Council agrees to meeting about Umina oval
Umina businesswoman Ms Gabby Greyem has said representatives from Central Coast Council were finally willing to meet with her to discuss the future of the Umina Oval.
Ms Greyem is the owner of Jasmine Greens Kiosk which sits in the boundary of the oval and nearby playground, and her business has been the frequent target of vandals and thieves for years.
She has been rallying the community and local MPs to petition Council to apply for funding to address safety issues in the area through the Safer Communities Grant.
While council did apply for funding, it has since become known that Council only applied for additional CCTV cameras for the area and not for additional lighting.
Ms Greyem also said it was particularly frustrating that Council had, under the same grant, applied for both CCTV and flood lighting for the Banjo's Skate Park project in Wamberal.
Ms Greyem brought these issues to attention at Council's Community Strategic Plan Meeting held at Umina Surf Life Saving Club on Tuesday, November 21.
"It was certainly refreshing to be heard and to meet with Council staff face to face," Ms Greyem said.
"I will not pretend that I have not been frustrated with Council's lack of engagement with my call for attention to these issues, but after the meeting at the surf club I have at least been able to raise these concerns with staff," Ms Greyem said.
"The most common theme of the meeting was that the Peninsula was one of the most highly populated areas of the Coast but had the least amount of services," she added.
Following the meeting, Ms Greyem said she could confirm she would be meeting with Council director Ms Julie Vaughan to discuss plans for the area in more depth within the fortnight.
Ms Greyem said securing this meeting was the first step in seeing positive change and that the next would be to secure lighting along with the additional cameras.
"I want to be clear that I am happy that Banjo's is getting floodlighting and CCTV because that is what all our community spaces need to ensure the community is safe while using them at night and to discourage crime and other anti-social behaviours," Ms Greyem said.
"What I am disappointed about is the double standard.
"Why are lights the solution for Wamberal but not for Umina?
"I've also located a 2007 Environment Plan for the Ettalong Foreshore that expressly states lighting is an essential service needed to protect the community.
"It's just not good enough.
"If Council has known for a decade that flood lights are essential to keeping community spaces safe then why does this not apply to Umina?" Ms Greyem said.
Despite this, Ms Greyem said the overall interaction with Council and the community at the meeting was a positive one and that Council has expressed its interest in working closely with the community to see what services were needed on the Peninsula and how best to develop and implement them.
"Even though the outcome of the Safer Community Grant was disappointing, it does feel like the ball is finally rolling on the Umina Oval area and I'm looking forward to working with Council in the future to develop the area into the safe community space Umina deserves," Ms Greyem concluded.
A representative from Central Coast Council said the community meeting would be used to help shape the future of the Peninsula and wider Central Coast through the region's first ever Community Strategic Plan.
Mayor Cr Jane Smith said the plan is the overarching guide Council will use to determine how, where and what it spends its funds on to meet the wants and needs of the growing community.
"Council spent three months earlier this year talking with the community about what they love about the Central Coast and what could be done to make it even better," Cr Smith said.
"We went directly to the community and captured a record 33,000 separate ideas and opinions about what would make the Central Coast an even better place to live from face to face conversations, online surveys, commuter surveys and meetings with hard to reach communities."
These ideas have been distilled into seven key themes: Natural environment: Lifestyle and community: Built environment: Services and facilities: Activities and entertainment: Transport and movement around the local government area: and Economy.
Ms Vaughan said the initial phase of developing the Coast's first Community Strategic Plan had been a great success.
"The community responded enthusiastically to the first phase of data collection and we would now like to invite individuals, community groups, business groups, state agencies and non-government agencies to join us at a Community Workshop to explore the themes in detail as part of the next phase of the project," Ms Vaughan said.
"This next phase is crucial as we start to drill into the detail of how we, along with our stakeholders and other partners will deliver our community's aspirations for the Coast over the next 10 years."
Interview, 22 Nov 2017
Gaby Greyem, Jasmine Greens Kiosk
Media Statement, 22 Nov 2017
Jane Smith and Julie Vaughan, Central Coast Council
Reporter: Dilon Luke