Message from the Mayor: 16 February 2024

Published on 16 February 2024


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

Next Wednesday evening sees the first council meeting of 2024. The meeting will be live-streamed on Facebook. And of course, the community is welcome to come and sit in the gallery throughout the public part of the meeting.

The bulky waste collection has suffered some delays, and this is in the hands of the contractors. Unfortunately, for better or worse, Council has no control over that. It's been delayed for a further two weeks. So, it'll be late February, perhaps even into March before all items are collected. And that includes the white goods and E-waste which will be collected after the bulk of the waste has been collected. So please be patient. It is happening, but it's in the hands of the contractors. If you have any issues concerning the pickup, please contact the contractor JR Richards. There are further details of the delay on Council's Facebook page and Council's website and you'll see greater detail there.

This month and then into the first day of March sees the return of the ‘Meet the Mayo’r sessions. Meet the Mayor sessions start on the 23rd of February, on the Friday after the Council Meeting. The first of those will be at Dungog at the Council Chambers and they are all from 4pm to 6pm.

Then on Monday the 26th of February at the Beatty Hotel at East Gresford,  the 27th of February at the Vacy General Store, and the 29th of February at Paterson at Tucker Park, at the BBQ area. Finally the last of this round is on Friday, the 1st of March at the Clarence Town School of Arts.

I encourage any members of the community who have issues they'd like to raise personally with me, to feel free to come along and tell me your problem. If I can't answer it, which is most likely the case, I'll certainly take it on board and have the responsible Council Officer deal with it and get back to you as quickly as possible. So I emphasise feel free to come along, ask questions and tell me what your concerns are at one or more of those sessions.

The ongoing roadworks at Durham Road at East Gresford are a cause of concern, certainly for those in Durham Road and those who use Durham Road regularly.

There have been unfortunate delays as a result of geotechnical issues which the Council was unaware of initially, as were the contractors. All the geotechnical surveys have been carried out on behalf of Council by contractors, by expert geotechnical operators, but unfortunately, it's not always possible to see what's under the ground. Testing is done but can only be done in so many places.

So in this instance, I understand some issues arose concerning the sub-base material, and that resulted in drainage issues, issues which had to be rectified to ensure that the road when built would be durable.

So those works have been carried out on one side of the road and now they're on the other side and progressing. Council is in constant consultation with the contractors who are carrying out these roadworks. Council isn’t carrying them out, Council has contracted the works and is in discussions with the contractors to try and expedite the works and bring them to a conclusion as quickly as possible.

The current timetable is that the works will be sealed before Easter and before the Billy Cart Derby in East Gresford.  And then the next stage of the works, that is from the top of the current works to the top of the hill, an additional 300 meters, will then commence after that date and will take about three months to complete. I know there are rumors around that Council is not going to carry out the work to the top of the hill. Those rumors are incorrect. It's Council's intention to carry out the works to the top of the hill as originally planned.

So please just bear with Council. We are dealing with the contractors trying to get the issues resolved and the works carried out as quickly as possible.

During the week, a letter was received from the office of the Minister for Regional Roads and Infrastructure, Jenny Aitchison, a letter that dealt with in particular the Clarence Town Bridge, the Brig O’Johnston Bridge, and it’s replacement. The letter was indeed very supportive of Council’s submissions and for the replacement of the bridge.

Unfortunately, the letter doesn't enclose a check. But it does portray a very positive approach from the Minister and I'm left with confidence that there will be a beneficial outcome. Although I think we have to be a little patient. The federal government is insisting that the state government match its contribution on a 50/50 basis which is a change from the prior arrangements where it was an 80/20 split, not a 50/50 split. So that's an issue between the state government and the federal government. Regrettably, this bridge is caught amid that issue. However, we're all looking for ways around it. and I'm confident that a solution will be found. Hopefully soon.

That brings us to an end this week. So until next week, good luck and goodbye.


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