Message from the Mayor: 19 April 2024

Published on 19 April 2024


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

During the week there's been much comment around Martins Creek Quarry in two respects. Firstly, what's happening with the appeal lodged by the Daracon interests, and secondly, as to the proposed sale of the land. As to the appeal, that is still with the Land and Environment Court and it's still in the mandatory process under Section 34 of the Act.

The commissioner initially commenced that process at Tocal and then it has continued with the parties being required to negotiate and file documents. There's been no outcome and the process continues. Council’s position is unchanged, that anything other than transport of the majority of the material by rail is not acceptable.

As to the sale of the property, my knowledge is that that's in the public domain, which appeared in the Newcastle Herald. The owner of the quarry, who is distinct from the operator of the quarry, has placed the quarry on the market and it goes to auction next month.

There is probably very little that can be read into that, in that it’s the owner of the quarry selling it and it's being sold subject to a lease to the operator until 2037, so it's not the operator doing something amid the appeal process. It's the owner of the land, that’s distinct from the operator, and they're selling or they're offering to sell the quarry subject to the lease to the current operator.

At 3pm, next Wednesday the 24th of April, there'll be a function at the Visitors Information Centre in Dungog. The function is to celebrate the works that have been carried out as a result of a State Government grant to upgrade the Visitor Information Centre. These funds were obtained by Dungog Regional Tourism and the event is to acknowledge the government's contribution and to celebrate the completion of those works and much needed upgrades to the Visitor Information Centre which had previously had very little attention over a long period of time. So all are welcome to come along next Wednesday 24th April, at 3pm.

Council held its monthly meeting on Wednesday of this week. At that meeting, there were a couple of significant items dealt with, one of which was the adoption of the Master Plan for the development of the land down there by Hooke Street, Lord Street and Brown Street.

The next step in that process is funding to be available to facilitate the implementation of that plan. Some bits will probably be carried out initially by Council and then the bulk of it will require assistance from government grants and external funding. But at least we're past the first step, the plan is adopted and it's now to be implemented which will occur over time.

Also on Wednesday night the General Manager, Gareth Curtis, had his contract of appointment renewed for a period of five years from the 30th of June. So we now know that we hopefully have the General Manager for another five years. I think that shows the Council's confidence in what is being done by him at the moment and over the period he's been here.

The regular ‘Meet the Mayor’ sessions will occur again during the months of May in July.

In addition to that, I will make myself available at the Council Chambers Dungog, the Brown Street entrance, from 9.30am to 1pm each Monday during the month of May. So if you have any issues you'd like to discuss, any topic relevant to the shire, feel free to come and see me and discuss it at the Council Chamber between 930 and 1pm on Mondays during the month of May. I look forward to seeing as many people as possible who wish to make comment or raise any issues. That's the time and the opportunity to do it. Following that they'll also be the normal Meet the Mayor sessions moving around the villages throughout the shire.

Roadworks continue and there’s some disruption to travel in some places. Durham Rd continues with traffic lights in operation. The intersection of Dowling and Mary Streets in Dungog has a detour in place but those works should be completed hopefully in the coming week, weather permitting.

And to everybody's pleasure work will commence this coming week on Stroud Hill Road. Again there'll be traffic control in place on that road and those works will be going on for some time. Queen Street in Clarence Town, the works continue and again, there's a detour in place to go around those roadworks.

So there's still plenty happening. There's still plenty of money to be expended on the works program. It's just a matter of the works being able to be undertaken in a progressive and proper manner. But week after week the works continue and I appreciate that there'll be some inconvenience to road users, while those roadworks are carried out, but unfortunately, that's an inevitable burden to pay for a good outcome.

Just a reminder also about the upcoming Clarence Town Bridge Community Meeting scheduled for Monday 29th April at the Clarence Town School of Arts Hall. There will be three separate presentations held throughout the evening to allow residents to come at a time that suits them. Presentations will take place at 4.30pm, 5.30pm and 6.30pm. There will be time after each session for Q&A’s. Please come along if you can and hear more about this very significant project.

Until next week, that's it for me. So good luck and goodbye.


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