks to the hard work of business owners, who value-add close to $12 billion a year and employ over 88,000 people.

Over the next few weeks Council is staging a series of events to support local businesses. Check out workshops on cyber security, working with Council, grant writing and food safety.

I encourage everyone to think about engaging with local professionals and trades and shopping local when you can - we are fortunate to have some very clever and creative small businesses on the Beaches.

This week it was great to be invited to help launch Anglicare’s new shop in Dee Why, just in time for Op Shop Week. Lots of bargains to be had and raising important funds for all the great work Anglicare does in our community.

And it’s the October long weekend which means just one thing...jazz!

Now in its 42nd year, Manly Jazz hosts an array of fantastic talent from Australia and around the world with spectacular Manly Beach as its backdrop.

Renowned American double bass player Rodney Whitaker, better known as the 'Professor of Jazz Bass', is the headline act but there are almost 1,000 musicians performing over the three-day festival.

Take in the music, visit the festival bar or check out the specials on offer at the local cafés and restaurants.

Thanks to all the Manly Jazz volunteers who help make this event such a success year after year.

Watch out for temporary road closures and seriously consider the public transport options available. Forecast clear skies will mean a busy weekend for Manly.

The warmer weather and school holidays has brought everyone back to the beach this week - great timing as our lifeguards, alongside volunteer lifesavers, are now back on patrol.

Last year over 10.5 million people visited our beaches and Council Lifeguards and surf club volunteers carried out 437,398 preventative actions, 1,041 rescues and provided first aid to 5,384 people.

Have a safe and enjoyable long weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 28 September 2019

Twenty years ago we were on the cusp on the millennium. We were worried about Y2K, a little company called Google had just launched, we watched movies on our VHS after a trip to the video store, Australia won the Rugby World Cup, widespread take up of the electric car was a futuristic ideal and support for telecommuting and flexible work arrangements were about to take off.

What will life be like 20 years from now? How will we work, live and play?

As urban planners these are the questions we need to ask now so we can make sure we have the right mix of housing, jobs, transport and services for the future.

The State Government has told us we need to plan for around an extra 40,000 people by 2040. While that seems like a lot, it’s a small fraction of the projected population growth for Sydney and we think we will largely be able to meet demand with existing plans for areas such as Dee Why, Brookvale and Frenchs Forest.

BUT…we know we also have to make sure we can accommodate our ageing population, provide affordable options for our kids and make sure there is absolutely no growth that is not matched by appropriate levels of infrastructure.

This week we released Towards 2040 for community input - our blueprint for the next 20 years and beyond. This is a critical document that sets out how we’ll protect and enhance all our community values in the face of the population pressures being felt right across Sydney. It is our answer to the State Government’s requests to grow.

I urge you to attend one of the many Towards 2040 info sessions, learn more and have your say. Once adopted, this document will inform our new Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plans so we want to hear if you think we are on track in our thinking.

And while we’re talking about the future, a call out to all those young people frantically preparing for the HSC. We have a heap of HSC resources available for students and a series of ‘lock ins’ at our libraries where we provide refreshments to help keep students focused.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 21 September 2019

The finishing touches were applied to Forestville’s Melwood Oval this week with the completion of the new public amenities. Council opened two synthetic football fields and the upgraded rugby field in 2015 and have since also upgraded the netball courts, off leash dog park, shared paths and amenities. Working with the War Memorial Committee we have also developed the ANZAC Memorial Pathway to commemorate the contribution made by Australians in World War 1.

The likes of Forest Killarney Football Club, Forest Netball Club, Forest Rugby Club and the Forest District Cricket Club all use the multi-access facility 12 months a year so I am pleased we have been able to complete this significant $6.5 million upgrade.

Work is also progressing well on the over water addition to the Narrabeen Lagoon walking trail. The addition will provide a safe route away from the Wakehurst Parkway and allow us to restore the habitat along the northern foreshore of the lagoon. And it will be a fantastic addition to the popular cycling and walking path. This section of trail is closed while we complete it and the team is working hard to have it reopen next month.

Today marks the official start of Bike Week and Council is a big believer in literally getting bums on seats! Many benefits come with cycling - it is cost effective, a great form of exercise and also helps reduce traffic and parking congestion across the peninsula. The Bike Week fun begins this morning with a pop-up stall with info and giveaways at Mona Vale Beach and tomorrow at Dee Why’s Walter Gors Park.

The winners of the 24/7 Youth Film Festival will be announced tomorrow night at Warringah Mall’s HOYTS cinemas. This festival is a short film competition where young people have had to make a seven-minute short film in just 24 hours. The top 10 films will be screened and judged by industry professionals. If you want to see some top young talent on display, tickets are still available.

Finally, Tuesday night is the monthly elected Council meeting in the Civic Centre at Dee Why. As always, you are welcome to attend, register to address the Council, or watch it live online.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 14 September 2019

I am proud to say that this week we were the first Council in New South Wales to sign the National Communications Charter which provides a guide for those of us who are talking about sensitive issues concerning mental health and suicide.

Every suicide is a tragedy. It impacts on individuals, families, workplaces and communities and it’s in all our interests to do everything we can to prevent it. Words do matter and talking about these things in a sensitive way can help reduce stigma and isolation.

It’s just one of the many actions Council is taking alongside police, local agencies and services to prevent suicide across the Northern Beaches. You can also visit the online hub on our website for information and referrals and as always please remember if you or someone you know is in crisis, talk to Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Each year Council celebrates local residents and volunteers through our annual Australia Day Awards. Last year we honoured Graham Whittaker as Northern Beaches Citizen of the Year for his incredible work as a long-time volunteer and supporter and mentor to young people in need.

Now is the time to nominate someone you know for the 2020 Australia Day Awards. The application process is easy online and there are numerous categories to enter. What better way to celebrate our local heroes.

It was excellent to have been able to cement the home semi-final this week after Sea Eagles consultants uncovered small traces of asbestos when doing soil testing in preparation for their Centre of Excellence.

Safety of fans has to be our first priority so I’m pleased we could expedite further testing and put measures in place to effectively manage any risk. Tonight will be a capacity crowd for the Battle of the Beaches and nothing would be better than seeing the players on a victory lap come the final whistle. Go Manly!

You can grab a bargain at Council’s inaugural Bags to Riches flea market at Dee Why Town Centre this morning. Aside from the countless bargains, there will also be entertainment for the kids and live music.

And bookings are open now for Council’s great school holiday offerings. Get in quick.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 7 September 2019

Those who regularly tune into this column will know how keen I am to understand why our residents are resistant to installing household solar and what we can do at Council to break down those barriers. Currently just over 8,400 homes on the Northern Beaches opt to use the power of the sun and yet 67,300 are potentially suitable - we are well below the Sydney average for solar PV installation.

So it was great to have Council endorse a plan last week to pursue an ambitious target of 50 percent of suitable premises to have solar panels installed by 2030.

One of the reasons I’m so invested in not just reaching but smashing that target is because I know the benefits solar power has for residents - not just in reducing emissions but also on the hip pocket. There are real financial savings for residents to be had, particularly as we see power bills sky rocketing year after year. The Australian Photovoltaic Institute estimates average savings for a home on the Northern Beaches is over $1,000 each year.

You’ll hear more from us as we roll out some initiatives to encourage greater solar uptake. In the meantime, there is a great digital tool available for residents to see if your property is suitable for solar. It calculates how much electricity and can indicate how much money a Solar PV system could save your home or business. It’s called SunSPoT - check it out.

Today marks the official start of the Manly Arts Festival, a three week program of exhibitions, live performances and artist open houses. While the Festival has its roots in Manly, there are activities now across the area including at the Creative Space at North Curly and Glen Street Theatre. If you want to see the Northern Beaches at its creative best, look no further.

And congratulations to all our Northern Beaches Art Prize winners. Last week Mark Haynes took out the Waste-to-Art category and teenager Micah Lihachov the Youth prize.

Finally, the Picnic in the Park at Mona Vale today promises to be a great family day. The event is free, with live stage shows, dinosaur craft and fossil activities, a reptile display and face painting. Registrations are encouraged, with all the entertainment beginning just after 9.30am at Village Park.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan

Saturday 31 August 2019

It was fantastic to see so many people in the gallery for the Council meeting this week, showing their support for issues they care strongly about.

We heard directly from 20 people who addressed the Council with great articulation and passion on issues as far ranging as climate change, dogs and parking. I thank you all, and all those in the gallery behind, for making your voices heard and conducting yourself respectfully as we debated the issues at hand.

We got through a lot of business on Tuesday night. We allocated over $600,000 for building improvements to surf clubs across the area. We endorsed the masterplan for Clontarf Reserve which will see over $5million spent on a major upgrade over the next few years including a new playground, realignment of the car park for more open space and improved amenities.

We’ll also now be seeking public feedback on a draft framework designed to fix the troubled residential parking permit system in Manly and on a plan for West Esplanade that better celebrates its natural and cultural heritage.

We agreed to trial a new dog off leash area on Station Beach at Palm Beach, although we still need to apply for a licence from the state government before it can proceed. This issue has been around for a good 15 years so it’s good staff have spent the last 12 months conducting the extensive consultation and environment assessments needed to give Councillors the best information to make this decision.

And following impassioned addresses from, among others, well-known scientist Tim Flannery and 16-year-old Stephanie Evans concerned for her future, we agreed to join over 900 jurisdictions worldwide, including 35 Australian councils, in declaring a climate emergency and to look at what we can do to make a difference locally.

We always welcome community involvement at our monthly meetings. You can see the agenda the Wednesday before and register to make an address up until midday the day of the meeting.

Finally, best of luck to all those in the Manly Fun Run tomorrow, supporting some of our amazing local charities as well as the event organisers, the Manly Rotary Club itself who provides critical community service.

And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and grandads out there - hope you are suitably spoilt!

Michael Regan

Saturday 24 August 2019

A welcome announcement this week on the listing of Manly Oval and Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden on the NSW State Heritage Register.

Credit to the many locals, including the Friends of Ivanhoe Park, who fought so hard to make this a reality.

Both the oval and the park have a long and proud history, very much a part of the fabric of early Manly. In fact Ivanhoe Park was first purchased by Manly Council in 1883 and part of the park was separated off in the early 1900s to accommodate the Spit to Manly tram route!

Today the park and the oval are much-loved places for sports, community groups and locals - a kind of ‘village green’ in the heart of Manly.

The State Heritage Register listing places a welcome extra level of protection so generations to come can continue to enjoy this special part of the Northern Beaches.

It’s a big weekend for sports and exercise. Best of luck to the many players who have made it to grand finals across our numerous sporting codes. Our many sportsfields are hosting literally hundreds of games this weekend and our parks teams have been working hard to ensure they are ready for action. It won’t be long before we are taking down the goal posts and getting fields prepared for the summer sports season.

Special shout out to the Warringah Rats, taking on Sydney Uni in their third straight grand final today.

And I’m sure I’ll see many of you at the popular Pub2Pub Charity Fun Run and Festival tomorrow. Whether you run, jog or walk, take on the 3, 6 or 12km or just cheer on others, you’re a winner for raising money for some great local organisations.

Finally, if you’re near Freshie tomorrow check out the pop-up organic market. We’re trialling this market every Sunday for four weeks, after the local community identified a need for fresh produce after the IGA and Harbord Growers moved on.

The markets will feature fresh organic fruit, vegies and yoghurt from 8am from the lawn of the Harbord Literary Institute Building. It’s plastic free so don’t forget your re-useable shopping bags and why not stop in for brekkie and a cuppa at Freshie Village while you are there.

Have a great weekend.

Michael Regan