Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Ordinary Meeting of Wednesday 10 November began with a Minute by Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May.
Within the Minute the Interim Administrator congratulated both the village of Berrima on winning the title of Best Small Town in Australia and the organisers responsible for the launch of the Shire’s first regional art gallery. Mr May suggested any future funding increases provided to the Ngununggula art gallery be a decision for the incoming Council. The Interim Administrator also advised that submissions to the Public Inquiry had now closed however his submission would be made public. Mr May also spoke about the need for a review of the Mittagong-based Destination Southern Highlands facility to include feedback from industry as well as the broader industry. The Interim Administrator concluded his Minute by proposing future Council Meetings move to the third Wednesday of the month starting 2022 to assist with the preparation of financial reports.
The business of Council opened with an update on the State Government’s proposed sale of the historic Berrima Gaol. The report encouraged the NSW Government to engage in meaningful community engagement prior to the sale of the premises.
A report was also delivered recommending that a new Emergency Operations Centre be located within the newly refurbished Council Civic Centre. An upgrade, or provision of an alternate Emergency Operations Centre location, was a key recommendation from the independent review into Council’s response to the Black summer bushfires. Council will subsequently apply for $300,000 in funding from Resilience NSW to assist in the relocation.
The Interim Administrator proceeded to adopt a review undertaken by KPMG into Council’s Corporate Relations area. Corporate Relations is one of 30 council services that provides internal and external communications, community engagement, civic event coordination and corporate branding services. The review looked at Council’s orgainsational-wide delivery of these services and compared them to similar regional councils. Recommendations will be implemented by the end of 2022 and include streamlining of communications channels, centralising graphic design services and prioritisation of workloads.
A report detailing the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) new rate peg methodology was also adopted. Council heard how the methodology could impact future rates income.
Several property matters were also determined including approving a 21-year extension to the lease of part of the Mittagong Memorial Hall to the Berrima District Historical & Family Society. The lease extension was finalised following support from the Historical Society of the proposed concept plans for the refurbishment of the heritage building. Council will subsequently seek funding opportunities from the State Member for Wollondilly to expedite the repairs.
A proposal to locate a Return and Earn kiosk within the Bowral Swimming Pool carpark was declined.
Results from the survey into Council’s traditional Australia Day celebrations were also listed and recommended Council continue to host the event in Berrima in 2022. Proposed changes to the day include greater recognition of Indigenous culture and the possibility of extending the program to include an outdoor evening cinema.
The annual Code of Conduct complaints report showed the number of complaints had decreased considerably for the 12 months closing 31 August 2021. Seven Code of Conduct complaints costing the organisation $8,990 were received.
Council also heard of a progress report into the Station Street Renewal Project. A key recommendation adopted included the construction of a new watermain to replace the existing ageing concrete watermain. The recommendations, including the watermain renewal proposal, will be undertaken in the 2022/23 financial year.
Concluding the meeting was an adopted recommendation which saw Council formally endorse the termination of the Civic Centre Refurbishment Project with Matrix Group Co.