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Collapse Issue 497:<br />29 Jun 2020<br />_____________Issue 497:
29 Jun 2020
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Road works receive $1.4 million in government funding
Community events granted $42,000
Working bees weed and mulch Runway Park gardens
Phegans Bay rock climber rescued by helicopter
Funds committed to improve facilities for commuters
Certificate issued for rail tunnel phone tower
Investigation under way after human jawbone found
Council to look into installing soap in public toilets
Soap is the best hand cleaner, student experiment finds
Soap is the best hand cleaner, students show
Water and sewerage maintenance projects announced
Former Member for Gosford dies aged 90
Construction certificate for $2.3 million gymnasium
Application to build three townhouses
Construction certificate for Ettalong multi-dwellings
Council biodiversity strategy to be redrafted
Councillors decide to attend briefings remotely
Landscaping work in Woy Woy town centre
Dedicated team for Woy Woy
Libraries re-open on a limited basis
Progress association launches online fundraising effort
Cenotaph to be restored and featured on website
Planning Panel proves to be more costly, says Tesch
Rate notices to include hardship advice
New Rotary president at Woy Woy
No clear Covid roadmap for tourism, Tesch claims
Support line advertised in shopping centres
MP recognises a Woy Woy business in parliament
One quarter of average rainfall recorded for June
Someone needed to stand up to buzzword-led invasion
Call to Council to publish a full response
Are public toilets cleaned regularly and well?
Commuter bus could not be booked by phone
Average bloke cannot afford extra tolls
Economic Strategy is same meaningless flummery
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Second edition of Stories from Patonga is planned
Award winner finds success as 'mature model'
Gallery re-opens in Ettalong
Television appearance for 79-year-old 'singing caddie'
Archaeological dig to be conducted at school
Pick up and drop off rules enforced
Kindergarten information sessions to be held in July
Music bus returns after hiatus
Bowling greens re-open for normal use this week
Peninsula loses 'all-time great sporting identity'
Woy Woy Lions resume training
Life Saving Club prepares for 100th birthday

Planning Panel proves to be more costly, says Tesch

The Central Coast Local Planning Panel that was introduced to make planning decision-making more transparent, efficient and accountable has proven to be just the opposite, according to the Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch.

She said the real reason behind the change was to provide a rubber stamp for development.

The panel had cost more in time, money and resources for the Council.

Ms Tesch said that, despite the name, the panel was not even local.

"The Local Planning Panel has been put in charge of making decisions that will affect our community, yet only a sole community member is actually a local, with the Minister's hand-picked chair and the nominated expert panel members not coming from the Central Coast."

Ms Tesch said that despite assurances that the Panel would be accountable and transparent, there was no option to contact the members directly, unlike Council staff and councillors, making it more difficult for the community to petition for or against developments or have their voice heard.

"When local decisions are made by those who don't live in or understand our area and aren't accountable to the community for decisions they make, we all lose out," she said.

However, Parliamentary Secretary for Central Coast, Mr Adam Crouch, said the Central Coast Local Planning Panel removed politics from the local planning system.

"It allows independent experts to get on with the job of making merit-based determinations and this occurs within the strategic parameters set by Central Coast Council.

"All local planning panels, including ours, must consider community feedback, publish the reasons for its decision making, and demonstrate how community views are accounted for.

"I have absolute confidence that the chair has expertise and experience to ensure the correct processes are followed, including consideration of community feedback.

"Putting planning decisions in the hands of an independent chair, expert panel members and a community representative ensures that development applications are determined on merit.," he said.

Ms Tesch said: "For just the 40-minute-long first meeting, $5500 was paid in fees to panel members and they didn't even announce their decision on the two items - telling the community that it will be published later.

"The Local Planning Panel comprises the Chair who receives $2000 per meeting, the expert members who receive $1500 per meeting, and a community member who receives $500 per meeting.

"Central Coast Council staff are required to facilitate the Local Planning Panel, costing ratepayers an estimated $300,000 extra per year, with around $110,000 of this in fees to panel members alone," she said.

"The Central Coast is a unique area, and not just another part of Sydney and the suburbs surrounding it, but out-of- town panel members may not see that distinction.

"Developments need reflect our community and drowning out our voices means the NSW Government is ensuring we have no power over decisions that will ultimately impact us," Ms Tesch said.

The Local Planning Panel comprises the Chair, Ms Donna Rygate, appointed by the Planning Minister, and three professionals decided by Council from a pool of 220 put forward by the State Government and community representatives Ms Lynette Hunt and Mr Geoffrey Mitchell appointed by Council.

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