May 6 - 12, 2012: Issue 57 

  Pittwater Council

 Pittwater Council

The council of Pittwater has a logo that shows a mangrove frond and waves of lapping water, symbols pointing to the heart of this place, our estuary of ‘Pittwater’, the body of water this shire is named after. For many of us it is bright blue skies with deep green hills meeting sparkling blue water that stays as vision of this place as much as the headlands, beaches, bays, plateaus, green stretches and favourite sandbanks for their rights or lefts or favoured coves on our fringes. 

Some of us are fourth, fifth and sixth generation Pittwater people who have lived here or have been coming here since milk was bought off the back of a horse drawn cart. Others have been drawn here from other places due to the beauty, space and a ‘feels like home’ quality. There is something familiar and unique to this place. 

This month our council celebrates its 20th anniversary, making it one of New South Wales youngest councils in 100 years. June 2003 saw Pittwater Council being presented with the Bluett Award, a pinnacle of achievement in Local Government, naming  them "best and most progressive Council in New South Wales." This is also the council that ensured, with help from community again, that Currawong Beach remained a people's place, another long, hard battle. Proclaimed on 1 May 1992 as a local government area after a long and passionate campaign for secession from Warringah Council by many Pittwater residents, the evolution of our independence has brought with it a keener sense of who we are and what we want to Keep as Pittwater itself. For those younger then twenty years it has ever been so and hard to imagine not wanting to keep the environment in the environment or not wanting to work towards developing new structures in harmony with the natural flows. 

We sometimes forget that our Councillors are paid only a nominal fee annually for their work, that in 2009 they turned down an increase in this fee. These women and men, past and present, are from among us, our neighbours, and will answer the phone when you call. From the Pittwater Council website: ‘The role of our Councillors is to make decisions about the running of the community and the Council. Councillors listen to the issues and ideas of individual residents and community groups and make strategic and policy decisions. The Mayor leads Council meetings and represents Council on formal occasions.’   

Pittwater Council is divided into three Wards being North, Central and South with three Councillors governing each ward.  Current Councillors:

On their and our 20th anniversary it is fitting we celebrate a coming of age milestone by bringing you Pittwater Council itself as our Profile of the Week!  Our thanks go to Lisa Trewin, of Pittwater Council, who helped us with the answers to our questions…

Please share a short History of how the Secession and new Council came about

In May Pittwater celebrates its 20th year as the first independently formed Council in NSW in 100 years. Pittwater Council was founded on May 1, 1992 by a NSW Government proclamation, after seceding from neighbouring Warringah Council. This was the first time in 100 years that a Council had been established by a people’s petition and vote, at the time contradicting all trends that were occurring in the amalgamation of Councils in Australia. The persistent lobbying by Pittwater residents for secession demonstrates the community spirit in the area.

The concept of a separate Pittwater Council had been discussed for decades. The original Pittwater Municipality Committee (PMC) was formed in the 1960s with a dedicated band of residents headed by a Warringah councillor. This committee constantly made submissions to the Ministers for Local Government but without success.

The movement gained momentum in 1985. Wider support was won when an inappropriate building was constructed in Mona Vale. Residents were outraged at the height and size of the building and the approval process of Warringah Council. Public protest meetings were held, attracting up to 1000 people at just one meeting. The Peninsula Residents Council emerged as a powerful community organisation.

The PMC worked actively on petitioning the Minister of Local Government for secession. The first petition presented had 12,000 signatures and called for a Boundaries Commission Inquiry. It was rejected and it was not until a second petition was presented with 20,000 signatures that the new Greiner government agreed to a full Boundaries Commission Inquiry. The Commission’s objective was to assess the viability of a new council. This took place in July 1990. At the inquiry, more than 20 community groups made submissions in support of secession.

The main opposition came from neighbouring Warringah Council which was concerned that a smaller council would be inefficient and uneconomical. However, an independent financial inquiry by the Commission supported the PMC’s submitted evidence that the new council would be economically viable, and the Commission’s report was submitted to Government on April 26, 1991.

A referendum was conducted. The Government prescribed conditions in that it would be a voluntary postal vote, but the majority of registered voters must vote and 75% must support secession. This was unusual, as normally only 20% of voters had to respond. The end result was overwhelming - 70% of the electorate voted and of those 73% were in favour of the council. Even though it did not reach the prescribed quota, the people could not be denied their new council.

The Pittwater Provisional Council was constituted by proclamation on November 6, 1991. The official Pittwater Council came into being on May 1, 1992.

Since this historic date Pittwater Council has worked hard in fulfilling its commitment to the original vision of the campaigners. Its achievements so far include: - Winning the A R Bluett Memorial Award in 2003, making Pittwater the Best and Most Progressive Council in NSW; reducing the debt transferred from Warringah and balancing the budget; greatly increased spending on environmental improvements and conservation, including a $4.5 million acquisition of the Warriewood Wetlands; and the creation of guidelines which respect the special environmental features that give Pittwater its charm and character.

How would you describe what Pittwater Council stands for, does and is ?

Much of this is also available in Council's 2020 Strategic Plan, Our Sustainable future; 

Sustainability in Pittwater 

Council’s Sustainability Policy (2006) defines sustainability as: “development that improves the quality of life, both now and into the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends”– the goal of Australia’s National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development.

Sustainability requires living within the limits of the earth’s capacity to meet the needs of present and future generations of people, plants and animals and rests on three overlapping spheres: 

Society, Environment, Economy

People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. Future generations must have the same or improved quality of life as the current generation in relation to health, well-being, justice, access and equity. Within Pittwater, human activity must protect and enhance our environment. The environmental sphere provides the physical resources and ecosystems on which life depends. In addition, the economy must be managed to ensure it serves society’s needs and aspirations by working within natural ecosystems, not exploiting, degrading or destroying them.

Reason for the Strategic Plan

The key message from the community over the last few years has been the need to address issues in a sustainable manner. The demand for both Council and the community to embrace sustainability is likely to increase given the rapidly changing context in which we live. Climate change, rising sea levels, technological advances and population increases are all sustainability issues.

Over the years the community has informed Council of their aspirations and desires for how Pittwater will look in a successful and sustainable future. This information has formed the basis of many of Council’s key documents and plans. However it was recognised that a more strategic and proactive approach to sustainability planning was needed.

Strategic Planning Framework

The community created a strategic planning framework to ensure the integration of sustainability into future direction of and planning for Pittwater. This framework outlines five interlinked and interdependent key directions: 

1. Supporting & Connecting our Community - the need to enhance the health and wellbeing of the community by supporting a sense of community and a friendly and creative lifestyle

2. Valuing & Caring for our Natural Environment - the need to be a model community, leading the way towards sustainable living by reducing our ecological footprint, protecting and enhancing our bush, beach and waterways as well as achieving long-term sustainability and biodiversity

3. Enhancing our Working and Learning - the need to create a thriving local economy which maintains a beautiful environment in which to live, work and learn

4. Leading an Effective & Collaborative Council - the need to have a transparent and accountable decision-making process including enhancing participation and engagement, fostering community partnerships and providing support to the community

5. Integrating our Built Environment - the need to create a sustainable and relaxed living environment including appropriate development, effective transport choices and efficient support services

A paragraph from Councillors on what being a Councillor and Pittwater means to them? 

Cr David James - Councillor, South Ward

What being a Councillor means to you

It is a huge honour to be a councillor as well as a great responsibility.  Sometimes decisions are difficult to make but we always try to stick to objective consideration of facts and work in the interest of the broader community of Pittwater.  My two years as Mayor were challenging but an honour that I shall keep with me for the rest of my days.  

What does the Pittwater mean to you?

The Pittwater fits in a category all of its own. It is endowed with enormous natural beauty on all sides and it is a beauty that has largely escaped adverse urban development, such as you can see in other parts of Sydney.  I am sure this significant difference is what drives and enthuses my fellow councillors and council staff alike. The preservation of the Pittwater natural environment is a guiding ethos. At the same time, we have to be as clever as possible in mapping out the financial future of Pittwater to ensure the extremely successful model of local government we have had for the last 20 years is perpetuated for as far as possible into the future.  

Jacqueline Townsend - Councillor, South Ward

What being a councillor means to you

The statutory role of a councillor is as a member of the governing body of the council.  A councillor has a civic leadership role guiding the development of the community strategic plan and, among other things, direct and control the affairs of the council. A councillor represents the interests of their constituents, provides leadership and guidance to the community and is a facilitator between the community and the council. 

I actively fulfill my role as a councillor by making myself available to hear the interests of the residents and ratepayers and advocate their interests on their behalf in debate at council. This means I present the residents and ratepayers views and not my own. Being able to fulfill a civic leadership role in this community that I respect and appreciate is a joy and a privilege to have been elected to this role.

What Pittwater means to you?

Pittwater is a community. It is filled with people who care for each other and their environment. Our community is passionate about Pittwater which is the reason why it broke away from Warringah 20 years ago. Whether it is the bush, the beach, the estuaries we are all here because we love the natural environment in which we choose to reside. However, we should never take it for granted. All of us need to keep our passion and continue the fight to protect what we have for the generations to come.  

Cr Harvey Rose, Mayor - Pittwater Council

What being a Councillor means to me

Being a Councillor provides me with the opportunity to serve our Pittwater community. I believe Council should do all it can to retain the essential character of Pittwater – to keep it the way most people who live here want it to be.  We must retain and protect our natural environment.  We must allow appropriate development and promote improved infrastructure and services while always opposing inappropriate development. We must help facilitate the positive culture of Pittwater through our sporting, cultural and service organisations including our sailing and surf clubs.  We must encourage the Arts, youth activities and help ensure excellent health services for our Pittwater community.

What the Pittwater means to me

I have a passionate appreciation for our Pittwater environment, community and culture.  Five generations of our family (from grandparents to grandchildren) have lived on the Northern Beaches.  Wilga and I have lived and worked in Pittwater since 1967, in Avalon Beach since 1971 – our children went to school and grew up in Pittwater.

The passion and belief that founded Pittwater 20 years ago must always be retained to ensure we keep the essential quality of our area and community. 

Council's favourite place(s) in Pittwater and why?

All of it simply because all of it is Pittwater; Our Community Centres, our shady streets, our regional parks, bushland and wetlands – not forgetting some hidden gems like the Bible Garden and the small Waterview Reserve. Information on the whole of these is at:

What is Pittwater Council's 'motto for life' or a phrase it tries to live by?

This is drawn from our Strategic Plan - which was put together after extensive consultation with the Pittwater Community to ascertain what the Community saw as important initiatives and directions for the Council to be involved in.

Vision: “to be a vibrant sustainable community of connected villages inspired by bush, beach and water”.

Mission: To be leaders in the provision of local government services, to strive for sustainability through conservation, the protection and enhancement of the natural and built environment of Pittwater and to improve the quality of life for our community and for future generations


AR Bluett Memorial Award

Every year the AR Bluett Memorial Award recognises two councils that have achieved the greatest relative progress in the State. It has been operational since 1945 and is recognised as the greatest accolade a council can achieve.

The Award was established by the local government councils of New South Wales as a memorial to Albert Robert Bluett who died in April 1944.

Bluett had been an outstanding figure in local government and, prior to his death, he had been the Secretary and Solicitor to the Local Government and Shires Associations of New South Wales for some 30 years.  He was an acknowledged authority on local government law, and as such his opinion was sought and respected by the legal profession and ministers of the crown on many aspects of community government.  He was intimately involved with the writing of the Local Government Act of 1919.  In 1993 a new Act came into effect, an Act that seeks to continue to preserve the principles espoused by A.R. Bluett. 


Pittwater Council’s 2020 Strategic Plan: here

 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Today, Sunday 6th of May!: The Pittwater Food and Wine Festival - Winnererremy Bay Foreshore Reserve - Mona Street, Mona Vale, 10am to 4pm

Pittwater Council is hosting our third Food and Wine Fair at Winnererremy Bay, incorporating Council's 20th birthday celebrations. Bring your picnic rug and enjoy the live music at the beautiful scenic setting adjacent to the waterways of Pittwater.

There will be wine tastings and wine sales together with a wide variety of hot food available on the day.   There will be general stallholders selling picnic wares, jams, olive oils, breads, Duck Creek Macadamia products and confectionary.

Face painting, cupcake creation and amusements for the children.  There will be a cooking demonstration from Brian Lizotte of Lizotte's Restaurant during the day.  2 shots Classic Rock Band will be entertaining throughout the afternoon with a selection of artists provided by Lizotte's in the morning. Parking will be available for a small fee at Pittwater High School.

Participating Wineries: McWilliams Mt Pleasant, 4 Pines Brewery, Cooks Lot, Two Furlongs, Petersons Wines, 201, Wandin Hunter Valley, Peterson House, Wynwood Estate, Pepper Tree Wines, First Creek Wines

Sustainability Lane Workshops

Time             Workshop and Presenter

10:30am              How eco-friendly is your family? Presented by Joanne Tulau and Sharon Kinnison - Pittwater Council

11:15am              How to save on your energy bills. Presented by Greg Harris - Smart Water and Energy Solutions

12pm              Green Building - How to get started. Presented by Graeme Jessup - Climate Action Pittwater

12:45pm              How to clean your house without chemicals. Presented by Alison Crawford - ENJO Australia

Launch of the Virtual Memory Wall

To celebrate 20 years of achievement, we invite you to share your memories...but this virtual memory wall is not just for photos!  We want to know what you think makes Pittwater unique...  The beautiful beaches, waterways and our enviroment? The people and our fabulous community organisations? Or perhaps you remember a special experience or event? We invite you to upload your photos and share your memories at

'Pittwater Rising' - The Making of Pittwater Council written by Historian Pauline Curby

Pittwater Rising is a tale of commitment, vigorous campaigning, colourful Councillors and compromise. To read the birth of Pittwater Council and the first ten years is to read of challenge upon challenge - to the landscape, to self-government, and to maintaining a peaceful life in a fast-paced city. Read 'Pittwater Rising' online

Some of our places: 

Akuna Bay, Avalon, Barrenjoey, Bayview, Bilgola Beach and Plateau, Bungan, Cahill Creek, Careel Bay Church Point, Clareville and Clareville Beach, Coasters Retreat, Coal and Candle Creek, Crystal Bay, Currawong Beach, Dolphin Bay, Elanora Heights,  Elvina Bay, Foley’s Hill, Great Mackerel Beach, Green Point, Heron Bay, Ingleside, Longnose Point, Lovett Bay, Mackeral Beach, Mona Vale, Mullet Creek, Narrabeen, Narrabeen Creek, North Narabeen, Newport, Palm Beach, Paradise Beach, Portuguese Beach, Saltpan Cove, Sand Point, Scotland Island, Snapperman Beach, Station Beach, Stokes Point, Taylors Point, The Basin, Towlers Bay, Treharne Point, Tumbledown Dick, Warriewood Beach, Creek and Valley, Whale Beach Winnji Jimmi, Winnererremy Bay, Woody Point



Image of First Councillors: Councillors from left to right: Ron Starr,  Allan Porter, Eric Green, Lynne Czinner, John Winter, Max  Radmanovich, Patricia Giles, Ross Bonthorne, Robert Dunn. 

                                                                  Courtesy and Copyright of Pittwater Council and Mona Vale Library.


 Copyright Pittwater Council, 2012.  Images by A. J. Guesdon, 2012.