Minutes of General Meeting – March 5, 2015

Northbridge Progress Association Inc.

Minutes of General Meeting held at Northbridge Golf Club on Thursday 5th March 2015 commencing at 7: 45pm

As per attendance book (20 signed in members and approximately 10 not signed in, plus 10 visitors)
Guests of Honour
Cr Gail Giles-Gidney, Mayor of Willoughby City
Ms Debra Just, General Manager of Willoughby City Council
The Chairman noted that a quorum was present.
Cr Rachel Hill, Cr John Hooper, Marion Feibush, Angelos Frangopoulos, Peter McLachlan, Simon Craddock, Katie Geeves, Michelle Thew, Adrian Cachia

Suspension of Standing Orders for Guest Speakers

Rob Coote, Chair, welcomed the two guest speakers for the evening, Mayor of Willoughby, Councillor Gail Giles Gidney and the newly appointed WCC General Manager, Ms Debra Just. He invited them to address the meeting, and noted that
Cr Gail Giles Gidney was previously our Sailors Bay Ward Council representative for more than four years, having been elected to Council in 2009 before being elected as Mayor in April 2014; and
Ms Just comes to WCC with over 30 years’ experience in Local and State Government and educational environments.
Guest Speaker
Councillor Gail Giles Gidney (Mayor)
  • Acknowledged the hard working NPA Committee and other members of the community, and thanked everyone for making Northbridge so liveable.
  • Noted the resignation of the previous General Manager, after 7 years of service, came at an interesting time, considering potential Council amalgamations and the proposed infrastructure levy implementation.
  • WCC engaged a recruitment consultant who specialised in local government to identify General Manager candidates. There were 75 applications, all of a very high calibre, which were narrowed to a final 8.
  • Ms Just stood out from the start and had evidently well research our community in preparing her application. She had demonstrated experience in working with local government, a focus on sustainability along with experience with amalgamations.
  • After a shortlist of 3 candidates was presented to Council, an Extra-ordinary General Meeting appointed Ms Just unanimously.
  • Cr Giles Gidney welcomed Ms Just again.
Guest Speaker –
Ms Debra Just, WCC General Manager
  • Noted she had only been here less than 5 weeks and as a novice to the area, wished to explain why she came to Willoughby. Explained she had spent a family holiday in the area 12 years ago and was impressed by the natural setting and assets of Willoughby.
  • Noted she found Northbridge was in a glorious setting and offered a high degree of accessibility to all.
  • Noted sustainability as her passion and the impressive statistics in the WCC sustainability plan. She mentioned water conservation as an area for improvement but found the bush care record impressive
  • Mentioned that Willoughby has employment generators in its own right, there being no need to commute to Sydney CBD. This bodes well for our youth and entry-level employees in the future.
  • Noted the sense of community evident in Willoughby including the Men’s Shed, the Progress Associations, other cultural activities, and the Library in the Concourse. She described the Concourse as a civic heart in a diverse population.
  • Advised she had spoken to local government authorities in Adelaide, who all agreed WCC was reputable. Willoughby portrays as an area where services are readily available. She noted her background in change environments, so the fact that WCC is facing potential amalgamations and change was appealing.
  • She noted her understanding of the main priorities:
    1.Responsibility for managing the WCC Corporation and wants speedy and consistent responses;
    2.Given travel times to work and access to affordable housing locally being prohibitive, to ensure retention of staff at WCC;
    3.Managing public funds with transparent and accountable spending, with a focus on value;
    4.Addressing density – balancing living affordability, travel costs, lost time in terms of commute congestion;
    5.Infrastructure – e.g., school capacity and transport;
    6.Capacity to pay – noted Willoughby has a relatively privileged position, but an ageing population increases the fiscal pressure.
    7.Growing the WCC strategic capacity to represent local issues to State and Federal Government (focus on this through amalgamations).
  • In response to a question regarding amalgamations, she noted that a report addressing Council’s options in response to ‘Fit for the Future’ was expected.
  • In response to a question regarding the balance between sustainability and density, and when amenity starts to suffer, she agreed there was no simple answer. Noted that most of Willoughby will continue as spacious residential areas but certain key spots will see densification continue.
  • In response to a question addressing whether it was necessary for Council to continue to own all of the services/resources it required and her experience regarding shared resources it was noted that Council is already sharing a lot of resources e.g.,. joint tendering but the next step is to formalise these arrangements.
  • In response to a question regarding the carbon footprint locally it was noted that that WCC has a solar farm and measures are in place to reduce the carbon footprint.
    Further updates / Q&A
  • Golf balls on Northbridge Oval – Cr Gail Giles Gidney noted that the issue had recently gained momentum – tees have not changed, but the number of balls has increased. This may be explained by an increase in membership and increase in golf technology. There have been 144 balls in the past 12 months. The WCC is playing the role of mediator, as it leases the land to the Golf Club but is very concerned about the issue. A meeting was held last week, which saw a proactive and serious approach from the Golf Club. A short term fix to move the first tee and impose time restrictions on the use of the tee will be implemented. A long-term solution may be to reconfigure the tee or improve the current netting strung from Telstra and Optus poles. There is a stakeholder email group set up. The hard work of Cr Hill was acknowledged.
  • Bonds Corner Playground – noted this is included in the 2015/16 priority improvement program. Cr Gail Giles Gidney acknowledged the 3 ward councillors who work so hard.
  • Car park adjacent to Northbridge Plaza – Cr Gail Giles Gidney noted there was a meeting with Woolworths and AMP management in December. Woolworths proposed some suggestions but are not prepared to contribute funds. AMP is also keen to find a resolution. WCC acknowledge a high density development is not appropriate and note the LEP allows a 4 storey development.
  • Northbridge Baths – a long saga with a number of meetings and commitment to change not handled in a timely fashion. Cr Gail Giles Gidney assured that WCC are working hard to address this.
  • AW Edwards building DA – Cr Gail Giles Gidney noted a DA to increase height.
  • Skate park petition – Cr Gail Giles Gidney noted a petition was tabled from Ben, aged 9, identifying potential sites and why it was required.

General Meeting opened at 8.35 pm

Approval of Minutes
No confirmation of Minutes of the General Meeting held on 4th September 2014 as they were approved at the AGM on 26th November 2014.
The minutes of the AGM for 2014 are currently available on the NPA website and will be officially read and confirmed at the AGM in November 2015.

Ward Councillor’s Reports

Councillor Hugh Erikson

  • Congratulated Peter McNair on receiving the Citizen of the Year Award for his tireless work.
  • Boat parking at Tunks Park – Acknowledged Cr Hill’s work in achieving a restriction on boat parking at Upper Cliff via a 1 year trial to be extended if successful.
  • Restricted parking schemes – Advised his support for restricted parking schemes, which would alleviate problems with builder and tradesman parking during business hours.
  • AW Edwards Building DA – would raise the building to 5 levels. Rob Coote advised the NPA assert they were not adequately notified. After some discussion, noted that Councillors are doing a site visit and it was agreed that the process must be adhered to, with proper time frames. Cr Erikson noted that if the feeling is that it is rushed, then the process will slow down as it is a substantial proposal. It was acknowledged that as the 5th storey is a substantial non-compliance, it may set a precedent, and therefore more time is required to consider the matter fully. The issue of view loss was also raised. It was noted that the NPA fought hard to limit the LEP to 3 storeys and the LEP allows 4. The question was raised as to the point of the LEP if it is not adhered to. Cr Erikson agreed that the 4 storey limit should be adhered to with respect to any development at the car park adjacent to Northbridge Plaza and along Easter Valley Way, although LEPs are guides and there is always exception, along with potential review by the Land and Environment Court. He noted there may be more DA’s in early stages asking for 5 storeys too.
  • Construction traffic – in response to a question regarding heavy vehicle traffic, Cr Erikson reiterated the traffic is monitored.

Community Update

  • NSW State Election – 28th March 2015
  • Meet the State Election Candidates forum – 19th March, Doherty Centre
  • Community Building Partnership Grant – for War Memorial Clock – thanked WCC for their assistance. NPA wants to improve lighting and surrounding paving, and want to avoid inconvenience to residents and passing traffic. The efforts of Peter McNair were acknowledged.
  • DA 2014/419 147-151 Sailors Bay Road (Orana) – changes to be investigated and NPA response
  • AW Edwards Building – extra storey (as per discussion with Cr Erikson above)
  • Kameruka Rd traffic – noted there is growing community concern over vehicle speeds and safety of pedestrian traffic in local streets, especially Kameruka Rd and Strathallen Ave
  • Skate Park Petition – noted a petition for a skate park in Northbridge had been presented to WCC
  • Cammeraygal High School – noted does not include Northbridge. Noted that it is likely minimal students are affected. Lobbying State Government encouraged.

General Business

  • Bowling Club – Cr Gail Giles Gidney confirmed to cease operation at end of 2015 and area reverts back to WCC. Noted Cr Hill is keen to establish a child care facility/pre-school there but it is a natural amphitheatre. Currently in master planning phase.
  • Archives of Northbridge – suggested space be made available at the Northbridge Library or it be considered in any Bowling Club development.
  • Northbridge Quilters – Margaret Blackman has advised that the club will not continue operation.
  • The recent passing of the NPA Treasurer, Mr Linden Gulson – was noted.
  • DA 2015/7 164-176 Sailors Bay Road Nursing home (Pathways) – three additional bedrooms believed to be on level 2. Rob Coote has met with the Director of Nursing. To be clarified and considered.
  • Pam Clifford’s book – congratulations. Pam encouraged anyone interested in forming a local history club (Northbridge History Society) to contact her.
Next meeting
The Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 4th June 2015 at 7.45 pm in the Northbridge Golf Club.

Meeting Closed at 9:17 PM

Chairman: ………………………………………. Date: ………………………..

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