Dungog Shire Council Meeting - Highlights: 16 March 2022

Dungog Shire Council meets on the third Wednesday of every month from February – November, and on the second Wednesday of December. 

Meetings are livestreamed via council’s Facebook page facebook.com/dungogcouncil and meeting agendas and minutes can be found on council’s website dungog.nsw.gov.au
Please find following a selection of meeting highlights:
Dungog Shire Council has approved a development application for additions to the existing Dungog library building at 17 Mackay Street, Dungog.
This application follows council’s recommendation to proceed with the concept design at its October 2021 Council meeting, with the plans generally reflecting Option B, which will require the removal of the existing toilet block immediately west of the library. 
As part of this resolution, council has also identified funding for the installation of a new Accessible Amenities Facility in the Bruyn Park/Jubilee Park precinct, with the location to be determined following consultation with the community.
Further details on the library upgrade and preferred location options for the new accessible amenities facility can be found on council’s website, with feedback and submissions invited until 28 March 2022 via shirecouncil@dungog.nsw.gov.au or to 198 Dowling Street, DUNGOG NSW 2420. 
Working in conjunction with its member state and territory associations, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has developed a framework and resources for a national advocacy campaign that will run in the lead up to the Federal Election to be held in May 2022.
Dungog Shire Council has resolved to support ALGA’s national funding priorities, which will contribute an estimated $6.46B per year to Australia’s GDP and create 43,444 jobs. 
It has also agreed to support and participate in advocacy for ALGA’s endorsed national funding priorities by writing to the local MP’s, all known local election candidates, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association to:
a) express support for ALGA’s funding priorities; 
b) identify priority local projects and programs that could be progressed with additional financial assistance from the Federal Government being sought by ALGA; and
c) seek funding commitments from the members, candidates and their parties for these identified local projects and programs.
Following the 2015 flood event in Dungog Shire, which washed away Torryburn Bridge, a road was constructed to enable access for stranded residents and local enterprises. The road reserve exists through property owned by Mrs Pamela Edwards, and a dispute now exists between Mrs Edwards, her son and Dungog Shire Council, over the terms of the agreement for the construction of the road.
To raise attention to this dispute, Mr Edwards camped outside of council’s Administration Building from 24 January – 16 February 2022.
This matter was the subject of A Current Affair story on 11 March 2022, and the purpose of this Mayoral Minute is to address inaccuracies in this reporting.
During his encampment, several council representatives spoke with Mr Edwards, including the Mayor, General Manager and Manager for Corporate Services. A formal meeting was arranged, including legal representation for both parties, on 16 February 2022. 
Following the meeting, as instructed, council has repeatedly attempted to contact a surveyor nominated by Mr Edwards. 
Mr Edwards and his mother commenced legal proceedings against council on 5 March 2022, without any further reference to council.
As the matter is now under litigation, it is inappropriate for council to make any further comment at this time.  
Endorsement has been given to Dungog Shire Council’s submission on the draft Hunter Regional Plan and will be forwarded to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPIE). Councillors were briefed on the plan by DPIE’s Regional Director earlier this month. 
The Hunter Regional Plan is the 20-year strategic planning blueprint to ensure a sustainable future and ongoing prosperity for the Hunter region’s communities. DPIE is currently undertaking a 5-year review of the plan to extend its reach to 2041 and reset its priorities.
During February 2022, Dungog Shire Council undertook significant road and infrastructure construction and maintenance works across the shire. These works included: 
Road & Bridge Construction
  • Paterson River Road and Salisbury Road– Drainage, pavement and sealing works undertaken, with guardrail installation undertaken on Flat Tops Road. These works are funded by council’s Special Rate Variation (SRV).
  • Clarence Town Road, Segment 1 - rehabilitation is being undertaken on the $1.83M priority segment of Clarence Town Road, with Segment 2 works (Clarence Town Road and Glen William Road intersection) also underway and council crews have also commenced work on Clarence Town Road at the Hanleys Creek Road intersection (Segment 7).
  • A safety upgrade has commenced on Gresford Road at the Clements Road intersection. 1.4km road will be upgraded under combined funding from the Australian Government’s Black Spot program, NSW Regional Roads Repair Program and council funds. In addition, guardrail installation is taking place on Clarence Town Road, north of Brentwood Drive, as part of the Black Spot works program.
  • Archinals, Bruxner and Mary Carlton’s bridge replacements – The new Mary Carlton’s bridge was the first of 23 timber bridge replacements under the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Bridges program to be opened to traffic, with the new bridge opening just before Christmas. Guardrail works were undertaken during February. Work is continuing on both Bruxner bridge and Archinals bridge, which are anticipated to be open shortly.
Please note: Recent heavy rain and flooding will cause significant delays to all council capital works projects due to resources being diverted to emergency works and clean-up operations. This is expected to create a minimum of 4 weeks’ delay to the delivery schedule for capital works projects. 
Despite not being required to adopt a comprehensive community engagement strategy regarding a review of its Integrated Planning & Reporting (IP&R) documents, Dungog Shire Council is undertaking a broad community consultation and engagement process to ensure community members can take part in the current review of the Dungog Shire Community Strategic Plan 2030 (CSP 2030).
Engagement activities commenced in January 2022, with a randomised independent telephone survey of 301 residents and an online survey available for all residents and stakeholders, which received 110 responses. Survey results are being collated into a final report to be presented to councillors as part of the review process. 
A draft CSP2032 document is currently being prepared, with the assistance of the Hunter Joint Organisation, and is scheduled to be publicly exhibited during April/May 2022, with a number of face-to-face community consultation sessions planned at major centres across the shire throughout this period.
It is hoped a final CSP2032 will be adopted at the June 2022 council meeting, incorporating all community feedback received throughout this engagement process. 
Dungog Shire Council will place the draft Paterson Sportsground Plan of Management on public exhibition for 28 days, following amendments to the draft as requested by Crown Lands NSW. 
Following this exhibition period, council will submit a final draft of the Plan, including a summary of any submissions received and a table of any necessary amendments, to Crown Lands NSW to obtain Ministerial consent under clause 70B of the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018. 
The Paterson Sportsground Plan of Management aims to provide a consistent and useful set of guidelines governing the direction and management of the facility to ensure its fair and equitable use by all community stakeholders.
11 community and council representatives have been appointed to Dungog Shire’s Cultural Plan Advisory Group to support Dungog Shire Council in the development and delivery of its Cultural Plan. 
The plan sets the long-term vision for culture in the shire and provides a roadmap for council, the community and partners to work together to achieve an exciting and engaging arts and cultural life for the area. 
Cultural Plan Advisory Group representatives include:
  • Mayor John Connors – Dungog Shire Council
  • John O’Brien – Arts Upper Hunter
  • Kara Clements – Worrimi, Aboriginal Education Officer Dungog High School
  • Tess Neilson – Tocal Homestead CB Alexander Foundation
  • Penny O'Meara - Gresford District Community Group
  • Jane Richens - Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub, Gresford News
  • Debbie Bruce – Vice President Clarence Town River Country Hoedown
  • Helene Leane – Gallery on Dowling
  • Philippa Graham – Sculpture on the Farm
  • Sarah Crawford – Reconciliation Dungog Committee, MRAGMC
  • Janne Ryan – Arrow Collective
Dungog Shire Council has received positive community feedback regarding its maintenance work in the shire. Notably, council has been praised for its work in removing lantana from Fosterton Road, clearing roadside drains and filling potholes on Main Creek Road and remediation work during the upgrade of Flat Tops Road.