Here we are, the second last Council meeting for the year.
Our illustrious governing body voted themselves the top of the pay scale, sadly only two members of the public (myself being one) made submissions regarding the pay scale this council chose. My recommendation was that the councillors opt for mid range pay and promote themselves annually by CPI increases. I felt, considering our Mayor on several occasions throughout her campaign advised that this is not a full time job, paying her in excess of $70,000 per year was excessive. Our Councillors will be paid in excess of $19,000 per year and all will avail themselves of generous allowances on top of that. It appears that Councillor Ned Mannoun thought my idea had merit so he offered it as his motion to council. Nonetheless no-one, including Councillor Mannoun chose to vote in favour of it. Could that have been merely political point scoring Councillor Mannoun?
Some good news for locals though, the Federal Governments $1.258M grant for existing projects will see some welcome improvements made to Collingwood House ($160,000) the Whitlam Centre and the Wendon Centre, a Luddenham playground and several other works that simply haven’t had the funding available, take reasonable chunks from the $1,258M. All this and all our Mayor had to do was show up. Thanks Mr. Rudd. There is also another $2M up for grabs and our council is considering proposing further upgrades to the Whitlam Centre that should be approved.
Of a little concern to me is that on two occasions now, Councillors have gone into closed session to discuss two separate matters involving development. Is this how things begin?
What is of huge concern to me is that our councillor’s have considered changes to subdivision in Denham Court. I note that the applicants feel they have siginificant need, but is this precedent appropriate? Is it not that they own land in what is zoned Rural 1(c) and that their neighbours purchased land in the knowledge that all allotments would be no less than 2 hectares? If this is, as is being suggested by the Councillors, taken to the Land & Environment Authority it will be a hugely expensive exercise (Estimated by Council Officers to be in the vicinity of $600,000) at the rate payers cost that directly opposes our own recently gazetted Liverpool Local Environment Plan (LLEP). If these people felt the zoning was inappropriate, why didn’t they lodge their complaints when the LLEP was on public display only a few short months ago? It isn’t right that the rate payers of Liverpool now foot the bill to have this ‘single’ family be able to subdivide their land. Do we not have the IHAP Panel there to work on behalf of Council to advise independently for this exact reason? Ladies and Gentlemen, not all development applications are going to be approved. Our council is there for the whole community and from what I’ve read in the development application they offer no compelling or valid reason for this alteration. We as a community spent a great deal of money preparing, executing, publicising and presenting the LLEP with all it’s lands studies etc, shouldn’t we now have to accept the choices we made?
Councillor Lucas made reference to his chairing the Heritage Committee and kudos to him for suggesting and having passed that all the 8 nominees be included in the panel, the more community input in matters of this nature the better, plus the volunteers give their time free to council and our community and on most occasions are just as passionate and involved as those who do add to the overall cost of projects.
Chipping Norton Lakes Proposed State Park: If this particular item goes ahead, obviously once all the appropriate concerns have been met, this will save our Council considerable money each year. Costs that now go into maintaining the area will be borne by NSW Department of Lands. I’ll be watching this one, nothing would change for us as locals other than the crown land would be under the auspice of NSW State rather than LCC. And that sounds like a good deal to me.