Current CEO of Central Coast Council, Mr Rob Noble, is understood to be departing at the end of August, and his replacement will be Mr Brian Bell on a short-term contract.
Mr Bell, aged 68, retired from his position as General Manager of Lake Macquarie Council in June. His career in local government spanned five decades including the last 11 as General Manager for Lake macquarie Council. He was appointed General Manager in 2006 and has worked with three Mayors and four Councils at Lake Macquarie. According to an article published by the Council to makr his retirement, under Mr Bell’s administrative leadership, Lake Macquarie was recognised as the most progressive Council in NSW, receiving the prestigious AR Bluett Memorial Award in 2012. Mr Bell received a Public Service Medal in the Australia Day Honours Awards in January 2016 in recognition of his service to local government.
“I have been fortunate in my 11 years at Lake Macquarie to work with stable, considered and courageous councils that have worked for the greater good of the people of Lake Macquarie,” Mr Bell said. “My time here has been exceptionally rewarding and I have enjoyed every moment, but it is now time for someone else to take the Council into the next decade and beyond.” Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, described Mr Bell as an outstanding General Manager who earned the respect and admiration of everyone he worked with.
“Brian has overseen a period of strong financial and operational management, which laid the foundation for Council’s successful campaign to remain a stand-alone organisation when declared fi t for the future in 2015,” Cr Fraser said. “Council’s relationship with the community has also flourished under his leadership, with a strong focus on participation and engagement.” Mr Bell has supported the retention and strengthening of the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act during his time at Lake Macquarie. Lake Macquarie Council’s response to the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 said: “Council is aware that Wyong Shire Council, having abandoned plans for a new airport at Kiar Ridge, now intends to undertake major upgrades to the existing Warnervale Aerodrome at Sparks Rd, including an extension to the runway to turn it into a regional airport.
“Some Lake Macquarie City Council (LMCC) residents have signifi cant concerns with this proposal and its potential impacts on nearby communities,” the submission said. “LMCC does not consider it appropriate for the [Central Coast Regional] Plan to endorse this proposal without prior detailed investigations and consultation with LMCC as part of a broad strategic investigation that clearly demonstrates the implications for existing or proposed development in the vicinity, including Wyee.” LMCC also made submissions to the Department of Planning’s review of the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act and voiced its view that the Act should be retained and its provisions broadened.
“The flight path for Warnervale Airport travels directly over a recently rezoned urban release area over Wyee. “Wyee is envisaged to undergo considerable urban expansion over the next 10 to 20 years as development seeks to capitalise on the existing railway station and a range of existing social infrastructure,” it said. “In the event of a proposal to extend the runway or construct a new runway at Warnervale Airport, the Act provides a degree of certainty for residents of Wyee and certain existing and planned communities in the North Wyong Shire Structure Plan and the impacts of the proposal will be properly investigated. “Specifi cally the Act requires that the Minister appoint an independent person to review any environmental impact study, and to prepare a noise study including a survey of all residents within a 7.5km radius.
“It is of particular importance that the review of any environmental study or preparation of a noise study be undertaken by an independent person appointed by the Minister,” the submission said. “Specifi c legislation, as provided by the Act, is necessary to ensure Central Coast Council undertakes adequate consultation,” according to Lake Macquarie’s submission. “The Act should… be strengthened to require a more comprehensive consultation process based on long-term strategic planning,” it said. Mr Bell’s opinion may differ when he is representing Central Coast Council.
Source: Submissions, 2016 Lake Macquarie Council