The NSW Government has sacked Gosford and Wyong councils today with both mayors and all councillors dismissed immediately.
Ian Reynolds has been appointed Administrator with Rob Noble appointed the interim General Manager for the new Central Coast Council.
Mr Reynolds was General Manager at Blacktown Council, a former bureaucrat with the old Department of Planning and Infrastructure and since 2012, Director of Ian Reynolds & Associates Pty Ltd.
New funding for community infrastructure
The new council will receive $10 million to invest in community projects like junior sporting facilities, playgrounds and library or pool upgrades.
In addition, up to $10 million will be available to streamline administrative processes and cut red tape. Importantly, any unspent funds can be redirected to community projects.
The new Central Coast Council will run a local community grants program from funding provided by NSW Government.
Local community groups can apply for community grants of up to $50,000 to invest in community infrastructure and services that build more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive local communities.
Wamberal Memorial Hall and Benjamin Parker Reserve
It remains to be seen what effect his will have on the fate of the Wamberal Memorial Hall or Benjamin Parker Reserve, but it is interesting to note that the State Government has promised to make available a further $10 million for investment in new community infrastructure including parks and playgrounds for the new Central Coast Council area.
Given this promise, it would be highly inconsistent for the Administrator to continue with the sale of our playgrounds, parks and reserves
No changes to existing planning rules
In addition, the administrator is prohibited from amending or changing local environmental plans (LEPs). Any changes to an LEP must go to a planning authority.
And under the Local Government Act, our parks cannot be sold unless there is a new LEP gazetted for each park.
Crackdown on property developers
Importantly, as part of the reforms there will be new rules to curb the influence of property developers on councils.
Rates protected for four years
In another popular move, rates will be protected against future increases for four years.
Elections in September next year
Administrators will govern councils until council elections are held on 9 September 2017.
The Administrator will perform the functions of the former elected council and mayor and work closely with the interim General Manager who will manage councils’ day to day operations and lead the implementation process.
Implementation of new councils will be supported by Local Representation Committees that will provide advice on local views and issues.
The Administrators will also establish Implementation Advisory Groups to provide consolidated advice for the new council’s Implementation Plan.
Review of the merger
A review of the merged councils would be conducted in four years.
Summary of changes
In summary, the new Central Coast Council will:
- Be run by Ian Reynolds and Rob Noble until council elections are held in September 2017
- Continue to provide services such as community development programs; assessing development applications; collecting rubbish and recycling; and processing rates, fees and other charges
- Run the same community facilities, including libraries, seniors centres and swimming pools
- Operate under the same local planning regulations as before – for example, where a local environment plan restricted certain development types, this will continue.
- Continue valued community engagement
- Continue to hold public council and committee meetings and be represented at civic and community events
- Consult about priority projects for the Stronger Communities Fund.
Categories: Gosford City Council