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Council Decided 5 May 2015

Posted Thursday 07 May 2015

1. Fit for the Future

Council considered a detailed report on Fit for the Future, including an analysis of the community consultation that had been undertaken between February and April this year. Bearing in mind the results of this consultation and discussions with neighbouring councils over recent months the following key outcomes informed Council’s decision making on the way forward:

  • There is significant community support for Mosman’s continued independence
  • Mosman residents and ratepayers are strongly opposed to the lower north shore amalgamation model recommended by the Independent Local Government Review Panel, as well as smaller amalgamations with either North Sydney or Manly Council
  • The results of random street surveys in March 2015 indicated a high level of overall satisfaction with the performance of Mosman Council
  • The northern Sydney Councils have expressed clear views that they oppose the amalgamation model recommended by the Independent Local Government Review Panel
  • Adjoining Councils have also failed to demonstrate any appetite for amalgamations with Mosman on a smaller scale to that proposed by the Independent Panel
  • Based on the Special Rate Variation application submitted to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal in February 2015, Mosman Council is capable of meeting the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future benchmarks for Sustainability, Infrastructure and Service Management and Efficiency
  • Mosman Council operates at a scale and capacity that it considers appropriate to the continued delivery of excellent services to the Mosman community and to effective engagement across the community, industry and government, being an effective member of the Shore Regional Organisation of Councils (SHOROC) and other ongoing and successful collaborations and partnerships as well as being a willing and capable participant in further strategic alliances and co-operative ventures

Accordingly, Mosman Council affirmed its commitment to remain an independent local government area (and local authority) and its opposition to merging with other local government areas/Councils, either as recommended by the Independent Local Government Panel or otherwise. This means that Council will prepare and submit the ‘Council Improvement Proposal (Existing Structure)’ as it’s Fit for the Future submission to the NSW Government’s Expert Advisory Panel.

Further on 26 April 2015 the Minister for Local Government advised that the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) would serve as the Expert Advisory Panel to review the Fit for the Future submissions. IPART will be assisted by Mr John Comrie, a former CEO of the Office of Local Government in South Australia and former CEO of Local Government South Australia.

On 27 April 2015 the NSW Government’s Terms of Reference for IPART to act as the Expert Advisory Panel and a Consultation Paper from IPART dated April 2015 titled ‘Methodology for Assessment of Council Fit for the Future Proposals’ were released. This consultation paper provides a further level of detail in relation to how proposals will be assessed and comments on the paper’s contents are being sought up until Monday 25 May 2015. Council resolved to submit its views on the proposed methodology.

2. Mosman Civic Centre Site

Following an extensive period of public consultation on Council’s vision for the Civic Centre Site Council resolved that there is a need to improve civic and community facilities on the Civic Centre site to meet the Mosman community’s needs. However, to progress the project there is a requirement to undertake more detailed consideration of development options for the site, including a comprehensive financial analysis of refurbishment versus redevelopment options and a traffic study and site planning and design.

3. 10/50 Tree Replacement Program

On 1 August 2014 the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), brought into effect the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Law. In response to misuse of the law, in November 2014 the NSW RFS, in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment commenced a formal review of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme. Whilst the review is underway the NSW RFS has reduced the area of entitlement to properties within 100 metres of category-one bushland and 30 metres of category-two bushland. The 10/50 rule allows the clearing of trees up to 10 metres from homes and other vegetation up to 50 metres.

Since the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing law was introduced, the Mosman local government area has seen 140 canopy trees removed from private property. These include remnant trees, some estimated to be 100 years old. Further losses are likely noting that the current tally of 140 represents trees that Council is aware of. The loss of these trees has reduced Council’s overall canopy coverage and habitat links to its bushland areas. An overwhelming majority of the trees that were removed had previously been refused for removal through Council’s tree permit system and development application process.

In response, Council has allocated $40,000 in the 2015/16 Budget for the Tree Replacement Program. This level of funding will mean that approximately 150-180 trees will be planted on public land with a focus on those areas that have been impacted by the removal of trees under the 10/50 law.

Whilst there is little that Council can do to mandate plantings on Private Property, to encourage plantings Council will enhance its tubestock program. This program provides
tubestock of native canopy species free of charge to residents at the Mosman Christmas Markets. This program will be advertised in the Mosman Daily and actively promoted on Council’s Website.

4. Community BBQs in Council’s Parks and Reserves

Council recently undertook public consultation on a proposal to install community BBQs in some of Council’s Parks and Reserves, including Sirius Cove Reserve, Clifton Gardens, Rosherville Reserve and Spit West Reserve. Results from the consultation showed that the majority of respondents strongly supported the installation of BBQs at the proposed locations with the preference being a simple twin plated BBQ without shelters and adjoining facilities.

Council resolved that the installation of BBQs in the identified locations would be considered along with other capital project priorities as part of the development of the 2017/18 Budget.

5. ANZAC Day Celebrations

Council noted the increasing popularity of the ANZAC Dawn Service, and whilst recognising that the Mosman Sub-branch is the organising agency for the Dawn Service will offer to meet with the Sub-Branch to discuss any support or assistance that may be required in conducting future Dawn Services.

6. Owners Consent to Various Proposed Developments

Council considered and granted owners consent to two separate developments that are proposed on Council owned or managed land. It is important to remember that the granting of owners consent does not constitute support or approval of any of the Development Applications (DA) which include:

  • Mosman Rowing Club – adjustments to the Pearl Bay club premises to improve access and facilities
  • Café Brindis Pty Limited trading as Beach House by GPO (1/2 Awaba Street also known as 67 The Esplanade) construction of two timber decked platforms on Council’s footpath on The Esplanade and Awaba Street for the purpose of outdoor dining

The relevant Development Applications will be exhibited and members of the community will have the opportunity to comment on the merits of these proposals.