Mayoral Update

Mayor Tracy Norman

Nothin’ But Sky
Braddon Snape’s stunning sculpture now has pride of place in Lioness Park, Dungog. The sculpture won the acquisitive prize in the 2018 inaugural Sculpture on the Farm event, which was a partner event of the  Dungog Festival.

Nothin’ But Sky was donated to Dungog Shire by the Board of Sculpture on the Farm Inc, and was made possible by the extreme generosity of John and Philippa Graham, the hosts of and the masterminds behind Sculpture on the Farm.

Newcastle resident, Braddon Snape is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Creative Design at the University of Newcastle. He is the winner of many prestigious arts awards and is a regular exhibitor at the annual Sculpture by the Sea. Dungog Shire is so fortunate that Braddon allowed his stunning sculpture to be entered into the acquisitive prize. It is a beautiful welded steel interactive sculpture. Sculpture on the Farm describes the piece as follows:
This work beckons one to immerse oneself, to focus one’s view of the expansive Australian sky in a moment of isolation. As one projects one’s head through the portal one sees nothin’ but sky.

Sculpture on the Farm will return as a partner event to the 2019 Dungog Festival, which runs over the October Long Weekend, 4-7 October.

More Successful Grant Funding
Federal Local Member, Dr David Gillespie announced last week that Dungog Shire was successful in its grant applications for Summer Hill Rd Bridge and Tillegra Bridge. I have written to David to express thanks on behalf of the community of Dungog Shire for his advocacy on our behalf. In recent times, we have received news of this money plus the money for the Dowling St upgrade, as well as the $20 million to be shared between Dungog and Port Stephens, that was part of a coalition election promise made prior to the 2013 election.

While I thanked him, I also gently reminded him that there is still $5 million outstanding from the pre 2013 election promise for Gresford Road. I have asked him as a priority to provide me with assurances that this money will also be forthcoming, preferably before the Government goes into caretaker mode.     

Dowling St Upgrade
A second workshop was held to discuss the findings from the previous workshop as well as the student engagement session with Dungog High school. The ideas that had come out of these sessions had been collated by Landscape Architect, David Moir, and his team. David gave a presentation about where such ideas have been implemented to great effect and how good design can help with the revitalisation of a town. However, he also emphasised that good design alone won’t revitalise a town, it must be partnered with place activation such as events and recreational/cultural activities.

We then broke into groups to discuss what we liked and didn’t like about various examples that David had shown us and what we thought our priorities should be in the revitalisation process.

This was another well-attended workshop with engaged participants. I again thank those involved for taking time out of your busy lives to help this become a community lead project.

WW1 Mortars find a new home
Two World War 1 mortars that were given to Dungog, as a memorial to those who served in this war, have been lovingly restored and placed back on display at Lara, under the care of RSL Lifecare. The mortars, which were presented to the community in 1920 spent some years on display at Lioness Park. Unfortunately, due to a problem with vandalism, they were removed and spent many years in a shed. Dungog Lions took it upon themselves to have them restored. The good folk at RSL Lifecare then agreed to having them displayed in the grounds of Lara Aged Care. It is great to see these mortars once again on display, to remind us of the great sacrifices that the men and women of the armed forces were willing and continue to make to preserve our way of life.

Hunter Joint Organisation
A delegation of Mayors visited the State Member for Lake Macquarie (Mr Greg Piper) to garner his support for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the State and Federal Governments and Hunter Joint Organisation to help realise major infrastructure projects in the Hunter to foster economic growth. Greg was very supportive of the MOU and understands the reasoning behind it.

We also discussed the recent decision by the State Government to not reinstate the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter.  I raised concern that representation in the Hunter used to be via a Minister, then a Parliamentary Secretary and now there is no direct political link. I also raised my concern that post the election the Office of Local Government had been absorbed into a new planning and industry cluster.  Again, there used to be a Department of Local Government, then and Office and now a Division.  Hopefully these devolutions will not result in a loss of representation in the Hunter and service to local government.

Police Community Meeting
This is a reminder that Port Stephens- Hunter Local Area Commander, Tony Townshend, will be holding a community conversation at Vacy School of Arts this Tuesday, 16 April between 6pm and 8pm. The evening will begin with Tony updating the community on police actions in the area and providing some crime statistics. There will then be an opportunity for you to air any concerns that you may have.

April Ordinary Meeting of Council
The next Ordinary Meeting of Council will take place this Wednesday 17 April, commencing at 6pm. These meetings are open to the public and, as always, I encourage you to attend.

Regards Tracy Norman

Dungog Shire Mayor

15 April 2019