Joint regional service delivery model

HUNTERS HILL HAPPENINGS with Mayor RICHARD QUINN

SINCE mid-2014, Hunters Hill Council has been in discussions with other northern Sydney councils (Lane Cove, Willoughby, North Sydney, Ryde, Mosman and Kuring-gai) to consider on a joint regional service delivery model.

The model sought will enable us to collectively satisfy the NSW Government’s “Fit for the Future” scale and capacity criteria without surrendering our local governance and, in particular, our planning and development controls.

A recent meeting supported the commissioning of some business modelling which will further inform subsequent consultation with the community in regard to various options.

Each of these councils, like many councils in Sydney, has chosen not to amalgamate with other councils, but in our case to pursue the joint regional organisation model that was proposed in the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s (ILGRP) report which preceded the latest “Fit for the Future” template.

The NSW Government has given rural and regional councils the option of pursuing the joint regional organisation model, but not metropolitan councils. Many councils are challenging the “Fit for the Future” criteria as well as the restrictiveness of the template options for metropolitan councils.

We are arguing that a joint organisation model should be considered as an appropriate response to the Council Improvement option.

There is much in the ILGRP report with which I agree, however whilst the NSW Government has previously articulated a policy of no forced amalgamations, its “Fit for the Future” criteria and templates in response to the ILGRP Report leave us, in Hunters Hill, very little room to choose otherwise.

We do need to change the way we operate – the status quo is not in our future interests. However, if a compulsory merger of councils was to occur, Hunters Hill would proportionally have only one councillor at best, and elections would inevitably become party-political and less community-based, with any new super-council being larger than three state electorates.

I urge residents to participate in the community consultation process which will be conducted in the coming months as we, together, determine our best option for the future.

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I WOULD like to invite businesses to participate in Business Clean Up Day on Tuesday February 24 and do your part to promote a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the Gladesville Village Centre.

The meeting point is Cowell Street carpark at the entrance to the Gladesville Shopping Village from 9am to 11am.

It’s a fantastic way to be seen as a community leader, engage with your staff, customers and the local community and introduce environmentally friendly initiatives in the workplace.

Previous Business Clean Up Days have proven to be excellent team building events and great for staff morale.

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MONTH of March is a time to celebrate seniors in the Hunters Hill area with numerous opportunities for seniors to discover and learn about different aspects of the local community and activities on offer.

Some of the highlights of this year’s celebrations include:

The ever popular Seniors Morning Tea and Concert to be held on Wednesday March 25 in the Town Hall.

Glorious Parramatta River “Our Living River” will be showcased with a two hour river cruise on Friday March 6. This guided cruise will provide interesting facts about the history and sights along the way as well as the project to make the river “swimmable” again.

A workshop for seniors who drive and appreciate the importance of staying safe on our roads will be held on Tuesday March 17. The workshop will be held at a driver training facility with an on-site driving demonstration.

All of these events along with information on a range of specific information sessions and opportunities to try different activities will be available in the 2015 Hunters Hill Seniors Events calendar.

This will be available from the end of February at Hunters Hill Council. Phone 9879 9400 or on Council’s website: www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au

It is recommended that you book early for events as many fill quickly.