Message from the Mayor: 8 December 2023

Published on 08 December 2023


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

As I mentioned previously, the Waste Depot in Dungog will be closed on the 13th of December between 9am and 1pm.  The closure is out of Council's hands, it's due to Essential Energy doing upgrade works and there'll be no electricity available.  The depot can't operate without electricity. Obviously, the weighbridge and the payment system all require electricity so as a result, it will have to be closed between 9am and 1pm on the 13th December.

But on the other side of the coin, the library in Dungog is now open and fully functional after the closure due to the storm damage a week or so ago. Fortunately, the damage was not significant and only resulted in the carpets in a small area having to be dried out. There had to be some repairs to tiles on the old section of the building and some other remediation works with guttering and shielding to be carried out, but the good news is it's open and fully operational.

During the week, there have unfortunately been some unexpected delays on the approaches to the two bridges on Main Creek. Council apologises to those that were inconvenienced as a result of the extensive delays that ultimately occurred. There will regrettably be further delays during the coming week as sealing of the approaches to those two bridges is to take place on the 12th December. So, again, apologies but the end result will be worth the inconvenience along the way.

The last Council meeting of the year will take place next Wednesday night at 6pm. And if you don't wish to come to Dungog and sit in the gallery, then you can watch the proceedings on Facebook as they'll be live-streamed from 6pm. The next meeting after that will not be until February as there’s no meeting in January. So after next week's council meeting, the next meeting will be on the third Wednesday of February 2024.

I’ve mentioned previously of the appeal that's been lodged by the operators of Martins Creek Quarry. As you will recall, Martins Creek Quarry operators made application for development consent to expand the operations of the quarry and to do all those things that they've previously been doing but which the Court held to be unlawful. The application was dealt with not by Council, but by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC). The Independent Planning Commission refused development consent to the application and the operators have now appealed the decision of the IPC to the Land and Environment Court. In those proceedings, Council being an objector before the IPC, has sought to be joined as a party and leave has been granted for that to occur. But Council is no more than an objector in the proceedings. It's now a party, but it's in the form of being an objector, not the first responder, that's the role of the Independent Planning Commission.

There's been some confusion around this as there are a large number of objectors before the IPC. And all of those objectives get a right to be heard in the proceedings, heard in a somewhat informal way, either before the compulsory conference under Section 34 of the Act or before the hearing commences. It would be anticipated that they'd be heard somewhere in the vicinity of Patterson. It's a matter for the IPC as the consent authority to organise the objectors and to give them the facility to be heard when the time comes. It's not, in this instance, a matter for Council, it's outside Council’s control. Even though Council has been joined as a party, that role still remains with the consent authority, that is the IPC.

So Council will be in the proceedings as a party, and will be maintaining the position it held before the Independent Planning Commission and seeking to have the IPC’s decision upheld.

I think apart from an update on the road works, we're nearly at the end. The works in Durham Road at East Gresford continue. There's been a delay but I'm told they're back on track now, but they will of course, not be completed this side of Christmas. And similarly, on Glen Martin Rd the road works there should be sealed this coming week.

Within Dungog, the parking area at Bennetts Park has had its seal applied, and the finishing touches are almost complete. The car park should be open and ready for use in the very near future.

The bridge works of course continue throughout the shire with the intent of having all the timber bridges completed by April 2024.

So until next week, good luck and goodbye.


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