Message from the Mayor: 15 March 2024

Published on 15 March 2024


Hello, I'm John Connors, the Mayor of the Dungog shire, bringing you this week's Mayoral Message.

During the week, there was some sad news with the death of a long-standing Council employee, Philip Gippel. He'd been with Council for 35 years and many Council employees and senior officers attended his funeral during the week. To his family and friends, we extend sincere sympathy.

The week also saw some progress being made to the Clarence Town Bridge. During the week a Project Control Group was established, which is the first step towards some serious action concerning the construction of the new bridge.

There's a Council meeting on Wednesday of next week and at that meeting, amongst other things, will be the Hooke Street Dungog Master Plan. It will come before Council for adoption after being on exhibition and some submissions having been made, and it will be for Council to consider those submissions in the adoption of the plan.

The Electoral Commission of New South Wales this week called senior staff to attend a webinar in preparation for the forthcoming elections, forthcoming being September of this year. That is a clear indication that the elections are getting close and that we all should consider what we want to do, whether we want to be part of the next Council for the next four years. I urge members of the community to think seriously about putting their hand up and becoming a member of the next Council.

The proceedings commenced by Daracon challenging the decision of the Independent Planning Commission to refuse the development application for Martins Creek Quarry has the first step in that process next week. That step is a compulsory Conciliation Conference, which is being held at Tocal on Thursday next week. The conference will allow the registered objectors to make their submissions to the Commissioner of the court who's hearing the matter. And it also provides the forum for there to be an airing of the issues between the parties, that is Daracon, Dungog Shire Council and Maitland City Council, and for there to be an agreement concerning any issues that are capable of resolution.

Following that conference, assuming there is no resolution of the substantive matter, it will then be set down for a hearing before the court. Dungog Council’s position is unchanged in that it opposes haulage of material from the Quarry by road apart from local deliveries. Council's position is that all materials should be moved by rail, with there being a rail siding into the Quarry, and to move it by road through the village of Paterson is unacceptable. And this, of course, is in accordance with the findings of the Independent Planning Commission. So in effect, Council is seeking to support the decision of the Independent Planning Commission and will ultimately urge the Commissioner to uphold that decision.

That brings me almost to an end apart from roadworks.  The detours in Dungog town, due to the works at the intersection of Mary and Dowling Streets will continue throughout the upcoming week. At Clarence Town, Queen Street will be closed between Rifle and Grey Streets from Monday the 18th March for the duration of the rehabilitation works being carried out in that street. Once those works are completed, it's intended to construct the footpath along Queen Street to the sporting complex and then down to the pool. At East Gresford, works on Durham Road continue with the anticipated completion of those works, completed in that there will be a seal on the road before Easter, and those works are on schedule for that to occur.

That brings me to a conclusion this week, so until next week, good luck and goodbye.


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