Council is ‘more bureaucratic and less attentive’

The new Central Coast Council was more bureaucratic and less attentive to the distinctive needs of Wagstaffe and Killcare area than the former Gosford Council.
That is the view of Wagstaffe-Killcare Community Association outgoing president Ms Peta Colebatch, who is worried local needs will be swamped.
The association has to be active in identifying and asserting its local needs, she said.
These needs include development controls issues and discussions with council continue on a range of matters.
“Meetings and letters have produced little response to the long-term challenges facing residents in Hawke Head Dr and Albert St, who do not receive garbage services.
“To date, the Council has failed to require the contracted service to provide a small garbage truck that can service these areas, and again, this will continue to be pursued.
“This is a matter of Council policy which should be simple, but Council seems impervious to community needs.
“Similarly we continue to have ongoing battles in our attempts to retain our local low key, friendly, bush and beach aware community standards when developments occur.
“With growing developments and the building on previously unbuilt blocks, it is inevitable that tree cover (and hence bird and animal habitats) are reduced.
“While some of this is inevitable, it appears that many people who are attracted to this area may not be aware of the community standards, and new houses may reflect a more suburban than the past low scale approach.
“Moreover, the amalgamated council staff may reflect the more liberal approaches of the former Wyong Council and height and boundary changes may result.
“The council is preparing new combined approaches to the very large council area it now oversees.
“The association remains concerned that our local needs will be swamped in this rush to centralisation and uniformity of planning approaches.
“We have proposed that the character statements be retained, and that a separate chapter with our planning requirements be used for clarity, similar to the one used in the past by Gosford for Pearl Beach.
“Similar concerns are felt with regard to the destruction of trees and having clarity of approach so that large trees are not removed without a qualified assessment of whether they pose any risk.”
Ms Colebatch said these issues needed to be pursued with vigour by the incoming committee.
She said the committee had continued its liaison with other groups supporting improvements to the Hardy’s Bay waterfront and she was optimistic that some progress would actually be made this year.
“However, concerns remain with the overall planning system.
“Submissions were made on the proposed Local Environment Plan.
“The former Coastal Open Space lands still need to be protected and large tree destruction remains rampant.”
She said progress on some projects remained slow and frustrating.
Endless negotiations continued with National Parks to try to upgrade the Half Tide Rocks Track as the association had funds available.
But the department remained unresponsive and the association was now trying approaches to politicians but meanwhile the informal track continued to degrade.
“Similarly, we have had bureaucratic frustrations with the amalgamated council and our previously approved Turo Park extension upgrades, as following an initial positive response to our requests, progress has stalled,” Ms Colebatch said.
“However, discussions continue with council officers on the need for sandstone multi-purpose blocks, infill and prevention of flooding, the footbridge over Turo creek, and sculptures.
“This will be pursued in the coming year, and we hope that we will be successful in having some carved sculptures there, and elsewhere, so that we can end up with our own sculpture walk.”

SOURCE:
Newsletter, 1 Jun 2019
Peta Colebatch, WTKCA

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