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Collapse Issue 477 - 02 Sep 2019Issue 477 - 02 Sep 2019
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Council to receive confidential report about Umina Mall
Save Our Woy Woy criticises local planning panel move
Peninsula's endangered bushland 'of importance'
Grandfather riled by slow reponse to asbestos on beach
Two gardens featured in open gardens scheme
Strom talk to become annual event
Application for single-story multi-dwelling development
House on hillside approved at Pretty Beach
Arboretum celebrates 43rd birthday
Hope to reintroduce koalas to Pearl Beach
Council declares 'climate emergency'
No balloons at council events
Umina supermarket offers 'quiet hour'
Proposed gym complies with planning guidelines
Community asked to forget it had seen parking plans
Tourism officer signs up as open space champion
Council herbicide motion to go to conference
Answer to councillor gives no further detail on skate park
Marquart calls motion supporters 'the great unwashed'
Vietnam veterans attend war memorial
Development approvals
Drag queen bingo night
Mingaletta presents certificate of appreciation
Mary Mac's Place receives more than $5000
Schools open for Education Week
Fire brigade helps locals prepare for fire season
Bays' bus shelter vandalised
Film screening for Ugandan women
Donation to Mary Mac's
Police Paddle to start from Ettalong
Umina CWA holds garage sale for Awareness Week
Concert band performs for aged care residents
Break-ins reported
Worm farm donated to nursing home
Where is the replanting of trees?
We have have to breathe life into the area
Unless development changes, heat trend will continue
Run down in the carpark
Vietnam veterans leading by example
State Member working for us
I do miss the duck
Hospital auxiliary donates equipment for wound care
Raising funds for research into genetic disease
Young authentic and social hangout at Ettalong
Lost bird project to aid mental health
Paper planes donated for mental health awareness
Doctor honoured for service
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Foundation to award $42,000 of arts grants
Memorial hall filled to capacity for farewell
Art show success at The Bays
Photographer recognised for work with newborn babies
Students participate in mock council
Raising funds for specialty high school
Performances at primary schools
Formal wear thrift shop
HSC information night
Students make prosthetic legs
Junior Master Chef competition
Administration team celebrated
Science fair displays cover range of topics
Umina performs at school showcase
Staff members pick up awards
Ettalong wins women's soccer semi-final
Proposal to merge touch associations
McEvoy Oval secured for pre-season Little Aths
Women's rugby union team move to preliminary final
Bradman Best debuts with Knights
Tristan chosen for baseball training camp
Lions hold annual yabby race
Club raises more than $10,000
Charity bowls attracts 24 bowlers
Baseball registration open
Trial day for softball
Surf clubs prepare for season
Netball celebration for end of season
Athletes return from cross country championships
Touch football player selected
Soccer trophies presented
Bowling club president re-elected

Save Our Woy Woy criticises local planning panel move

State Government moves to introduce a Local Planning Panel for the Central Coast have been criticised by the Save Our Woy Woy group, as well as Central Coast Council mayor Cr Jane Smith.

Save Our Woy Woy founder Mr Harvey McDougall described the moves as "a complete load of rubbish".

"Surely if it is going to be independent, then there should be no interference from any form of government," he said.

"Council can appoint the panels members but only from the State Government's list.

"Why are there not more representatives from all the groups who are trying to control what is happening on the Coast?

"Members from our community should have more say and this is a way for them to be heard.

"Then and only then, would it be independent."

The local planning panel will remove another layer of decision making from Central Coast Council, meaning that council will only have jurisdiction to decide on developments under the value of $5M.

Cr Smith described the move as a "power grab".

She said the "intervention is unnecessary and is the latest in a series of moves by the state government to take planning powers away from communities".

"The community could rightly be concerned.

"We have seen the recent case of the NSW Planning Department overriding a City of Sydney decision to oppose a tower development at Pyrmont ... and this calls into question the independence of our planning system," Mayor Smith said.

"Councillors are elected by the community to make decisions on behalf of the community.

"We are accountable to them for the decisions we make.

"The imposition of a Local Planning Panel removes power further from members of the community and erodes their capacity to have a voice."

The panel is expected to be in place by early 2020 and will consist of a chair, two independent experts appointed by council from a Minister endorsed pool of independent, qualified people, plus a community representative.

But none of the three Peninsula councillors (Troy Marquart, Richard Mehrtens and Chris Holstein) have made a public comment about the decision.

When in place, council will decide development applications under $5M and those valued between $5M and $20M will be referred to the panel for a decision.

Developments valued at more than $20m will go to the Joint Regional Planning Panel for a decision.

State Significant Developments have their own approval framework, separate to those two planning panels, and are determined by the Department of Planning.

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the Central Coast panel followed independent reviews showing that existing panels in NSW were performing very well to deliver better planning outcomes.

"The panel will free-up councillors to focus on the long-term strategic planning to lead the delivery of the region's goals and priorities," he said.

NSW Labor supports the panel in principle, but wants certain guarantees from Minister Stokes that the panel will comprise planning experts, community members and council representatives and that local communities have sufficient opportunity to comment on development proposals.

Wyong MP Mr David Harris said local planning panels were a key recommendation by former NSW deputy police commissioner Mr Nick Kaldas as a "corruption-proofing tool".

His recommendation was part of a major independent review of governance in the NSW planning system.

However, Greens Central Coast spokesperson Ms Abigail Boyd said: "Having the Minister approve most of the panel members should ring alarm bells for the Central Coast community.

"The government does not want community control of planning decisions, they want deals signed in back rooms.

"This is the opposite of increased transparency. It is yet another Coalition Government move designed to disempower local councils and the communities they represent."

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