Message from the Mayor: 14 April 2023

Published on 14 April 2023

Hello, I'm John Connors, the mayor of the Dungog Shire, bringing you this week's mayoral message. 

Last weekend, being Easter, saw a very large number of tourists come to Dungog Shire, which was gratifying and a great relief and benefit for the business owners throughout the shire. The major events that were on, the Dungog Rodeo on Saturday night, saw a crowd of in excess of 6000 people. I’m told the final number is yet to be determined, but certainly it's in excess of 6000 people which is a record crowd. And it was a fantastic event so, they are to be congratulated for their efforts, and they've certainly been rewarded by the outcome.  

At Gresford, again on Saturday but during the day, was the Billy Cart Derby and reports are that there were about 3000 people in attendance in Park Street for the Billy Cart Derby and the associated activities, again, a resounding success. And it's the rebirth of the Billy Cart Derby after years of hiatus due to COVID and the like. So again, a great reward for those with the tenacity to hang in there and get operating again, so congratulations to them.  

Whilst at Gresford, the Gresford murals have started to be painted and the mural on the side of the butcher shop is very, very worth looking at. It's quite amazing. So, pass through Gresford, stop and look at the murals, the growing number of murals but the one that's outstanding and completed at the moment is the one on the side of the butcher shop in Park Street.  

As I mentioned, a large number of people were in the shire over Easter to the extent where, information given to me, is all the campsites in the forests and the national parks were fully occupied to the point where people couldn't get a campsite and ended up returning into Dungog and getting accommodation in the town. That accommodation was also limited because of the number of people that were around so again, very gratifying result for all the tourists, operators and food outlets throughout the shire.  

The never-ending task of Bingleburra Road, goes on, the saga continues. The works have stopped for the moment, but will recommence in May. Apparently, there's additional work that's required to be done and the contractors are waiting on further materials to enable them to carry out those works. So, in the meantime, they have left the site and they'll be back, I’m told in May. So, there seems to be some time to go yet on the works there.  

Roadworks in Hooke Street in Dungog are continuing at the top end of Hooke Street from Moore Street down to Common Road. So, they're slowly moving on.  

The James Theatre in Dungog is showing movies this weekend on 4 o'clock on Saturday and again at 7pm on Saturday night, and on the following weekend. And then there's live music, I think on 27 April. So, I encourage you to look at the James Theatre website for full details of the movie and general program that's coming up at the theatre. It's a great venue and it really is worthy of the community's support. So please, avail yourself of the information on the James Theatre website.  

Next Wednesday is the monthly council meeting. There are a limited number of matters on the agenda at this stage. Some planning methods, but there is of course the Brimble Rail development application at Hilldale which is back before Council next week. The applicant was given until midday today to file such additional information as it wished to and then a further report will be furnished to Council by the Council officers. And the matter will receive further consideration by the Council in the light of the contents of that report and the material that might be furnished by the applicant. And that of course is unknown at the moment.  

When the matter comes back before Council it will have to of course be considered by the Councillors in accordance with the relevant legislation. Planning matters, like any other decision that the Council makes, are not a carte blanche attack by Councillors or the community. The procedure is indeed limited. The matters to be taken into consideration are detailed in the legislation and Council is obligated to follow the terms of the legislation. That doesn't always result in the outcome that some members of the community or some applicants might like. But for better or for worse, there has to be a standard and that standard is established by the legislation as is the method of determination and that's what Council is obliged to follow. And that produces the result whatever that result might end up being. 

So, with those comments, I think that's it from me until next week, so until then, good luck. Goodbye. 

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