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Council Decided – 5 March 2024

Posted on Wednesday 6 March 2024

Mosman Planning Panel Members

Mayor Carolyn Corrigan presented a Mayoral Minute thanking outgoing members of the Mosman Local Planning Panel for their many years of service to the Mosman community. These members include Graham Levido, Ann Messenger and Nicholas Mumby who have served as community representatives on the panel since 2011; Sue Hobley, Brian McDonald, Melanie Howden, Sue Francis and Brian Kirk who have been expert members of the panel also since 2011; and Peter Wells and Lesley Finley, who have served as Alternate Chairs on the panel since 2018. Mayor Corrigan noted that, since the independent panel’s first meeting in May 2011, it has determined over 1000 development applications, helping maintain the high quality built form in Mosman. The changes to panel membership have been necessitated by reforms introduced by the NSW Government. 

Balmoral Tree Poisoning

Mayor Corrigan also presented a Mayoral Minute addressing the recent incidence of tree poisoning impacting nine iconic Port Jackson figs at Balmoral. Council was unanimous in its condemnation of this act of vandalism, supporting all operational endeavours to ensure the culprit(s) are brought to justice and the trees protected from further harm. Council also agreed that the Mayor write directly to the NSW Minister for Planning seeking an urgent review of the Penalty Infringement Notices relating to tree vandalism in light of many tree vandalism events both in Mosman and elsewhere in Sydney. The currently penalties attached to these notices are not considered to provide a meaningful or effective deterrent to either illegal works or acts of vandalism impacting trees. The poisoned figs at this stage do not appear to be demonstrating signs of distress and Council is cautiously optimistic that the attack has been unsuccessful. 

Review of Council Financial Model in NSW

Draft Terms of Reference have recently been exhibited in relation to an upcoming review by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of the financial model for councils in NSW. The draft Terms of Reference require IPART to review and recommend, among other things, improvements to councillor and community visibility of the financial and operational performance of councils, whether current budget and financial processes deliver value for money and whether the current funding model will sustainably support the needs of communities into the future. Also slated for review are the capacity and capability of councils, and how better planning and reporting systems can improve long term budget performance, transparency and accountability. Council considered a draft submission on the Terms of Reference and agreed to lodge a submission, with amendments, to IPART prior to the March 15 deadline.

Environment Education Centre – Middle Head – Gubbuh Gubbuh

Having considered a report on the proposal by School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) to establish the Middle Head – Gubbuh Gubbuh Environment Education Centre within Sydney Harbour National Park at Middle Head, Council resolved to provide a submission in support of an Environment Education Centre at Middle Head, noting that it also supports comments provided by the Heritage Council in relation to the proposal. Council further resolved to thank SINSW for its commitment to realising a Middle Head Environment Education Centre and if, for any reason, the current proposal is not progressed, to strongly encourage SINSW to pursue any other options on Middle Head. The concept plans recently exhibited by School Infrastructure NSW provide for the adaptive reuse of the Soldiers Institute building at Middle Head to form two classrooms, together with a covered outdoor learning area with storage facilities, toilets and accessible paths and parking.

Access to Information Policy

Council endorsed a range of amendments to its Access to Information Policy. The amendments allow for a more concise and fit for purpose document that highlights principles and process for access to information, removes content that is otherwise contained in legislation, clarifies the rationale for publishing certain open access information, reflects legislative change since the policy’s last review and identifies other documentation and legislation to be read in conjunction with the policy. The updated policy will be available on this website shortly.

Flood Management Committee

Council considered a report detailing recent efforts to encourage community membership of its Flood Risk Management Community Consultative Committee. Council has so far been unsuccessful in attracting Expressions of Interest from the community to join the Committee. It was resolved that this matter be held in abeyance and that Expressions of Interest again be called following the local government elections in 2024. As community membership of all Consultative Committee expires at the end of each Council term, this will align the process for the Flood Risk Management Committee with the call for Expressions of Interest for Council’s other Community Consultative Committees. A further report regarding formation of the Flood Risk Management Committee will then be submitted to Council.

Streetlight Replacement – Balmoral Beach Promenade

Council considered a report regarding upgraded lighting at Balmoral Promenade, noting that this project was originally scheduled for completion in 2021 and has been delayed due to range of investigative processes and a necessary upgrade to electrical cables. The electrical upgrade, which has been included in the reinvigorated project, will be funded by Ausgrid. Given the variety of clarifications required from companies who have now tendered to undertake the overall lighting project, Council resolved to decline all tenders received and to enter into negotiations with a view to securing a contract for the works, prior to the matter being further reported to Council. It is anticipated that, subject to contracts being entered into and relevant budget allocations for 2024/25 being made, these works will commence in Winter 2024 to minimise impacts on users of Balmoral Park and the Promenade.