The Community Environment Network (CEN) has raised concerns about Gosford Council's decision to commence a fire sale of public land in Gosford LGA. At the Gosford Council meeting of 8 September, 2015, Councillors voted to proceed with a proposal to start selling off public land. The report identifies that Council's Property Group has reviewed their property portfolio of over 3,000 lots and is establishing sites with sale potential. The report identifies Stage 1 of identifying 20 sites.
"We are concerned with the lack of a clear strategy and no community consultation on this proposal", said Jane Smith, CEO of the Community Environment Network. "Council land belongs to the community – the residents and ratepayers of Gosford – not to the 10 Councillors sitting in the chambers or Council staff. This Council does not have a mandate to sell off public lands."
"The Report refers to a Land Sale Strategy – however, there is no such strategy available. This sell off of public land appears to be a money grab."
"With only 5 days notice of this item coming to Council, community members have already raised concerns about a number of individual lots. In particular, the number of playgrounds that appear to be listed – without any consultation with local communities. "
The Council report also talks about selling off land now and, in the future, “where new initiatives occur – Council will acquire the right parcel in the right location”. To sell off land now and then most likely pay increased prices for land in the future is illogical and false economy. It would be more prudent to buy and sell in the same market.
At the Council meeting on Tuesday, some Councillors took comfort that they have initiated a process whereby the community will be asked to make submissions, attend public hearings and then make further representations to Council on a lot by lot basis. However, at the same time Councillors approved the sale of 3 lots to proceed without any community consultation.
"We believe that this whole proposal is poorly thought out – and should not proceed at this stage. We urge Council to develop a Strategy that is put out on exhibition for public comment – and undertake community engagement with local neighbourhoods and interested stakeholders to assess the true social, environmental and economic value of these community assets.”
Voting to start selling of our public land were Councillors Bocking, Ward, Burke, MacFadyen, Bowles, Doyle and Strickson. Opposed to the proposal were Councillors Morris and Scott. Clr McKinna was not at the meeting.
Jane Smith, CEO, Community Environment Network - ph: 0439 853 646
The Community Environment Network (CEN) is preparing to campaign against any rezoning of environmental land to residential. The following link will take you to their position.
CEN position on rezoning of environmental land
It has been brought to our attention that the newsletter stated that Monique Marks, the CEO of Coast and Country was also the CEO of Bells resort. This is incorrect. The Bells resort is leased from Coast and Country and is run as a separate entity. The current lessee is completely unconnected with the proposed developments for the adjacent blocks that are also owned by Coast and Country. We apologise for the inaccuracy.
The AGM will be held on Sunday August 2nd at the Maitland Bay Centre at 9.30 am.
Gosford City Council is seeking community feedback on the operation and provision of cultural facilities across the Local Government Area (LGA).
The survey, available for completion between Tuesday 3 March and Wednesday 25 March 2015, aims to capture information on user satisfaction, service quality and value for money. There will also be specific questions relating to individual facilities and an opportunity for customers to provide general feedback on council’s cultural services.
Gosford City Council’s Manager Culture, Phil Cantillon said that the survey is a chance for residents to give a strong, clear message on what’s good, what’s bad and what can be improved across our cultural facilities. “We’re really lucky to enjoy wide ranging cultural facilities in our LGA and this is an opportunity for us to connect with our residents to gauge what we’re doing well, and where we can improve.
“Currently we’re responsible for over 90 sporting ovals, 400 parks and foreshores and 106 playgrounds. “In addition, we manage flagship venues including Laycock Street Community Theatre, Gosford Regional Gallery and the Peninsula Leisure Centre.
“This survey is about us striving for continuous improvement to better serve our residents,” said Mr Cantillon. The surveys will be available to complete through council’s website, www.gosford.nsw.gov.au, and on our Facebook page; hard copies will also be available at cultural facilities across the LGA.
Mr Cantillon encouraged all users to get involved to help shape the future provision of culture in Gosford City. “We want to hear from individuals, families, community groups and sporting teams – every voice is important in helping us create a plan for cultural and recreational services moving forward. “We will review the suggested improvements and action those that the community commonly feel is important with a ‘you said, we did’ approach,” Mr Cantillon added.
Residents who complete the survey will also go into the draw to win a three month gym membership or a 12 month membership to Laycock Street or the Regional Gallery.
The consultation process will also feed into performance objectives for council’s 2015/16 Delivery Plan for Culture and will be part of a regular and ongoing program of community engagement.
Link for Culture Survey: Open Space
Link for Culture Survey: Theatres and Gallery
Link for Culture Survey: Pools and Leisure
Date: Sunday, 22 March, 2015
Time: 9:00am to 12 noon
Where: Ourimbah Scout Hall, 6 Ourimbah Creek Road, Ourimbah
Come along to CEN's Wildlife Wonders Workshop. Carla from Wildlife ARC (Animal Rescue and Care Society) will be talking about native animals and their habitat requirements - as well as a presentation on Wombats and Tawny Frog mouths. Following morning tea Andrew Lee will demonstrate the construction of a wildlife nest box.
Cost: Free to LFW / HFW members/ CEN members; $5 others (pay on the day, cash only)
Bookings are essential. For more information phone 4349 4756 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to register
Under the Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Act 2014, new laws are now in place allowing certain vegetation clearing near residential homes or high-risk facilities. These laws now allow landowners within a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area to clear or prune trees on their property within 10 metres of a home and to clear or prune underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.
It is important to note that any clearing or pruning can only be carried out by the landowner or with the landowner’s consent, ie vegetation on neighbouring properties cannot be cleared or pruned without the consent of the neighbouring landowner. All clearing must also be undertaken in accordance with the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice prepared by the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
For more information and to find out whether your property is in a designated 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area head to the Rural Fire Service website at: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/1050-vegetation-clearing
There are a number of items we need to let you know about tonight.
Update on the NSW Crown Lands Review
It appears that the NSW Government has decided to shelve its NSW Crown Lands review - for now at least. See Media Release at http://www.johnrobertson.com.au/crown_lands_act_review .
Independent Biodiversity Review Panel – Issues Paper
The NSW Government is reviewing our biodiversity legislation, including native vegetation and threatened species legislation.
As part of this review, the Government has set up a panel that has released an Issues Paper- attached.
Submissions on this Issues paper can be made until 5 September 2014.
Just a quick reminder that the Warrah Trig Wildflower Walk is on this Friday 15 August 2014 from 9.00am -1.00pm.
Once again the native plant guru, Mark Snell will lead us and sharing his knowledge and experience on this specialised heathland area.
Don’t forget to bring morning tea to share, water bottle and protective clothing.