February 7 - 13, 2016: Issue 250

 Pittwater Residents Urged to Have Their Say on Proposed Council Changes

Reports that most people on the Northern Beaches of Sydney support a single council are exaggerated and a ‘fantasy parroted due to fiscal interests’ according to those who attended the Tuesday the 2nd of February Public Inquiry at Mona Vale Golf Club. 

Pittwater residents stated the meetings had been ‘stacked by Warringah’, and that those Pittwater residents who did get to speak reiterated the same message that has been coming out of the Pittwater Council area for several years now.

The main concerns outlined by speakers were and remain - and this seems to be echoed similarly across the city of Sydney in the Public Inquiry meetings that have taken place:

• Loss of local identity and damage to community spirit

• Loss of representation, with more residents per councillor

• Developers getting projects approved more easily

• New councillors having weaker connections to place and residents - 'they will be politicians with loyalty to the two major parties first'

• Insufficiently strong business case made by the government to justify mergers

• Overstatement of the financial benefits and savings of mergers by government

• Understatement of the risks and costs of mergers by government

• The full KPMG report has not been released

• A lack of honesty, transparency and integrity in the merger process

• If administrators were appointed, residents would lose their voice during the passage of major developments

• Many called for a plebiscite on council mergers - 'put it to the vote'

The discussion need not be ‘stacked’ outside of rooms where there is limited seating capacity and an equally limited opportunity to express your view. Although Pittwater has just over one third in number of the voices in such ‘scale and capacity’ comparisons, speaking up where it counts – TO THE INQUIRY's Delegate, will waylay any hint that Pittwater has any intention of being reabsorbed back as part of Warringah.

Even those who have already made a 'submission' to the first round of having your say in 2013 are taking up their pens again to address what is invited to be addressed:

'submission authors are encouraged (but not required) to focus on one or more of the factors in section 263(3) of the Act, being':

• the financial advantages or disadvantages of the proposal to the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned;

• the community of interest and geographic cohesion in the existing areas and in any proposed new area;

• the existing historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them;

• the attitude of the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned;

• the requirements of the area concerned in relation to elected representation for residents and ratepayers at the local level, the desirable and appropriate relationship between elected representatives and ratepayers and residents and such other matters as considered relevant in relation to the past and future patterns of elected representation for that area;

• the impact of the proposal on the ability of the council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities;

• the impact of the proposal on the employment of the staff by the council;

• the impact of the proposal on any rural communities in the resulting area; 

• the desirability (or otherwise) of dividing the resulting area or areas into wards

• the need to ensure that the opinions of each of the diverse communities of the resulting area or areas are effectively represented; and

• any other factors relevant to the provision of efficient and effective local government in the existing and proposed new areas.

The Public Submissions period closes on February 28th.

Submissions may be made in the form of a letter, short written document or a longer paper and may include appendices and other supporting documentation. Preferably, submissions should be typed. Hand-written submissions must be clear and legible.

The proposal relating to Pittwater Council merging with part of Warringah Council and details regarding the process being undertaken, including information regarding the Pittwater delegate Richard Pearson, can be located at: 


Make a Submission: Re: Pittwater Proposal HERE 

Received from Pittwater Council this week:

Passionate residents speak out

03 Feb 2016

As local government mergers are considered, Pittwater Council has welcomed the comments of residents at yesterday’s Council Boundary Review public inquiry meetings and calls on residents to make a submission on the proposed expanded council.

Residents spoke passionately about their area including opposing forced amalgamation, supporting the NSW Government’s proposal for an expanded council for Pittwater and northern Warringah, and support for one council for the whole northern beaches.

The NSW Government’s proposal being considered in the public inquiry is for an expanded council for Pittwater and northern Warringah. 

Pittwater Council General Manager Mark Ferguson highlighted that “This proposed merger balances the divergent views of the community and creates a strong council by achieving economy of scale whilst maintaining agility, connection to community and local representation.” 

Mr Ferguson added that the proposal is for two equally strong councils for the SHOROC region and that the region would stand to receive $45 million, $20 million more than would be received under one northern beaches Council. 

An expanded council will provide a foundation for strong economic management and ability to plan for an increasing population. It would have better management of the catchment and environmental assets across Pittwater and northern Warringah.

Demographic experts advise the expanded council has a community of interest characterised by low density housing, similar demographic and socio-economic indicators making it well suited to the current merger proposal.

The Pittwater community vehemently opposes one mega council for the northern beaches. Unfortunately Warringah Council’s ongoing campaign for a single council on the northern beaches overwhelmed the hearing, with comments focussed on the perceived disadvantages for Warringah residents without considering the overall needs and benefits for all residents of the new councils. 

The proposal on the table provides an opportunity for Council to work with our community to create an innovative, community focused and sustainable Council that builds on all the great things that Pittwater and Warringah have achieved.  

The NSW Government has made it clear that there will be change and has put forward one proposal to consider, that of an expanded Council for Pittwater and northern Warringah. 

“We need to make the most of this opportunity to create an expanded council that looks to the future, moves beyond the practices of the past and builds a stronger local government sector,” Mr Ferguson said.

The community is encouraged to have a say on the proposal and submissions can be made online at councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au or by mail to: GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001A. Closing date for submissions is Sunday 28 February 2016, 5pm.