22 July Ordinary Council Meeting notes

Published: 22 Jul 2019 3:17pm

Council paves way for new cycleway

A new $12.8M cycleway network in Wagga has been given approval by Council to proceed towards construction.

Council has signed a funding deed from the NSW Government for the implementation of the Wagga Wagga Active Travel Plan which includes more than 50km of cycling routes across the city.

Council conducted intensive community engagement activities which assisted in developing the proposed links.

The NSW Governments Cycling Infrastructure Fund will contribute $11,352,600 to the cost with the remaining $1,454,391 to be funded from developer contributions.

Specialist staff resourcing strategy for Wagga

Wagga Wagga City Council will soon have a presence in Sydney in a bid to attract specialist staff after approval to establish an office in the city was endorsed by Councillors.

A report to Council outlined the significant challenges faced in recruiting specialist staff, particularly in the infrastructure and project delivery areas.

Council will now enter into a lease with Property NSW for 1 Prince Albert Road, Sydney. The leased area will be shared with the NSW Government Special Activation Precinct team and other local government authorities.

Climate emergency rescission motion

A rescission motion against climate change being treated as a national emergency in Wagga Wagga was successful at the 22 July Ordinary Council Meeting.

The notice of rescission was lodged after Council voted in favour of recognising that climate change poses a serious risk to the people of Wagga Wagga at its 8 July meeting.

The 22 July rescission motion states that Council continues its proactive approach to environmental sustainability through a number of activities which are already being undertaken or investigated.

It also recommends to consult with the community during its forthcoming review of the Community Strategic Plan (CSP) with a view to identifying community expectations in regards to climate change actions and including appropriate actions and aims in the revised plan.

Local projects funded through annual grants

More than $208,000 in Council’s Annual Grants Program has been allocated to various community projects and initiatives, including a $4000 grant to restore the 2WG flashing sign above the building at 14-20 Fitzmaurice Street.

A total of 85 applications were received in the 2019/20 program. Of those 57 are recommended to be fully or partially funded. It is noted that 52% were new applicants to the program and seven out of the 11 applications to the new Small Business category.

The program consists of eight grant categories: Community Health and Wellbeing, Connected Rural and Urban Communities, Arts and Culture, Local Heritage, Events, Natural Environment, Youth Led Initiatives and a new category for 2019/20, Small Business.

Restricted premises approved in main street

A Wagga main street business has been approved as a restricted premises, retailing in adult products and publications.

The premises at 190 Baylis Street was approved for a change of use, subject to conditions in an assessment report. The development application also includes window and awning signage.

Council to seek approval for water credits

Council will approach the State Government “as a matter of urgency” to seek approval for credits on treated water that is returned to the Murrumbidgee River from its sewer treatment plants.

The volume of water credits could then be recovered from the river for untreated water uses which would be determined at a later date if successful.

Council will receive a report at a Council meeting in September 2019.

New members join crime prevention group

Four community members have been appointed to the city’s Crime Prevention Working Group.

Council has agreed to a recommendation to appoint Justin Busuttil, Saba Nabi, Kat van der Wijngaart and Thomas Gardiner as the under 25 years member.

Members will provide Council with advice on emerging crime trends and prevention issues, identify strategic priorities or issues in relation to crime prevention and provide feedback on the implementation of Council’s Crime Prevention Plan 2021.

Lighting upgrade at Civic Centre sites

The first works in Council’s Energy Savings Project to upgrade lighting at various Civic Centre precinct sites is moving forward.

Council has accepted AC Electrics Pty Ltd’s offer to complete the works which includes LED lighting upgrades at sites including the art gallery, glass gallery, library and Historic Council Chambers.

The purpose of this work is to transition to superior energy efficient lighting to reduce power consumption and maintenance costs and upgrade old lighting systems to improve capacity and ambiance.

Studies identified Council can expect to save approximately $41,348 worth of energy annually and $15,039 of operating expenditure annually, which is a total of $56,397 annual savings.

Negotiations start for Eunony Bridge upgrade

Council will enter into negotiations towards securing a contract for the strengthening and widening of Eunony Bridge.

It was resolved to decline all tenders and proceed to negotiations, and to receive a further report detailing the outcome of those negotiations which are expected to produce a satisfactory offer.

The re-tender was successful with two out of three tenders below budget. Alternative designs were put forward and Council is confident of a successful outcome to a negotiation with one of the tenderers.

New campaign to target DFV prevention

Wagga’s DVproject:2650 equity and respect promotional campaign will now turn its focus to Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) prevention.

Council has approved for a new community-wide campaign to be developed by Dutch Media.

Wagga’s DFV rates are 29.4% higher than the NSW average. It has increased by 40% in the last five years. All efforts to address DFV in Wagga to date have focused on crisis response and early intervention, rather than prevention.

Wagga Women’s Health Centre last year received funding from the NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Innovation Fund to implement a Gender Equity Project. Council is leading the primary prevention program.

Strong investment portfolio

Council received the 30 June 2019 investment report which detailed external investments and performance.

Council’s investment portfolio continues to have a higher than anticipated investment balance and continues to produce strong portfolio returns in this low interest environment.

Capital works budget approved

Council has approved the proposed 2018-19 capital and operating project budget revotes and works in progress, and its revised 2019/20 budget.

The proposed capital works program 2019/20 total is $81.7M which includes $76.73M in adopted capital works budget and $4.98M in Works in Progress transfers.

Communications infrastructure upgrade

Council’s communications infrastructure has been approved for an upgrade following successful negotiations with On-Line Communications Systems Pty Ltd.

The contract will include the upgrade and consolidation of the Unify 4000 system, ongoing maintenance and support for three years.

The upgrade is to ensure Council’s telephone system is keeping pace with technological advancements in communications systems.

Event signage policy endorsed

Council has adopted the Temporary Event Signage Policy which endorses the design and eight permanent locations for event signage across the city.

The policy was on public exhibition for 28 days in May with no submissions received.

Delegations policy approved

Council’s Delegations Policy has been approved to go on public exhibition before a further report is received addressing amendments to the policy.

Council has undertaken a complete review of all delegations. The aim of the review was to ensure appropriate officers have been provided with the level of authority necessary to discharge their responsibilities and to ensure delegations are clear, consistent and lawful.

Lease and licence agreements

Council will begin negotiations with a number of local sporting and community groups to renew lease and licence agreements.

Council has a portfolio of approximately 85 community, cultural and sporting association lease and licence agreements.