Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Interim Administrator Viv May has called for a report into Council’s response following the 2019/20 Black summer bushfires.
Mr May’s request follows visits to the Shire’s bushfire-impacted villages.
“I’ve met with numerous residents and heard some truly harrowing experiences from the fire front,” he said.
“During this time, I’ve been most interested in hearing their accounts and how they felt Council responded following the aftermath of the bushfires.”
Mr May has asked the report to focus on Council’s immediate response to the bushfires and ongoing recovery actions.
“This may prove to be a ‘warts and all’ report,” he said. “But if mistakes were made it’s imperative we learn from these lessons to avoid repeating the same errors, if heaven forbid, the Shire is faced with a similar threat.”
Mr May said the report would focus on Council’s response to the bushfires only.
“While I’ll be seeking input from the NSW Rural Fire Service, National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Resilience NSW, the report will not look at the actions of any other agencies.
“Not-for-profit organisations will also be approached as they too played an important role both during and after the bushfires,” Mr May added.
Council staff have been tasked to prepare the report for the Interim Administrator with a draft expected to be returned to Council by 14 July 2021.
Wingecarribee Shire Council will hold an Extraordinary Meeting on Thursday 20 May 2021.
Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May PSM has called the Extraordinary Meeting to deliver an additional community update and to consider other Council Business items.
The agenda for the Extraordinary Meeting can be found at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/Council/Council-Meeting-Minutes-Agendas.
The meeting will be held from 3.30pm on Thursday 20 May 2021 in the Moss Vale Council Chambers and live-streamed via Council’s website at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au.
In a bid to ensure greater transparency Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May will undertake further community consultation on Bowral Memorial Hall and open all files regarding the Station Street Upgrade Project.
“In my early conversations with residents I’ve heard numerous concerns regarding Council’s general scoping of major projects,” he said.
“To ensure greater transparency and openness, I’m requesting that further detail be provided on two current projects of significant community interest.”
“In regard to the proposed upgrade of Station Street in Bowral I am recommending that all files on the project be immediately opened to any interested residents.”
Mr May has also advised that Council’s Acting General Manager Mr Les McMahon will present a report to the next Council Meeting detailing the matter with a recommendation.
The next Ordinary Meeting of Council is scheduled for Wednesday 12 May 2021.
Files on the Station Street Upgrade Project can be found at www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au/ssu.
Mr May said further consultation would also be undertaken on the proposed multi-million-dollar upgrade of Bowral Memorial Hall.
“Whilst a tender has already been accepted by Council for the renovation of the hall, I am suggesting any further progress be deferred for another month to allow greater consultation with key user groups,” he said.
“It is my hope that with this further consultation an outcome can be amicably reached by all parties.”
Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May PSM is inviting residents to meet him as he organises a road trip across the Shire.
“One of the first things that struck me was the vast size of this Shire,” Mr May said.
“It’s apparent that while there may be some common issues across the Shire, individual towns and villages have issues specific to their locality.
“And if I’m to obtain a better understanding of the concerns outside of the Shire’s main towns, I believe it’s important I visit as many outlying communities as possible.”
Mr May intends to visit as many of the Shire’s villages and localities as practical starting at Burrawang on Monday 19 April 2021.
A full itinerary of Mr May’s visits can be found at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/Council/Administrator.
Residents wishing to meet with Mr May can make a confidential appointment by calling his office on 4868 0714 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Across the Shire’s 2,700 square kilometres lie almost 50 separate towns, villages and localities,” Mr May said.
“Where possible staff have tried to secure community halls or other sheltered public spaces to accommodate these meetings.
“I would encourage anybody who has any specific concerns and is unable to meet me at these locations to contact me direct at email@example.com or phone my office on 4868 0714 to book a private appointment.”
Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May is calling on residents and professional advisors who have had recent interaction with Council’s Planning, Development and
Regulatory Services Department to discuss their experiences with newly appointed independent consultant, Malcolm Ryan of Earnest Consulting Pty Ltd.
“We want to hear from residents who’ve had recent first-hand interaction with the department,” Mr May said.
“Whether positive or otherwise, this is an opportunity for all residents to detail their interactions.”
Confidential meetings will be carried out by Mr Ryan who has over 40 years of experience in Local Government specialising in strategic planning.
Mr May said residents were free to discuss with Mr Ryan their planning and development experiences including initial pre-lodgement meetings, tree removal applications, issuing of final development consents, occupation certificates and compliance oversight.
“Any involvement they have had with the Planning, Development and Regulatory Services department can be discussed,” Mr May said.
“These discussions are designed to help assess the overall effectiveness of Council’s planning, development and compliance functions.”
The meetings are the latest in a series of reviews Mr May is undertaking across the organisation.
Mr May stressed the meetings were not an opportunity to re-open already determined matters nor will assessment of development matters currently before Council be discussed.
Residents wishing to meet with Council’s independent consultant to discuss their planning, development and compliance experiences can organise a confidential meeting by phoning 4868 0714 or emailing Bobbiejo.Gordon@wsc.nsw.gov.au.