This was in today’s Manly Daily. Finally they (Gov) were forced to listen to ‘People Power’ – Mick Raven
Alison Marks & Sarah Swain
25 Feb 2016
ONE COUNCIL BACK ON AGENDA
EXCLUSIVE: PREMIER SAYS ‘THE COMMUNITY WILL NOW HAVE TWO PROPOSALS TO CONSIDER’
The community will now have two proposals to consider – Mike Baird
A SINGLE northern beaches council is now back on the table, with Premier Mike Baird throwing his support behind
Warringah Council’s last-ditch submission to merge three peninsula councils into one.
The boundaries commission will now consider this alongside the existing two-council submission.
PLANS for a single northern beaches council are back on the table, with Premier Mike Baird throwing his support behind
Warringah Council’s submission to merge three peninsula councils into one.
Picture: TROY SNOOK Member for Manly and NSW Premier Mike Baird outside his Manly office. Inset: A packed Forestville community meeting on Monday night.
The state MP for Manly told the Manly Daily yesterday the government will put two options forward to the boundaries commission;
two northern beaches councils comprising half of Warringah and Pittwater in the north, and Mosman, Manly and the rest of
Warringah in the south; or one northern beaches council – excluding Mosman.
“I welcome Warringah Council bringing forward their proposal,” he said.
“I have said consistently that mergers will bring significant benefits to the community and that remains the focus.
I have listened to the community and will continue to listen.
“The community will now have two proposals to consider and I look forward to their feedback.”
The decision comes as Warringah Council decided on Tuesday night to make a dramatic push back against
plans to split them by using a loophole in legislation to call for one council.
One resident, who is part of a community group campaigning against the proposal,
discovered a clause in the Local Government Act 1993.
It allows electorate members to lodge their own proposal, with backing from 10 per cent of voters.
It also said a council affected by a proposal can make a submission to the Minister for Local Government, MP Paul Toole.
After being told by local Simon Buchwald, 55, from Killarney Heights about the clause,
Mayor Michael Regan announced the council’s plan at an extraordinary meeting. It was backed by all but three councillors.
He said he looked into the loophole after being tipped off by Mr Buchwald.
The council will resubmit its original submission for one council, Cr Regan said.
“Because the residents are so annoyed, and see sense in one council, they’ve gone and done their own research,” he said.
“It’s like the song, Power to the People. It’s a really interesting development.”
Mr Buchwald said he was “incensed” by the way the State Government had handled the issue,
and wanted to check it was doing things the way it should.
The electrical engineer said he went online and waded through the legislation.
“I wanted to find out what the process was. I discovered that there are ways for the boundaries to be
changed by people other than the government,” he said.
Meanwhile community campaigners, who have held packed-out meetings on the issue,
confirmed they were planning to use the clause to put in a plea for one northern beaches council.
Civil engineer David Hope from One Northern Beaches Council Association said while the council’s paperwork
had to be in by Sunday, they can lodge a proposal at any time.
Mr Hope, 67, from Davidson, said: “We are looking at a number of possibilities.
It can be done at any time but we want to do it relatively quickly.
“We will have to doorknock many thousands of homes, have events, and all sorts of stuff.
It sounds like a big job but we’ve got a lot of support.”
The State Government has received considerable backlash since the local government reform announcement in December.
Warringah residents argued two new councils would be smaller in size than the current council and residents
from all LGAs questioned Mosman’s sudden involvement.
In an interview with the Manly Daily in January, the Premier said the merger process was all about consensus and
that both Manly and Pittwater Council had opted to split Warringah in half as their back-up option.
Earlier this month, residents had a chance to have their say at a series of public forums.
More than 1000 people attended the four meetings, with more than 200 registering to speak about the proposal.
Since those forums, more community groups have been formed and a number of meetings held at
locations across the northern beaches to lobby against the State Government.
Councils and residents have until Sunday to put in a submission to the boundaries commission on what has been proposed.