Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Ordinary Meeting of Wednesday 8 September began with a Minute by Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May.
Within the Minute Mr May welcomed the decision by the Minister for Local Government to hold a Public Inquiry and thanked the residents of the Shire for coming forward with their concerns. Mr May reiterated that the duration and cost of the Public Inquiry are yet to be confirmed. The Interim Administrator also announced that public Open Question time will be introduced prior to Council Meetings starting in October.
The Interim Administrator proceeded to adopt the first item of the Business Paper which will see Council construct a new Animal Shelter on land acquired at 2 Bowman Road in Moss Vale. The purpose-built facility will include an administration office, reception space and amenities, indoor and outdoor pens and runs, animal compounds and examination facilities. The Moss Vale branch of the State Emergency Service (SES) will eventually be co-located on site.
Council was also provided details on a Smart Water Meters program. Smart water meters can identify minor leaks and provide more detailed customer consumption data. A trial of the technology was approved and a further report including recommendations will be brought back to Council for consideration.
Mr May also moved several recommendations that will see Council enter into a 20-year lease with the Bundanoon Club to continue operation at the Bundanoon Oval. The conditions of the lease will be placed on public exhibition with feedback invited.
To herald the festive season Council agreed to support Christmas celebrations across the Shire. In addition to supporting community-led celebrations across the Shire’s towns and villages, Council will also extend trading and operating hours for retailers and eateries. $103,000 has been allocated towards the celebrations with a review on the outcomes to be undertaken in the new year.
To assist families with young children a recommendation to waive child care ‘gap fees’ was also passed. This waiver will continue until the current lockdown ceases or otherwise advised by the NSW Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Council has also committed to operating a reduced school holiday vacation care program for essential workers should the lockdown continue through September and October.
Other COVID relief measures passed included deferring Rates Reminder Notices.
Following the release of the recent Community Satisfaction Survey results the Interim Administrator commissioned a Community Research Report. The report recommended a series of improvement actions focusing on developing transparency, communications, community engagement, customer service and public participation opportunities. Mr May subsequently recommended the community be made aware of progress made towards these actions.
A further outcome of the meeting included a report detailing progress on the Southern Highlands Innovation Park (SHIP). Formerly known as the Moss Vale Enterprise Corridor, the park includes the Moss Vale Bypass and Berrima Road Deviation Projects. Council adopted the item which includes progressing detailed designs and key infrastructure works for the area. The Interim Administrator noted the past failings of the previous Council in relation to prioritising and progressing works at the site.
Multiple applications were agreed to be submitted to the Black Summer Bushfire Grant Program including an off-leash dog-park in Bundanoon, the provision of water tanks at various local Rural Fire Service Stations, a walking trails improvement program and employment of a Resilience Officer.
In closing the Interim Administrator noted the recent refusal of the Hume Coal and Berrima Rail Projects by the NSW Independent Planning Commission. The Interim Administrator thanked members of the community, former Councils and staff for their work and submissions in relation to this decision.