Dungog Shire Council Meeting Highlights - 18 November 2020

DUNGOG SHIRE COUNCIL MEETING - Wednesday 18 November 2020, 6pm

Please find following a selection of highlights from last night’s meeting:


8.1 MAYORAL MINUTE - BOER WAR MEMORIAL ALEXANDER EAGLETON GATES

Dungog Shire Council has resolved to relocate the Boer War Memorial Alexander Eagleton Gates to the main Cenotaph – Soldier’s Memorial in Grey Street, Clarence Town, prior to ANZAC Day 2021, following extensive community and departmental consultation.

The relocation is due to the impact of the upgrade of Clarence Town sporting facilities on the current location and concerns about the condition of the gates being no longer fit-for purpose as functional entry gates.

Following consultation with NSW Veterans Affairs by the Clarence Town ANZAC Committee in 2018, it was recommended a Conservation Management Plan be produced for all three War Memorials in Clarence Town. The Committee subsequently received a grant for that purpose and the CMP was adopted by council at its ordinary meeting of 22 April 2020.

This year, the Committee was successful in obtaining an additional grant of $8,800 from NSW Veterans Affairs for restoration of the Gates. The application also included contributory funding from council and the community towards relocation of the gates from their current location to the main Cenotaph – Soldiers Memorial.

Council has further resolved to support the concept of a community-led ceremony at the relocated gates to commemorate Boer War Day in May 2021, subject to any Public Health Order requirements, and will write to NSW Veterans Affairs advising of the relocation.


11.1 DUNGOG RETURN AND EARN STATISTICS

The Return and Earn Kiosk located on council land at Clarence Town Road, Dungog, has had 698,645 containers returned since it was commissioned in May 2020.

This equates to 50 tonnes of recyclable material or if this material was landfilled, 52 cubic metres of waste (732 full 240-litre bins).

Furthermore, recycling of this material will save 1,138 kilolitres of water – equivalent to more than 0.41 Olympic swimming pools -- and saves 124 tonnes of Co2, which equates to taking 30 cars off the road.

These figures* will soon appear in a NSW EPA publication to celebrate National Recycling Week and highlights the positive environmental impact that the Dungog site has achieved so far.

Council has entered an agreement with network operator TOMRA for the installation and operation of this popular community facility.  

The Return and Earn Scheme has operated in NSW since December 2017 and is aimed at addressing the Premier’s Litter Reduction Targets through providing an incentive to return eligible drink containers, which are the number one litter item in NSW.

*Figures are based on the average weight of a container and calculations are formed using the Recyculator App published by the NSW EPA. The period of calculation is May - September 2020.

 

11.2 DETERIORATING WATER QUALITY IN THE SEAHAM WEIR POOL 

In response to the deteriorating water quality in the Seaham weir pool and the lack of a single agency responsible for river health, Dungog Shire Council has resolved to call on the assistance of the NSW Premier, The Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, as well as other relevant Ministers, requesting a response to council’s correspondence on this issue dated 16 January 2020.

Council has further resolved to forward correspondence to the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, The Hon Melinda Pavey MP, and the Secretary of Transport for NSW, Rodd Staples, requesting advice on the status of the Williams River Erosion Management Plan and Implementation Committee.

At its December 2019 meeting, council resolved to contact the Premier regarding its concerns about the rapidly deteriorating water quality in the Seaham weir pool, which supplies approximately 50% of the drinking water for Hunter residents.

In response to this resolution, correspondence on this issue was forwarded to the Premier, along with the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Member for Upper Hunter, Member for Port Stephens and the Federal Member for Lyne, as well as the NSW Shadow Minister for Water.

To date, responses have been received from the Premier and the Shadow Minister for Water advising that council’s concerns have been forwarded to the Minister for Water, Property and Housing for consideration. As yet, no response has been forthcoming from Minister Pavey.

The issue of deteriorating water quality in the Williams River, in particular, is extremely concerning due to its status as a drinking water supply for Newcastle and the Hunter region. Dungog Shire also relies on the river for tourism, agriculture and recreation. Blue-Green Algae outbreaks, an indicator of deteriorating river water quality, have the potential to impact the health of residents and visitors, as well as adversely impact the economic health of Dungog Shire.

Council is further seeking information regarding the status and progress of the Williams River Erosion Management Plan, coordinated by Transport for NSW. The Plan is intended to provide a long-term management strategy to address riverbank erosion and the degradation of water quality caused by the use of power boats in the Seaham weir pool; however, council has received no update on this Plan since January 2019, highlighting the need for a single authority to take responsibility for the health of the river and its subsequent environmental impacts.

 

11.3 CIRCULAR ECONOMY PROCUREMENT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Dungog Shire Council has endorsed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Hunter Joint Organisation (Hunter JO) and all Hunter councils (including Central Coast), as a Statement of Intent to prioritise the procurement of recycled content products and Circular Economy services in council procurement.

The Circular Economy is a new economic paradigm and local government procurement can play a key part in the support of this economy. Developing the procurement component of the circular economy will help create markets for recycled content products in the Hunter and Central Coast regions.  Over time, this will lead to economies of scale to benefit the entire community, local industry innovation and job creation.

Working collaboratively to progress the intent of the MoU will mean that:

  • Councils that already do so, such as Dungog Shire, will continue procuring recycled content products and look to increase quantities where cost and quality requirements are met; and
  • Councils yet to procure these products can consider buying them where cost and quality requirements are met by utilising the knowledge hub to be created through the Circular Economy Procurement Project.

The Circular Economy Procurement Project is a priority project within the circular economy program of the Hunter JO, and supports and complements the federal COAG process, National Waste Strategy, NSW Circular, and key issues targeted under the NSW 20-Year Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy Review.

 

14.3 DUNGOG SHIRE COUNCIL GRANT SUBMISSIONS 2020/2021

Dungog Shire Council has submitted 30 grant applications for projects valued at more than $4.2M since February 2020, and has contributed $165,965 to projects for which grant funding has been applied for. 

This does not include specific road and bridge applications made since July 2019, which totals in excess of $29M, with council contributions of $1.938M.

Council relies on grant funding for the construction, repair and upgrade of infrastructure assets, as well as the provision of community programs and facilities.

Unfortunately, there are a number of limitations with grant funding requirements including; financial contributions council is required to match, time frames for projects and submissions, council’s ability to apply directly for a grant vs requiring a community-based application, community consultation and the sustainability or viability of the grant.

In addition, council works with local organisations securing funding for development of their organisations, with considerable time also provided to community organisations for the promotion of grants, application preparation and support, and assistance with grant acquittals. Organisations often require letters of support and ongoing guidance with the implementation of their successful grants.

 

14.7 DUNGOG SHIRE COUNCIL COMMUNITY SMALL GRANTS RECOMMENDATIONS

Dungog Shire Council has endorsed $40,000 in funding recommendations for the Community Small Grants Program 2020/2021.

The program is an initiative of Dungog Council and Hunter Water Corporation (HWC), with $25,000 provided by council and $15,000 provided by HWC for the 20/21 period.

26 eligible applications were received across the three categories of:

1. Small Equipment

2. Community Development

3. Love Water (funded by Hunter Water)

Council’s Community Project Officer chaired the Grants Program Assessment Panel, with the panel consisting of the council’s General Manger, Singleton Council’s Senior Socio-Economic Planner and its Community Strategy and Engagement Officer, and Hunter Water’s Marketing & Communications Officer.

This year, applications exceeded funds available. The application form provided an option for partial funding, with those organisations acknowledging this option allowing the panel to distribute funds across the majority of projects submitted.

Program outcomes will be published at dungog.nsw.gov.au

All applicants will be notified and distribution of funding for successful applications will occur during December 2020.