Chair of Local Planning Panel announced
A woman who has served for the last 17 months on a panel as a Code of Conduct reviewer for Central Coast Council has been appointed chair of the Central Coast Local Planning Panel.
She is Ms Donna Rygate who spent four years until July 2018 as chief executive of the state's local government association, Local Government NSW.
She gained a Master of Land Use Planning in 1994 and served as the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure's executive director of corporate governance and policy for three years until June 2012.
Parliamentary Secretary for Central Coast Mr Adam Crouch announced the formation of the planning panel on February 19.
Mr Crouch said putting decision-making in the hands of the experts would allow councillors to focus their time and energy on the core business of local government.
The council will no longer be able to decide any planning matter with a value of more than $5 million.
"The Panel will bring greater accountability and transparency to our region's planning system by making decisions on sensitive, complex and high-value development applications," Mr Crouch said.
"Ms Rygate's expertise in governance and planning, particularly her track record as chief executive of Local Government NSW, makes her the ideal person for the job.
"She also understands the needs of local communities and she is committed to integrity and proper process.
"Her appointment will ensure the panel performs its work with accountability and transparency."
The two alternate chairs will be Mr Jason Perica and Ms Kara Krason.
Mr Crouch said Mr Perica and Ms Krason were town planning experts with a thorough understanding of local issues, having served on the Joint Regional Planning Panel and having decades of experience in the private and public sectors.
Central Coast Council will now choose the remaining panel members from a pool of 200 experts with a background in planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism or government and public administration.
Gosford West ward representative Cr Troy Marquart said the independent decision-making panel "is not only a good idea but is imperative for responsible growth over the next decade".
"Ms Rygate will provide the knowledge, know-how and prudent planning thought that the growing region demands," Cr Marquart said.
"The implementation of this expert planning panel will allow Councillors more time to concentrate on issues that pertain directly to local government."
Fellow ward representatives, Crs Chris Holstein and Richard Mehrtens were also invited to comment about the implications of the planning panel for the Peninsula. However, Cr Holstein was on leave and Cr Mehrtens did not respond.
Media release, 19 Feb 2020
Adam Crouch, Parliamentary Secretary Central Coast.
Media statement, 25 Feb 2020
Troy Marquart, Central Coast Council.