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Collapse Issue 498:<br />13 Jul 2020<br />_____________Issue 498:
13 Jul 2020
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Collapse  NEWS NEWS
War memorial to get a facelift
Crouch defends need for $7 million roundabout
Bays group has second attempt to elect committee
Community group seeks upgrade to pedestrian crossing
Roadwork funding for Hillview St and North Burge Rd
Council introduces tree register nomination fee
Residents call for Umina Mall buildings to be razed
Free wifi at Woy Woy station
Coastal open space retained in planning statement
Volunteer-run club aims to raise $100,000
Woy Woy tip fees help fund Council solar power project
Councillors to vote on own pay rise
Opposition leader joins Tesch in preschool call
Harwin reinstated as State Government Minister
Maurie Ellis dies - 60 years on the Peninsula
Rotary club holds virtual dog show
New Rotary club keeps most of board for second year
Community group restarts its dunecare program
Bays bushcare group resumes
Garden tour and induction day
Association re-opens Wagstaffe Hall
Charity group holds gathering at Hardys Bay
Wagstaffe Square revitalisation continues
Help wanted for Pretty Beach bushcare
A chance to work in the 'most incredible locations'
Public transport capacity limits eased
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
Lockdown library service appreciated
We are losing trees in reserves and on private land
Shuddered at Mt Ettalong Reserve plan
Does Council respond any better than Planning Panel?
Collapse  HEALTH HEALTH
Tesch calls for funding for mental health organisation
Shopping centre donates $3500 to community nurses
Aged care executive says bonus splits workforce
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Young Umina actor to take lead role in Kings Cross play
Collapse  EDUCATION EDUCATION
Students celebrate International Mud Day
Search finds no asbestos contamination
School planning welcomed at Woy Woy
Education Week to be shared online at Woy Woy South
School to hold kindergarten student interviews
School sets new dates for school photographs
Normal school library rules to apply next term
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
Two bowlers could be in both pairs and singles finals
Singles and pairs played at Ettalong
Netball association seeks vice-president

Does Council respond any better than Planning Panel?

Liesl Tesch says that the Local Planning Panel is not "transparent, efficient and accountable" ("Planning Panel proves to be more costly, says Tesch", PN 497), although how she could come to that conclusion, when the Panel has had only one meeting, is difficult to see.

On the other hand, Adam Crouch says that the Panel "removed politics from the local planning system", allowing "independent experts to get on with the job of making merit-based determinations", which is certainly a defensible argument, given the parochial tendency of many councillors.

However, these are obviously just political positions, with nothing to substantiate either view, and only future results will determine the truth of the matter.

Nevertheless, given that panels have operated for some time in other jurisdictions, it would be interesting to know whether Mr Crouch would support an independent review of their functioning, in order to provide the public with some information about the process on which a judgement could be made.

Ms Tesch says that "developments need to reflect our community", and this is a truism that few will cavil at, but is there any evidence that the local council responds to community wishes any better than the panel might, once it is fully operational?

A reading of Forum letters in your publications would suggest that there is a widespread dissatisfaction with the way the council has managed many aspects of the city's development, from long-range planning to individual project approvals, and the snail's pace of council's development processes doesn't inspire confidence that matters are going to improve under the present administration.

The council seems to be adept at publishing reports and making announcements, such as the Woy Woy team, "to provide a strategic, streamlined and cost effective approach to ensure priority service delivery" (probably a specification provided by a random-word generator), but concrete results are elusive.

If there has been any improvement to the Woy Woy town centre during this council's term, it isn't visible to the naked eye.

The council seems to be well versed in bureaucratic pettifoggery, (eg, excuses for not having soap in public toilets), but weak on any big-picture intentions for the city or on any mechanisms for expanding Central Coast into a liveable, economically-sound community.

My prediction is that, as long as the donkey vote goes on electing the same old political hacks on to the council, we shall have to look at new and untried methods (such as Planning Panels) to get any relief.

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