Major changes to Council committees proposed

Central Coast Council Chambers at Wyong

The Status of Women’s Advisory Committee would disappear under a Central Coast Council proposal that goes to the March 23 meeting for a decision by the Administrator, Dick Persson.

Also missing from the new list of committees is the Tourism Advisory Committee.

In a response to feedback from advisory group members and convenors, Council says it has proposed changes to the structure to better facilitate the needs of each group.

“These proposed changes include the consolidation of some groups who share topics and interests, as well as altering the format of some groups,” Council said in an email to members of the committees.

“Instead of having Advisory Groups only, it is proposed that groups be re-classified as Advisory Groups, Working Groups or Networking Groups.”

The seven new advisory groups are proposed to be: Catchments to Coast Advisory Committee; Coastal Open Space System (COSS) Advisory Committee; Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee; Mangrove Mountain and Spencer Advisory Committee; Pedestrian Access and Mobility Advisory Committee; Social Inclusion and Advocation Advisory Committee; and, Water Management Advisory Committee.

The Status of Women Advisory Committee would be rolled in with the Social Inclusion and Advocation Advisory Committee.

All three different water catchment groups would be rolled into one.

Working Groups established for the period that a project is active would include an Companion Animals Working Group and a Playspaces Working Group.

Networking Groups would be a forum to share information and receive important updates on a common interest.

Council is proposing one such group to be an Economic Development and Regional Activation Network.

That Networking Group would roll four current committees into one, those being: the Employment and Economic Development Committee; Gosford CBD and Waterfront Advisory Committee; the Tourism Advisory Committee; and, the Town Centre Advisory Committee.

“There would be no formal meetings of networking groups and it is recommended that events/seminars be held as required,” Council said.

“Events will offer an opportunity for networking between key stakeholders and any presentations would ideally be recorded or livestreamed for greater access by interested communities.

“It is proposed that the existing membership composition be retained and reflected in the new groups, which will mean that some groups are larger than they were before,” Council said.

“We understand that some Advisory Group members may have mixed feelings about the proposed changes, however, it is considered that the new format will provide improved opportunities for engagement and allow greater networking and public consultation.

“In addition, given Council’s current financial situation, there is a need to assign resources effectively and efficiently.

“All members will be given the opportunity to confirm their commitment to the relevant group following any changes.”

Council has a list of 17 committees and advisory groups on its website but only 15 of them include members of the public.

The Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee is not affected nor is the Wamberal Beach Taskforce.

Council’s other Statutory Committees, Community Reference Groups, Action Teams, Trust Committees or Internal Committees are not affected.

Merilyn Vale