Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Council meeting 19 May 2009

The two meetings tonight covered 24 different items, including:
  • Cycling
  • Our Laman St trees
  • The Bullock Island rail corridor
  • The "standard" LEP
  • The regional museum
  • Code of conduct reports

  • Cycling

    Despite the elected Council resolving to establish a Newcastle Cycling Committee to help Council develop and implement a cycling strategy (see my earlier post), staff brought a draft updated Bike Plan to the elected Council for exhibition.

    Council resolved the following:
1 That a Cycling Working Party be established as a working party of the Newcastle Environmental Advisory Panel (NEAP), incorporating the Terms of Reference and Membership set out in Council’s NOM 17/02/09 – “A Newcastle Cycling Strategy and Action Plan”.

2 That the draft Newcastle Bike Plan 2009 be referred to the Cycling Working Party for consideration within the context of establishing a Newcastle Cycleway Strategy, and the feedback generated by the Cycling Working Party be provided to Council via Council's committee system.

Resolved: Councillors M Osborne/ G Boyd

Our Laman Street Trees

Staff brought a report to the elected Council to remove and replace the street trees in Laman Street from Darby Street to Dawson Street, without any benchmarks comparing the level of public risk.

For example, how does the public risk from the trees compare to the risk from crossing the road?.

The axe was postponed with the following Council resolution:

1 Council notes the 3-page officer’s report dated 15 May 2009, including that the “trees have been assessed as having a remaining life expectancy of between 5 and 15 years”

2 Council receive an appropriately phased replacement strategy for the individual trees, including costed options that
a Recognise the value that the mature trees bring to Laman Street
b Preserve the canopy cover and landscape qualities of Laman Street
c Investigate a range of risk management approaches with the view to retaining the trees for as long as practicably possible
d Notes the benefit of staggering the cost over a number of years
e Commence growing the replacement trees

Resolved: Councillors M Osborne/ N Nelmes

Bullock Island rail corridor

Council considered a report to correct a number of mapping anomalies/ discrepancies, drafting errors and miscellaneous clause amendments to the Newcastle City Centre LEP 2008.

These included a slight boundary adjustment to the Bullock Island rail corridor to ensure that the possible future transport corridor is primarily located on State Rail Property.

Councillor Buman moved not to have the adjustments made to the gazetted "possible future transport corridor", leaving the incorrect boundaries in place!

Fortunately, Council resolved the following:

A It is recommended that Council resolve to adopt the draft Local Environmental Plan (draft LEP) (Attachment A), to correct a number of mapping anomalies/discrepancies, drafting errors and miscellaneous clause amendments to Newcastle City Centre LEP 2008 and advise the Director-General, Department of Planning in accordance with sections 68 and 69 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, 1979 (the Act).

B Council receive a briefing on the transport corridor and its impact once Council's Transport Study is completed. The impact on residents of Gordon Avenue be addressed at the briefing.

Resolved: Councillor M Osborne/ N Nelmes

The "standard" LEP

Council has been directed by the Department of Planning to convert our existing Local Environment Plan (LEP) into a "standard" "one size fits all" LEP by March 2011. Council staff brought forward a report to obtain a formal Council resolution.

Council resolved the following:

1 Council resolve to:
a prepare a draft comprehensive Local Environment Plan (LEP) in accordance with the standard instrument for LEPs and notify the Director-General of its decision pursuant to sections 54(1) and (2) of the Act;

b fast-track the finalisation of
(i) The Residential Development Strategy
(ii) The Commercial Space Audit
(iii) The Newcastle Industrial Lands Analysis
for inclusion in the draft comprehensive LEP

c report the draft comprehensive LEP to Council following section 62 consultations and prior to being placed on public exhibition; and

2 Council convey its concern to the NSW Premier, the Minister for Planning and the Minister for the Hunter in relation to the state government’s requirement for council to adopt a template LEP and the associated loss of capacity for council to adapt its key strategic land use planning instrument to Newcastle’s special needs and circumstances.

3 Council receive a public briefing from relevant council officers and Department of Planning representatives in relation to the implications of this requirement for council’s LEP.

Resolved: Councillors M Osborne/ G Boyd

The regional museum

Council staff sought endorsement from the elected Council for the proposed Museum Redevelopment budget. Council made it clear that the staff were not to blow the budget or continue to come back to Council for more money. The 2003 estimates suggested a range of best and worst case figures of $13.437 million to $16.498 million (2003 dollars), while the current budget is $23.53 million - a shameful increase. Ratepayers total contribution is $8,296,000.

The resolution was:

A Council endorse the income and expenditure budget as outlined at the Council in the Financial Impact section of this report.

B Council authorise Council officers to seek tenders to undertake the work package outlined in the pre-tender documents which were the subject of independent analysis and provided to Councillors on 28 April 2009.

C Council nominates Councillors M King, B Cook and M Jackson to serve on a Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the Museum Redevelopment project.

D Council resolves that Council's contribution to the budgeted amount of $23,530,000.00 is absolute and shall not be exceeded.

Resolved: Councillors A Buman/ M Osborne

Code of Conduct report #1

Two allegations were reviewed by Sole Reviewer Ms Kath Roach in relation to Councillor King’s failure to appropriately disclose and manage a conflict of interests, in particular, his friendship with Mr Mitchell, an employee of an applicant for a development application.

The full report is here.

Council accepted the recommendations of the Code of Conduct reviewer and resolved to:

1 Council receive and note the contents of this report.

2 Council censure Councillor Michael King, the subject of these complaints for the matters raised in this report and in particular, for a breach of provisions 6.8; 7.2; 7.13 and 7.17(b) of the Newcastle City Council Code of Conduct, in relation to his failure to adequately manage and disclose a non pecuniary significant conflict of interests with Mr Mitchell, an employee of the applicant for DA07/1195.

Resolved: Councillors S Claydon/ G Boyd

Code of Conduct report #2

Councillors Luke and Buman made allegations against me regarding my friendship with Mr Sutton, who spoke against a proposed industrial development in Tighes Hill. The allegations were reviewed by Sole Reviewer Ms Kath Roach.

The full report is here.

Council accepted the recommendations of the Code of Conduct reviewer and resolved to:

1 That Council receive and note the contents of this report.

2 That Council takes no action against Councillor Michael Osborne, the subject of these complaints.

Resolved: Councillors S Connell/ M Jackson

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