Administrator provides overview of Council activities

Rik HartRik Hart - Council Administrator. Image CCN, June 2021

Administrator Rik Hart praised this year’s Harvest Festival as part of his overview of his and Central Coast Council’s activities since the previous Council meeting.

Speaking at the June 15 meeting Hart said the 2021 Harvest Festival saw 48,000 people attend 30 events, a huge increase of 16,000 people since the last event held two years ago.

In terms of financial gains, he said it was an impact of $5.39M to the area and those numbers were while COVID restrictions were in place.

He said he thought those figures showed the fantastic event was now here permanently.

He said later in the speech that he visited Full Circle Farm during the festival and that, as an agriculturist by training, it was interesting to see farming as it is now without chemicals and he learnt a few things.

Beach access ways at Umina and Ocean Beaches were underway with sand scraping and dune stabilisation, renewing fencing, weed control, foreshore nourishment, bush regeneration and a final sweep of the beaches to collect remaining debris from the recent weather event, he said.

Priority flood mitigation works at a creek and Everglades main drainage works at Woy Woy and Umina including sediment removal, bushland maintenance and weed control were also in hand.

Next financial year’s Operational Plan public exhibition period has closed and will come to the next meeting on June 29.

About 140 submissions came in.

Hart said he would have a fair bit to say about the past and present actions that have gone into the preparation of that document.

He then spoke about the public inquiry and said submissions close next Monday, June 21.

The public inquiry is looking into the financial woes that led to councillors being suspended in October last year.

Hart said he would encourage people to put in submissions, including staff who might want to put a submission in, and said Council has already put in documents to the inquiry which are available on the website if people want to have a look.

He presented the volunteer of the year awards, including to Gabrielle Greiner who was the Coast’s national volunteer of the year.

“Some people are phenomenal in what they do,” he said.

One He noted one volunteer, a 94-year-old, still out and about contributing.

Along with CEO David Farmer he attended a Central Coast economic breakfast meeting; it was the unanimous opinion of the speakers that the Central Coast is on a growth spurt and that is reflected in the population coming this way.

Hart also met with Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council to discuss further opportunities the Council might be able to pursue with them and to understand the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Council has with them.

He is working through the tranche three asset sales submissions and is going to check out the sites involved so he knows what they look like and what the issues are.

Hart noted that Council was highly commended for its Climate Change Adaptation Landform Design Study in the 2021 Floodplain Management Australia Project of the Year awards.

“Congratulations to the Floodplain Management Team and the Project Manager for this great project, Robert Barker and Council’s Flooding and Drainage Engineer for their work on this study and the teams who supported them,” Hart said.

“The Highly Commended Project, Davistown and Empire Bay Climate Change Adaptation Study, aimed to address climate change and issues of sea levels rise over the coming decades in these low-lying areas.

Merilyn Vale