BUSINESS PAPER

 

General Meeting

 

Wednesday 10 June 2015

at 6:30PM

 

 

 

 


Hornsby Shire Council                                                                                           Table of Contents

Page 1

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

AGENDA AND SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Rescission Motions

Mayoral Minutes  

ITEMS PASSED BY EXCEPTION / CALL FOR SPEAKERS ON AGENDA ITEMS

GENERAL BUSINESS

Office of the General Manager

Nil

Corporate Support Division

Item 1     CS13/15 Local Government Reform - Fit for the Future (FFTF) - The Process Since 2011 and Council's Submission to IPART................................................................................... 1

Item 2     CS17/15 Local Government Remuneration Tribunal - 2015 Report and Determination - Mayor and Councillor Fees - 2015/16 Financial Year..................................................................... 70

Item 3     CS18/15 Adoption of 2015/16 Operational Plan Incorporating the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16...................................................................................... 73

Item 4     CS20/15 Investments and Borrowings for 2014/15 - Status for Period Ending 30 April 2015         86

Item 5     CS14/15 Pecuniary Interest and Other Matters Returns - Disclosures by Councillors and Designated Persons.................................................................................................................... 89

Item 6     CS15/15 Outstanding Council Resolutions - Period Until 28 February 2015................... 92

Item 7     CS21/15 Debts to be Written Off - 2014/15 Financial Year........................................... 95

Environment and Human Services Division

Item 8     EH5/15 Redevelopment of Council's Community Facilities in Epping .......................... 98

Item 9     EH9/15 Submission to Berowra Valley National and Regional Park Draft Plan of Management     107

Item 10    EH10/15 Register of Cultural Organisations and Register of Environmental Organisations 112

Item 11    EH11/15 Council's Contribution to Christmas 2015.................................................... 116

Item 12    EH12/15 Transfer of Open Space Land to Council..................................................... 120

Planning Division

Item 13    PL36/15 Development Application - Residential Flat Building Comprising 26 Units - 24 and 26 Lords Avenue, Asquith...................................................................................................... 125

Item 14    PL31/15 Development Application - Residential Flat Building Comprising 36 Units - No. 1 Forest Grove, Epping........................................................................................................ 161

Item 15    PL38/15 Development Application - Multi-Unit Housing Development Comprising 2 Attached Dwellings - Nos. 15-17 Bridge Street, Brooklyn......................................................... 205

Item 16    PL44/15 Development Application - Subdivision of One Allotment into Two Lots - 60 Hinemoa Avenue, Normanhurst.............................................................................................. 230

Item 17    PL46/15 Further Report - Residential Flat Building Consisting of 39 Units and Joint Basement Carparking with an Approved Adjoining Residential Flat Development at Nos. 5-15 Balmoral Street, Waitara................................................................................................................... 257

Item 18    PL47/15 Planning Proposal - After Exhibition - Property Nos. 2-4 Epping Road, Epping 299

Item 19    PL45/15 Hornsby Shire Scores on Doors Food Safety Program................................ 303

Infrastructure and Recreation Division

Item 20    IR19/15 Epping Aquatic Centre................................................................................. 307

Item 21    IR11/15 Draft Revised Generic Plan of Management for Community Land and Crown Reserves Planning Districts Five and Seven............................................................................ 317

Item 22    IR18/15 Tender RFT34/2014 - Cultivated Turf............................................................. 320

Item 23    IR17/15 Tender RFT6/2015 - Synthetic Grass Sportsground - Pennant Hills Park Oval No. 3         323

Item 24    IR21/15 Tender T14/2015: Construction of Vehicular Crossings and Footpaths............ 327

Item 25    IR16/15 Tender RFT1/2015 - Building Maintenance and Construction Contractors........ 331  

PUBLIC FORUM – NON AGENDA ITEMS

Questions of Which Notice Has Been Given

Mayor's Notes

Item 26    MN6/15 Mayor's Notes - 1 to 31 May 2015................................................................ 338

Notices of Motion     

SUPPLEMENTARY AGENDA

MATTERS OF URGENCY 

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

 


Hornsby Shire Council                                                   Agenda and Summary of Recommendations

Page 1

 

AGENDA AND SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

 

PRESENT

NATIONAL ANTHEM

OPENING PRAYER/S

Pastor David Nathan, from The Hive Church, Hornsby, will open the meeting in prayer.

 

Acknowledgement of RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY

Statement by the Chairperson:

"We recognise our Shire's rich cultural and religious diversity and we acknowledge and pay respect to the beliefs of all members of our community, regardless of creed or faith."

 

ABORIGINAL RECOGNITION

Statement by the Chairperson: 

"We acknowledge we are on the traditional lands of the Darug and Guringai Peoples.  We pay our respects to elders past and present."

 

AUDIO RECORDING OF COUNCIL MEETING

Statement by the Chairperson:

"I advise all present that tonight's meeting is being audio recorded for the purposes of providing a record of public comment at the meeting, supporting the democratic process, broadening knowledge and participation in community affairs, and demonstrating Council’s commitment to openness and accountability.  The recordings of the non-confidential parts of the meeting will be made available on Council’s website once the Minutes have been finalised. All speakers are requested to ensure their comments are relevant to the issue at hand and to refrain from making personal comments or criticisms.  No other persons are permitted to record the Meeting, unless specifically authorised by Council to do so."

 

APOLOGIES / LEAVE OF ABSENCE

political donations disclosure

Statement by the Chairperson:

“In accordance with Section 147 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, any person or organisation who has made a relevant planning application or a submission in respect of a relevant planning application which is on tonight’s agenda, and who has made a reportable political donation or gift to a Councillor or employee of the Council, must make a Political Donations Disclosure Statement.

If a Councillor or employee has received a reportable political donation or gift from a person or organisation who has made a relevant planning application or a submission in respect of a relevant planning application which is on tonight’s agenda, they must declare a non-pecuniary conflict of interests to the meeting, disclose the nature of the interest and manage the conflict of interests in accordance with Council’s Code of Conduct.”

 

declarations of interest

Clause 52 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice (Section 451 of the Local Government Act, 1993) requires that a councillor or a member of a Council committee who has a pecuniary interest in a matter which is before the Council or committee and who is present at a meeting of the Council or committee at which the matter is being considered must disclose the nature of the interest to the meeting as soon as practicable.  The disclosure is also to be submitted in writing (on the form titled “Declaration of Interest”).

 

The Councillor or member of a Council committee must not be present at, or in sight of, the meeting of the Council or committee:

(a)      at any time during which the matter is being considered or discussed by the Council or committee.

(b)      at any time during which the Council or committee is voting on any question in relation to the matter.

 

Clause 51A of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice provides that a Councillor, Council officer, or a member of a Council committee who has a non pecuniary interest in any matter with which the Council is concerned and who is present at a meeting of the Council or committee at which the matter is being considered must disclose the nature of the interest to the meeting as soon as practicable.  The disclosure is also to be submitted in writing (on the form titled “Declaration of Interest”).

 

If the non-pecuniary interest is significant, the Councillor must:

a)     remove the source of conflict, by relinquishing or divesting the interest that creates the conflict, or reallocating the conflicting duties to another Council official.

OR

b)     have no involvement in the matter by absenting themself from and not taking part in any debate or voting on the issue as if the provisions of Section 451(2) of the Act apply.

 

If the non-pecuniary interest is less than significant, the Councillor must provide an explanation of why they consider that the interest does not require further action in the circumstances.

 

confirmation of minutes

THAT the Minutes of the General Meeting held on 13 May 2015 be confirmed; a copy having been distributed to all Councillors.

Petitions

presentations

Rescission Motions

Mayoral Minutes  

ITEMS PASSED BY EXCEPTION / CALL FOR SPEAKERS ON AGENDA ITEMS

Note:

Persons wishing to address Council on matters which are on the Agenda are permitted to speak, prior to the item being discussed, and their names will be recorded in the Minutes in respect of that particular item.

Persons wishing to address Council on non agenda matters, are permitted to speak after all items on the agenda in respect of which there is a speaker from the public have been finalised by Council.  Their names will be recorded in the Minutes under the heading "Public Forum for Non Agenda Items".

 

GENERAL BUSINESS

·                Items for which there is a Public Forum Speaker

·                Public Forum for non agenda items

·                Balance of General Business items

 

Office of the General Manager

Nil

Corporate Support Division

Page Number 1

Item 1          CS13/15 Local Government Reform - Fit for the Future (FFTF) - The Process Since 2011 and Council's Submission to IPART

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Advise IPART that it has proactively entered into discussions and undertaken research since 2011 which shows that Hornsby Shire would benefit from local government reform.

2.         Advise IPART that it has discussed with its neighbouring councils the opportunity to commission the preparation of an independent merger business case which would incorporate joint community consultation and be used objectively and reasonably by the councils to consider amalgamation options and issues.

3.         Advise IPART that as no neighbouring council has indicated a willingness to partner with Hornsby to commission a merger business case, Council is aware that it will be deemed “not fit” under the scale and capacity criteria of Fit for the Future (FFTF) but now has no choice but to complete a Council Improvement Proposal for IPART’s assessment.

4.         Endorse the Council Improvement Proposal incorporated in Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS13/15 for submission to IPART, noting that Council will meet all the financial sustainability, infrastructure and services and efficiency criteria under FFTF by 2018/19.

5.         Encourage the State Government to remain committed to working with the industry to achieve local government reform in line with the FFTF package.

 

Page Number 70

Item 2          CS17/15 Local Government Remuneration Tribunal - 2015 Report and Determination - Mayor and Councillor Fees - 2015/16 Financial Year

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         As a consequence of the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, Council note that it remains in the Metropolitan Centre Category of NSW councils for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

2.         In accordance with Section 248 of the Local Government Act, and having considered the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, an annual fee of $23,370 be paid to each Councillor for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

3.         In accordance with Section 249 of the Local Government Act, and having considered the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, an additional annual fee of $62,090 be paid to the Mayor for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

 

Page Number 73

Item 3          CS18/15 Adoption of 2015/16 Operational Plan Incorporating the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Subject to incorporation of the amendments detailed in Tables 1A and 1B and the Budget section of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS18/15, Council adopt the 2015/16 Operational Plan incorporating the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16.

2.         Council make and levy the 2015/16 Ordinary Rates in accordance with Table 2 of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS18/15.

3.         Council make and levy the 2015/16 Catchments Remediation Rate on all rateable land in the Shire in accordance with Table 3 of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS18/15.

 

Page Number 86

Item 4          CS20/15 Investments and Borrowings for 2014/15 - Status for Period Ending 30 April 2015

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT the contents of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS20/15 be received and noted.

 

Page Number 89

Item 5          CS14/15 Pecuniary Interest and Other Matters Returns - Disclosures by Councillors and Designated Persons

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council note the Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Returns recently lodged with the General Manager have been tabled as required by the Local Government Act.

 

Page Number 92

Item 6          CS15/15 Outstanding Council Resolutions - Period Until 28 February 2015

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT the contents of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS15/15 be received and noted.

 

Page Number 95

Item 7          CS21/15 Debts to be Written Off - 2014/15 Financial Year

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT for 2014/15, and in accordance with Clause 213 of the Local Government (General) Regulation, Council:

1.         Write off debts considered bad totalling $2,379 (as detailed in Schedule A attached to Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS21/15).

2.         Note debts considered bad totalling $1,876 which will be written off under the General Manager’s delegated authority (as detailed in Schedule B attached to Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS21/15).

 

 

Environment and Human Services Division

Page Number 98

Item 8          EH5/15 Redevelopment of Council's Community Facilities in Epping

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Council provide in-principle support to the vision to create a new, multipurpose district hub at Epping comprised of library facilities, a community centre, supporting car parking and an urban plaza at 8-10 Pembroke Street, Epping.

2.         A communication strategy be prepared that provides for a process of consultation with business and property owners and the broader community in respect of Council’s plans to redevelop its community facilities in Epping.

3.         A Planning Proposal be prepared to amend the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 to enable ground floor community facilities as part of a mixed use residential flat building development at 10 Pembroke Street, Epping.

4.         Council seek Expressions of Interest for the sale of 10 Pembroke Street, Epping and subject to successful road closure, the potential sale of part or all of Chambers Court, Epping including the purchase back of community facilities as outlined in Group Manager’s Report No. EH5/15.

5.         Council confirm its commitment to maintaining library services in Epping throughout the course of any Expression of Interest and redevelopment process.

6.         The results of the Expressions of Interest process be the subject of an Informal Briefing prior to Council proceeding further.

 

Page Number 107

Item 9          EH9/15 Submission to Berowra Valley National and Regional Park Draft Plan of Management

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Support the provision made within the draft Plan of Management for sporting facilities to be considered at Stringybark Ridge.

2.         Endorse the draft points of submission to the draft Plan of Management for Berowra Valley National Park and Berowra Valley Regional Park as outlined in Attachment 2 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH9/15.

 

Page Number 112

Item 10        EH10/15 Register of Cultural Organisations and Register of Environmental Organisations

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Write to the Attorney General’s Department – Ministry for the Arts seeking to remove the Hornsby Shire Cultural Fund from the Register of Cultural Organisations.

2.         Withdraw its application for the Hornsby Shire Natural Environment Fund with the Register of Environmental Organisations.

3.         Authorise the General Manager to execute any legal documents required to wind up the funds as required by Council’s legal advisors.

 

Page Number 116

Item 11        EH11/15 Council's Contribution to Christmas 2015

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Expand its commitment to Christmas decorations and celebrations on the West Side of Hornsby and in Hornsby Mall as outlined in Group Manager’s Report No. EH11/15.

2.         Extend its thanks to Community Church Hornsby for its long term partnership contribution to delivering the Christmas Spectacular.

3.         Focus the remainder of its 2015 events schedule on the delivery of Christmas Spectacular.

 

Page Number 120

Item 12        EH12/15 Transfer of Open Space Land to Council

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Council accept the transfer of the land described in Attachment 1 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH12/15 from the Department of Planning and Environment.

2.         On transfer Lot 102, DP 850797, being a portion of County Drive, Cherrybrook be dedicated as public road under the Roads Act 1993.

3.         On transfer the remaining portions of land be classified as Community Land.

4.         Council decline to accept the transfer of the land described in Attachment 2 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH12/15 from the Department of Planning and Environment.

5.         The General Manager be authorised to execute any documents in relation to this matter deemed appropriate by Council’s legal advisors.

 

 

Planning Division

Page Number 125

Item 13        PL36/15 Development Application - Residential Flat Building Comprising 26 Units - 24 and 26 Lords Avenue, Asquith

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Development Application No. DA/1514/2014 for demolition of existing structures and construction of a five storey residential flat building containing 26 units and basement car park at Lot 26 DP 12901, Lot 25 DP 12901, Nos. 24 & 26 Lords Avenue, Asquith be approved as a deferred commencement pursuant to Section 80(3) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL36/15.

 

Page Number 161

Item 14        PL31/15 Development Application - Residential Flat Building Comprising 36 Units - No. 1 Forest Grove, Epping

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Development Application No. DA/1606/2014 for demolition of existing structures and the erection of a five storey residential flat building comprising 36 units with basement car parking and strata subdivision at SP 51979, No. 1 Forest Grove, Epping be approved subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL31/15.

 

Page Number 205

Item 15        PL38/15 Development Application - Multi-Unit Housing Development Comprising 2 Attached Dwellings - Nos. 15-17 Bridge Street, Brooklyn

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council assume the concurrence of the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment pursuant to State Environmental Planning Policy No. 1 and approve Development Application No. DA/913/2013 for demolition of two garages and construction of multi-unit housing comprising two attached dwellings at Lots 27 and 28, Sec B, DP 5043, Nos. 15 – 17 Bridge Street, Brooklyn subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL38/15.

 

Page Number 230

Item 16        PL44/15 Development Application - Subdivision of One Allotment into Two Lots - 60 Hinemoa Avenue, Normanhurst

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council assume the concurrence of the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment pursuant to Clause 4.6 of the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 and approve Development Application No. DA/69/2014 for demolition of the existing carport and Torrens title subdivision of one allotment into two lots at Lot B DP 388023, No. 60 Hinemoa Avenue, Normanhurst subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL44/15.

 

Page Number 257

Item 17        PL46/15 Further Report - Residential Flat Building Consisting of 39 Units and Joint Basement Carparking with an Approved Adjoining Residential Flat Development at Nos. 5-15 Balmoral Street, Waitara

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Development Application No. DA/453/2014 for the demolition of existing structures and construction of a five storey residential building (Building C) comprising 39 units with joint single basement car park to an approved five storey development in DA/1369/2012 (Buildings A and B) at Lots 4 and 5, DP 10738, Lots A and B, DP 343526 and Lot 1 DP315413, Nos. 5-15 Balmoral Street, Waitara be approved subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL46/15.

 

Page Number 299

Item 18        PL47/15 Planning Proposal - After Exhibition - Property Nos. 2-4 Epping Road, Epping

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Council forward the Planning Proposal attached to Group Manager’s Report No. PL47/15 to the Minister for Planning for gazettal.

2.         In accordance with the plan making powers delegated to Council, the General Manager exercise the functions of the Minister for Planning and proceed to make the Plan.

3.         All persons who made submissions be advised of Council’s resolution.

 

Page Number 303

Item 19        PL45/15 Hornsby Shire Scores on Doors Food Safety Program

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council implement the NSW Food Authority Scores on Doors Food Safety Program.

 

Infrastructure and Recreation Division

Page Number 307

Item 20        IR19/15 Epping Aquatic Centre

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Epping Aquatic Centre be permanently closed and (subject to development consent) demolished, and not reopened on 1 October 2015 following the current winter closure.

2.         A masterplan for the future recreational use of Dence Park be developed by June 2016.

3.         An investigation into the future need and business case for a replacement aquatic centre in Epping and reported to Council.

 

Page Number 317

Item 21        IR11/15 Draft Revised Generic Plan of Management for Community Land and Crown Reserves Planning Districts Five and Seven

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT the draft revised Generic Plan of Management for Community Land and Crown Reserves (Planning Districts Five and Seven) be adopted.

 

Page Number 320

Item 22        IR18/15 Tender RFT34/2014 - Cultivated Turf

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council accept tenders received from Evergreen Turf, High Quality Turf Pty Ltd and Qual Turf Pty Ltd for the provision of Cultivated Turf – Tender RFT34/2014.

 

Page Number 323

Item 23        IR17/15 Tender RFT6/2015 - Synthetic Grass Sportsground - Pennant Hills Park Oval No. 3

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Council accept the tender from Turf One Pty Ltd in relation to the RFT6/2015 Synthetic Grass Sportsground at Pennant Hills Park Oval No.3 in accordance with the attached confidential memo.

2.         Council allocate Section 94 contributions collected for open space and recreation facility projects to meet the funding shortfall.

3.         The price be made public upon formal acceptance of the Tender.

 

Page Number 327

Item 24        IR21/15 Tender T14/2015: Construction of Vehicular Crossings and Footpaths

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council accept tenders of Aston and Bourke Pty Ltd., Pave-Rite Excavations, Foster Civil Contracting Construction Pty Ltd. and Kelbon Project Services Pty Ltd. for Tender T14/2015:  Construction of Vehicular Crossings and Footpaths. 

 

Page Number 331

Item 25        IR16/15 Tender RFT1/2015 - Building Maintenance and Construction Contractors

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council, in respect of Request for Tender No. RFT1/2015 – Building Maintenance and Construction Contractors, accept the tenders for each of the categories as outlined in Deputy General Manager’s Report No. IR16/15.

  

PUBLIC FORUM – NON AGENDA ITEMS

Questions of Which Notice Has Been Given

Mayor's Notes

Page Number 338

Item 26        MN6/15 Mayor's Notes - 1 to 31 May 2015

 

Notices of Motion     

SUPPLEMENTARY AGENDA

MATTERS OF URGENCY 

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

 


   


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS13/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

1        LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM - FIT FOR THE FUTURE (FFTF) - THE PROCESS SINCE 2011 AND COUNCIL'S SUBMISSION TO IPART   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              This Report provides details of the Destination 2036 local government reform exercise commenced by the State Government in 2011; the independent research commissioned by Council to assist in deliberations about reform; the research and findings of the Independent Panel in 2012 and 2013; the Government’s response in 2014 to the Panel’s findings in its FFTF package; and subsequent discussions Hornsby has had with its neighbouring councils about having an independent merger business case prepared which could be used by the councils to objectively and reasonably consider amalgamation options and issues.

·              As no neighbouring council has indicated a willingness to partner with Hornsby to have a merger business case prepared, Council now has no choice but to complete a “Council Improvement Proposal” and submit such to IPART for formal assessment.  Although Hornsby will be found by IPART to be “not fit” under the scale and capacity requirements of FFTF (as it is not merging in line with the recommendations of the Panel), the Proposal shows that Council has been a role model through the reform process and will meet all the financial sustainability, infrastructure and services and efficiency requirements of FFTF by 2018/19.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Advise IPART that it has proactively entered into discussions and undertaken research since 2011 which shows that Hornsby Shire would benefit from local government reform.

2.         Advise IPART that it has discussed with its neighbouring councils the opportunity to commission the preparation of an independent merger business case which would incorporate joint community consultation and be used objectively and reasonably by the councils to consider amalgamation options and issues.

3.         Advise IPART that as no neighbouring council has indicated a willingness to partner with Hornsby to commission a merger business case, Council is aware that it will be deemed “not fit” under the scale and capacity criteria of Fit for the Future (FFTF) but now has no choice but to complete a Council Improvement Proposal for IPART’s assessment.

4.         Endorse the Council Improvement Proposal incorporated in Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS13/15 for submission to IPART, noting that Council will meet all the financial sustainability, infrastructure and services and efficiency criteria under FFTF by 2018/19.

5.         Encourage the State Government to remain committed to working with the industry to achieve local government reform in line with the FFTF package.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to provide Council with a complete record of the local government reform process that has been in train since 2011; to explain Council’s significant contribution to the reform process throughout which it has been prepared to take an industry-wide (rather than just a Hornsby-specific) view to proposals included in the State Government’s Destination 2036 and Fit for the Future (FFTF) initiatives; and, based on Ku-ring-gai Council’s recent advice that it is unwilling to participate in the appointment of an independent consultancy (50% funded by the State Government) to research and prepare a merger business case providing the advantages/disadvantages of a combined Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai Council for individual consideration by each of the Councils; to recommend that the “Council Improvement Proposal” for Hornsby Shire Council detailed in this Report be approved for submission to IPART by the deadline of 30 June 2015.

BACKGROUND

Destination 2036

In August 2011, the Mayors and General Managers of all 152 NSW councils and representatives of various local government industry groups met in Dubbo to discuss and plan the future of local government in NSW for the next 25 years.  Following the Dubbo conference, the Division (now Office) of Local Government (OLG) released a Destination 2036 Outcomes Report and set out the proposed process and timeframe for consultation and preparation of a related Action Plan.  This included the setting up of an Implementation Steering Committee (ISC) to oversee the process.  When the ISC was set up, it comprised the Chief Executive of the OLG; the Presidents of the Local Government and Shires Associations (now Local Government NSW) (LGNSW); and the President of the NSW Local Government Managers’ (now Local Government Professionals Australia) (LGPA).

In December 2011, the ISC released a draft Destination 2036 Action Plan and sought comments from interested stakeholders.  Following the public exhibition period, minor changes were made by the ISC to the Action Plan and it was approved by the Minister for Local Government.  The Plan also referenced the Minister’s establishment of an Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) who would assume responsibility for some of the key actions.

The Destination 2036 key actions were grouped under the following initiatives: establish local government as an employer of choice; encourage and facilitate innovation; ensure the Local Government Act supports stronger local government; ensure strong and effective local governance; review the revenue system to ensure greater flexibility and self-reliance; develop strategies that maximise opportunities to secure funding from other levels of government; establish a range of funding models to enable the long term maintenance, replacement and creation of different classes of assets; develop a number of different structural models of local government; more clearly define the functions, roles and responsibilities of local and State Government; align State and local government planning frameworks; negotiate a new inter-governmental agreement; and recognise local government as a legitimate and important sphere of government

Each of the key actions, which were grouped under the above initiatives, had an expected completion date and a coordinating agency responsible for their achievement.  Those agencies included the OLG, LGPA, LGNSW and the ILGRP.  Progress updates for each of the key actions were reported quarterly on the OLG website.  The ILGRP, which has since received the most press, was allocated responsibility for the following actions:

·              Develop options and models to enhance collaboration on a regional basis through Regional Organisations of Councils (ROCs)

·              Undertake research into innovation and better practice in local government in NSW, Australia and internationally

·              Examine the current local government revenue system to ensure the system is contemporary, including rating provisions and other revenue options

·              Examine the pros and cons of alternative governance models

·              Research and develop alternative structural models, identifying their key features and assessing their applicability to NSW

·              Identify barriers and incentives to encourage the voluntary amalgamation or boundary adjustment of councils

·              Identify those functions that are clearly State or local government responsibility, those that cannot be readily defined and those that have been legislated/regulated as core functions

In August 2012, the Minister for Local Government also announced that the legislative framework for local government in NSW was to be rewritten and modernised.  He appointed a Local Government Acts Taskforce to make recommendations in respect of this process.  As a consequence, the Taskforce took on the key actions associated with the amendment of the Local Government Act and the City of Sydney Act.

 

 

Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP)

The ILGRP, which was launched in May 2012, was originally scheduled to present its final report to the State Government in July 2013.  That timeline was extended until September 2013 which was in line with the reporting requirements of the Local Government Acts Taskforce.  The Panel was chaired by Professor Graham Sansom who was a previous Director of the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government.  The other members of the Panel were Ms Jude Munro (a former CEO of four metropolitan councils across three states – including Brisbane City Council); and Mr Glenn Inglis (who had extensive experience as a Council General Manager in rural and regional NSW).

Apart from considering several actions from the Destination 2036 Action Plan; the Panel examined possible future arrangements for local governance and service delivery in the far western districts of NSW; and proposals to combine the existing 104 council-owned water utilities across non-metropolitan NSW into 32 larger regional operations.  The ILGRP also closely followed the Government’s reform of the land use planning system, and the review of local government compliance and enforcement activities by IPART.

The Panel released an initial Consultation Paper in July 2012 and then held 32 consultation sessions during a Listening Tour around the State.  More than 200 submissions were subsequently received by the ILGRP (including one from Hornsby).  As part of its deliberations, the ILGRP also reviewed a wide range of already published research and reports of inquiries into various aspects of local government in NSW, across Australia and internationally.  In November 2012, it released a paper titled “Better Stronger Local Government – The Case for Sustainable Change”.  That paper set out the Panel’s thinking on some key aspects of local government and its relationship to the State that appeared to be in most need of fresh thinking and new ideas.

As part of “The Case for Sustainable Change” the ILGRP included “signposts for reform” under the headings of:

·              The local government system and challenges faced – understanding the system and defining strategic capacity to deal with future challenges

·              Fiscal responsibility and financial management – distribution of Financial Assistance Grants; rate pegging; etc.

·              Services and infrastructure – whole of government responses; tackling infrastructure backlogs; greater efficiencies; regional collaboration

·              Structures and boundaries – shared services models; benefits and drawbacks of amalgamation; consolidation of councils in Sydney; how to support amalgamation process

·              Good governance – role and stature of Mayors; working relationships with GM’s; expanded benchmarking and performance reporting

·              A compact for change and improvement – arrangements between State and local government

The ILGRP commissioned or was informed by further studies including:  an examination of the scope to enhance regional collaboration through ROC’s; a cluster factor analysis to identify types of communities that have similar characteristics and are facing similar challenges; a review of the processes and outcomes of the 2004 amalgamations in NSW; an analysis of a range of opinion polls and resident satisfaction surveys to assess community attitudes towards local government; an examination of the effectiveness of the NSW rating system; an analysis of the financial sustainability of all 152 councils by the NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp); and an assessment of each council’s infrastructure backlog by the DLG (now OLG).

In respect of the regional collaboration paper, two options were proposed by the Panel.  The first was that if the current structure of local government is not changed much, there should be a strengthening of ROC’s and a greater commitment to collaboration between councils in the ROC’s.  The second was that if there are extensive changes to the structure, there should be a Council of Mayors which would effectively be a streamlined County Council structure from which there would be a stronger requirement to engage in regional processes.

The main issues/themes that came out of the paper on previous amalgamations were:  there needs to be clarity about what any boundary change aims to achieve; there needs to be a recognition about the importance of engaging and communicating with stakeholders at all stages of the process; there is a necessity for detailed planning; the successes of previous structural reforms have been as a result of the commitment of key people rather than the models of decision making at the time.  They have been beneficial to communities but at a cost; and for amalgamation to be successful in the future, there needs to be:

·              A partnering approach

·              A fresh start

·              Stakeholder involvement

·              Sound planning and implementation

·              Removal of barriers (and addition of incentives)

·              Transitional arrangements for elected representation

·              Independent monitoring and evaluation

The paper dealing with polls and surveys drew on a number of Statewide polls and 22 individual surveys undertaken by councils (one of which was for Hornsby in respect of its rate increase application a few years ago).  The paper found that: NSW councils are good at running libraries, collecting waste and looking after parks and sportsgrounds; they are not so good at fixing roads and footpaths or processing development applications; ratepayers are probably willing to pay more rates if local services are maintained and local facilities are improved; local government rated much higher than Federal and State Governments in caring for the community, providing a voice for residents and an opportunity for involvement in decision making (N.B. Local government had a 70% satisfaction rating compared to a less than 16% satisfaction rating for other levels of government); and there has been general support in recent polls for consolidation of councils in the Sydney metropolitan area – but not on what the final or desired number of councils should be.

TCorp’s analysis of the financial sustainability of the 152 councils across NSW provided a Financial Sustainability Rating (FSR) and an Outlook Rating (OR) for each council.  In respect of FSR’s, no councils were rated as very strong, two were rated as strong, 32 were rated as sound, 79 were rated as moderate, 34 were rated as weak and five were rated as very weak.  For OR’s, five councils outlooks were positive, 74 were neutral and 73 were negative.  Hornsby’s FSR rating was moderate and its OR was neutral.  The seven key recommendations made by TCorp in respect of Hornsby Council were:

·              Council should aim for at least breakeven operating positions each year

·              Pricing paths are needed for the medium term

·              Rate increases must meet underlying costs

·              Asset management planning must be prioritised

·              Councillor and management capacity must be developed

·              There must be an improved use of restricted funds

·              There should be an increased use of debt

The ILGRP subsequently released a further consultation paper titled “Future Directions for NSW Local Government – Twenty Essential Steps” which set out the Panel’s thinking as it entered the final three to four months of its work program.  It built on the “Case for Sustainable Change” document released in November 2012.  The Media Statement that accompanied the release of the Consultation Paper detailed a summary of the ILGRP’s thoughts at that time.  That summary, particularly as it was applicable to Hornsby, is provided below:

·              We have prepared a package of Future Directions for NSW Local Government aimed at transforming its culture, structures, finances and operations, as well as its relations with the State Government.  The paper gives councils and the community another opportunity to have their say and inform our ideas before we complete our final report in September.  40 years ago, the Barnett Committee recommended some similar changes for NSW local government, including a reduction in the total number of councils to less than 100.  Some of those changes have been implemented but many have not, and new challenges now have to be faced.  NSW cannot afford to wait another 40 years for vital improvements to the local government system.

·              The Panel’s goal is for a more sustainable system of democratic local government that has added capacity to address the needs of local and regional communities, and to be a valued partner of State and Federal governments.  NSW needs more effective local government to harness the skills and resources of local communities, improve quality of life and advance State development.  Many councils are performing very well.  However, on the whole our investigations and consultations have revealed a local government sector that is weighed down with too many out-of-date ideas, attitudes and relationships.  There are many factors involved, but at the heart of the problem we still have too many councils chasing too little revenue.

·              As revealed in a TCorp report about the matter, it is “time to act”.  TCorp’s results paint a disturbing picture and confirm the Panel’s view that underlying weaknesses in the financial position of NSW local government have been allowed to build up for far too long.  In three years’ time, 48% of councils could have a weak or worse financial sustainability rating.  There is no point in seeking to apportion blame:  what is needed now is a healthy dose of reality-testing and an acceptance that there are no easy answers.  It is clear that the financial base of NSW local government is in urgent need of repair, with many councils facing very serious problems that threaten their sustainability and ability to provide adequate services and infrastructure for their local communities.  Addressing the issues will be uncomfortable for all concerned:  politicians, senior managers, staff and ratepayers.  As TCorp makes clear, a concerted, medium-long term strategy is required.

·              Stronger regional and metropolitan governance must be a central plank of local government reform to make better use of scarce resources and to facilitate more efficient and effective State-local relations especially in strategic planning, economic development, infrastructure provision and service delivery.  To achieve this in regional NSW, the Panel has proposed the establishment of around 20 “new look”, multi-purpose County Councils.  These have been focused on existing or potential major regional centres, which could also be strengthened by some amalgamations with adjoining councils.  The paper also proposes extensive restructuring of local government in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, Lower Hunter and Central Coast.  This includes in particular:

o     A new “global city” of Sydney, encompassing the whole area from the CBD east to the coast and south to Botany Bay.  The Panel sees this as vital to create a capital city that, like those of Brisbane, Auckland and many other competitors around the world, will match Sydney’s international status.

o     Reducing the unnecessary fragmentation of local government in Sydney’s southern suburbs and the inner west, on the north shore and along the northern beaches.

o     Greatly expanded cities of Parramatta and Liverpool that will have the scale and resources needed to support the regional centres envisaged in the draft Metropolitan Strategy.

o     A combined city of Newcastle-Lake Macquarie to drive development in the Lower Hunter.

o     A merger of Gosford and Wyong to provide stronger local government in the Central Coast.

·              Opponents of amalgamations rely heavily on the argument that local identity will be lost in bigger local government units.  However, the Panel can find no evidence that loss of local identity is an inevitable consequence of creating larger local government areas.  To assist the transition for councils considering voluntary amalgamation, the Panel proposes a range of ways to ensure local voices are heard.  These include place management approaches, use of wards, citizen’s panels and modern customer service systems.  We also propose the option of “Local Boards” – a new type of elected, community-based local government unit with limited responsibilities delegated from a local council or County Council.  These could be used to replace small rural and remote councils that will not have the resources to continue in their current form, as well as to assist the transition to larger local government areas in the Sydney metropolitan area.

·              Amalgamations and boundary changes are not the panacea for local government’s problems.  However, many out of date boundaries and structures remain in place today and our terms of reference require that we provide options to address those issues.  We believe that amalgamations and boundary changes are an essential element of a wider package of reforms.  In doing so, the Panel has kept in mind the Government’s commitment to “no forced amalgamations” and understands that change will require councils and communities to accept the benefits of mergers.  Detailed planning and business cases will be needed and further consultation will be required under the provisions of the Local Government Act.  The Panel’s report proposes a wide-ranging package of financial and other incentives for voluntary mergers.  But in the end, arguments about amalgamations are essentially a distraction from the core issue we need to face, which is how the role and capacity of NSW local government can best be strengthened in the interests of the communities it is expected to represent.  We are faced with challenges that demand a fresh look at the system of local government and its relationship with the State, and a willingness to explore new options with an open mind.  That is what we will be doing for the remaining four months of the review.

·              The Consultation Paper provides a detailed progress report on the Panel’s work to date and provides a basis for further consultation.  The Panel’s ideas are crystallising but are not set in concrete.  A number of important research projects are still under way and the Panel wants to discuss the options included in the paper with councils and communities.  The paper fulfils the Panel’s commitment to ensure that all concerned can discuss the options being considered for its final report, which is now due in September 2013, to give the Panel time to consider the expected significant feedback from the Future Directions stage of the review.

·              The Panel’s Future Directions consultation will include visits to 29 regional cities and towns and eight locations in the Sydney metropolitan area from 9 May until 14 June 2013.  Councils Workshops will provide the opportunity for Mayors, Councillors and senior staff to discuss the paper and explore the options put forward for their region.  Community Hearings will also be held to provide the opportunity for local people and organisations to express their views directly to the Panel and discuss the various ideas and proposals set out in the paper.

Chapter 15 of the ILGRP’s paper dealt with the reshaping of metropolitan governance and had the most relevance to Hornsby Shire Council at the time.  The Panel said that for Sydney to remain Australasia’s pre-eminent global city, very substantial changes are needed to the way the region is governed at both local and State levels.  The Panel believed that without changes to council boundaries there will be an increasingly severe imbalance in the structures of local government between eastern and western Sydney and that this would be inequitable and impede sound strategic planning and effective State-local collaboration.

The ILGRP concluded that the number of local councils in the Sydney basin should be significantly reduced, especially in the inner and eastern suburbs, on the lower North Shore and around Parramatta and Liverpool.  In this regard, the Panel’s objectives were to: create high capacity councils that can better represent and serve their local communities on metropolitan issues, and be true partners of State and Federal agencies; establish a more equitable pattern of local government across the metropolitan area, taking into account planned development; underpin Sydney’s status as a global city; and support implementation of the Metropolitan Strategy.  The Panel’s view was that on balance, looking ahead to the mid-21st Century when Sydney’s population will reach about 7 million, having about 15 councils is appropriate.

The Metropolitan Strategy placed particular emphasis on the planning and development of a series of major centres.  The ILGRP considered the lessons to be learned from the history of efforts over the past 40 years to establish Parramatta as Sydney’s “second CBD”.  One of those lessons is that a strong, well-resourced local council is an essential factor:  there is little doubt that Parramatta’s development has been hindered by the limited scale and narrow boundaries of the current local government area.  The Panel therefore considered that major centres need to be managed by suitably large and capable councils.  This requires:

·              A major expansion of the City of Parramatta to include Auburn, Holroyd, most or all of Ryde, and areas of Hornsby and The Hills south of the M2.  This will create a city with a broad socio-economic mix and with the resources needed to develop a “second CBD”.

·              Amalgamation of the local government areas of Liverpool, Fairfield and perhaps Bankstown to support the planned Liverpool “regional city”.

·              Amalgamation of local government areas on the lower North Shore, in the inner west, and in the St George area.  These amalgamations are also needed to reduce excessive fragmentation into small or relatively small units.

The Panel saw considerable benefits in sharing the wealth and revenue base of the Sydney CBD across a much wider area.  The new city would have the capacity to undertake major sub-regional projects, such as light rail and cycleway networks, from its own resources.  It may also be able to assume responsibility for some State-managed facilities, such as Centennial Park and the Botanic Gardens, freeing-up funds for allocation to projects in more needy local government areas.

The Panel indicated that if there is little or no restructuring of existing boundaries in the metropolitan area, then as in the rest of NSW multi-purpose (but in this case sub-regional) County Councils should be established to undertake a wide range of functions on behalf of their members, thus ensuring effective and ongoing collaboration in shared services, strategic planning and advocacy, as well as a basis for partnership with State and Federal agencies.  If restructuring takes place as preferred by the ILGRP, sub-regional groupings of councils would be set up for joint strategic planning and implementation with State agencies of proposed Delivery Plans under the Metropolitan Strategy, as well as Regional Action Plans under the State Plan.  Sub-regional boundaries have been indicated in the draft Metropolitan Strategy, but may require adjustments in light of the Panel’s proposals.

The specific recommendation in respect of Hornsby Shire Council contained in Table 4 of the Consultation Paper was that Hornsby amalgamate with Ku-ring-gai Council.  If this proposal was not acceptable to the State Government because of its current policy position of no forced amalgamations, the Panel recommended that the two Councils combine under a strong County Council model.  Under this model, the County Council would undertake a broad range of strategic functions to support both Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils.  The County Council would replace the existing regional organisation (NSROC) with Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai remaining much as they are except that they would “own” and resource the County Council and refer some regional functions to the County Council.  The Panel also recommended, in line with its proposed expansion of the Parramatta City Council boundaries, that Hornsby’s current boundary with Parramatta and/or Ryde Councils be shifted north to the M2.

Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS22/13, which was submitted for Council’s consideration at the 19 June 2013 General Meeting, provided background details about the establishment of the ILGRP together with Council’s response to the Panel’s April 2013 consultation paper titled “Future Directions for NSW Local Government – Twenty Essential Steps”.  Council’s submission, which was sent on 27 June 2013, was one of many that the ILGRP received and considered in developing its final report.

The ILGRP submitted its final report to the Minister for Local Government in October 2013 and it was subsequently released for public comment by the Minister in January 2014.  Comments on the final report were originally due by 7 March 2014, but this date was extended by the Minister until 4 April 2014.

The Panel made a total of 65 recommendations which respond to the following 12 key themes that run throughout the report:

·              The overarching imperative is to ensure the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of NSW local government.  In its present form and under current policy settings the system as a whole will not remain sustainable and fit-for-purpose for much longer.

·              The focus of policy should be on strengthening ‘strategic capacity’ – ensuring that local government has the right structures, governance models, skills and resources to discharge its responsibilities and realise its potential.

·              Major new initiatives are required to tackle the underlying problems of financial weakness and infrastructure backlogs.

·              In particular, a series of measures must be put in place to promote greater ‘fiscal responsibility’ within local government and to make associated improvements to local government’s efficiency, accountability and political governance.

·              Changes to the rating system and rate-pegging are essential to generate the revenues needed to fund infrastructure and services, and – equally as important – to make the system more equitable.

·              Given limited funds, the distribution of grants must change to direct more assistance to areas of greatest need.

·              Stronger regional organisations are vital to ensure increased resource sharing and joint planning, and to support vulnerable rural-remote councils.

·              Structural reform – including council amalgamations – is another essential component of reform, notably in metropolitan Sydney.

·              The process for considering possible amalgamations and boundary changes needs to be overhauled, and a package of incentives introduced to encourage voluntary mergers.

·              The particular issues and problems facing the Far West of NSW require special arrangements.

·              Working relations between local government and State agencies need to be improved across the board, and regional coordination should be the centrepiece of this effort.

·              Reforms must be pursued as an integrated package, not one-off measures.

The ILGRP’s principal recommendations in response to the above key themes can be summarised as follows (noting that the relevant section of the Panel’s report is shown in brackets for those interested in obtaining further information):

Fiscal Responsibility

·              Establish an integrated Fiscal Responsibility Program, coordinated by the Division of Local Government (now OLG) and also involving the Treasury Corporation (TCorp), the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and Local Government NSW (LGNSW)… (5.1 and 5.3)

·              Introduce more rigorous guidelines for Delivery Programs… (5.2)

·              Place local government audits under the aegis of the Auditor General… (5.4)

Strengthening the Revenue Base

·              Commission IPART to undertake a further review of the rating system focused on:  options to reduce or remove excessive exemptions and concessions… (6.2); more equitable rating of apartments and other multi-unit dwellings… (6.3)

·              Either replace rate-pegging with a new system of ‘rate benchmarking’ or streamline current arrangements to remove unwarranted complexity, costs, and constraints to sound financial management… (6.5)

·              Subject to any legal constraints, seek to redistribute Federal Financial Assistance Grants and some State grants in order to channel additional support to councils and communities with the greatest needs… (6.6)

·              Establish a State-wide borrowing facility to enable local government to make increased use of debt where appropriate… (6.7)

Meeting Infrastructure Needs

·              Maintain the Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme (LIRS) for at least five years, with a focus on councils facing the most severe infrastructure problems… (7.2)

·              Pool a proportion of funds from the roads component of Federal Financial Assistance Grants and, if possible, the Roads to Recovery program in order to establish a Strategic Projects Fund for roads and bridges… (7.2)

·              Adopt a similar model to Queensland’s of Regional Roads and Transport Groups… (7.4)

Improvement, Productivity and Accountability

·              Commission IPART to undertake a whole-of-government review of the regulatory, compliance and reporting burden on councils… (8.2)

·              Amend Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) Guidelines to require councils to incorporate regular service reviews in their Delivery Programs… (8.4)

·              Strengthen requirements for internal and performance auditing as proposed in Box 17… (8.5)

Political Leadership and Good Governance

·              Require councils to undertake regular Representation Reviews … (9.1)

·              Amend the legislated role of councillors and mayors and introduce mandatory professional development programs… (9.2 and 9.3) 

·              Amend the legislated role and standard contract provisions of General Managers… (9.5)

·              Develop a Good Governance Guide …(9.7)

Advancing Structural Reform

·              Introduce additional options for local government structures, including regional Joint Organisations, ‘Rural Councils’ and Community Boards, to facilitate a better response to the needs and circumstances of different regions… (10.1)

·              Legislate a revised process for considering potential amalgamations and boundary changes through a re-constituted and more independent Boundaries Commission… (10.3)

·              Encourage voluntary mergers of councils through measures to lower barriers and provide professional and financial support… (10.4)

Regional Joint Organisations

·              Establish new Joint Organisations (JOs) for each of the regions shown on Map 2 under new provisions of the Local Government Act that replace those for County Councils… (11.5)

·              Establish Regional Water Alliances in each JO along the lines proposed in the 2009 Armstrong-Gellatly report… (11.3)

‘Rural Councils’ and Community Boards

·              Establish a working party to further develop the concept of ‘Rural Councils’… (12.1)

·              Include provisions for optional Community Boards… (12.2)

Metropolitan Sydney, Hunter and Central Coast

·              Seek evidence-based responses from councils to the Panel’s proposals for mergers and major boundary changes… (13.3, 14.1, 14.2)

·              Maximise utilisation of the local government revenue base in the eastern half of the Sydney region in order to free-up State resources…(13.6)

Non-Metropolitan Regions

·              Progressively refer (non-metropolitan) councils to the reconstituted Boundaries Commission in accordance with Table 11 and the proposed timeline… (15.1)

The Far West

·              Agree in principle to the establishment of a Far West Regional Authority… (16.3)

·              Adopt the preferred new arrangements for local government set out in Box 40… (16.4)

State-Local Government Relations

·              Introduce new arrangements for collaborative, whole-of-government strategic planning at a regional level… (17.3)

·              Amend the State Constitution to strengthen recognition of elected local government… (17.4)

Chapter 13 of the ILGRP’s report deals with metropolitan Sydney and had the most relevance to Hornsby Shire Council.  A summary of the matters raised by the Panel in Chapter 13 is provided below:

Reshaping metropolitan governance

·              The Panel is convinced that for Sydney to remain Australasia’s pre-eminent global city, very substantial changes are needed to the way the region is governed at both local and State levels.

·              Achieving more effective metropolitan governance requires a partnership approach involving State, local and, if possible, Federal governments.

Alternative futures for local government

·              The Panel sees two distinct alternatives for the future structure of metropolitan local government:

o     Retain more or less the current number and distribution of councils, and rely heavily on sub-regional Joint Organisations to contribute to metropolitan issues, engage with State agencies at a sub-regional level, undertake joint planning and projects, and promote increased delivery of shared services.

o     Substantially reduce the number of councils so that each has the resources and credibility to be a player in metropolitan affairs in its own right, and so that they can all come together in a strong metropolitan-wide organisation such as a ‘Council of Mayors’.

·              In considering these options the Panel took the following factors into account.

o     With 41 councils in metropolitan Sydney (excluding the Central Coast) local government is fragmented (especially in the eastern half of the region) and lacks credibility as a significant player and partner in metropolitan planning and management.

o     There is continuing unnecessary duplication between councils in planning and service delivery, and scarce expertise and resources are not being used to their full potential.

o     Without changes to council boundaries there will be an increasingly severe imbalance in the structures of local government between eastern and western Sydney.

o     Coordination and cooperation between councils would undoubtedly be improved by the establishment of robust sub-regional organisations.

o     Enhanced capacity for local government to play a major role in strategic planning, delivery of major infrastructure and improvement projects, and partnering effectively with State and Federal agencies is more likely to be achieved if the basic building blocks – individual councils – are larger and more capable.

o     There is an often expressed community concern that creating substantially larger local government areas will reduce local representation and destroy local identity.  However, there are a number of ways in which local identity and representation can be maintained.

Options for mergers

·              The Panel concluded that the number of local councils in the Sydney basin should be significantly reduced.  This applies mainly to the inner and eastern suburbs, the lower North Shore and around Parramatta and Liverpool.

·              The Panel’s proposals were amended in several key respects from those put forward in its earlier Future Directions Discussion Paper to take into account issues raised in submissions, as well as the opportunity to align sub-regional boundaries with those to be used for the State Plan and Metropolitan Strategy.

·              In particular, the Metropolitan Strategy places particular emphasis on the planning and development of a series of regional centres.  Looking ahead, it will be important to ensure that the centres of both Parramatta and Liverpool are governed by councils with considerably greater capacity and strength in sub-regional leadership than has been the case.

·              The options put forward are far-reaching but not as radical as some might prefer.  The Panel’s view is that on balance, looking ahead to the mid-21st Century when Sydney’s population will reach about 7 million, having about 15-18 councils is appropriate.  A smaller number could tend to create several ‘mini-states’, which would not be helpful at this stage.  The Panel’s proposals leave scope to make further structural changes in the future if required.

·              Amalgamated councils should have the option of establishing Community Boards.  This would help smooth the transition to much larger local government areas and enable ongoing representation of local communities of interest.

·              Submissions to the Panel indicate intense opposition to mergers amongst some metropolitan councils, but also a significant degree of support for change.  The same applies in the community, and analysis of polling suggests that initial ‘reflex’ opposition to amalgamations is not as firm as it might appear.  At least three councils (including Hornsby) have commissioned studies to explore the potential benefits of mergers, and others have suggested substantial boundary changes.

·              It is essential that any changes to boundaries in metropolitan Sydney occur within a consistent strategic framework designed to support strategic planning and infrastructure provision, and to complement State government efforts to improve metropolitan governance.  The Panel therefore believes that the best way forward would be first, to seek evidence-based responses from councils to its proposals; then to refer both the proposals and responses to the proposed Ministerial Advisory Group; and then, if warranted, to the Boundaries Commission for further consideration.  The Panel would caution against supporting any isolated voluntary amalgamations until there is a clear long-term strategy.  Experience with the ‘semi-voluntary’ mergers that occurred in Adelaide in the mid-1990s indicates that, whilst some benefits are achieved, the overall outcome can be a very unsatisfactory ‘patchwork quilt’.

Sub-regional arrangements

·              If the number of councils in the Sydney region is substantially reduced, then sub-regional arrangements would be focused primarily on working with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to prepare and implement sub-regional Delivery Plans and Regional Action Plans. 

·              If there is little or no restructuring of existing council boundaries, then multi-purpose JOs should be established to undertake a wide range of functions on behalf of their members, as in the rest of NSW.  Close collaboration in strategic planning, infrastructure provision and shared services would be especially important.  The JOs would also be critical for strengthening partnerships with State and Federal agencies to bring about more effective metropolitan governance and growth management.  Given the large number of councils in the inner and middle rings of Sydney, there may be a need to split some of the sub-regions shown on Map 3.

Maximising available resources

·              Restructuring local government in the eastern half of metropolitan Sydney would maximise opportunities to make more use of the revenue potential from high land values and, in particular, the surge in medium and high-density residential development.

·              23 Sydney councils (including Hornsby) receive only the minimum general-purpose financial assistance grants (FAGs), suggesting little or no need for external support.  Property owners in most of those areas pay relatively low rates as a proportion of land values.  Preliminary calculations show that if they paid a similar percentage of land value as the metropolitan average, the councils concerned could collectively raise more than $150 million extra each year.

·              Local councils in relatively affluent areas and with significant under-utilised revenue potential can and should contribute more to the task of managing metropolitan growth and change.  This would free-up State resources to provide greater assistance to councils in western Sydney and elsewhere in NSW that are struggling to fund essential infrastructure and services.

A metropolitan Council of Mayors

·              Sydney needs a metropolitan councils organisation that can provide a ‘voice’ for the region, and that can represent local government and local communities in high-level consultations with State and Federal governments, as well as internationally.  With many fewer councils, there would be an opportunity – as well as a strong case – to establish a body similar to the South East Queensland Council of Mayors.  If restructuring takes place along the lines suggested by the Panel, such a Council of Mayors would logically be chaired by the Lord Mayor of either Sydney or Parramatta.

·              If the number of councils remains more or less as at present, then an alternative model would be several sub-regional Councils of Mayors that come together periodically as a metropolitan local government assembly.

The specific recommendation for Hornsby Shire Council detailed in Table 8 of the Panel’s report was that Hornsby amalgamate with Ku-ring-gai Council; or that Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils combine as a strong Joint Organisation.  The Panel also recommended, in line with its proposed expansion of the Parramatta City Council boundaries, that Hornsby’s current boundary with Parramatta and/or Ryde Councils be shifted north to the M2.  Under the Joint Organisation (JO) model, the JO would undertake a broad range of strategic functions to support both Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils e.g. strategic regional and sub-regional planning; inter-government relations and regional advocacy; road network planning and major projects; collaboration with State and Federal agencies in infrastructure and service provision; strategic procurement; high level corporate services or back office functions; etc.  It is noted, however, that the Panel recommended that establishment of JO’s in metropolitan Sydney should be deferred pending further consideration of potential mergers by the State Government.

Research Undertaken by Council

Apart from responding to papers prepared by the ILGRP and the LGAT about local government reform (refer to Deputy General Manager’s Report Nos CS5/14 and CS6/14 – 12 March 2014 General Meeting), Council has been collecting and developing its own research about reform options.

Firstly, Hornsby and The Hills Councils jointly commissioned PWC to undertake a project to investigate potential mergers of Hornsby and The Hills with each other and/or with neighbouring councils.  Secondly, Hornsby contracted Crosby Textor to undertake independent, scientifically robust and informative research to assist Council in understanding community opinion about the local government reform process as it affects the community.

Whilst the PWC research details the potential issues, benefits and disadvantages associated with Hornsby amalgamating with its neighbouring councils; Crosby Textor’s research provides insights into the community’s view about reforms proposed by the ILGRP in its April 2013 Discussion Paper and, in particular, council amalgamations and/or shared services.

The main messages emanating from the PWC research were: 

·              Strategic Capacity - access to a larger pool of financial and non-financial resources would enable a merged Hornsby/The Hills Council to undertake new functions and deliver new services.

·              Lobbying - a larger Council would have greater weight in applying for State and Federal funding in addition to having a stronger negotiating position when discussing tenders and preferred supplier arrangements.

·              Asset Utilisation and Rationalisation - there would be an increased ability to utilise assets by sharing resources and disposing of surplus or duplicated assets.

·              Administrative Rationalisation - both Hornsby and The Hills operate through a similar organisational structure based on the configuration of functional expertise and the delivery of services.  This would reduce the execution risk of removing duplicate functions.

·              Increased Service Delivery – removing duplicate activities in multiple community centres, standardisation of services and increased scale of process would allow for more cost efficient delivery of services.  Strategic location of newly developed infrastructure assets of a newly merged council would benefit a larger population, reducing the need to duplicate investment in infrastructure.

·              Investment in Future Capital Assets – realisation of surplus assets may provide additional funds to reinvest in future capital projects, reduce the need to borrow or allow for the redeployment of reserves for new projects.

·              Upgrade Existing Infrastructure – an amalgamation would allow for some facilities to be closed, delivering maintenance savings and income from property sales.  An evaluation of the infrastructure requiring remediation would need to be undertaken to identify overlap and identify areas of potential savings.

·              Re-calibrate Capital Structure – the loan funding levels of Hornsby and The Hills Councils are relatively low, with debt service ratios not exceeding 5%.  There is capacity to increase borrowings to fund capital budgets and reduce backlogs in costs to bring assets to a satisfactory condition.  There would also be an ability to refinance or repay existing debt to reduce borrowing costs given the stronger balance sheet position of the merged council.

·              Strategic Alignment – there is an alignment of a number of strategic goals of Hornsby and The Hills.  This alignment indicates that there are potential synergies to be gained in achieving these goals from an amalgamation of the two Councils e.g.

o     Ecology and environment strategies in relation to climate change, bushland and natural areas, environmental education, development and water.

o     Economy and infrastructure strategies in relation to transport, economic development, recreation, employment, assets and business development.

o     Community strategies in relation to community engagement, service provision, cultural engagement and crime.

o     Governance strategies in relation to reporting, internal policies, stakeholder management and risk management.

·              In respect of financial benefits:

o     The rationalisation of corporate support functions like information technology, financial services, records, and human resources would lead to significant expense reductions.

o     Labour consolidation could also be applied to managerial staff, administrative support staff, property sections and strategy and communication groups.

o     A review of the information system requirements of a combined council may result in reasonable savings in lease payments.

o     Rationalisation of assets that on review are surplus to needs may present opportunities to improve cash-flow and address infrastructure backlogs.  Reduced maintenance budgets may also be a side benefit.

o     Reduced operating expenses due to labour consolidation and asset rationalisation to address infrastructure backlogs would improve a council’s strategic ability to manage reliance on rate pegging allowances.

Crosby Textor’s research indicated that:

·              Local issues are low on the order of local residents’ issues.  Issues concerning matters of State Government rank higher on the top-of-mind agenda for the local residents of Hornsby, The Hills, Parramatta and Ryde.  These issues predominantly include the provision of better public and social infrastructure and traffic congestion.

·              There is a low level of awareness of local council amalgamation.  Total awareness of the current local government reform process sits around 53%.

·              There is a high level of indecision – “soft” support/opposition for reform.  The recommended option from the ILGRP to amalgamate councils has a “soft” position of approximately 60% of surveyed people.  This finding is particularly important because it shows that community members are neither genuinely in support or opposed to the proposed reforms.

·              The shared services model is preferred over amalgamation.  Total support for a shared services model sits at 73% with minimal “strong” opposition at 9%.  Of the reform options proposed, a shared services model was the most readily accepted.  A reduction in council costs and improved service delivery were viewed as the primary reasons to support the model.

·              There are disparate Hornsby Ward views about amalgamation.  The results show that the views of residents in A, B and C wards are different.  The geographical distances between these wards and the change of community landscape shows that there is not homogeneity in their views.

·              Attitudes are consistent amongst residents from all surveyed councils.  There appears to be relative levels of parity in the views expressed by community members surveyed in neighbouring council areas.  The results showed that varying levels of awareness, opposition and support were only marginal if any at all.

·              There is potential to convince those who are undecided on amalgamations by explaining the arguments which support lower costs and improved efficiencies.

Following the receipt and consideration of the Crosby Textor and PWC research at its 21 August 2013 General Meeting, Council unanimously resolved that:

1.         The research undertaken for Council by Crosby Textor and PricewaterhouseCoopers be received and noted and briefings on the Crosby Textor research continue to be offered to the Independent Local Government Review Panel and the Minister for Local Government.

2.         Due to public interest in this matter, copies of the PricewaterhouseCoopers and Crosby Textor quantitative research be made available with other relevant information on a “Local Government Reform” section of Council’s website.

3.         Prior to formalising its position on local government reform, Council commission an independent, high level strategic and financial assessment of potential options for structural reform of local government in the northern Sydney area.  Such assessment would be similar to assessments already undertaken by Randwick and Warringah Councils for the eastern suburbs and northern beaches areas respectively.

In respect of point 1 of the resolution, Council offered both the ILGRP and the Minister for Local Government briefings on the Crosby Textor findings to assist them in their continuing deliberations on local government reform.  The ILGRP took the opportunity to be briefed on the Crosby Textor research and to then referred favourably to the research in its final report.

In line with point 2 of the resolution, copies of the PWC and Crosby Textor research were made available on Council’s website.

In respect of point 3 of the resolution, KPMG was commissioned to undertake the high level strategic and financial assessment of options for structural reform.  The scope of Council’s engagement of KPMG was to:

·              Develop up to seven local government reform options (including a base case) with reference to a predetermined set of local government reform principles.

·              Conduct a financial strategic analysis of options, including:

o     detailed financial statement analysis of Hornsby Shire Council data

o     high level financial statement analysis of publicly available council data for neighbouring councils

o     financial modelling and sensitivity testing of options

o     internal stakeholder consultations and testing with up to three internal stakeholders at Hornsby Shire Council

o     analysis of broader supporting strategies and mechanisms, including service delivery pathways, asset utilisation and renewal, socio-economic and cultural considerations, and governance structures

o     multi-criteria analysis with up to five financial and non-financial criteria to determine the preferred option for Hornsby Shire Council

·              Seek input to the analysis from neighbouring councils that may be impacted by local government reform options considered in KPMG’s report.

Following its appointment, KPMG worked with Council to develop the following set of local government reform principles to be used in its analysis.

Reform Principles

Indicators

Key Considerations

Local Government Capacity - the ability of local government to maintain or enhance service delivery

Quality of service delivery

Quality of planning and infrastructure delivery

Capacity to attract specialist skills

With effective coordination and management, larger councils tend to have greater capacity than smaller councils to leverage financial and operational scale to:

·      better manage planning and infrastructure delivery

·      concurrently maintain or improve the quality and efficiency of services to residents

Financial Sustainability - the ability of the council to sustainably fund adequate and effective services

The capacity to secure economies of scale and scope

Scope and scale of the resource base

Continued or improved financial sustainability is crucial in maintaining the capacity to deliver services, and it is often a key motivation of pursuing boundary reforms.

Ensuring that any boundary reforms increase the financial sustainability of council is vital, and this will be assessed through the financial statement analysis and cost benefit analysis.

Local Representation - the ability of the local government authority to effectively represent ratepayers

Quality of local representation

Communities of interest

Quality of stakeholder management

Boundary reform options should be evaluated with respect to their impact on the effectiveness of local representation.

The effectiveness of representation affects the quality of governance.  Representation that is more reflective of the community is more likely to lead to outcomes aligned with the needs of the governed.  Effective representation also helps manage the diverse (and sometimes competing) communities of interest that form a council locality.

KPMG and Council also agreed that the following seven local government reform options were those to be investigated as part of this project:

Reform Options

Description

Option 1 - Base Case

Option 1 is the base case – or “do nothing” option – in which the current structure of local government areas considered were assumed to remain constant.

Amalgamation Options

 

Option 2 - Hornsby and The Hills Councils

Option 2 is an amalgamation option that would involve combining Hornsby and The Hills Councils, with minor adjustments to each Council’s southern boundaries.

Option 3 - Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils

Option 3 is an amalgamation option that would involve combining Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils, with a minor adjustment to the southern boundary of Hornsby Council.  The specification of Option 3 is consistent with the recommendation made in the ILGRP’s Final Report.

Option 4 - Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils

Option 4 is an amalgamation option that would involve combining Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils, with an adjustment to the southern boundary of Hornsby and The Hills Councils.

Shared Services Options

 

Option 5 - Shared Infrastructure and Recreation Division between Hornsby and The Hills Councils

Option 5 is a shared services model between Hornsby and The Hills Councils, where an Infrastructure and Recreation Division would be shared across the Councils.

Option 6 - Shared Infrastructure and Recreation Division between Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils

Option 6 is a shared services model between Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils, where an Infrastructure and Recreation Division would be shared across the Councils.

Option 7 - Shared Infrastructure and Recreation Division between Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils

Option 7 is a shared services model between Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils, where an Infrastructure and Recreation Division would be shared across the Councils.

KPMG completed its research and provided Council with its final report (together with a summary version of the report which may be useful for interested members of the public).  The key findings of KPMG’s research were that:

·              Local governments in NSW perform crucial functions and are key platforms for local democracy and representation, however, their structure and functions have largely remained static despite structural changes in the economy.

·              Financial sustainability is a key consideration for local government in NSW, with 46 percent of councils estimated to have a financial sustainability rating of “weak” or lower within three years.

·              To support more sustainable local governments over the long term, there are a number of potential reform options, including – for example – amalgamations, boundary reform and shared services.  The recent report by the ILGRP - Revitalising Local Government - provided a comprehensive analysis of these options in the NSW context.

·              Although there are broader impacts associated with reform, a key consideration is the potential financial benefits.  Evidence suggests that economies of scale can be achieved in Australia, as demonstrated by seven out of nine studies of domestic reform experience.

·              Previous experience suggests that the quality of service delivery, financial sustainability and the effectiveness of local representation are consistently applied to develop and analyse the impacts of local government reform.

·              The seven reform options were developed based on the common underlying principles of previous reform experience and consultations with Hornsby Council.  Reform options included both amalgamations and shared services arrangements.

·              Option 1 – Base Case Scenario

o     Under Option 1, where Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils remain as separate entities, it is estimated that:

Ø   Hornsby’s net operating result before capital items would be $23.0 million in 2017/18, and over the ten year period from 2013/14 to 2022/23 would show a cumulative net operating result before capital items of $209.0 million.

Ø   The Hills’ net operating result before capital items would be $54.6 million in 2017/18, and over the ten year period from 2013/14 to 2022/23 would show a cumulative net operating result before capital items of $500.7 million.

Ø   Ku-ring-gai’s net operating result before capital items would be $43.1 million in 2017/18, and over the ten year period from 2013/14 to 2022/23 would show a cumulative net operating result before capital items of $349.7 million.

·              Options 2 and 5 - Amalgamation and Shared Services - Hornsby and The Hills

o     An amalgamation of Hornsby and The Hills Councils – Option 2 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of about $26.9 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity – refer Table 7.13 on page 59 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 17 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 2, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the aggregate Hornsby/The Hills entity is estimated to be $783.7 million (which is $74.0 million – or 10 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

o     A shared services model between Hornsby and The Hills Councils (where they would share an Infrastructure and Recreation Division) – Option 5 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of around $24.0 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.16 on page 62 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 4 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 5, the cumulative net operating result over the period to 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the Hornsby/The Hills shared services entity is estimated to be $725.1 million (which is $15.3 million – or 2 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

·              Options 3 and 6 - Amalgamation and Shared Services - Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai

o     An amalgamation of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils – Option 3 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of about $26.2 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.14 on page 60 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 14 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 3, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the aggregate Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai entity is estimated to be $609.1 million (which is $50.4 million – or 9 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

o     A shared services model between Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils (where they would share an Infrastructure and Recreation Division) – Option 6 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of around $23.9 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.17 on page 63 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 3 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 6, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai shared services entity is estimated to be $569.2 million (which is $10.5 million – or 2 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

·              Options 4 and 7 - Amalgamation and Shared Services – Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai

o     An amalgamation of Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils – Option 4 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of about $29.0 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.15 on page 61 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 26 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 4, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the aggregate Hornsby/The Hills/Ku-ring-gai entity is estimated to be $1,222.6 million (which is $163.1 million – or 15 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

o     A shared services model between Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils (where they would share an Infrastructure and Recreation Division) – Option 7 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of around $24.2 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.18 on page 64 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 5 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 7, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the Hornsby/The Hills/Ku-ring-gai shared services entity is estimated to be $1,086.6 million (which is 27.2 million – or 3 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

KPMG stated that implementing local government reform, whether through boundary reform or shared services, requires consideration of a variety of supporting factors in addition to the expected financial impacts.  The supporting strategies and mechanisms include:

·              Asset utilisation, renewal and financial sustainability, including:

o     valuation and stocktake of assets

o     maintenance of infrastructure

·              Service delivery pathways to promote quality provision of council services, including consideration of:

o     service levels between councils

o     human resource management across councils

o     corporate support functions

·              Governance structures of new council entities, including consideration of how governance may impact the effectiveness of local representation

·              Transition measures to underpin the implementation of reforms

KPMG went on to say that Council’s preferred option for reform should be identified using multi-criteria analysis to recognise that broader supporting strategies need to be considered in conjunction with the projected financial impacts for different reform options.  The framework for conducting a multi-criteria analysis should, therefore, consider a range of appropriate financial and non-financial criteria, for example:

·              the expected financial impacts of options

·              risks to financial sustainability over the longer term

·              strategic risks

·              risks to service quality and effectiveness

·              risks to the effectiveness of local representation

·              risk to effective implementation and management over time

KPMG provided a framework (see table below and Section 7.5 – pages 77-78 of KPMG’s report) which Council could use to undertake the multi-criteria analysis.

Financial Criteria

 

The net financial benefits of the options

Ranking of percentage point impacts relative to the base case net operating results.

Risks to financial sustainability over the medium to long term

Informed by the financial analysis and financial statement analysis of Hornsby Shire Council and neighbouring councils in the northern Sydney area.

Non-Financial Criteria

 

Strategic Risks

Determined with respect to the analysis of supporting strategies and mechanisms and high level implementation considerations.

Risks to service quality and effectiveness over time

Determined with respect to the analysis of supporting strategies and mechanisms and high level implementation considerations.

Risks to quality and effectiveness of local representation

Determined with respect to the analysis of supporting strategies and mechanisms and high level implementation considerations.

Risks to effective implementation and management over time

Determined with respect to the analysis of supporting strategies and mechanisms and high level implementation considerations.

KPMG did, however, indicate that further consultation and analysis is required to determine:

·              the scoring for each criteria, particularly non-financial

·              appropriate weightings for each criterion, to be determined by stakeholders

KPMG noted that there are a number of precursors to the finalisation and implementation of a preferred option by Council.  These include, for example:

·              Continued engagement in the broader local government reform debate in NSW, particularly when the NSW Government formalises its position to the Revitalising Local Government report recently released by the ILGRP.

·              Further, more detailed, due diligence of reform options, particularly from the perspective of other councils in the reform process.

The approach recommended by KPMG was for Council to actively engage all relevant councils and the NSW Government concurrently to undertake a more comprehensive evaluation of the costs and benefits of all options.  The approach to developing the analysis in KPMG’s report has the flexibility to be extended and refined over time should further, more detailed, data become available.

KPMG went on to say that following the completion of due diligence, stakeholder engagement and agreement of a preferred option, there should be detailed implementation planning to ensure successful delivery of reform over time.  A structured and effectively communicated approach to implementation and management of the reform process is critical for its overall success, including the realisation of the potential benefits.

KPMG have provided a high level implementation plan for an amalgamation or shared services reform model (see Section 8 – pages 79-84 of KPMG’s report), however, they noted that a more complete implementation plan would be required following the completion of all required due diligence that provides:

·              greater detail that is targeted to the specific option being considered

·              target completion dates for actions

·              accountabilities for those actions in agreed timeframes

Following its consideration of KPMG’s report at the 11 June 2014 General Meeting, Council resolved that:

1.         KPMG’s “Analysis of local government reform options in the Northern Sydney area” report be made available on Council’s website and a copy sent to the Minister for Local Government and The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils.

2.         The NSW Government be encouraged to facilitate local government reform having regard to the research undertaken for Council by KPMG, PWC and Crosby Textor; and the recommendations made by the ILGRP and the LGAT.

3.         The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils be requested to provide their comments on the reform options outlined by KPMG.

4.         When the NSW Government releases its responses to the recommendations made by the ILGRP and the LGAT, a further report be prepared for Council’s consideration incorporating any feedback received from The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils about the KPMG reports.

Following the Meeting, KPMG’s report was placed on Council’s website under the Local Government Reform tab; the Mayor provided a copy of the report to the Minister for Local Government and encouraged the NSW Government to commence reform of the local government industry; and the General Manager provided a copy of the report to the General Managers of The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils asking those Councils to provide any comments they may have on the reform options outlined in KPMG’s report.

Ku-ring-gai Council considered the KPMG report at its 12 August 2014 Ordinary Meeting and resolved that:

Council note that the report commissioned by Hornsby Council “Analysis of local government reform options in the Northern Sydney area – 22 May 2014” does not support the case for amalgamation of Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby Councils as the forecast saving is small compared to the risks involved, representing only 1.6% of the combined budgets over 10 years.  This forecast:

i.          Is based on simplistic assumptions derived from case studies of Council amalgamations of much larger scale and range of services offered

ii.          Is likely to be optimistic and does not include an adequate allowance for transition costs

iii.         Does not provide an adequate return for the substantial risks and disruption involved in an amalgamation

iv.         Does not take into account the impact on Ku-ring-gai ratepayers in sharing in substantial costs to rehabilitate and stabilise the Hornsby Quarry

v.         Does not take into account the impact of rates redistribution on Ku-ring-gai ratepayers due to higher land values, resulting in an increase in rates likely to be much greater than the forecast savings from amalgamation

vi.         Does not address the loss of councillor representation, nor the operational difficulties, social challenges, town planning issues and political complexities in managing an amalgamation of two large, diverse council areas that stretch from the rural locality of Wisemans Ferry through to the urban suburb of Roseville, some 65 km to the south

vii.        That Ku-ring-gai Council’s response to the report commissioned by Hornsby Council be sent to the State MPs for Ku-ring-gai, Davidson and Hornsby

Ku-ring-gai’s report on the matter states that it would be exposed to the following risks if there was an amalgamation of Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby Councils:

·              Reduced representation and less say in decision making for the local area; the risk of decisions about the Ku-ring-gai area being made by a majority of councillors elected from the Hornsby area due to a larger population

·              Increased rates for Ku-ring-gai ratepayers due to redistribution of the rates burden from areas of lower land value (Hornsby) to areas of higher land value (Ku-ring-gai)

·              Unknown financial liabilities such as for rehabilitation of the Hornsby Quarry

·              Impact on the composition, quality and quantity of services due to the rationalisation of facilities and services

·              Disruption to service provision, loss of skilled workers, fall in staff morale and productivity loss

·              Utilising simplistic assumptions based on anecdotal evidence from the KPMG report could lead to increased costs rather than savings

·              Forecast financial savings are small in comparison to the substantial risks and disruption from amalgamation

NSW’s Fit for the Future Announcements

Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS42/14 was considered by Council on 12 November 2014.  It advised that on 10 September 2014, the NSW Government released its responses to the ILGRP and LGAT recommendations contained in their respective reports from 2013 titled “Revitalising Local Government” and “A New Local Government Act for New South Wales and Review of the Sydney of City Act 1988”.  A copy of the Government’s responses to the recommendations from the ILGRP and LGAT reports is held in TRIM (refer Document No. D03932915) and is also available on the NSW Government’s website www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au.  The Government’s responses are in line with Council’s responses to the same recommendations.

The Government stated that more than one-third of the State’s councils are facing financial problems, infrastructure backlogs are overwhelming, many of our growing suburbs are being constrained by boundaries that date back to the horse and cart days, and councils are missing out on opportunities to take a more active role in regional and State planning because they lack the scale and structures to engage.  The work of the ILGRP and the NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp) has helped the Government to build a clearer picture of what they believe a sustainable council looks like.

Based on the above, the Government released a number of publications which outline in more detail how they intend to move down the local government reform path under the banner Fit for the Future.  The publications include the following:

·              Fit for the Future – A Roadmap for Stronger, Smarter Councils

·              Fit for the Future – A Blueprint for the Future of Local Government

·              Fit for the Future – Frequently Asked Questions

Copies of the documents are held in TRIM (refer Document Nos D03932917, D03932936 and D03932939 respectively) and are also available on www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au.

The Government indicated that, in its view, a Fit for the Future council will have the following features which will ensure that the council has the strategic capacity to govern effectively and partner with industry and the Government to deliver key priorities:

·              it will be sustainable

·              it will be efficient

·              it will effectively manage infrastructure and deliver services for communities

·              it will have the scale and capacity to engage effectively across community, industry and government

Financial Sustainability

For councils to meet the service and infrastructure needs of their communities, they will need to be financially sustainable.  TCorp has defined a sustainable council as one that, over the long term, is able to generate sufficient funds to provide the level and scope of services and infrastructure, agreed with the community through the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) process.

The criteria proposed to be used by the Government to determine if a council is Fit for the Future in terms of financial sustainability are:

·              Operating Performance Ratio – a score greater than or equal to break-even averaged over a three year period is required

·              Own Source Revenue Ratio – a score greater than 60% of total operating revenue is required

·              Building and Infrastructure Asset Renewal Ratio – a score greater than 1 averaged over a three year period is required

Infrastructure and Services

In respect of effectively managing infrastructure and services, a Fit for the Future council will be one that:

·              knows the current and future infrastructure needs of the community

·              develops, maintains and renews infrastructure using the right mix of revenue and borrowing

·              works with others to deliver cost effective services

·              delivers services and infrastructure that meets the needs of communities as identified through the IP&R reporting process

·              delivers services and infrastructure on time and on budget

The criteria proposed to be used by the Government to determine if a council is Fit for the Future in terms of infrastructure and services management are:

·              Infrastructure Backlog Ratio – a score less than 2% is required

·              Asset Maintenance Ratio – a score greater than 1 is required

·              Debt Service Ratio – a score greater than 0% and less than 20% is required

Efficiency

The Government has indicated that an efficient Fit for the Future council will be able to:

·              minimise unnecessary burden on business and the community

·              provide value for money to the community

·              manage resources well to deliver services and infrastructure

The criteria proposed to be used by the Government to determine if a council is Fit for the Future in terms of efficiency is:

·              Movement in Real Operating Expenditure per Capita over a five year period

Scale and Capacity

The Government believes that scale is a key component of strategic capacity – both in creating individual councils with the resources and skills to provide leadership on regional planning and to advocate on behalf of communities by creating a system of local government where State and Local Government can work together effectively.  As a consequence, a Fit for the Future council will be one that:

·              saves money on bureaucracy and administration, freeing up funds for frontline services and community facilities

·              can contribute to projects and tackle issues that impact on its residents and extend beyond the council boundary

·              has credibility and influence across councils, across government and with industry

The criteria proposed to be used by the Government to determine if a council is Fit for the Future in terms of scale and capacity is:

·              whether the scale and capacity of the local government area being assessed is consistent with the recommendations of the ILGRP

The Government believes that councils who have made the changes necessary to become Fit for the Future will have the capacity, strength, expertise and credibility to help shape the future of NSW.  In recognition of that, the Government has indicated that it will give Fit for the Future councils:

·              access to a streamlined IPART process for rate increases above the rate pegging limit, particularly focused on infrastructure funding needs, making it easier for councils to increase rates to fund services and infrastructure the community has said it wants and is willing to pay for

·              access to a TCorp borrowing facility that will save NSW councils up to $600 million on the cost of borrowing, helping them to fund the crucial infrastructure that communities need

·              priority access to other State funding and grants

·              eligibility for additional devolved planning powers in relation to the making of local environmental plans and development decisions, and opportunities for devolving further planning powers

In respect of metropolitan Sydney, which has the most relevance to Hornsby, the Government commented that Sydney is the fastest growing capital city in Australia.  In the next 20 years, a further two million people will make Sydney their home with most of them settling in the western suburbs.  A new international airport will be established and major growth centres will be developed in the north-west and south-west regions.  Some communities will quadruple their size.  New motorways and freight hubs will be needed, as well as hospitals, schools and large scale sporting facilities.  To cope with this growth and Sydney’s emerging role as a global city, NSW needs a modern, more connected system of local government.

There are currently 41 councils in Greater Sydney, all with their own rules and regulations.  This means multiple licences, fees and approvals for small business and different development rules for people who want to build or renovate their homes.  It also means people in different suburbs receive different levels of service.  The Government believes everyone in Sydney deserves a strong future and that Sydney cannot continue to be constrained by boundaries that were set over 100 years ago.  If governments are to deliver the housing, jobs and transport people will need in the next 20 years, a more connected system of local government must be created.

The Fit for the Future program was established to help councils and their communities take advantage of emerging opportunities.  Fit for the Future councils will be provided with a seat at the table in planning Greater Sydney’s future, and will receive more local planning powers.  They will also have access to cheaper finance to build and maintain the facilities that communities need, such as roads, parks, footpaths, sporting facilities and community centres.  The Government intends to invest up to $1 billion to create a more connected Global city and a smarter system of local government that can provide the services our growing communities need.

In its document “Fit for the Future – A Blueprint for the Future of Local Government”, the Government requested that councils across NSW review their situation, prepare a submission and then transition to being Fit for the Future.

Reviewing the Current Situation

Each council was requested to look at its current situation and consider the future needs of its community and the recommendations of the ILGRP.  The Government provided a self-assessment tool to help guide the discussion.  The assessment helps councils to get a clear picture of how they are performing in financial management, service delivery and scale of operations.  It also helps them to identify what they may need to do to ensure they are Fit for the Future.  Councils were encouraged to discuss ideas and options with their community and neighbouring local government areas.  The OLG helped with guidelines and templates and councils will be able to access support from their regional relationship manager through the OLG’s One Stop Shop.

Preparing a Submission

After considering their situation, councils were asked to submit a proposal by 30 June 2015 about how they intend to be/become Fit for the Future.  The Government assisted by providing guidelines and templates.  Councils were able to get support from their OLG relationship manager and also had access to expert assistance if they wanted to look at voluntary merger options.  In this regard, the ILGRP’s recommendations were proposed as a good starting point for how councils can achieve the scale and capacity they require to become Fit for the Future.  For some councils, joining forces with their neighbours may be the best option.  The Government committed to providing generous support if councils wanted to pursue that path.  Larger councils who are already performing well may develop strategies to strengthen their operations and improve efficiencies.  The proposals will be assessed by an independent expert panel and councils will receive feedback.  The panel will then make recommendations to the Minister for Local Government.

Making the Transition

Once councils have a plan in place to become Fit for the Future, they will receive assistance and support from the Government to implement their plan.  For merging councils, this includes funding to support the transition process and establish their new Fit for the Future venture.  When Fit for the Future councils have completed their transition, they will have access to a range of opportunities including cheaper finance options, simplified reporting requirements, priority access to State funding and grants and options for additional planning powers.

The Government proposed the following four stages in its Fit for the Future process:

Stage 1

Councils were provided with a self-assessment tool to help them review their current performance against the Fit for the Future criteria.  Based on these results, councils progress to Stage 2 to prepare a roadmap demonstrating how they will move towards becoming Fit for the Future.

Stage 2

Councils need to prepare a roadmap for becoming Fit for the Future, taking account of their community’s needs and future outlook.  Consideration of scale and capacity were the starting point and are based on the ILGRP’s recommendations for each council.  Councils may submit proposals for scale and capacity that are different to the recommendations made by the ILGRP so long as they are broadly consistent with the recommendations.  Councils will not need to address the other three criteria (i.e. sustainability, efficiency and effective services and infrastructure) until they have made the changes to have the right scale and capacity.  Councils that already have the right scale and capacity based on the ILGRP’s recommendations will need to prepare a roadmap for how they will address the other three criteria.  Fit for the Future roadmaps must be submitted by 30 June 2015 for review by a team of independent experts (the Expert Panel).

Stage 3

During this stage, the Expert Panel will review each Council’s roadmap.  The Panel will make recommendations to the Minister for Local Government based on the Panel’s assessment.

Stage 4

In Stage 4, councils who are Fit for the Future will begin to implement their roadmaps and take advantage of the benefits of being a Fit for the Future council.  Newly formed councils will provide a plan for how they will meet the sustainability, efficiency and effective services and infrastructure criteria.

Assistance in Preparing a Roadmap

The Government committed to supporting councils to develop their roadmap and to make the changes necessary to become Fit for the Future.  The support and funding includes:

·              A One Stop Shop, hosted by the OLG, giving councils access to Regional Relationship Managers to assist them explore options and access additional support.

·              Access to fully funded skilled facilitators, to assist in bringing councils to the table to identify risks, benefits and options for voluntary mergers.

·              Establishing a panel of technical experts, with skills in financial analysis, asset management and governance, to support councils gaining access to the information and skills they need.

·              Access to a structural change expert panel for councils that commit to structural change, to provide affordable access to technical advice to undertake due diligence and community consultation to support voluntary merger proposals.  The State will fund 50% of the cost to councils.

The Government’s recommendation for Hornsby Shire Council was that it voluntarily merge with Ku-ring-gai Council to form a new local government area with a population of approximately 280,000.  If Council was supportive of such a recommendation, Council was eligible for the following support from the Government to progress the matter:

·              Access to an OLG Relationship Manager to assist in exploring options and additional support which may be available.

·              Access to fully funded skilled facilitators, to assist Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai to meet and to identify risks, benefits and options for such a merger.

·              Access to a panel of technical experts to assist in gathering all the information required to make a decision.

·              If there was agreement to the merger, access to a structural change expert panel who could provide affordable access (50% of cost covered by the Government) to technical advice to undertake due diligence and community consultation to support voluntary merger proposals.

If a merger was approved to take place, the new local government area would also be eligible for at least $10.5 million (and possibly up to $13.5 million if the total population estimate reached 300,000) from the Government to implement the merger.  It would also be eligible for other components of the Government’s Fit for the Future package.

Having regard to all of the above, and in particular the requirement for Council to make a submission to the OLG by 30 June 2015 about how it will be Fit for the Future, Council needed to move down the following path or similar:

·              October/November 2014 - undertake the self-assessment questionnaire distributed by the OLG to determine Council’s placement against the Fit for the Future criteria.

·              November/December 2014 - continue discussions with Ku-ring-gai Council (and potentially other neighbouring councils) to formally determine their willingness to participate in discussions about the potential for merger opportunities – this may involve assistance from the OLG’s Relationship Manager and/or an experienced facilitator.

·              January-June 2015 - depending on the response from Ku-ring-gai (or other neighbouring councils), commence preparation of a joint or single submission showing how a merged council, or Hornsby as a single entity, is Fit for the Future.

Following its consideration of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS42/14 – Local Government Reform – NSW Government’s “Fit for the Future” Announcements - at the 12 November 2014 General Meeting, Council unanimously resolved that:

1.         The contents of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS42/14, which details the NSW Government’s response to the final reports of the Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) and the Local Government Acts Taskforce under the banner of “Fit for the Future”, be received and noted.

2.         Council note that to be Fit for the Future under the Government’s criteria, a council firstly needs to have sufficient Scale and Capacity (broadly in line with the recommendations of the ILGRP) which the Government believes will equip the council to engage effectively across community, industry and government.  A Fit for the Future council will then also need to be able to demonstrate against the Government’s criteria that it is sustainable, efficient and able to effectively manage infrastructure and deliver services for its community.

3.         As Council does not have sufficient Scale and Capacity to be Fit for the Future under the Government’s requirements, a Steering Committee comprising the Mayor and Councillors Tilbury, Singh and Hutchence be established to undertake discussions with our neighbouring councils regarding the possibility of merging with one or a number of those councils to create a new entity which meets the Scale and Capacity requirements of the Government.

4.         In respect of the Government’s Fit for the Future criteria for sustainability, efficiency and effectively managing infrastructure and services, it be noted that Hornsby Shire Council currently meets the Government’s requirements to be Fit for the Future in respect of:

·              Operating Performance Ratio

·              Own Source Revenue Ratio

·              Infrastructure Backlog Ratio

·              Debt Service Ratio

·              Real Operating Expenditure per capita

but does not currently meet the requirements to be Fit for the Future in respect of:

·              Building and Infrastructure Asset Renewal Ratio

·              Asset Maintenance Ratio

5.         The General Manager advise the Fit for the Future Regional Relationship Manager/s appointed by the Office of Local Government for northern Sydney councils of Council’s resolution and seek their support in providing access to skilled facilitator/s and technical experts who will be able to assist the discussions with our neighbouring councils.

6.         The General Manager and members of Council’s Steering Committee provide regular briefings to all Councillors in respect of the progress of discussions with our neighbouring councils.

7.         A further report be prepared for Council’s consideration in early 2015 which details how Council should progress the development of its Fit for the Future roadmap.

DISCUSSION

The remainder of this Report provides details of actions and events that have occurred since Council’s 12 November 2014 resolution in respect of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS42/14.

One matter that has only recently been announced by the NSW Government is that they have appointed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to be the Expert Panel who will be responsible for assessing council submissions made by 30 June 2015.

Fit for the Future Criteria and Benchmarks

To be Fit for the Future under the Government’s criteria, Council is firstly required to have Scale and Capacity broadly in line with the recommendations of the ILGRP.  As the ILGRP recommendation was for Hornsby to merge with Ku-ring-gai, to meet the Government’s requirements for Scale and Capacity, Council would need to have a population of about 280,000.

If Council was able to meet the Scale and Capacity benchmark on its own, it would also need to be able to demonstrate against the Government’s criteria that it is sustainable, efficient and able to effectively manage infrastructure and deliver services for its community.  Using the Self-Assessment Tool provided by the OLG, staff have calculated Council’s scores against the Government’s Fit for the Future criteria.  The calculation is for 2013/14 specifically and for a three year average of the years 2011/12 to 2013/14. Council currently meets those criteria which are shown in bold.

Criteria

Benchmark

Council Score

2013/14

Council Score

Avg 11/12-13/14

Scale and Capacity

 

 

 

·      Population

> 280,000

166,855

165,778

 

 

 

 

Financial Sustainability

 

 

 

·      Operating Performance Ratio

> or = to 0

0.052

0.013

·      Own Source Revenue Ratio

> 60%

83.7%

85.0%

·      Building and Infrastructure Asset Renewal Ratio

> 100%

78.9%

64.3%

 

 

 

 

Infrastructure and Services

 

 

 

·      Infrastructure Backlog Ratio

< 2%

0.52%

0.52%

·      Asset Maintenance Ratio

> 100%

79.1%

85.7%

·      Debt Service Ratio

> 0% and < 20%

4.21%

4.22%

 

 

 

 

Efficiency

 

 

 

·      Real Operating Expenditure per Capita over time

A reduction

$630

$640

 

Discussions With and Positions of Adjoining Councils – Other than Ku-ring-gai

On 24 November 2014, the General Manager wrote to the General Managers of Ku-ring-gai, The Hills, Parramatta and Ryde Councils advising them of Hornsby’s resolution of 12 November 2014 in respect of the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future announcements.  Advice was sought from the General Managers about their Council’s position in respect of participating in discussions to explore the possibility of merging with Hornsby Council to create a new entity which meets the scale and capacity requirements of the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future announcements.

On the same date, the General Manager wrote to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the OLG advising of the letters he had written to Ku-ring-gai, The Hills, Parramatta and Ryde Councils and putting the OLG on notice that Hornsby may require support from the appointed Regional Relationship Manager to assist in accessing skilled facilitators and technical experts who will be able to assist any of Hornsby’s discussions with its neighbouring councils.

The following is a synopsis of discussions or known current positions of our neighbouring councils - The Hills, Parramatta, Ryde and Gosford Councils:

The Hills Council

·              Hornsby’s Fit for the Future Steering Committee (FFTFSC) met with representatives of The Hills Council in late January 2015.

·              It was noted that the ILGRP had recommended that The Hills had the scale and capacity to stand alone into the future.

·              The Hills supports reform of the local government sector and more logical boundaries with its neighbours that will result in fewer councils throughout Sydney.

·              The Hills advised that it has adopted a position that would see its existing boundaries expanded to incorporate parts of Hornsby, Parramatta and Hawkesbury local government areas. In respect of Hornsby, The Hills proposes that most of the rural areas and the suburbs of Cherrybrook, West Pennant Hills, Carlingford and Epping be incorporated into their local government area.

·              Based on each Council’s position, no follow up meetings have occurred with The Hills to date.

Parramatta Council

·              Hornsby’s FFTFSC met with representatives of Parramatta Council in early February 2015.

·              It was noted that the ILGRP had recommended that the boundaries of Parramatta be expanded and that they were currently in discussions with The Hills, Auburn and Holroyd Councils in this regard.

·              Although no follow up meetings have occurred with Parramatta, they have indicated an openness to further discussions about our joint boundary, particularly at Epping and Carlingford.

·              It appears that Parramatta is favouring a possible Joint Organisation approach with their smaller neighbours.

Ryde Council

·              Ryde considered Hornsby’s and other northern Sydney councils’ positions at its 17 February 2015 meeting and reaffirmed its rejection of the ILGRP’s proposal to split Ryde partly between Parramatta, Holroyd and Auburn Councils and amalgamate the balance with Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby.

·              Ryde believes it is Fit for the Future in its own right and will complete a Council Improvement Proposal and submit such to IPART for consideration.

·              Ryde will investigate a modified Joint Organisation (regional body) proposal with other interested councils in northern Sydney i.e. Hunters Hill and Lane Cove.

·              Ryde has endorsed a business case being undertaken for potential amalgamation with Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby.

·              Ryde declined Hornsby’s request to participate in discussions on merger opportunities.

Gosford Council

·              Some of the river communities on the Gosford side of Hornsby’s Hawkesbury River boundary indicated a keenness for Council to explore a boundary adjustment which would see them become part of Hornsby.

·              In 2009, the Local Government Boundaries Commission undertook a detailed examination of a very similar boundary proposal initiated by requests from local residents.

·              The findings were that the proposal would not be in the public interest and the Commission recommended to the Minister of the day that the proposal not proceed.  The Minister adopted the Commission’s recommendations.

·              Gosford’s was contacted to see if it was interested in reopening the proposal.

·              Advice was subsequently received that Gosford had no appetite to explore the issue as it was contrary to their Fit for the Future position and they did not see any utility in any further discussions with Hornsby.

Discussions With and Positions of NSROC Councils

The following is a synopsis of discussions or known current positions of NSROC councils – North Sydney, Lane Cove, Willoughby and Hunters Hill Councils:

North Sydney Council

·              Believes it is Fit for the Future and opposes forced amalgamations.

·              Is not prepared to participate in a joint organisation study, a cost benefit study or a combined community engagement strategy with Ryde, Lane Cove, Willoughby, Mosman and Hunters Hill Councils.

·              Will continue with its own community engagement strategy as appropriate.

Lane Cove Council

·              Is concerned there is no evidence-base for the claims of any service or rate benefits to their residents.

·              Believe they are in a strong financial position with no debt and are the only north shore council that meets the Fit for the Future financial criteria.

·              Will be consulting with their community to gauge feedback on options available including proposal for a joint organisation approach with neighbouring councils.

·              Lane Cove will investigate a modified Joint Organisation (regional body) proposal with other interested councils in northern Sydney i.e. Hunters Hill and Ryde.

Willoughby Council

·              Notes the positions of Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Ryde and Mosman Councils in respect of mergers and joint organisations.

·              Is not interested in proposed investigations for a modified joint organisation.

·              Is not interested in merger conversations with Ku-ring-gai Council.

·              Will be consulting with its residents about the following options – Willoughby Council stand alone; Willoughby and North Sydney Councils merger; Willoughby, North Sydney and Lane Cove Councils merger;  Willoughby, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, Mosman, North Sydney and eastern two-thirds of Ryde Councils merger.

·              Agree to specific talks between Willoughby and North Sydney for creation of a new entity to further inform deliberations.

Hunters Hill Council

·              Hunters Hill will investigate a modified Joint Organisation (regional body) proposal with other interested councils in northern Sydney i.e. Lane Cove and Ryde.

Discussions with Ku-ring-gai Council

·              In November 2014, the General Manager wrote to Ku-ring-gai’s General Manager advising of Hornsby’s resolution in respect of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS42/14.  Advice was sought about Ku-ring-gai’s position in respect of participating in discussions to explore the possibility of merging with Hornsby Council to create a new entity which meets the scale and capacity requirements of the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future announcements.

·              Also in November 2014, Ku-ring-gai resolved in part that “….Council proactively begin discussions with surrounding Councils about Merger proposals, engaging facilitators and other consultants as necessary to enable a report to be brought back to Council in February 2015 with possible configuration options before proceeding to the next step in the Merger proposal process and preparing a detailed business case for consultation with the community….”.

·              Following discussions between the General Managers, a joint approach was made by Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai to the OLG in January 2015 seeking the appointment and funding of an independent facilitator to assist merger discussions between the two Councils.

·              In February 2015, the OLG advised that Morrison Low had been chosen to undertake the consultancy.  Morrison Low subsequently advised that their Project Team would consist of Stephen Bunting as the facilitator and Tim McCarthy as the infrastructure expert.  The Councils saw Morrison Low as a good choice for the consultancy as they had a good understanding of both Council’s infrastructure (condition, infrastructure backlog, renewals and capital works program, maintenance expenditure and practices, etc.).  In this regard, Tim McCarthy had recently worked with both Councils in respect of infrastructure backlogs and consequently had an excellent understanding of their assets and issues.

·              Mr Bunting met individually with Hornsby Councillors and senior staff (on 4 March 2015) and with Ku-ring-gai Councillors and staff (on 30 March 2015) to discuss benefits, opportunities and threats from a potential merger, as well as roadblocks, obstacles and key issues for the Council and its community

·              In respect of the meeting with Hornsby, Mr Bunting advised that:

o     Hornsby have commissioned a number of “due diligence” reports on the options and implications of a merger for Council.

o     There is positive support from the elected members for a merger with Ku-ring-gai as proposed by the ILGRP, or another local government area.  Council is of the view that mergers lead to improved local government.

o     The key issues that a merger proposal would need to address are:

Ø   the impact on rates

Ø   the representation model

Ø   the infrastructure gap

o     The Council sees merit in moving to a business case in order to provide a better evidence base for later decision making.

·              In respect of the meeting with Ku-ring-gai, Mr Bunting advised that:

o     Ku-ring-gai have conducted their own investigations into a merger and elected members and staff developed informed views on the costs and benefits of a merger.

o     While Ku-ring-gai is happy to discuss merger options they are unconvinced that a merger option is in the best interests of Ku-ring-gai residents.

o     The key issues for Ku-ring-gai that a merger proposal would need to address are:

Ø   the impact on rates

Ø   representation and ward structures

Ø   differences in services/service levels

Ø   legacy issues with the Hornsby Quarry

Ø   urban planning and development issues

·              Mr Bunting then convened a joint workshop between Councillors and senior staff of the two Councils on 7 April 2015 to discuss the issues arising from the individual workshops, and in particular, similarities, issues, barriers and possible solutions.  In order to generate agreement on moving to a merger business case, Mr Bunting sought a focused joint discussion on significant issues and how those issues may be resolved; and areas where the greatest commonality exists and those which also rate the highest.

·              Mr Bunting’s report on the joint workshop indicated that:

o     Both Councils had different views on their own ability to be Fit for the Future.

o     A number of potential benefits of a merger were identified, however, there were differing views about whether these benefits were only available through a merger or could also be achieved by the Councils as standalone organisations.

o     The key issues/barriers to a joint merger proposal were:

Ø   The impact and distribution when merging rates – inequities unlikely to be resolved in merger without Government intervention.

Ø   Representation and ward structure – difficult to resolve under current options.

Ø   Hornsby Quarry – issues quantified by Hornsby and Hornsby offered separate briefing to Ku-ring-gai Councillors.

Ø   Ku-ring-gai advised they had developed a strategy to address their infrastructure backlog within two years.

Ø   Both Councils had different focuses for planning and development.  These local priorities are likely to be able to be retained under a merger.

Ø   Unresolved concerns from Ku-ring-gai about control over future decision making regarding planning and development.

Ø   Differences in services/levels and community of interest can be addressed as part of merger investigation.

·              At the conclusion of the joint workshop, both Councils agreed to discuss the matter at their respective Councils and resolve their positions about whether they should progress to the next step. That step would be the preparation of an independent merger business case to provide an evidence base for later decision making about whether or not the Councils should merge.

·              Hornsby indicated that it would be briefing all its Councillors about the proposed merger case in the third week of April and, depending on Ku-ring-gai’s decision, would consider the matter formally at its 13 May 2015 General Meeting.  Ku-ring-gai indicated that it would formally consider the matter at its Meeting on 28 April 2015.

·              At its 28 April Meeting, Ku-ring-gai considered a report (Item GB.3) which provided details about the matter and concluded that it was not in Ku-ring-gai’s best interests to merge.  The summary of their report stated that:

A detailed assessment of a merger with Hornsby Shire Council has identified the following impacts:

Representation:

·              A merger is likely to result in 6 councillors elected from the former Ku-ring-gai area and 9 councillors from the former Hornsby Shire area.

·              There would be an overall reduction in representation with the number of residents per councillor increasing from 11,903 currently for Ku-ring-gai to a minimum of 19,058 in the merged council.

Planning and Development:

·              A merger may result in disproportionately increased development in the former Ku-ring-gai area, negatively impacting on the existing residential character, landscape and heritage values.

·              Decisions about future development would be made by the merged council, with minority representation from councillors elected from the former Ku-ring-gai area.

·              After a merger, there is a risk that s.94 developer contributions collected in the former Ku-ring-gai area may be spent in the former Hornsby Shire area.

Rates:

·              Due to the higher land values in Ku-ring-gai, a merger would result in significantly increased rates in the former Ku-ring-gai area and a reduction in the former Hornsby Shire area.

·              Hornsby Shire residents pay a greater percentage of property wealth in rates and therefore have less capacity to increase in the future if required.  Any future additional rates income would be drawn disproportionately from the former Ku-ring-gai area due to higher land values.

·              There would be greater volatility in rates (e.g. between different suburbs) in future years when land revaluations occur.

·              Rural areas cover 60% of the rateable area of Hornsby Shire while only 1% of the total rates revenue is derived from farmland.  Any cross subsidy of the rural areas would be shared with Ku-ring-gai ratepayers after a merger.

Hornsby Quarry:

·              The latest scheme to remediate the Hornsby Quarry is to obtain fill from the NorthConnex project to part fill the Quarry (approximately one quarter) at an estimated cost of $22 million of which Hornsby Council’s share is $7.33 million.  In addition, there are estimated costs of $15 to $20 million for quarry stabilisation and landform, and $10 million for recreational facilities.  Hornsby Council have advised that all amounts are fully funded.

·              As the estimated costs are at a concept level and detailed investigations have not yet commenced, there is uncertainty from Ku-ring-gai Council’s perspective as to the reliability of these current estimates.  The potential liability associated with the Hornsby Quarry is significant in the context of any proposal to merge.

Service Levels:

·              Ku-ring-gai Council has higher revenue per capita than Hornsby Shire, with greater capacity to provide services.  A merger would require the equalisation of services, resulting in either a reduction of services for the former Ku-ring-gai area or increased rates to raise the Hornsby Shire service levels.

·              The rates would need to increase in the former Ku-ring-gai area by between 18% and 35% to raise the same revenue per capita across the whole of the merged council area as currently enjoyed by Ku-ring-gai.

Overall Financial Health:

·              Hornsby Shire Council has lower working capital and reserves than Ku-ring-gai.  Hornsby reports a lower infrastructure backlog than Ku-ring-gai, however its ongoing asset maintenance and renewal indicators are inferior.

·              Hornsby Shire Council’s overall financial position is weaker than that of Ku-ring-gai, a key consideration for a merger.  T-Corp assessed Ku-ring-gai as being “Sound” with a “Neutral” outlook, while Hornsby was given the lower rating of “Moderate” with a “Neutral” outlook.

·              Hornsby Shire does not need to merge with Ku-ring-gai to be Fit for the Future.  It is a large council with an independent assessment from T-Corp as being Moderate.  Hornsby Shire has advised that they are revising their Long Term Financial Plan to meet the Fit for the Future criteria.

Cost Savings and Efficiencies:

·              A merged council would result in a larger bureaucracy and there are differing views about whether mergers lead to cost savings and greater efficiency.  Academic studies indicate that predicted savings from mergers are optimistic and do not eventuate.

·              Nine of the biggest Councils in NSW run large operating deficits.  These councils have an average population of 207,000 and an average operating deficit of $8.7 million.  By contrast, both Ku-ring-gai Council and Hornsby Shire Council run healthy operating surpluses.

Communities of Interest and Community Facilities:

·              Hornsby Shire has a larger population than Ku-ring-gai that is more widely dispersed over an area more than five times the size.  The merged council would be some 65 km in distance from the north to the south.  The provision of services and facilities would be challenging, with likely conflict about the allocation of resources, service levels and cross subsidisation between different areas.  A merger of Ku-ring-gai with the much larger area of Hornsby Shire would diminish current communities of interest and societal connectedness.

Environmental Issues:

·              Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby have similar bushland environments, although Hornsby control of a much greater area.  There is a concern that a large increase in the amount of overall bushland area managed could see a reduction in the service level for bushland management currently experienced in Ku-ring-gai.

·              Ku-ring-gai Council has a special rates levy for the Environment, the continuation of which after a merger would require the support of the newly elected council.  If it was not continued there would be an impact on both the environment and the community engagement due to the programs and funding it provides.

Workforce and Transition Costs:

·              Transitioning to a merged council would take many years and be very costly.  Based on the Queensland experience, it is expected that the costs would far exceed the funds being offered by the state government.

·              During the transition, there would be disruption to service provision, loss of key staff, organisational knowledge and skills.

In conclusion, a merger with Hornsby Shire Council would be highly unfavourable for the residents and ratepayers of Ku-ring-gai.

Ku-ring-gai Council is already a large council that is a demonstrated industry leader, is in a sound financial position and can meet the Fit for the Future Benchmarks.  Accordingly, it is recommended that Council prepare an Improvement Proposal to meet the requirements of Fit for the Future.

·              Following its consideration of the report, Ku-ring-gai resolved:

THAT Council advise Hornsby Shire Council that a merger would be highly unfavourable for the residents and ratepayers of Ku-ring-gai and will not be further considered and that the Mayor write to Hornsby Shire Council thanking the Councillors and staff for their interest in pursuing a merger and explaining the reasons for Council’s decision and that Council prepare an Improvement Proposal to meet the requirements of Fit for the Future.

Council Improvement Proposal – Template 2

Whilst Hornsby has continually displayed a willingness over the period since 2011 to gather whatever evidence and independent and professional advice is required to make an informed decision about potential mergers with its neighbouring councils, Ku-ring-gai Council decided at its 28 April 2015 Meeting that it requires no further information than what it has already has to make its decision that a merger of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai would not be in the best interests of its community.

As a consequence, and in the absence of any of its other neighbouring councils showing an interest in potentially merging, Hornsby Council now has no choice but to complete Template 2 – Council Improvement Proposal – which will show that apart from Scale and Capacity, Council is able to meet all the NSW Government’s FTF criteria over the coming years.

As such, staff have completed a draft Template 2 (see below) using the guidelines provided by the OLG. The draft requires endorsement by Council prior to being submitted to IPART (as the NSW Government’s Expert Panel) for formal assessment under the FFTF criteria.

________________________________

 

1.1        Executive Summary

Provide a summary (up to 500 words) of the key points of your Proposal including current performance, the issues facing your council and your planned improvement strategies and outcomes.

Council has been a willing participant in the local government reform exercise commenced by the State Government in 2011 and has been prepared to commission its own independent research during the intervening period to assist in its deliberations about reform. Following the release of the ILGRP’s final report and the State Government’s response to that report in its FFTF announcements, Council has also proactively entered into discussions with its neighbouring councils about having an independent merger business case prepared which could be used to consider amalgamation options and issues for Hornsby and those councils.

As no neighbouring council has indicated a willingness at this stage to even partner with Hornsby to have a merger business case prepared, Council now has no choice but to complete this Template 2 - Council Improvement Proposal - and submit it for formal assessment.  Although Hornsby is aware that it will be found by IPART to be “not fit” under the scale and capacity requirements of FFTF (as it is not proposing to merge in line with the recommendations of the Panel or something similar), this document shows that Council has been a role model through the reform process and, because of all the hard work it has done over the past few years to review and enhance its own operations, is in a position to meet all the financial sustainability, infrastructure and services and efficiency requirements of FFTF over the coming years.

In respect of the two FFTF criteria that Council currently does not meet (i.e. the Building and Infrastructure Asset Renewal Ratio; and the Asset Maintenance Ratio), Council has been proactively reviewing its asset management processes to ensure that sufficient and targeted funding is provided in the 2015/16 and future Budgets to improve the relevant Ratios to the required levels. These improvements are only expected to have minimal impact on the other Ratios.

It should be noted that Council has had difficulty in completing some parts of this Template because it is not making the claim that it is fit for the future (which the Template has been designed to show). Council recognises that it does not have the scale and capacity required under the FFTF criteria, and through an assessment of the independent research it has commissioned over the past few years, can see the benefits of at least progressing through the preparation of an independent merger business case with one or more of its neighbouring councils. Once that work was done, Hornsby and the other councils would be in a much better position to consider in an objective and reasoned manner whether a merger is or is not in the best interests of the communities they currently represent.

 

1.2        Scale and Capacity

Does your council have the scale and capacity broadly consistent with the recommendations of the Independent Local Government Review Panel? (i.e. the Panel did not recommend your council needed to merge or become a Rural Council).

No

 

If No, please indicate why you are not proceeding with a voluntary merger or creation of a Rural Council as recommended by the Independent Panel and demonstrate how your council has scale and capacity (up to 500 words).

Council has continually displayed a willingness to participate in voluntary merger discussions. It has gathered independent and professional advice in order to make an informed decision about potential mergers. The advice confirms the positive financial advantages of merger proposals.

Council has also consistently supported consideration of a merger with Ku-ring-gai Council in line with the recommendations of the Independent Local Government Review Panel, and endorsed by the State Government. In January 2015, Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai sought the assistance of an independent facilitator from the Office of Local Government to explore the potential for a voluntary merger. The facilitator met individually with each Council to identify its perception of benefits, opportunities and roadblocks offered by a potential merger. The facilitator then convened a joint workshop with both Councils to discuss the issues arising from the individual workshops.

Following that meeting, both Councils agreed to formalise their positions about whether or not the Councils should develop a business case regarding a proposed merger.  On 28 April 2015, Ku-ring-gai Council concluded that a merger was not in their best interests and that development of a business case would not be considered. Essentially, Ku-ring-gai Council confirmed its opposition to any further consideration of a merger. As a consequence, and in the absence of any of its neighbouring councils showing an interest in potentially merging, Hornsby Shire Council has no choice but to complete this Template.

Whilst it does not meet the scale and capacity requirements of FFTF, IPART may like to note that Hornsby Shire is one of the larger local government areas in metropolitan Sydney as evidenced by the Department of Planning and Environment population estimates provided below:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

New South Wales State and Local Government Area Population, Household and Dwelling Projections: 2014 Final

 

HORNSBY

 

TOTALS:

2011

2016

2021

2026

2031

 

Total Population

163,800

171,400

181,100

191,300

201,750

 

Total Households

56,050

59,750

63,800

67,900

72,200

 

Average Household Size

2.88

2.82

2.78

2.76

2.73

 

Implied Dwellings

59,350

63,250

67,550

71,900

76,400

 

 

CHANGE:

2011-16

2016-21

2021-26

2026-31

 

Total Population Change

7,650

9,700

10,200

10,450

 

Average Annual Population Growth

0.9%

1.1%

1.1%

1.1%

 

Total Household Change

3,700

4,050

4,100

4,250

 

Average Annual Household Growth

0.8%

1.1%

1.1%

1.0%

 

 

2.         Your council’s current position

2.1        About your local government area

Explain the key characteristics of your local government area, your community’s goals and priorities and the challenges you face in the future (up to 500 words). You should reference your Community Strategic Plan and any relevant demographic data for this section.

Hornsby Shire is located in Sydney's northern suburbs - about 25 kilometres from the Sydney CBD. The Shire is characterised by large tracts of bushland, with approximately 10% of the Shire zoned and used for urban development, 15% for rural purposes, 5% for open space and the remaining 70% environmentally protected or National Park. 

The 2016 estimated population is 171,400. The lifestyles of the population range from rural living in the north of the Shire to inner urban apartment living in parts of the Shire’s south, and hence population density ranges from a low of 0.16 persons per hectare in Arcadia (north western rural) to a high of 63.04 persons per hectare in Waitara.  The background of this population is equally diverse with 26% coming from countries where English is not the first language, including China, India, South Korea and Sri Lanka. Hornsby Shire is also home to over 15,000 businesses which provide 52,000 jobs.  In 2014 the Shire’s gross regional product was estimated at $6.62 billion.

Statistics and research indicate that members of the community choose to live in Hornsby Shire because of the bushland aspect of the Shire, the village like atmosphere, transport networks and housing and school options; and have a relatively high socio-economic advantage. They describe their dream for the future as a quality lifestyle in an area that is responsive to the wellbeing and needs of its residents, is well serviced, well designed, prosperous and equitable.  There are aspects of living in the Shire that are affecting the quality of life of residents and impacting on work-life balance. These aspects include safety, transport, increase in both parents working, high density housing and the provision of adequate infrastructure. 

Hornsby Shire manages over $1.1 billion worth of major infrastructure assets and, like the rest of Sydney, has been under substantial and continued pressure to accommodate a rapidly growing population. Council has responded by developing a comprehensive Housing Strategy that encourages development along the railway line and other public transport.  Council has also undertaken extensive research into recreational needs now and in the future via the Active Living Hornsby Strategy and the Community and Cultural Facilities study.

Council has a proven track record of responding to the implementation of State Government planning objectives including the preparation of local planning strategies to meet Council’s urban consolidation and employment obligations under the framework within A Plan for Growing Sydney and any resulting Subregional planning strategies.

The 2009 draft North Subregional Strategy set a target for Hornsby LGA to achieve an extra 11,000 dwellings by 2031. In response, the Hornsby Shire Housing Strategy (2011), the Epping Urban Activation precinct and Hornsby West Side precinct rezoning provide an opportunity for a total of 8,180 dwellings within Hornsby Shire, which are expected to be completed over the next 20 years.

In addition, Council is currently investigating potential rezonings in the South Dural area and in Cherrybrook as part of the North West Rail Link Station Precinct.  Collectively, the adopted strategies and potential future strategies will provide opportunities for additional housing in the order of 13,180 dwellings. This shows that Council is well placed to respond to any higher housing targets that might be set under the forthcoming North Subregional Plan.

 

2.2        Key challenges and opportunities

 

Sustainability

Assets/Service Management

Efficiency

Strengths Internal

Improved financial performance

Forward thinking

Meet all but one FFTF criteria

Stable competent workforce and low staff turnover

Committed to staff learning and development

Ratio of staff to resident population amongst the lowest in NSW

Financially secure

Able to take a proactive approach to opportunities e.g. NorthConnex and Hornsby Quarry.

Also providing biodiversity offsets for state significant projects such as North West Rail Link (NWRL) and Epping to Thornleigh Third Track (ETTT).

Strong financial and community research about FFTF

Cultural change program and focus on innovation embedded in Council

Been on incremental improvement path for past four years since IPART granted a Special rate Variation (SRV)

Strengths External

Excellent industry reputation

Positive relationship with State Government

Positive relationship with community

Politically stable environment

Manageable infrastructure backlog with documented and funded plans to adequately maintain infrastructure into the future

Low debt service ratio

Strong financial and community research about FFTF

One of the larger councils - with 165,000 residents

Positive reputation for efficient delivery of offsets for major infrastructure providers working on state significant transport projects

Opportunities

Level of local development increasing based on Housing Strategy and urban activation

Improvements to State infrastructure (NWRL, ETTT, NorthConnex, Hornsby Hospital)

Stable political environment and respected local representation

Threats and Weaknesses

Does not meet scale and capacity requirement

Residents do not fit a homogenous profile (different needs - Beecroft to Brooklyn to Arcadia)

Two speed economy (Epping versus Brooklyn)

Geography and shape of the shire = requirement for more community assets

Uneven population distribution

Lack of employment opportunities in the Shire, = dormitory suburbs

Potential loss of part of Epping to Parramatta City Council

Grant income frozen or decreased

Potential to be forced by State Government t to amalgamate with unwilling partners

Improved knowledge of asset condition and documented and funded strategies to maintain community assets

 

2.3        Performance against the Fit for the Future benchmarks

Sustainability

Measure/

benchmark

2013/2014

performance

Achieves FFTF

benchmark?

Forecast

2016 /2017

performance

Achieves FFTF

benchmark?

Operating Performance

Ratio - (greater than or equal to break-even average over 3 years)

 

Own Source Revenue

Ratio - (greater than 60% average over 3 years)

 

Building and Infrastructure Asset Renewal

Ratio - (greater than 100% average over 3 years)

 

 

 

0.052

 

 

 

83.7%

 

 

 

 

 

78.9%

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

No

 

 

0.043

 

 

 

74.7%

 

 

 

 

 

109.0%

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

If the Fit for the Future benchmarks are not being achieved, please indicate why. For example, historical constraints/context, one-off adjustments/factors, council policies and trade-offs between criteria.

 

Not applicable

 

Infrastructure and service management

Measure/

benchmark

2013/2014

performance

Achieves FFTF

benchmark?

Forecast

2016 /2017

performance

Achieves FFTF

benchmark?

Infrastructure Backlog Ratio - (less than 2%)

 

Asset Maintenance Ratio - (greater than 100% average over 3 years)

 

Debt Service Ratio - (greater than 0% and less than or equal to 20% average over 3 years)

 

 

0.52%

 

 

 

79.1%

 

 

 

 

 

4.21%

 

Yes

 

 

 

No

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

0.56%

 

 

 

95.0%

 

 

 

 

 

1.45%

 

Yes

 

 

 

No

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

If the Fit for the Future benchmarks are not being achieved, please indicate why.

 

In respect of the Asset Maintenance Ratio, Council has been proactively reviewing its asset management processes to ensure that sufficient and targeted funding is provided in the 2015/16 and future Budgets to improve the Ratio to the required levels (see increase from 79.1% to 95.0% over the 2013/14 to 2016/17 period). It is noted that on current projections, Council will meet the benchmark of 100% in 2018/19 and maintain that level into the future.

 

Efficiency

Measure/

benchmark

2013/2014

performance

Achieves FFTF

benchmark?

Forecast

2016 /2017

performance

Achieves FFTF

benchmark?

Real Operating Expenditure per capita – (a decrease in Real Operating Expenditure per capita over time)

 

 

 

 

 

$630

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

$767

 

 

 

Yes

 

If the Fit for the Future benchmarks are not being achieved, please indicate why.

 

Not applicable

 

3.         How will your council become/remain Fit for the Future?

3.1        Sustainability

Summarise your council’s key strategies to improve performance against the Sustainability benchmarks in the 2016-20 period, including the outcomes you expect to achieve.

Council recognises that it does not have the scale and capacity required under the FFTF criteria, and through an assessment of the independent research it has commissioned over the past few years (particularly that undertaken by KPMG titled “Analysis of Local Government Reform Options in the Northern Sydney Area”), can see the benefits of at least progressing through the preparation of an independent merger business case with one or more of its neighbouring councils. Once that work is done, Hornsby and the other councils would be in a much better position to consider in an objective and reasoned manner whether a merger is or is not in the best interests of the communities they currently represent.

It should be noted that Council has undertaken reviews of all of its internal and external services over the past few years to ensure their sustainability into the future. These reviews, coupled with the reviews of asset management practices will see Council meet all the Sustainability benchmarks of Fit for the Future for 2016/17 and beyond.

Explain the key assumptions that underpin your strategies and expected outcomes. For example the key assumptions that drive financial performance including the use of SRVs, growth in rates, wage increases, Financial Assistance or other operating grants, depreciation, and other essential or major expense or revenue items.

When TCorp reviewed the financial sustainability of all NSW councils in 2012, Council achieved a short term rating of financially moderate with a neutral outlook, meaning that the short term rating was likely to remain unchanged. Following decisions emanating from the internal and external reviews referred to above, there was a marked improvement in Council’s income statement and projections in Council’s long term financial plan. As a consequence, Council requested TCorp to repeat its financial assessment using the updated data. When that exercise was completed by TCorp in 2014, it indicated that Council’s financial sustainability rating had been updated to financially sound with a neutral outlook. 

 

Outline your strategies and outcomes in the table below.

3.1        Sustainability

Objective

Strategies

Key milestones

Outcome

Impact on other measures

Have an independent merger business case prepared which investigates all issues associated with Council merging with one or more of its neighbouring councils.

Achieve agreement with a neighbouring council/s for the preparation of an independent merger business case.

Commission the business case’s preparation.

Review the recommendations of the merger business case.

Take appropriate action.

 

 

 

 

3.2        Infrastructure and service management

Summarise your council’s key strategies to improve performance against the Infrastructure and service management benchmarks in the 2016-20 period, including the outcomes you expect to achieve.

Council recognises that it does not have the scale and capacity required under the FFTF criteria, and through an assessment of the independent research it has commissioned over the past few years (particularly that undertaken by KPMG titled “Analysis of Local Government Reform Options in the Northern Sydney Area”), can see the benefits of at least progressing through the preparation of an independent merger business case with one or more of its neighbouring councils. Once that work is done, Hornsby and the other councils would be in a much better position to consider in an objective and reasoned manner whether a merger is or is not in the best interests of the communities they currently represent.

It should be noted that Council has been proactively reviewing its asset management processes to ensure that sufficient and targeted funding is provided in the 2015/16 and future Budgets to improve the relevant Ratios to the required levels. These reviews will see Council meet all the Infrastructure and Service Management benchmarks of Fit for the Future for 2018/19 and beyond.

Explain the key assumptions that underpin your strategies and expected outcomes.

Over the past few years, Morrison Low has undertaken an assessment of Council’s asset management practices and an assessment of its infrastructure backlog.

In respect of the asset management practices, Morrison Low stated that Council’s practices are”…..comprehensive and cover a detailed appreciation of building components and the O&M requirements for them. The roads asset register uses a detailed condition assessment prepared under contract on a regular basis to a consistent specification. The package provides predictive roads management information. Council has comprehensively considered the sustainability of its assets and introduced financial measures to ensure the appropriate funding is in place over the medium term. Council has a management structure which allocates overall asset management responsibility in a senior management position to facilitate consistent practices across all asset groups.”

In respect of the infrastructure backlog, Morrison Low have stated that “It would appear from the data provided that Council’s overall asset backlog is under control and represents approximately 0.5% of value of Council’s asset portfolio and is well within acceptable limits and well below the TCorp benchmark of 2%”.

Copies of the Morrison Low’s reports can be made available if required.

 

 

Outline your strategies and outcomes in the table below.

3.2        Infrastructure and service management

Objective

Strategies

Key milestones

Outcome

Impact on other measures

Have an independent merger business case prepared which investigates all issues associated with Council merging with one or more of its neighbouring councils.

Achieve agreement with a neighbouring council/s for the preparation of an independent merger business case.

Commission the business case’s preparation.

Review the recommendations of the merger business case.

Take appropriate action.

 

 

 

 

3.3        Efficiency

Summarise your council’s key strategies to improve performance against the Efficiency measures in the 2016-20 period, including the outcomes you expect to achieve.

Council recognises that it does not have the scale and capacity required under the FFTF criteria, and through an assessment of the independent research it has commissioned over the past few years (particularly that undertaken by KPMG titled “Analysis of Local Government Reform Options in the Northern Sydney Area”), can see the benefits of at least progressing through the preparation of an independent merger business case with one or more of its neighbouring councils. Once that work is done, Hornsby and the other councils would be in a much better position to consider in an objective and reasoned manner whether a merger is or is not in the best interests of the communities they currently represent.

It should be noted that Council has undertaken reviews of all of its internal and external services over the past few years to ensure their sustainability into the future. These reviews, coupled with the reviews of asset management practices will see Council meet the Efficiency benchmarks of Fit for the Future for 2016/17 and beyond.

Explain the key assumptions that underpin your strategies and expected outcomes.

When TCorp reviewed the financial sustainability of all NSW councils in 2012, Council achieved a short term rating of financially moderate with a neutral outlook, meaning that the short term rating was likely to remain unchanged. Following decisions emanating from the internal and external reviews referred to above, there was a marked improvement in Council’s income statement and projections in Council’s long term financial plan. As a consequence, Council requested TCorp to repeat its financial assessment using the updated data. When that exercise was completed by TCorp in 2014, it indicated that Council’s financial sustainability rating had been updated to financially sound with a neutral outlook.

 

Outline your strategies and outcomes in the table below.

3.3        Efficiency

Objective

Strategies

Key milestones

Outcome

Impact on other measures

Have an independent merger business case prepared which investigates all issues associated with Council merging with one or more of its neighbouring councils.

Achieve agreement with a neighbouring council/s for the preparation of an independent merger business case.

Commission the business case’s preparation.

Review the recommendations of the merger business case.

Take appropriate action.

 

 

 

 

3.4        Improvement Action Plan

 

Summarise the key improvement actions that will be achieved in the first year of your plan.

Council has had difficulty in completing this part of this Template because it is not making the claim that it is fit for the future. Council recognises that it does not have the scale and capacity required under the FFTF criteria, and through an assessment of the independent research it has commissioned over the past few years, can see the benefits of at least progressing through the preparation of an independent merger business case with one or more of its neighbouring councils. Once that work was done, Hornsby and the other councils would be in a much better position to consider in an objective and reasoned manner whether a merger is or is not in the best interests of the communities they currently represent.

 

 

 

Action Plan

 

Actions

Milestones

 

Have an independent merger business case prepared which investigates all issues associated with Council merging with one or more of its neighbouring councils.

 

 

 

 

 

*Please attach detailed action plan and supporting financial modelling

See below

 

Outline the process that underpinned the development of your Action Plan. For example, who was involved, any external assistance, consultation or collaboration, and how the council has reviewed and approved the plan.

Hornsby Shire Council has commissioned a number of independent and authoritative research papers pertaining to the issues, benefits, and disadvantages relating to proposals flagged by the Independent Local Government Review Panel during its investigations. The research papers are:

·              Preliminary merger investigation with neighbouring councils – PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)

·              Attitudinal survey of Hornsby Shire residents and residents in surrounding local government areas – Crosby Textor

·              Strategic and financial assessment – KPMG

Hornsby Shire Council has made all research findings publicly available and briefed the Independent Panel regarding the Crosby Textor findings.  Below is a summary of the main messages from the research findings.

PWC research – jointly commissioned by Hornsby Shire Council and The Hills Shire Council, indicated:

·              Strategic Capacity - access to a larger pool of financial and non-financial resources would enable a merged Hornsby/The Hills Council to undertake new functions and deliver new services.

·              Lobbying - a larger Council would have greater weight in applying for State and Federal funding in addition to having a stronger negotiating position when discussing tenders and preferred supplier arrangements.

·              Asset Utilisation and Rationalisation - there would be an increased ability to utilise assets by sharing resources and disposing of surplus or duplicated assets.

·              Administrative Rationalisation - both Hornsby and The Hills operate through a similar organisational structure based on the configuration of functional expertise and the delivery of services.  This would reduce the execution risk of removing duplicate functions.

·              Increased Service Delivery – removing duplicate activities in multiple community centres, standardisation of services and increased scale of process would allow for more cost efficient delivery of services.  Strategic location of newly developed infrastructure assets of a newly merged council would benefit a larger population, reducing the need to duplicate investment in infrastructure.

·              Investment in Future Capital Assets – realisation of surplus assets may provide additional funds to reinvest in future capital projects, reduce the need to borrow or allow for the redeployment of reserves for new projects.

·              Upgrade Existing Infrastructure – an amalgamation would allow for some facilities to be closed, delivering maintenance savings and income from property sales.  An evaluation of the infrastructure requiring remediation would need to be undertaken to identify overlap and identify areas of potential savings.

·              Re-calibrate Capital Structure – the loan funding levels of Hornsby and The Hills Councils are relatively low, with debt service ratios not exceeding 5%.  There is capacity to increase borrowings to fund capital budgets and reduce backlogs in costs to bring assets to a satisfactory condition.  There would also be an ability to refinance or repay existing debt to reduce borrowing costs given the stronger balance sheet position of the merged council.

·              Strategic Alignment – there is an alignment of a number of strategic goals of Hornsby and The Hills.  This alignment indicates that there are potential synergies to be gained in achieving these goals from an amalgamation of the two Councils e.g.

o     Ecology and environment strategies in relation to climate change, bushland and natural areas, environmental education, development and water.

o     Economy and infrastructure strategies in relation to transport, economic development, recreation, employment, assets and business development.

o     Community strategies in relation to community engagement, service provision, cultural engagement and crime.

o     Governance strategies in relation to reporting, internal policies, stakeholder management and risk management.

·              In respect of financial benefits:

o     The rationalisation of corporate support functions like information technology, financial services, records, and human resources would lead to significant expense reductions.

o     Labour consolidation could also be applied to managerial staff, administrative support staff, property sections and strategy and communication groups.

o     A review of the information system requirements of a combined council may result in reasonable savings in lease payments.

o     Rationalisation of assets that on review are surplus to needs may present opportunities to improve cash-flow and address infrastructure backlogs.  Reduced maintenance budgets may also be a side benefit.

o     Reduced operating expenses due to labour consolidation and asset rationalisation to address infrastructure backlogs would improve a council’s strategic ability to manage reliance on rate pegging allowances.

 

Crosby Textor’s research indicated that:

·              Local issues are low on the order of local residents’ issues.  Issues concerning matters of State Government rank higher on the top-of-mind agenda for the local residents of Hornsby, The Hills, Parramatta and Ryde.  These issues predominantly include the provision of better public and social infrastructure and traffic congestion.

·              There is a low level of awareness of local council amalgamation.  Total awareness of the current local government reform process sits around 53%.

·              There is a high level of indecision – “soft” support/opposition for reform.  The recommended option from the ILGRP to amalgamate councils has a “soft” position of approximately 60% of surveyed people.  This finding is particularly important because it shows that community members are neither genuinely in support or opposed to the proposed reforms.

·              The shared services model is preferred over amalgamation.  Total support for a shared services model sits at 73% with minimal “strong” opposition at 9%.  Of the reform options proposed, a shared services model was the most readily accepted.  A reduction in council costs and improved service delivery were viewed as the primary reasons to support the model.

·              There are disparate Hornsby Ward views about amalgamation.  The results show that the views of residents in A, B and C wards are different.  The geographical distances between these wards and the change of community landscape shows that there is not homogeneity in their views.

·              Attitudes are consistent amongst residents from all surveyed councils.  There appears to be relative levels of parity in the views expressed by community members surveyed in neighbouring council areas.  The results showed that varying levels of awareness, opposition and support were only marginal if any at all.

·              There is potential to convince those who are undecided on amalgamations by explaining the arguments which support lower costs and improved efficiencies.

 

KPMG research – developed seven reform options including financial strategic analysis of those options.  The overarching findings were that:

·              Local governments in NSW perform crucial functions and are key platforms for local democracy and representation, however, their structure and functions have largely remained static despite structural changes in the economy.

·              Financial sustainability is a key consideration for local government in NSW, with 46 percent of councils estimated to have a financial sustainability rating of “weak” or lower within three years.

·              To support more sustainable local governments over the long term, there are a number of potential reform options, including – for example – amalgamations, boundary reform and shared services.  The recent report by the ILGRP - Revitalising Local Government - provided a comprehensive analysis of these options in the NSW context.

·              Although there are broader impacts associated with reform, a key consideration is the potential financial benefits.  Evidence suggests that economies of scale can be achieved in Australia, as demonstrated by seven out of nine studies of domestic reform experience.

·              Previous experience suggests that the quality of service delivery, financial sustainability and the effectiveness of local representation are consistently applied to develop and analyse the impacts of local government reform.

The seven reform options were developed based on the common underlying principles of previous reform experience and consultations with Hornsby Council.  Reform options included both amalgamations and shared services arrangements.

·              Option 1 – Base Case Scenario

o     Under Option 1, where Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils remain as separate entities, it is estimated that:

Ø   Hornsby’s net operating result before capital items would be $23.0 million in 2017/18, and over the ten year period from 2013/14 to 2022/23 would show a cumulative net operating result before capital items of $209.0 million.

Ø   The Hills’ net operating result before capital items would be $54.6 million in 2017/18, and over the ten year period from 2013/14 to 2022/23 would show a cumulative net operating result before capital items of $500.7 million.

Ø   Ku-ring-gai’s net operating result before capital items would be $43.1 million in 2017/18, and over the ten year period from 2013/14 to 2022/23 would show a cumulative net operating result before capital items of $349.7 million.

·           Options 2 and 5 - Amalgamation and Shared Services - Hornsby and The Hills

o     An amalgamation of Hornsby and The Hills Councils – Option 2 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of about $26.9 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity – as per Table 7.13 on page 59 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 17 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 2, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the aggregate Hornsby/The Hills entity is estimated to be $783.7 million (which is $74.0 million – or 10 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period)

o     A shared services model between Hornsby and The Hills Councils (where they would share an Infrastructure and Recreation Division) – Option 5 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of around $24.0 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.16 on page 62 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 4 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 5, the cumulative net operating result over the period to 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the Hornsby/The Hills shared services entity is estimated to be $725.1 million (which is $15.3 million – or 2 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

·              Options 3 and 6 - Amalgamation and Shared Services - Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai

o     An amalgamation of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils – Option 3 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of about $26.2 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.14 on page 60 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 14 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 3, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the aggregate Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai entity is estimated to be $609.1 million (which is $50.4 million – or 9 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

o     A shared services model between Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Councils (where they would share an Infrastructure and Recreation Division) – Option 6 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of around $23.9 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.17 on page 63 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 3 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 6, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai shared services entity is estimated to be $569.2 million (which is $10.5 million – or 2 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

·              Options 4 and 7 - Amalgamation and Shared Services – Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai

o     An amalgamation of Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils – Option 4 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of about $29.0 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.15 on page 61 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 26 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 4, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the aggregate Hornsby/The Hills/Ku-ring-gai entity is estimated to be $1,222.6 million (which is $163.1 million – or 15 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

o     A shared services model between Hornsby, The Hills and Ku-ring-gai Councils (where they would share an Infrastructure and Recreation Division) – Option 7 - is estimated to achieve a net operating result of around $24.2 million in 2017/18 (for the Hornsby Shire entity - refer Table 7.18 on page 64 of KPMG’s report), representing about a 5 percent improvement to the current forecast net operating result in Option 1.

o     Under Option 7, the cumulative net operating result over the period 2013/14 to 2022/23 for the Hornsby/The Hills/Ku-ring-gai shared services entity is estimated to be $1,086.6 million (which is 27.2 million – or 3 percent - greater than what the Councils are estimated to achieve as separate entities in the same period) – see Table below.

KPMG stated that implementing local government reform, whether through boundary reform or shared services, requires consideration of a variety of supporting factors in addition to the expected financial impacts.  The supporting strategies and mechanisms include:

·              Asset utilisation, renewal and financial sustainability, including:

o     valuation and stocktake of assets

o     maintenance of infrastructure

·              Service delivery pathways to promote quality provision of council services, including consideration of:

o     service levels between councils

o     human resource management across councils

o     corporate support functions

·              Governance structures of new council entities, including consideration of how governance may impact the effectiveness of local representation

·              Transition measures to underpin the implementation of reforms

KPMG went on to say that Council’s preferred option for reform should be identified using multi-criteria analysis to recognise that broader supporting strategies need to be considered in conjunction with the projected financial impacts for different reform options.  The framework for conducting a multi-criteria analysis should, therefore, consider a range of appropriate financial and non-financial criteria, for example:

·              the expected financial impacts of options

·              risks to financial sustainability over the longer term

·              strategic risks

·              risks to service quality and effectiveness

·              risks to the effectiveness of local representation

·              risk to effective implementation and management over time

The approach recommended by KPMG was for Council to actively engage all relevant councils and the NSW Government concurrently to undertake a more comprehensive evaluation of the costs and benefits of all options.  The approach to developing the analysis in KPMG’s report has the flexibility to be extended and refined over time should further, more detailed, data become available.

KPMG went on to say that following the completion of due diligence, stakeholder engagement and agreement of a preferred option, there should be detailed implementation planning to ensure successful delivery of reform over time.  A structured and effectively communicated approach to implementation and management of the reform process is critical for its overall success, including the realisation of the potential benefits.

 

3.5        Other actions considered

In preparing your Improvement Action Plan, you may have considered other strategies/actions but decided not to adopt them.  Please identify what these strategies/actions were and explain why you chose not to pursue them. For example, neighbouring council did not want to pursue a merger, unable to increase rates or increase borrowing, changes in policy or service standards.

On 24 November 2014, the General Manager wrote to the General Managers of Ku-ring-gai, The Hills, Parramatta and Ryde Councils advising them of Hornsby’s resolution of 12 November 2014 in respect of the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future announcements.  Advice was sought from the General Managers about their Council’s position in respect of participating in discussions to explore the possibility of merging with Hornsby Council to create a new entity which meets the scale and capacity requirements of the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future announcements.

On the same date, the General Manager wrote to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the OLG advising of the letters he had written to Ku-ring-gai, The Hills, Parramatta and Ryde Councils and putting the OLG on notice that Hornsby may require support from the appointed Regional Relationship Manager to assist in accessing skilled facilitators and technical experts who will be able to assist any of Hornsby’s discussions with its neighbouring councils.

The following is a synopsis of discussions or known current positions of our neighbouring councils - The Hills, Parramatta, Ryde and Gosford Councils:

The Hills Council

·              Hornsby’s Fit for the Future Steering Committee (FFTFSC) met with representatives of The Hills Council in late January 2015.

·              It was noted that the ILGRP had recommended that The Hills had the scale and capacity to stand alone into the future.

·              The Hills supports reform of the local government sector and more logical boundaries with its neighbours that will result in fewer councils throughout Sydney.

·              The Hills advised that it has adopted a position that would see its existing boundaries expanded to incorporate parts of Hornsby, Parramatta and Hawkesbury local government areas. In respect of Hornsby, The Hills proposes that most of the rural areas and the suburbs of Cherrybrook, West Pennant Hills, Carlingford and Epping be incorporated into their local government area.

·              Based on each Council’s position, no follow up meetings have occurred with The Hills to date.

Parramatta Council

·              Hornsby’s FFTFSC met with representatives of Parramatta Council in early February 2015.

·              It was noted that the ILGRP had recommended that the boundaries of Parramatta be expanded and that they were currently in discussions with The Hills, Auburn and Holroyd Councils in this regard.

·              Although no follow up meetings have occurred with Parramatta, they have indicated an openness to further discussions about our joint boundary, particularly at Epping and Carlingford.

·              It appears that Parramatta is favouring a possible Joint Organisation approach with their smaller neighbours.

Ryde Council

·              Ryde considered Hornsby’s and other northern Sydney councils’ positions at its 17 February 2015 meeting and reaffirmed its rejection of the ILGRP’s proposal to split Ryde partly between Parramatta, Holroyd and Auburn Councils and amalgamate the balance with Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby.

·              Ryde believes it is Fit for the Future in its own right and will complete a Council Improvement Proposal and submit such to IPART for consideration.

·              Ryde will investigate a modified Joint Organisation (regional body) proposal with other interested councils in northern Sydney i.e. Hunters Hill and Lane Cove.

·              Ryde has endorsed a business case being undertaken for potential amalgamation with Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby.

·              Ryde declined Hornsby’s request to participate in discussions on merger opportunities.

Gosford Council

·              Some of the river communities on the Gosford side of Hornsby’s Hawkesbury River boundary indicated a keenness for Council to explore a boundary adjustment which would see them become part of Hornsby.

·              In 2009, the Local Government Boundaries Commission undertook a detailed examination of a very similar boundary proposal initiated by requests from local residents.

·              The findings were that the proposal would not be in the public interest and the Commission recommended to the Minister of the day that the proposal not proceed.  The Minister adopted the Commission’s recommendations.

·              Gosford’s was contacted to see if it was interested in reopening the proposal.

·              Advice was subsequently received that Gosford had no appetite to explore the issue as it was contrary to their Fit for the Future position and they did not see any utility in any further discussions with Hornsby.

Discussions With and Positions of NSROC Councils

The following is a synopsis of discussions or known current positions of NSROC councils – North Sydney, Lane Cove, Willoughby and Hunters Hill Councils:

North Sydney Council

·              Believes it is Fit for the Future and opposes forced amalgamations.

·              Is not prepared to participate in a joint organisation study, a cost benefit study or a combined community engagement strategy with Ryde, Lane Cove, Willoughby, Mosman and Hunters Hill Councils.

·              Will continue with its own community engagement strategy as appropriate.

Lane Cove Council

·              Is concerned there is no evidence-base for the claims of any service or rate benefits to their residents.

·              Believe they are in a strong financial position with no debt and are the only north shore council that meets the Fit for the Future financial criteria.

·              Will be consulting with their community to gauge feedback on options available including proposal for a joint organisation approach with neighbouring councils.

·              Lane Cove will investigate a modified Joint Organisation (regional body) proposal with other interested councils in northern Sydney i.e. Hunters Hill and Ryde.

Willoughby Council

·              Notes the positions of Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Ryde and Mosman Councils in respect of mergers and joint organisations.

·              Is not interested in proposed investigations for a modified joint organisation.

·              Is not interested in merger conversations with Ku-ring-gai Council.

·              Will be consulting with its residents about the following options – Willoughby Council stand alone; Willoughby and North Sydney Councils merger; Willoughby, North Sydney and Lane Cove Councils merger;  Willoughby, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, Mosman, North Sydney and eastern two-thirds of Ryde Councils merger.

·              Agree to specific talks between Willoughby and North Sydney for creation of a new entity to further inform deliberations.

Hunters Hill Council

·              Hunters Hill will investigate a modified Joint Organisation (regional body) proposal with other interested councils in northern Sydney i.e. Lane Cove and Ryde.

Discussions with Ku-ring-gai Council

·              In November 2014, the General Manager wrote to Ku-ring-gai’s General Manager advising of Hornsby’s resolution in respect of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS42/14.  Advice was sought about Ku-ring-gai’s position in respect of participating in discussions to explore the possibility of merging with Hornsby Council to create a new entity which meets the scale and capacity requirements of the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future announcements.

·              Also in November 2014, Ku-ring-gai resolved in part that “….Council proactively begin discussions with surrounding Councils about Merger proposals, engaging facilitators and other consultants as necessary to enable a report to be brought back to Council in February 2015 with possible configuration options before proceeding to the next step in the Merger proposal process and preparing a detailed business case for consultation with the community….”.

·              Following discussions between the General Managers, a joint approach was made by Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai to the OLG in January 2015 seeking the appointment and funding of an independent facilitator to assist merger discussions between the two Councils.

·              In February 2015, the OLG advised that Morrison Low had been chosen to undertake the consultancy.  Morrison Low subsequently advised that their Project Team would consist of Stephen Bunting as the facilitator and Tim McCarthy as the infrastructure expert.  The Councils saw Morrison Low as a good choice for the consultancy as they had a good understanding of both Council’s infrastructure (condition, infrastructure backlog, renewals and capital works program, maintenance expenditure and practices, etc.).  In this regard, Tim McCarthy had recently worked with both Councils in respect of infrastructure backlogs and consequently had an excellent understanding of their assets and issues.

·              Mr Bunting met individually with Hornsby Councillors and senior staff (on 4 March 2015) and with Ku-ring-gai Councillors and staff (on 30 March 2015) to discuss benefits, opportunities and threats from a potential merger, as well as roadblocks, obstacles and key issues for the Council and its community

·              In respect of the meeting with Hornsby, Mr Bunting advised that:

o     Hornsby have commissioned a number of “due diligence” reports on the options and implications of a merger for Council.

o     There is positive support from the elected members for a merger with Ku-ring-gai as proposed by the ILGRP, or another local government area.  Council is of the view that mergers lead to improved local government.

o     The key issues that a merger proposal would need to address are:

Ø   the impact on rates

Ø   the representation model

Ø   the infrastructure gap

o     The Council sees merit in moving to a business case in order to provide a better evidence base for later decision making.

·              In respect of the meeting with Ku-ring-gai, Mr Bunting advised that:

o     Ku-ring-gai have conducted their own investigations into a merger and elected members and staff developed informed views on the costs and benefits of a merger.

o     While Ku-ring-gai is happy to discuss merger options they are unconvinced that a merger option is in the best interests of Ku-ring-gai residents.

o     The key issues for Ku-ring-gai that a merger proposal would need to address are:

Ø   the impact on rates

Ø   representation and ward structures

Ø   differences in services/service levels

Ø   legacy issues with the Hornsby Quarry

Ø   urban planning and development issues

·              Mr Bunting then convened a joint workshop between Councillors and senior staff of the two Councils on 7 April 2015 to discuss the issues arising from the individual workshops, and in particular, similarities, issues, barriers and possible solutions.  In order to generate agreement on moving to a merger business case, Mr Bunting sought a focused joint discussion on significant issues and how those issues may be resolved; and areas where the greatest commonality exists and those which also rate the highest.

·              Mr Bunting’s report on the joint workshop indicated that:

o     Both Councils had different views on their own ability to be Fit for the Future.

o     A number of potential benefits of a merger were identified, however, there were differing views about whether these benefits were only available through a merger or could also be achieved by the Councils as standalone organisations.

o     The key issues/barriers to a joint merger proposal were:

Ø   The impact and distribution when merging rates – inequities unlikely to be resolved in merger without Government intervention.

Ø   Representation and ward structure – difficult to resolve under current options.

Ø   Hornsby Quarry – issues quantified by Hornsby and Hornsby offered separate briefing to Ku-ring-gai Councillors.

Ø   Ku-ring-gai advised they had developed a strategy to address their infrastructure backlog within two years.

Ø   Both Councils had different focuses for planning and development.  These local priorities are likely to be able to be retained under a merger.

Ø   Unresolved concerns from Ku-ring-gai about control over future decision making regarding planning and development.

Ø   Differences in services/levels and community of interest can be addressed as part of merger investigation.

·              At the conclusion of the joint workshop, both Councils agreed to discuss the matter at their respective Councils and resolve their positions about whether they should progress to the next step. That step would be the preparation of an independent merger business case to provide an evidence base for later decision making about whether or not the Councils should merge.

·              Hornsby indicated that it would be briefing all its Councillors about the proposed merger case in the third week of April and, depending on Ku-ring-gai’s decision, would consider the matter formally at its 13 May 2015 General Meeting.  Ku-ring-gai indicated that it would formally consider the matter at its Meeting on 28 April 2015.

·              At its 28 April Meeting, Ku-ring-gai considered a report (Item GB.3) which provided details about the matter and concluded that it was not in Ku-ring-gai’s best interests to merge.  The summary of their report stated that:

A detailed assessment of a merger with Hornsby Shire Council has identified the following impacts:

Representation:

·              A merger is likely to result in 6 councillors elected from the former Ku-ring-gai area and 9 councillors from the former Hornsby Shire area.

·              There would be an overall reduction in representation with the number of residents per councillor increasing from 11,903 currently for Ku-ring-gai to a minimum of 19,058 in the merged council.

Planning and Development:

·              A merger may result in disproportionately increased development in the former Ku-ring-gai area, negatively impacting on the existing residential character, landscape and heritage values.

·              Decisions about future development would be made by the merged council, with minority representation from councillors elected from the former Ku-ring-gai area.

·              After a merger, there is a risk that s.94 developer contributions collected in the former Ku-ring-gai area may be spent in the former Hornsby Shire area.

Rates:

·              Due to the higher land values in Ku-ring-gai, a merger would result in significantly increased rates in the former Ku-ring-gai area and a reduction in the former Hornsby Shire area.

·              Hornsby Shire residents pay a greater percentage of property wealth in rates and therefore have less capacity to increase in the future if required.  Any future additional rates income would be drawn disproportionately from the former Ku-ring-gai area due to higher land values.

·              There would be greater volatility in rates (e.g. between different suburbs) in future years when land revaluations occur.

·              Rural areas cover 60% of the rateable area of Hornsby Shire while only 1% of the total rates revenue is derived from farmland.  Any cross subsidy of the rural areas would be shared with Ku-ring-gai ratepayers after a merger.

Hornsby Quarry:

·              The latest scheme to remediate the Hornsby Quarry is to obtain fill from the NorthConnex project to part fill the Quarry (approximately one quarter) at an estimated cost of $22 million of which Hornsby Council’s share is $7.33 million.  In addition, there are estimated costs of $15 to $20 million for quarry stabilisation and landform, and $10 million for recreational facilities.  Hornsby Council have advised that all amounts are fully funded.

·              As the estimated costs are at a concept level and detailed investigations have not yet commenced, there is uncertainty from Ku-ring-gai Council’s perspective as to the reliability of these current estimates.  The potential liability associated with the Hornsby Quarry is significant in the context of any proposal to merge.

Service Levels:

·              Ku-ring-gai Council has higher revenue per capita than Hornsby Shire, with greater capacity to provide services.  A merger would require the equalisation of services, resulting in either a reduction of services for the former Ku-ring-gai area or increased rates to raise the Hornsby Shire service levels.

·              The rates would need to increase in the former Ku-ring-gai area by between 18% and 35% to raise the same revenue per capita across the whole of the merged council area as currently enjoyed by Ku-ring-gai.

Overall Financial Health:

·              Hornsby Shire Council has lower working capital and reserves than Ku-ring-gai.  Hornsby reports a lower infrastructure backlog than Ku-ring-gai, however its ongoing asset maintenance and renewal indicators are inferior.

·              Hornsby Shire Council’s overall financial position is weaker than that of Ku-ring-gai, a key consideration for a merger.  T-Corp assessed Ku-ring-gai as being “Sound” with a “Neutral” outlook, while Hornsby was given the lower rating of “Moderate” with a “Neutral” outlook.

·              Hornsby Shire does not need to merge with Ku-ring-gai to be Fit for the Future.  It is a large council with an independent assessment from T-Corp as being Moderate.  Hornsby Shire has advised that they are revising their Long Term Financial Plan to meet the Fit for the Future criteria.

Cost Savings and Efficiencies:

·              A merged council would result in a larger bureaucracy and there are differing views about whether mergers lead to cost savings and greater efficiency.  Academic studies indicate that predicted savings from mergers are optimistic and do not eventuate.

·              Nine of the biggest Councils in NSW run large operating deficits.  These councils have an average population of 207,000 and an average operating deficit of $8.7 million.  By contrast, both Ku-ring-gai Council and Hornsby Shire Council run healthy operating surpluses.

Communities of Interest and Community Facilities:

·              Hornsby Shire has a larger population than Ku-ring-gai that is more widely dispersed over an area more than five times the size.  The merged council would be some 65 km in distance from the north to the south.  The provision of services and facilities would be challenging, with likely conflict about the allocation of resources, service levels and cross subsidisation between different areas.  A merger of Ku-ring-gai with the much larger area of Hornsby Shire would diminish current communities of interest and societal connectedness.

Environmental Issues:

·              Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby have similar bushland environments, although Hornsby control of a much greater area.  There is a concern that a large increase in the amount of overall bushland area managed could see a reduction in the service level for bushland management currently experienced in Ku-ring-gai.

·              Ku-ring-gai Council has a special rates levy for the Environment, the continuation of which after a merger would require the support of the newly elected council.  If it was not continued there would be an impact on both the environment and the community engagement due to the programs and funding it provides.

Workforce and Transition Costs:

·              Transitioning to a merged council would take many years and be very costly.  Based on the Queensland experience, it is expected that the costs would far exceed the funds being offered by the state government.

·              During the transition, there would be disruption to service provision, loss of key staff, organisational knowledge and skills.

In conclusion, a merger with Hornsby Shire Council would be highly unfavourable for the residents and ratepayers of Ku-ring-gai.

Ku-ring-gai Council is already a large council that is a demonstrated industry leader, is in a sound financial position and can meet the Fit for the Future Benchmarks.  Accordingly, it is recommended that Council prepare an Improvement Proposal to meet the requirements of Fit for the Future.

·              Following its consideration of the report, Ku-ring-gai resolved:

THAT Council advise Hornsby Shire Council that a merger would be highly unfavourable for the residents and ratepayers of Ku-ring-gai and will not be further considered and that the Mayor write to Hornsby Shire Council thanking the Councillors and staff for their interest in pursuing a merger and explaining the reasons for Council’s decision and that Council prepare an Improvement Proposal to meet the requirements of Fit for the Future.

 

4.       How will your plan improve performance?

4.1        Expected improvement in performance

Measure/

benchmark

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Achieves FFTF benchmark?

Operating Performance Ratio – (greater than or equal to break even average over 3 years)

 

0.043

 

0.052

 

 

0.063

 

0.057

 

Yes

Own Source Revenue

Ratio - (greater than 60% average over 3 years)

 

74.7%

 

87.7%

 

87.9%

 

88.0%

 

Yes

Building and Infrastructure Asset Renewal

Ratio -  (greater than 100% average over 3 years)

 

109.0%

 

 

109.1%

 

109.6%

 

103.6%

 

Yes

Infrastructure Backlog Ratio - (less than 2%)

0.56%

0.56%

0.56%

0.56%

Yes

Asset Maintenance Ratio - (greater than 100% average over 3 years)

 

95%

 

98%

 

100%

 

100%

 

Yes

Debt Service Ratio - (greater than 0% and less than or equal to 20% average over 3 years)

 

1.45%

 

1.32%

 

0.70%

 

0.48%

 

Yes

Real Operating Expenditure per capita – (a decrease in Real Operating Expenditure per capita over time)

 

 

$767

 

 

$774

 

 

$790

 

 

$812

 

 

Yes

If, after implementing your plan, your council may still not achieve all of the Fit for the Future benchmarks, please explain the likely reasons why. For example, historical constraints, trade-offs between criteria, longer time required.

Not applicable

 

5.         Putting your plan into action

How will your council implement your Improvement Action Plan? For example, who is responsible, how the council will monitor and report progress against achieving the key strategies listed under Section 3.

Council has had difficulty in completing this part of this Template because it is not making the claim that it is fit for the future. Council recognises that it does not have the scale and capacity required under the FFTF criteria, and through an assessment of the independent research it has commissioned over the past few years, can see the benefits of at least progressing through the preparation of an independent merger business case with one or more of its neighbouring councils. Once that work was done, Hornsby and the other councils would be in a much better position to consider in an objective and reasoned manner whether a merger is or is not in the best interests of the communities they currently represent.

 

CONSULTATION

In the preparation of this Report there has been consultation with neighbouring councils and Morrison Low consultants.  Council has also been represented at discussions and presentations about the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future program.

BUDGET

At this stage of the process there are no further budgetary implications.  Depending on how the local government reform process progresses, Council may be eligible for funding from the Government e.g.

·              Access to an OLG Relationship Manager to assist in exploring options and additional support which may be available.

·              Access to fully funded skilled facilitators, to assist Hornsby and neighbouring council/s to meet and to identify risks, benefits and options for potential mergers.

·              Access to a panel of technical experts to assist in gathering all the information required to make a decision about mergers.

·              If there was agreement to the merger, access to a structural change expert panel who could provide affordable access (50% of cost covered by the Government) to technical advice to undertake due diligence and community consultation to support merger proposals.

·              If a merger was approved to take place, the new local government area would be eligible for at least $10.5 million (and possibly up to $13.5 million if the total population estimate reached 300,000) from the Government to implement the merger.  It would also be eligible for other components of the Government’s Fit for the Future package.

Details will be provided in future reports as necessary and included in quarterly budget reviews as appropriate.

POLICY

As a responsible local government authority, Council has and continues to be committed to participating in an ongoing discussion with the NSW Government and its neighbouring councils about reform of local government.

CONCLUSION

This Report shows that Council has been a willing participant in the local government reform exercise commenced by the State Government in 2011 and has been prepared to commission its own independent research during the intervening period to assist in its deliberations about reform. Following the release of the ILGRP’s final report and the State Government’s response to that report in its FFTF announcements, Council has also proactively entered into discussions with its neighbouring councils about having an independent merger business case prepared which could be used to objectively consider amalgamation options and issues for Hornsby and those councils.

As no neighbouring council has indicated a willingness to even partner with Hornsby to have a merger business case prepared, Council now has no choice but to complete a “Council Improvement Proposal” and submit the Proposal to IPART by 30 June 2015 for formal assessment.  Although Hornsby will be found by IPART to be “not fit” under the scale and capacity requirements of FFTF (as it is not merging in line with the recommendations of the Panel), the Proposal shows that Council has been a role model through the reform process and is well placed in meeting all the financial sustainability, infrastructure and services and efficiency requirements of FFTF.

Apart from submitting the “Council Improvement Proposal” contained in this Report to IPART, it is also proposed that Council encourage the State Government to remain committed to working with the industry to achieve local government reform in line with the FFTF package.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Deputy General Manager, Corporate Support Division – Gary Bensley, who can be contacted on 9847 6605.

 

 

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Scott Phillips

General Manager

Office of the General Manager

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.

 

File Reference:           F2014/00494

Document Number:    D05364402

 


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS17/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

2        LOCAL GOVERNMENT REMUNERATION TRIBUNAL - 2015 REPORT AND DETERMINATION - MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR FEES - 2015/16 FINANCIAL YEAR   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Sections 248(2) and 249(3) of the Local Government Act provide respectively for Council to once each year fix the annual fee payable to Councillors and the additional annual fee payable to the Mayor.

·              The annual fees must be fixed in accordance with the relevant annual determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

·              Based on the Tribunal’s 2015 Report and Determination, it is recommended that Council approve a 2.5% increase in Councillor and Mayoral fees for 2015/16.

·              Acceptance of such recommendation would result in each Councillor receiving an annual fee of $23,370 and the Mayor receiving an additional annual fee of $62,090 for the 2015/16 financial year.

·              Sufficient funds have been allocated in the 2015/16 Budget to cover a 2.5% increase in the fees payable to Councillors and the Mayor.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         As a consequence of the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, Council note that it remains in the Metropolitan Centre Category of NSW councils for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

2.         In accordance with Section 248 of the Local Government Act, and having considered the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, an annual fee of $23,370 be paid to each Councillor for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

3.         In accordance with Section 249 of the Local Government Act, and having considered the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, an additional annual fee of $62,090 be paid to the Mayor for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to provide Council with the 2015 Report and Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal such that Council can determine the amount of the fee payable to each Councillor, and the additional fee payable to the Mayor, for the 2015/16 financial year.

BACKGROUND

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal is established under Chapter 9, Part 2, Division 4 of the Local Government Act.  In this regard, Section 239 of the Act states:

(1)        The Remuneration Tribunal must, at least once every 3 years:

(a)        determine categories for councils and mayoral offices, and

(b)        place each council and mayoral office into one of the categories it has determined.

(2)        The determination of categories by the Remuneration Tribunal is for the purpose of enabling the Remuneration Tribunal to determine the maximum and minimum amounts of fees to be paid to mayors and councillors in each of the categories so determined.

Section 241 of the Act states:

The Remuneration Tribunal must, not later than 1 May in each year, determine, in each of the categories determined under section 239, the maximum and minimum amounts of fees to be paid during the following year to councillors (other than mayors) and mayors.

The 1 May 2015 edition of the Local Government NSW (LGNSW) Weekly advised that the Tribunal had completed its 2015 Report and Determination recommending the fees payable to councillors and mayors for the 2015/16 financial year.  A copy of the relevant page of the LGNSW Weekly and a copy of the Tribunal’s 2015 Report and Determination are attached.

DISCUSSION

On 4 March 2015, the Tribunal wrote to all NSW mayors advising of the commencement of its 2015 Annual Review. The Tribunal invited submissions about whether “Fit for the Future” councils should be recognised in any future or alternative categorisation model. This proposal was consistent with the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Local Government Review Panel. The Tribunal received 15 submissions from individual councils and a submission from LGNSW and they are detailed in the Tribunal’s Report and Determination.

Having regard to the submissions received, the findings of previous reviews, and issues raised by LGNSW and the Office of Local Government, the Tribunal found that no change was warranted to the existing categorisation framework, or to the current categorisation of individual councils. As a consequence, Hornsby remains in the Metropolitan Centre category of NSW councils along with Bankstown, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Gosford, The Hills, Hurstville, Lake Macquarie, Liverpool, North Sydney, Randwick, Ryde, Sutherland, Warringah, Willoughby and Wyong Councils.

Having considered the Government’s wages policy, a number of key economic indicators including the Consumer Price Index and Wage Price Index, as well as the requirements of relevant legislation and the views of the Tribunal’s assessors, the Tribunal has determined that an increase of 2.5% in fees payable to councillors and mayors is appropriate for the 2015/16 financial year.  The Tribunal has noted that such increase is the maximum increase that it was authorised by the NSW Government to determine.

Impact on Council

The fees determined by the Tribunal as being applicable to the Metropolitan Centre category of councils are:

Councillor

Mayor

Annual Fee

Minimum - Maximum

Additional Fee

Minimum - Maximum

$12,520 - $23,370

$26,600 - $62,090

In June 2014, when Council determined the fees payable to Councillors and the Mayor for the 2014/15 financial year, it resolved to pay fees at the maximum level which applied to Metropolitan Centre councils.

BUDGET

Sufficient funds have been allocated in the 2015/16 Budget to cover a 2.5% increase in the fees payable to Councillors and the Mayor.

POLICY

There are no policy implications associated with this Report.

CONCLUSION

It is considered appropriate that the maximum fee for the Metropolitan Centre category continue to be paid to Hornsby Shire Councillors and the Mayor for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.  This would result in each Councillor receiving an annual fee of $23,370 and the Mayor receiving an additional annual fee of $62,090 for the 2015/16 financial year.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager, Governance and Customer Service – Robyn Abicair, who can be contacted on 9847 6608.

 

 

 

 

Robyn Abicair

Manager - Governance and Customer Service

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

LGNSW Determination of Local Government Remuneration Tribunal

 

 

2.View

Local Government Remuneration Tribunal Annual Report

 

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2004/09552

Document Number:    D05443701

 


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS18/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

3        ADOPTION OF 2015/16 OPERATIONAL PLAN INCORPORATING THE BUDGET, FEES AND CHARGES AND RATING STRUCTURE FOR 2015/16   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Council adopted the draft 2015/16 Operational Plan for the purpose of public exhibition at its 8 April 2015 General Meeting. The draft Plan included the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16. 

·              The draft documents were publicly exhibited from 9 April until 8 May 2015 and submissions invited. Twelve submissions were received which are summarised in Table 1A of this Report.  Table 1B of the Report contains a summary of administrative changes proposed by internal Divisions of Council.

·              Following a review of all submissions by appropriate Council staff, no material changes to the publicly exhibited documents are recommended.

·              Once adopted, the final 2015/16 Operational Plan (including the Budget and Fees and Charges for 2015/16) will be distributed electronically and in hard copy to Councillors, staff and interested persons.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Subject to incorporation of the amendments detailed in Tables 1A and 1B and the Budget section of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS18/15, Council adopt the 2015/16 Operational Plan incorporating the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16.

2.         Council make and levy the 2015/16 Ordinary Rates in accordance with Table 2 of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS18/15.

3.         Council make and levy the 2015/16 Catchments Remediation Rate on all rateable land in the Shire in accordance with Table 3 of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS18/15.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to provide Council with information and recommendations regarding the submissions received in respect of the public exhibition of the draft 2015/16 Operational Plan, which includes the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16.

BACKGROUND

By 30 June in the year following local government elections, all councils are required to develop a 10 year community strategic plan, a four year delivery program and a one year operational plan as well as a resourcing strategy aligned to an integrated planning framework. The purpose is to identify the main priorities and aspirations for the future of the council area and the resources required to move to that preferred future.

Your Community Plan 2013-2023, which is Hornsby Shire Council’s 10 year Community Strategic Plan, was adopted on 19 June 2013 together with a Delivery Program for 2013-17 and a 2013/14 Operational Plan.  This year, the rolling four year program of major projects in the Delivery Program 2013-17 was reviewed.  A structural change has been made which involves adding a further theme ‘My Property’ to better reflect the way the community perceives Council services, and details of major projects have been refined to align with services that Council carries out. This allows easier interpretation by the community of the Key Actions to be carried out during the financial year and the general costs of each service. These changes have also been rolled back into the Community Strategic Plan, which now includes the four year Delivery Program. They do not change the intent of the adopted documents.

At the General Meeting held on 8 April 2015, Council considered Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS9/15 and it was resolved that:

1.         Council adopt for public exhibition and make available for public comment from 9 April to 8 May 2015, the draft Operational Plan 2015/16 which includes the draft Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16, as well as the revised capital works program for the remaining six years of the 10 year Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal special rate variation infrastructure program.

2.         Council note that the rating information contained in the draft Operational Plan 2015/16 is in line with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s approval for NSW councils (i.e. a 2.4% rate increase for 2015/16).

3.         Following the public exhibition period, and before 30 June 2015, a further report be prepared for Council’s consideration which provides details of any submissions received and recommends the adoption of a final Operational Plan 2015/16, including, the Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for that year.

DISCUSSION

Consultation on the Documents

During the exhibition period from 9 April to 8 May 2015, copies of the draft Operational Plan including Budget, Fees and Charges and Rating Structure for 2015/16 were on display at Council’s reception areas and five libraries and were available electronically on Council’s website.  Advertisements advising of the availability of the documents were placed in the Council Column of three local newspapers, the ‘What’s On’ guide distributed to 47,000 households with the April 2015 rates instalment notices and the May monthly enewsletter database of 21,500.

Submissions

A total of 12 submissions were received during the formal exhibition period of the draft Plan.  None of the submissions are considered to have any material impact on the Plan.  Of the submissions:

·              four relate to Key Actions within the Draft Operational Plan

·              four relate to capital works within the Draft Operational Plan

·              three relate to fees and charges

·              one relates to maintenance issues at a Community Centre.

The submissions are summarised in Table 1A below, with staff comments/recommendations in italics.

Table 1A

No.

Name

About

Summary of Issues

Staff Comments and/or Recommendation

1

Ailie Bruins

Hornsby Quarry

p41 Draft Operational Plan, Key Action 3B.1: 'Implement proposal for stabilising Hornsby Quarry'. Not possible to make comment on proposal for stabilising Hornsby Quarry as plan has not been presented to the community.

In response

Response sent to Ms Bruins on 6 May 2015 outlining quarry fill options, both by NorthConnex and sourcing on-site, and advising there will be community consultation when proceeding to development application.  There are also budgetary items in the Operational Plan for investigation of stabilisation following NorthConnex fill.

2

David Pullin Director GymbaROO Pennant Hills

Pennant Hills Community Centre

Main hall at Centre has maintenance issues which hinder his business:

1. Wooden floor tiles breaking free causing hazard.

2. Heavy rain still causes roof leaks - even though some maintenance has been done still required to place bins to stop slippery surface.

3.  Where is plan of action for Pennant Hills Community Centre in proposed capital works?

In response

An Asset Management Plan has been prepared for the Pennant Hills Community Centre. The 2015/16 Budget provides funding to implement the Asset Management Plan.

3

Jason Guest

Local Road Improvements program

Capital works pp90 and 97 Draft Operational Plan - Local Road Improvements for Flora Ave, Mount Colah in 2015/16 and 2016/17.  When is remainder of Flora Ave (between Parklands Ave and Hillside Pde) scheduled?

In response

Page 97, 2016/17 Local Road Improvements program re Flora Ave is incorrect – it should be 'Stage 2 - Parklands Road to Hillside Parade'.  Amended in final document.

4

Warwick Rex Dundas

Greenway Park Dog Off Leash area

Capital works pp91 and 100 Draft Operational Plan - Wrote a letter including a petition with 40 signatures to Council December 2014 outlining urgent need for improvements to Greenway Dog Off Leash park and offering a prioritised list of requested enhancements.  Mr Dundas wants this considered as a submission to the Operational Plan.

Supported

·   Response sent on 14 January 2015 outlining works to be carried out as part of Council’s regular maintenance program in response to Mr Dundas’ priorities.

·   Further email sent 6 May 2015 stating that the $30,000 identified in the capital works program for 2015/16 is for potential fence extensions and possible use of synthetic grass, with final scope of works to be finalised after consultation with existing users of the facility.

5

Gabriella Daidone

Fee increase - Asquith Nursery and PreSchool Centre

Objects to fees for Asquith Nursery and PreSchool increasing for 2015/16 as it is closing.  Questioning whether funds are going to fund something else Council wants to achieve?

Not supported

The fee increases proposed for 2015/16 reflect CPI increases, increasing energy costs, and staff wage increases. Council has determined that fees for child care should reflect the full cost of delivering the service, including administrative and operating costs, and therefore all fees charged will be spent on the day to day running of the centre.

6

Mike Barrett

Tree Preservation Order

p24 Draft Operational Plan re implementation of Tree Preservation Order.  Suggesting that: 

1. Council's Tree Preservation Order should be reviewed when outcome of 10/50 review released.

2. Council consider canopy monitoring every two years.

3. The CRR be maintained at existing rate.

In response

1. Council will await outcome of NSW Government's 10/50 review.

2. Council is currently trialling a methodology to see if monitoring every two years is feasible.

3.  Existing CRR rate will be maintained at current level.

7

Helen Oakey

Traffic roundabout

Requesting Council construct a roundabout at intersection of Grevillea Crescent and Galston Road, Hornsby Heights.  Very busy shopping centre and difficult to get out onto Galston Road.

In response

The operation of Galston Road and its intersections is a matter for Roads and Maritime Services who is the road manager for Galston Road. Will refer to RMS website 'Contact us" page.

8

Grace Macpherson Bicycle Network NSW

Bicycle infrastructure

Positive recognition of three proposed bicycle infrastructure projects in Draft Operational Plan for $2.48m and asking if there are any more planned for 2015/16?

In response

The Berowra Waters Road, Berowra Heights - Stage 3 Local Road Improvement project incorporates continuation of an on-road cycleway to Turner Road, Berowra.

9

Kirsty de Vallance

Fee increase - Pennant Hills Oval #2

Proposed increase in ground fees for Pennant Hills Oval #2 (Ern Holmes) unreasonable and unjustified as there has been no improvement to the oval for some time.

Not supported

Proposed changes to fees at Pennant Hills #2 Oval:

·   Cricket – 5% increase

·   Soccer – $51 increase.  Mid-week training and floodlight fees increased, weekend rates decreased to offset.

·   AFL – $874 decrease.

·   Athletics – $1,839 increase, due to fee structure changing on Sundays which impacts training.  Rate could be reduced significantly if the long jump area only was used on Sundays, then would not incur full oval charge.

Indicative invoices were sent to all sporting clubs prior to fees going on exhibition and no issues were raised from Little Athletics committee at Pennant Hills.

10

Paul Vink (for Westbrook Junior AFL Club)

Fee increase - Greenway Park

Proposed ground and lighting fee increases for Greenway Park will mean a 31% increase for the club.

Not supported

·   Greenway Park classified as Class 1 field under revised fee structure – weekday training fees have increased, weekend fees have decreased to offset.

·   Floodlight charges moved from daily to hourly rate which brings Council into line with other NSROC councils.

·   Whilst fees for Westbrook AFL Club will increase as part of the new fee structure, the rate of increase is exacerbated due to incorrect calculation of 2013 and 2014 fees resulting in the club being charged at a lower rate.

·   Fees proposed for 2015 season will bring rates back in line with what Club had been paying in 2012 season.

11

Lee Kemp

Aquatic and Leisure Centres and Hornsby Quarry

Council failing to manage aquatic and leisure centres:

1. What projects has SRV money allocated to Epping pool been reallocated to?  Council knew in 2010 that mechanical pumps at Epping pool needed replacing but neglected to do so.

2. Key Action 3A.8, p39 of Draft Operational Plan, 'Provide a capital renewal and maintenance service to Council's aquatic centres as per approved program'.  Asks how can she comment when the program isn't outlined?

3.  Section 94:  Galston collected no S94 fees between 2005-2010 and is getting an extra program pool. Why isn't Epping pool redevelopment and Berowra pool included in the S94 Plan? 

4.  Why is Council commissioning more studies to progress future use of Hornsby Quarry (Key Action 3B.2, p41 of Operational Plan) when others have already been undertaken?

In response

1.  SRV money has been allocated to replacing the sand filter at Epping and carrying out repairs to the pool deck, sealing pool joints and replacing the program pool enclosure.

2.  The program depends on whether Council decides to close Epping Aquatic Centre. If it closes, the program will help fund the facility’s demolition. If it remains open it will help fund major work that will be required there.

3.  Section 94 funds cannot be used to fund new aquatic facilities because they serve mainly the existing population and not mainly the new population.

4. Council is yet to prepare a  Plan of Management for the Quarry, Old Mans Valley and Hornsby Park, as it has resolved to do. Detailed investigations to refine the concepts for the specific recreational facilities need to be progressed.

12

Margery Street

Stringybark Ridge

Wants Key Action 1E.5, p25 of Draft Operational Plan 'Advocate for the land at Stringybark Ridge to be nominated as high priority' removed from the Plan.

Although site is modified natural area, does not want sporting facilities introduced, which will also necessitate sealed public access and car park and bush and creek degradation due to trash and pollutant runoff.

Not supported

Various studies have identified a severe shortage of sportsgrounds in Pennant Hills and adjoining suburbs. The modified site at Stringybark Ridge, used in the past by a horse riding club, seems to be suited to re-use for team sports facilities. It will be subject to a development application which will need to include steps to mitigate potential damage to the surrounding bush.

There were also administrative issues identified by staff during the exhibition period regarding changes to wording for clarity and correction to an incorrectly advertised fee.  These are summarised in Table 1B below.

Table 1B

No.

Division

Summary of Issues

Recommendation

1

Infrastructure and Recreation Division

Capital works p90 Draft Operational Plan:

·   A project has been added to the Local Road Improvements program for 2015/16. This project will be done within the existing budget and the $ values of other projects have been adjusted.

·   There has also been an additional unsealed road maintenance project (Stages 1 and 2) added to 2016/17 and 2017/18, the flow-on effect being subsequent unsealed road maintenance projects have been rescheduled a year later.

·   Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn - Stage 3 (R2R funding), be added to Local Road Improvements program for 2015/16.

·   Crosslands Road, Galston – Stages 1 and 2 - upgrading of 2.7km of unsealed road, be added to the Local Road Improvements program for 2016/17 and 2017/18.

2

Capital works pp95-96 Draft Operational Plan - A project has been added to the Local Footpath Improvement program for 2017/18. The flow-on effect means that one project in each of 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 has been rescheduled a year later, and a project has been deleted from 2020/21.

·   Duffy Avenue, Westleigh – south side – Quarter Sessions Road to Kentwell Avenue, be added to the Local Footpath Improvement program for 2017/18.

·   Sutherland Road, Beecroft – east side – Chapman Avenue to Tristania Way, be removed from the Local Footpath Improvement program for 2020/21.

3

Capital Works p91 Draft Operational Plan - $350,000 proposed for amenity building renewal at Pennant Hills Park #1.  Need for work originally raised by Beecroft Junior Rugby Club.  Office of Environment & Heritage has since exhibited draft POM providing for development of new sportsground within Stringybark Ridge, with all costs being met by Council.

New sportsground at Stringybark Ridge could mean relocation of Beecroft Junior Rugby Club from Pennant Hills #1.  President of Beecroft Club agrees that building renewal at Pennant Hills #1 should be delayed until the outcome of Stringybark Ridge becomes clear.

$350,000 proposed for amenity building renewal at Pennant Hills Park #1 to be reallocated:

·   $120,000 Pennant Hills Park #1 oval - drainage, surface rehabilitation and erosion control.

·   $25,000 Pennant Hills Park – footpath construction.

·   $90,000 - Greenway Park, Mike Kenny Oval - decompaction and levelling of oval surface.

·   $70,000 (extra) - Roselea Oval - oval surface drainage, levelling and fencing.

·   $45,000 (extra) - Campbell Park – irrigation renewal.

4

Environment and Human Services Division

p26 Draft Fees and Charges - Home Modification Services - hourly fee for maintenance is $35

From 1 July 2015, the Australian Government will launch the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), transitioning four Commonwealth-funded home support programmes into one streamlined and simplified programme. 

Under the new CHSP, depending on the client’s income, the client will be expected to pay either:

·   The standard fee (aimed at ensuring that those who can afford to pay for the cost of their care do so. The standard fee represents an amount up to the full cost of the service delivered to the client as determined by the service provider)

·   The part pensioner discount fee, or

·   The full pensioner discount fee.

Fees are to be disclosed to the client prior to services being delivered.

The National Fees Policy Consultation Paper was on exhibition until 15 April 2015 proposing a new fee structure to take effect from 1 July 2015.

"$35" hourly fee for Home Modification Services maintenance be amended to "Variable" to cover CHSP National Fees Policy 1 July 2015.

5

Corporate Support Division

Capital works pp90 and 92 Draft Operational Plan:

·   A review of asset management plans has meant that special rate variation (SRV) funding for Galston Aquatic and Leisure Centre and capital renewal works at community centres and libraries has been transferred to the asset maintenance budget. SRV funds will continue to be assigned to these asset classes in accordance with the requirements of asset management plans annually

·   SRV funding of $170,000 for capital works at Galston Aquatic and Leisure Centre be transferred to cover asset maintenance funding gap

·   SRV funding of $250,000 for capital renewal works at community centres and libraries be transferred to cover asset maintenance funding gap

During the exhibition period, there were further minor changes suggested by Council staff to improve clarity of the information contained in the documents, and those changes have been incorporated in the final versions of the documents.

Rates Structure

The rates structure included in the draft 2015/16 Operational Plan was based on the general increase determined by IPART i.e. a 2.4% increase to apply to the Ordinary and Catchments Remediation Rates.  The Ordinary and Catchments Remediation Rates tables (Tables 2 and 3 below) have been updated to take into account adjustments due to recategorisation of properties and supplementary rates since exhibition.  This has affected the ‘Rate in the $ (based on land value)’, ‘% of Total Rate’, ‘Yield $’ columns and the overall totals, increasing the total rates levied to $72,451,623. No submissions were received regarding the proposed rates or rating structure.

 

Table 2 – Ordinary Rates

Category

Rate in the $
(based on land value)

Minimum
Rate $

Base
Amount
$

Base
Amount
%

% of
Total
Rate

Yield $

Residential

0.120104

 

509

46

87.62

60,461,062

Farmland

0.120046

 

509

28

0.80

552,028

Business

0.438365

538

 

 

6.85

4,726,754

Business -
Hornsby CBD

0.965167

538

 

 

4.73

3,263,877

Total

 

 

 

 

100

69,003,722

 

Table 3 – Catchments Remediation Rate

(NB. There are no minimum or base amounts in respect of this rate)

Category

Rate in the $
(based on land value)

Yield $

Residential

0.011125

3,021,035

Farmland

0.008378

27,585

Business

0.023133

236,192

Business – Hornsby CBD

0.048395

163,089

Total

 

3,447,901

 

Total Rates Levied                                                                                                        $72,451,623

 

Rate Reductions for Eligible Pensioners

Eligible pensioners across NSW are entitled to a $250 reduction in the ordinary rates and domestic waste management services.  During the operation of the Hornsby Quarry Loan Rate and the Special Rate Variation for Infrastructure, Council provided eligible pensioners with an additional rebate of $30 to ameliorate the financial impact of those rates. The additional rebate comprised $10 for the Hornsby Quarry Loan Rate and $20 for the IPART approved Special Rate for Infrastructure which increased the rate above the rate peg amount.

The Budget for 2015/16 takes account of the discontinuation of the Hornsby Quarry Loan Rate and the cessation of the Special Rate Variation above the rate peg last year by removing the additional rebate of $30. Eligible pensioners will continue to receive the $250 reduction in their rates.  Details regarding the pensioner rebate are available in the Rating Information section of the Operational Plan 2015/16 and no submissions were received regarding the discontinuation of the rebates during the exhibition period.

The $250 rebate may require consideration in the future due to the Commonwealth Government’s removal of support for pensioner rebates as part of its 2014/15 budget.  To date the NSW State Government has covered the funding shortfall due to the removal of Commonwealth funding, but this is not guaranteed in the future.

CONSULTATION

Council engaged its community in discussing a preferred future for the Shire which resulted in Council’s first Community Strategic Plan being adopted in 2010. The 2015/16 Operational Plan (including the Budget and Fees and Charges) responds to the Community Strategic Plan and has been prepared after detailed discussions with relevant staff, consideration by Council and public exhibition of draft proposals. Councillors were provided with a briefing on the contents of the draft documents on 18 March 2015. Draft documents were placed on public exhibition from 9 April to 8 May 2015.  All users of Council’s child care services, regular hirers of Council’s community centres and sporting associations were advised of the proposed fee increases for 2015/16.

BUDGET

The publicly displayed draft 2015/16 Annual Budget included an estimated surplus of $5,647 after allowing for a transfer of $5.985 million towards funding a Section 94 funding gap (of approximately $19 million) identified in Council’s 2012-2021 Section 94 Development Contributions Plan. This is consistent with Council’s goal to maintain prudent financial management of its finances and to allocate financial surpluses towards key strategic issues. This estimated surplus has been achieved without the need to undertake external loan borrowing.

Over the past five years, considerable savings have been made by not providing for any increase in non-salary related operating budgets, i.e. no increases in the costs associated with plant, materials, etc. Any increases in these areas have needed to be met by efficiency and other gains across Council in those years. Further changes to the budget while on public display have been made towards a number of functions. These budget changes are as follows:

Asset Maintenance – Additional $805K

Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS9/15 – Draft Operational Plan 2015/16 made reference to a review underway in respect to asset maintenance requirements. This involved external consultants undertaking a physical inspection on a range of asset classes. The outcome from these inspections has resulted in updates to asset management plans for a range of asset classes that determine funding requirements over the next ten years. An additional $805K has been allocated to the 2015/16 Budget to meet maintenance requirements.

A number of Council leisure facilities are still awaiting finalisation of their asset management plans. In order to finalise additional funding as part of the adoption of the 2015/16 Budget an estimate has been provided in instances where an asset management plan has not been finalised. Any variation to this estimate will be considered during the first quarter review of the 2015/16 Budget.

An amount of $520K is allocated annually from special rate funds towards maintaining council buildings and aquatic centres which now have updated asset management plans. Annual special rate variation funds will continue to be assigned to these asset classes in accordance with the requirements of these plans.

Hornsby Quarry Fill

The NorthConnex Project has been identified as being able to provide one million cubic metres of spoil to be disposed in the Hornsby Quarry. While this will not fill the Quarry it will provide the necessary volume to enhance the site. An amount of $7.33 million has been provided for in the 2015/16 Budget with this figure offset fully by restricted asset funding set aside for this purpose.

Depreciation

Australian accounting standards requires the useful life of assets to be reviewed annually to ensure it reflects the period over which assets are expected to be available for use. A review of useful lives has been undertaken in preparation for the 2015/16 financial year. This has resulted in the depreciation expense for 2015/16 being able to be reduced by $1.868 million when compared to the draft budget estimate. This is a non-cash expense and has a nil impact on the budgeted cash position for the 2015/16 financial year.

Other Budget Changes

Other changes relate to projected additional rate income which will be achieved due to growth in the number of assessable properties ($250K); savings achieved due to reduction of the pensioner rate concessions detailed above ($147K); and use of a restricted asset account to partly fund the additional asset management requirements referred to above. The impact of the changes made to the exhibited draft budget results in a forecast budget surplus for the 2015/16 financial year of $237K.

POLICY

The four year Delivery Program is Council’s principal instruction to the organisation and the underlying annual Operational Plans allocate resources and contain the detail on what will be done to implement the Delivery Program.

CONCLUSION

The 2015/16 Operational Plan including the Budget and Fees and Charges for that year encompass the priorities and expected levels of service voiced by the community.  Council will respond by providing services in a prudent and financially viable manner. Once adopted, the 2015/16 Operational Plan (including the Budget and Fees and Charges for 2015/16) will be distributed electronically and in hard copy to Councillors, staff and interested persons.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officers responsible for the preparation of this Report are the Chief Financial Officer – Glen Magus and the Manager Strategy – Julie Williams, who can be contacted on 9847 6635 and 9847 6790 respectively.

 

 

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Scott Phillips

General Manager

Office of the General Manager

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.

 

File Reference:           F2014/00562

Document Number:    D05507962

 


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS20/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

4        INVESTMENTS AND BORROWINGS FOR 2014/15 - STATUS FOR PERIOD ENDING 30 APRIL 2015   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Council may invest funds that are not, for the time being, required for any other purpose.  The investments must be in accordance with relevant legislative requirements and Council’s policies and the Chief Financial Officer must report monthly to Council on the details of funds invested.

·              This Report provides details of Council’s investment performance for the period ending 30 April 2015 as well as the extent of its borrowings at the end of the same period.

·              All of the investments have been made in accordance with the Local Government Act, the Local Government (General) Regulation and Council's Investment of Surplus Funds Policy and Investment Strategy.

·              In respect of cash and term deposit investments, the annualised return for the month of April 2015 was 3.36% compared to the benchmark of 2.25%.  The 2014/15 year to date annualised return on total investments as at 30 April 2015 (including investments that expired during the year) was 3.54%, compared to the benchmark of 2.43%.

·              In respect of Council borrowings, the weighted average interest rate payable on loans taken out from June 2005 to April 2015, based on the principal balances outstanding, is 5.99%.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT the contents of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS20/15 be received and noted.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to advise Council of funds invested in accordance with Section 625 of the Local Government Act; to provide details as required by Clause 212(1) of the Local Government (General) Regulation and Council's Investment of Surplus Funds Policy; and to advise on the extent of Council’s current borrowings.

BACKGROUND

A report is required to be submitted for Council’s consideration each month detailing Council's investments and borrowings and highlighting the monthly and year to date performance of the investments.  Initial investments and reallocation of funds are made, where appropriate, after consultation with Council's financial investment adviser and fund managers.

DISCUSSION

Council may invest funds which are not, for the time being, required for any other purpose.  Such investment must be in accordance with relevant legislative requirements and Council Policies, and the Chief Financial Officer must report monthly to Council on the details of the funds invested.

Council’s investment performance for the month ending 30 April 2015 is detailed in the attached document.  In summary:

·              The At-Call and Term Deposits achieved an annualised return of 3.36% for April 2015, compared to the benchmark of 2.25%.

·              The 2014/15 year to date annualised return for total investments (including expired investments) as at 30 April 2015 was 3.54%, compared to the benchmark of 2.43%.

In respect of Council borrowings, the weighted average interest rate payable on outstanding loans taken out from June 2005 to April 2015, based on the principal balances outstanding, was 5.99%.  The Borrowings Schedule as at 30 April 2015 is also attached for Council’s information.

CONSULTATION

Appropriate consultation has occurred with Council's financial investment adviser and fund managers.

BUDGET

Budgeted investment income for 2014/15 is $1,764,000, with an average budgeted monthly income of $147,000.  Actual 2014/15 year to date investment income for the period ended 30 April 2015 was $1,964,000 compared to the budget for the same period of $1,470,000.  Approximately 45% of the investment income received by Council relates to externally restricted funds (e.g. Section 94 monies) and is required to be allocated to those funds.  All investments have been made in accordance with the Local Government Act, the Local Government (General) Regulation and Council's Investment of Surplus Funds Policy and Investment Strategy.

CONCLUSION

The investment of Council funds and the extent of its borrowings as at 30 April 2015 are detailed in the documents attached to this Report.  Council’s consideration of the Report and its attachments ensures that the relevant legislative requirements and Council protocols have been met in respect of those investments.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Chief Financial Officer – Glen Magus, who can be contacted on 9847 6635.

 

 

 

 

Glen Magus

Chief Financial Officer - Financial Services

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

HSC Investment Holdings Report - as at 30 April 2015

 

 

2.View

HSC Borrowings Schedule -  as at 30 April 2015

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2004/06987

Document Number:    D05536410

 


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS14/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

5        PECUNIARY INTEREST AND OTHER MATTERS RETURNS - DISCLOSURES BY COUNCILLORS AND DESIGNATED PERSONS   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Section 449 of the Local Government Act (the Act) details the statutory requirements in respect of the lodgement of Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Return/s by Councillors and Designated Persons.

·              Section 450A(2) of the Act requires that Returns lodged under Section 449 are to be tabled at the next available Council meeting.

·              In line with Section 450A(2), this Report seeks to table the Return/s recently lodged with the General Manager.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council note the Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Returns recently lodged with the General Manager have been tabled as required by the Local Government Act.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to table the Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Returns lodged by Councillors/Designated Persons who have left, commenced with, or internally transferred to a relevant position within Council.

BACKGROUND

Section 449(1) of the Act requires a Councillor or Designated Person to complete and lodge with the General Manager a Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Return within three months after becoming a Councillor or a Designated Person.  Section 449(3) requires a Councillor or Designated Person holding that position at 30 June in any year to complete and lodge with the General Manager a Return within three months after that date.  Section 449(5) states that nothing prevents a Councillor or Designated Person from lodging more than one Return in any year.

Section 450A(2) of the Act requires that Returns lodged under Section 449 are to be tabled at a meeting of Council.  Returns lodged under Sections 449(1) and 449(3) are to be tabled at the first meeting held after the last day for lodgement under those Sections; and Returns lodged for any other reason are to be tabled at the first meeting after their lodgement.

Council's procedures in respect of the disclosing of interests have been developed to cater for the election/appointment/employment/retirement/resignation/etc. of Councillors or Designated Persons.  These procedures:

·              Require all Councillors and Designated Persons who hold that position at 30 June in any year to submit Returns to the General Manager by 30 September in that year (i.e. they are lodged under S449(3)).  These Returns are tabled at Council’s October or November General Meeting for that year.

·              Require newly elected Councillors or newly appointed Designated Persons to lodge Returns to the General Manager within three months of their election/appointment (i.e. they are lodged under S449(1)).  These Returns are tabled at the next available General Meeting of Council.

·              Require those Councillors or Designated Persons who are leaving Council (because of retirement, resignation, etc.) to lodge Returns to the General Manager by their last day with Council.  These Returns are tabled at the next available General Meeting of Council.

DISCUSSION

Returns Lodged in Accordance with Sections 449(1) and/or 449(5) of the Act and Council's Procedures

Council last considered the tabling of Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Returns under Sections 449(1) and (5) of the Act at the General Meeting held on 11 February 2015 (see Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS2/15).  Since that time, three additional Returns have been lodged with the General Manager and are now tabled as required by the Act. 

Date Lodged

Councillor/Designated Person (Position)

Reason for Lodgement

30 April 2015

Senior Town Planner

New Appointment

28 April 2015

Corporate Accounting Manager

New Appointment

28 April 2015

Team Leader Health

New Appointment

 

BUDGET

There are no budgetary implications associated with this Report.

POLICY

There are no policy implications associated with this Report.

CONCLUSION

Council’s consideration of this Report satisfies the requirements of the Act regarding the lodgement of Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests and Other Matters Return/s by Councillors and Designated Persons.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager Governance and Customer Service – Robyn Abicair, who can be contacted on 9847 6608.

 

 

 

 

Robyn Abicair

Manager - Governance and Customer Service

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.

 

File Reference:           F2013/00386

Document Number:    D05410909

 


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS15/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

6        OUTSTANDING COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS - PERIOD UNTIL 28 FEBRUARY 2015   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Clause 32A of the Code of Meeting Practice deals with the implementation of Council resolutions.

·              The Clause requires that a quarterly report be prepared for Council’s consideration detailing resolutions which have not been substantially implemented within two months of being adopted as well as any impediments to their finalisation.

·              In accordance with the Code, each Division has carried out a review of any resolutions adopted by Council up until the end of February 2015 which have not been substantially implemented.

·              Council should consider the comments provided in the attachment to this Report in respect of each of the outstanding resolutions and determine if any further action is required.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT the contents of Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS15/15 be received and noted.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to comply with Council’s Code of Meeting Practice and provide details in respect of resolutions adopted by Council up until the end of February 2015 which have not been substantially implemented.

BACKGROUND

Clause 32A of the Code of Meeting Practice deals with the implementation of Council resolutions and requires that a quarterly report be prepared detailing resolutions which have not been substantially implemented within two months of being adopted as well as any impediments to their finalisation.  The reports are generally submitted for Council’s consideration at the General Meetings in March, June, September and December each year.

DISCUSSION

In accordance with the Code of Meeting Practice, each Division has carried out a review of any resolutions adopted by Council up until the end of February 2015 which have not been substantially implemented.  This has resulted in the attached table being prepared which shows a list of outstanding resolutions per Division.  Details are provided about the:

·              Report Number and Name

·              Outstanding Resolution

·              Latest Status

·              Comment

In preparing Outstanding Council Resolutions reports, Divisional Managers give special consideration to any long outstanding resolutions and, where such resolutions exist, provide comments about whether further action may be unlikely or impractical.  In these cases, Council may wish to determine whether or not the item should be removed from further reporting in the Outstanding Council Resolutions report.

BUDGET

Any budgetary implications are included in the relevant report or in the “Latest Status” column of the attached spreadsheet.

POLICY

The preparation of this Report meets the requirements of Clause 32A of the Code of Meeting Practice.

CONCLUSION

Council should consider the comments provided in the attachment in respect of each of the outstanding resolutions and, if necessary, determine if any further action is required.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager Governance and Customer Service – Robyn Abicair, who can be contacted on 9847 6608.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robyn Abicair

Manager - Governance and Customer Service

Corporate Support Division

 

 

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

Outstanding Council Resolutions for Period Ending 28 February 2015

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2005/00112

Document Number:    D05410980

 


 

Deputy General Manager's Report No. CS21/15

Corporate Support Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

7        DEBTS TO BE WRITTEN OFF - 2014/15 FINANCIAL YEAR   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              The Financial Services Branch is responsible for assessing Council’s outstanding debtors on a regular basis to determine those debts which are bad, doubtful or recoverable.

·              For 2014/15, it is recommended that Council write off debts considered bad totalling $2,379 (see Schedule A); and note debts considered bad totalling $1,876 (see Schedule B) which will be written off under the General Manager's delegated authority.

·              Council’s consideration of this Report ensures that the relevant legislative requirements and Council protocols have been met in respect of those debts to be written off.

·              The write-off of debts for 2014/15 is able to be met from the budget allocated for this purpose.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT for 2014/15, and in accordance with Clause 213 of the Local Government (General) Regulation, Council:

1.         Write off debts considered bad totalling $2,379 (as detailed in Schedule A attached to Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS21/15).

2.         Note debts considered bad totalling $1,876 which will be written off under the General Manager’s delegated authority (as detailed in Schedule B attached to Deputy General Manager’s Report No. CS21/15).

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to seek Council approval, in accordance with Clause 213 of the Local Government (General) Regulation, to write off debts considered bad for the 2014/15 financial year.

BACKGROUND

Each year, the Financial Services Branch assesses the status of outstanding debtors to determine those debts which are bad, doubtful or recoverable. Debts considered bad are either recommended for write off by the General Manager under delegated authority or submitted to Council for approval to write off.  (N.B. Doubtful debts are provided for in the financial records in contrast to bad debts which are written off)

DISCUSSION

The writing off of debts by Council is undertaken in accordance with Clause 213 of the Local Government (General) Regulation.  At the Ordinary Meeting held on 10 July 1996, Council resolved that the General Manager be delegated authority to write off individual debts up to $1,000 which are considered irrecoverable.  Debts over $1,000 may only be written off by resolution of Council. The amount of bad debts written off by Council in accordance with Clause 213 of the Regulation over the last three financial years has been:

            2011/12                      $28,634

            2012/13                      $75,430

            2013/14                        $7,477

For 2014/15, it is recommended that Council write off debts considered bad totalling $2,379 (see details in Schedule A); and note debts considered bad totalling $1,876 which will be written off under the General Manager's delegated authority (see details in Schedule B).  It should be noted that even if a debt is written off, Council is not prevented from taking future legal proceedings to recover the debt.

The level of debt to be written off in the 2014/15 financial year has decreased when compared to prior years. In respect of the rates related debt in Schedule A, the Crown, as the property owner for this Crown lease, is not liable for any debt (in this case for rates and accrued interest) that was due and payable to Council by the lessee. For any other property owner, a rates debt would be able to be secured against the property.

CONSULTATION

This Report has been prepared in consultation with Council’s debt collection agency – Recoveries and Reconstruction (Australia) Pty Ltd; Council’s Operations Accounting Manager and other relevant Council staff.

BUDGET

The 2014/15 budget for bad debts written off is $3,000. The allocated budget is able to be applied to the actual bad debt write-off and will be supplemented by minor budget savings in Divisional budgets across the organisation.

POLICY

There are no policy implications associated with this Report.

CONCLUSION

The write-off of bad debts for the 2014/15 financial year is detailed in the documents attached to this Report.  Council’s consideration of the Report and its attachments ensures that the relevant legislative requirements and Council protocols have been met in respect of those debts to be written off.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Chief Financial Officer – Glen Magus, who can be contacted on 9847 6635.

 

 

 

 

Glen Magus

Chief Financial Officer - Financial Services

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

Bad Debt Write-Off 2014_15

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2004/06978-02

Document Number:    D05687277

  


 

Group Manager's Report No. EH5/15

Environment and Human Services Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

8        REDEVELOPMENT OF COUNCIL'S COMMUNITY FACILITIES IN EPPING     

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Council’s draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan proposes the creation of a multi-purpose community hub associated with a new town square that is centred on the current library site in Epping.  The rezoning of Council’s library and community centre site properties for high density shop top housing have added significant value to Council’s assets, providing a funding source to deliver this outcome.

·              Council’s planning controls will need to be amended to enable ground floor community facilities as part of a mixed use residential flat building development at 10 Pembroke Street.

·              It is recommended that Council seek Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the sale of the library site at 10 Pembroke Street, and subject to successful road closure, the potential sale of part or all of Chambers Court including the purchase back of community facilities comprising a library of 1,500 square metres, a community centre of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 square metres, supporting car parking and an urban plaza of 2,000 square metres.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Council provide in-principle support to the vision to create a new, multipurpose district hub at Epping comprised of library facilities, a community centre, supporting car parking and an urban plaza at 8-10 Pembroke Street, Epping.

2.         A communication strategy be prepared that provides for a process of consultation with business and property owners and the broader community in respect of Council’s plans to redevelop its community facilities in Epping.

3.         A Planning Proposal be prepared to amend the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 to enable ground floor community facilities as part of a mixed use residential flat building development at 10 Pembroke Street, Epping.

4.         Council seek Expressions of Interest for the sale of 10 Pembroke Street, Epping and subject to successful road closure, the potential sale of part or all of Chambers Court, Epping including the purchase back of community facilities as outlined in Group Manager’s Report No. EH5/15.

5.         Council confirm its commitment to maintaining library services in Epping throughout the course of any Expression of Interest and redevelopment process.

6.         The results of the Expressions of Interest process be the subject of an Informal Briefing prior to Council proceeding further.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to advise Council on the development of a masterplan and property asset management strategy for its community and cultural facilities in Epping, and to seek Council’s approval to seek Expressions of Interest for the sale and partial purchase back of its property located at 10 Pembroke Street, Epping and subject to successful road closure, the potential sale of part or all of the adjoining Council owned public road known as Chambers Court.

BACKGROUND

Council provides a range of community and cultural facilities in Epping including the following:

·              8 Pembroke Street - Pembroke Street Park

·              10 Pembroke Street - Epping Library and Epping Leisure and Learning Centre

·              9 Oxford Street - Epping Community Centre

·              Dence Park - Epping Creative Centre

In March 2014, the Epping Town Centre Urban Activation Precinct (UAP) Amendments to the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan (HLEP) 2013 came into force.  These amendments provided for significant increases in density for properties located within and surrounding the Epping CBD.  These were supported in turn by amendments to the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013 that came into force in October 2014.  Council’s properties at 8 and 10 Pembroke Street and 9 Oxford Street both fall within the UAP boundaries.

At the November 2014 General Meeting, Council considered Group Manager’s Report No. CS48/14 and resolved to approve the appointment of specialist consultancy services to assist Council with the development of a masterplan and a property asset management strategy for its community and cultural facilities in Epping.  The Treadstone Company Pty Ltd (Treadstone) was subsequently appointed to assist Council in identifying proposals for the redevelopment of its high value, strategic property holdings located in Epping.

Throughout 2014, Elton Consulting has been assisting Council in the preparation of a Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan to provide a clear strategic direction for the future planning and management of Council’s community and cultural facilities.  At the March 2015 General Meeting, Council considered Group Manager’s Report No. EH2/15 and resolved to adopt and place on public exhibition its draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan (the draft Plan).

Concurrently over the course of 2014, Clouston Associates have prepared a strategic plan ‘Active Living Hornsby’ to provide Council with strategic direction in its provision and management of open space.  At the April 2015 General Meeting, Council considered Deputy General Manager’s Report No. IR10/15 and resolved to adopt and place on public exhibition its draft Active Living Hornsby Strategy (the draft Strategy).

DISCUSSION

Site Context

The site is located on the southern side of Pembroke Street and north of Epping Road and is home to community facilities including the Epping Branch Library, Epping Leisure and Learning Centre and a public park known as Pembroke Street Reserve. The site comprises two allotments being No. 8 and 10 Pembroke Street along with the public road known as Chambers Court. 

No. 8 Pembroke Street (Lot 1 DP 946027) is classified as “community land” under the Local Government Act 1993 and is zoned RE1 for public recreation.  It has an area of 929.5m2 and functions as a pocket park with existing improvements such as seating, a picnic shelter and a playground piece of equipment.

No. 10 Pembroke Street (Lot 5 DP 249822) is classified as operational land under the Local Government Act 1993 and is zoned B2 Local Centre with a building height limit of 48 metres, which is around 15 storeys.  It has an area of 2,873m2 with existing improvements including the Epping Library and Leisure and Learning Centre.

Chambers Court is a short cul-de-sac off Pembroke Street that provides access to the Epping Library, Leisure and Learning Centre and an office building at 12-22 Langston Place, Epping.  The roadway has an area of approximately 1,258m2 and is zoned B2 Local Centre with a building height limit of 48 metres (around 15 storeys).  In November 2014, Council resolved to make application to NSW Trade & Investment, Crown Lands to close the road to provide Council with a future option to consolidate the land with adjoining land should the opportunity arise, to facilitate orderly redevelopment of the area and further capitalise on any “value adding” opportunities that may arise.  Upon closure the roadway would be classified as operational land.

The site is located approximately 130 metres from the Epping Railway Station and is located within the Epping commercial town centre that is undergoing redevelopment as part of the Epping Urban Activation Precinct. 

Draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan

The draft Plan has been developed to provide Council with a strategic focus relating to the management and administration of its community and cultural facilities portfolio over the coming decade, ensuring that facilities match the needs of the current and future population in a sustainable manner.  A key recommendation arising from the draft Plan is its focus on providing a network of facilities anchored by multipurpose district hubs at major population/transport centres.  The draft Plan identified that whilst Council currently owns multiple community facilities in Epping, they are located in ageing buildings that provide limited flexibility for users and attract significant asset management costs for Council.

Having regard to the above, the draft Plan recommends that Council seek to redevelop 8‑10 Pembroke Street to create a co-located district library and multipurpose community and cultural centre, supported by an area of well-designed public open space.

Active Living Hornsby Strategy

The draft Strategy has been developed to provide Council with strategic direction in its provision and management of open space.  Included amongst its recommendations is recognition of the need for civic and urban spaces within high density town centres.  The draft strategy identifies that there are relatively few civic and urban spaces in the Shire and that as density increases in many urban centres there will be a need for more such multi-use spaces to meet population needs for events, markets, celebration and day to day informal recreation close to home and transport nodes.

Specific analysis of open space opportunities in the Epping Town Centre highlight that there is a significant under-provision of open space, particularly in the area east of Epping Station and north of Epping Road.  It is considered that creating a new urban plaza at the Chambers Court area that is accessible to the high density development area would assist in addressing this shortfall and significantly improve the amenity of the area.

Epping Town Centre Urban Activation Precinct Structure Plan

The Epping Town Centre Urban Activation Precinct Structure Plan (March 2013) developed for the NSW Government, identifies the Town Square as a ‘significant place-making opportunity’ which will transform Epping Town Centre from a ‘shopping centre’ to a true “Town Centre’ with its focus on civic functions in the form of a forecourt to the library, with opportunities for active edges for retail and outdoor dining, community gathering, performances, events etc.

The Draft Epping Town Centre Public Domain Guidelines, which are currently being developed, also recommend the establishment of the town square (urban plaza) as a key place and space for the future - a civic space which creates a cultural hub offering recreation, play, learning and cultural events supported by an expanded community facility.  A 10km/h ‘Shared Traffic Zone’ along Pembroke Street is also proposed to provide a direct pedestrian link from the urban plaza to Epping Train Station.

Social, Urban Design and Financial Value Analysis

Noting that the various strategic plans have identified the opportunity to create a new urban plaza in Epping, it is important that Council give consideration to the appropriate size/scale for such a plaza. 

A social, urban design and financial value analysis in respect of the urban plaza has indicated that there is significant community benefit in the provision of additional open space in the form of an urban plaza in Pembroke Street, Epping.  The analysis has identified a preferred size of 2,000 square metres for the urban plaza that would provide a flexible space for civic functions or large community events such as movies under the stars or multicultural festivals.  The social, urban design and financial analysis has been included as Confidential Attachment 1 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH5/15.

An urban plaza of this size is not able to be accommodated on the current open space portion of the site (929.5m2), and would require the addition of approximately 1,100m2 of developable land to be used for this purpose.  This outcome would present an estimated “opportunity cost” to Council of approximately $10 million in foregone revenue associated with any sale of the site. Whilst this is a considerable opportunity cost, it should be balanced against the public benefit that the urban plaza would provide to Epping.

Site Vision

Having regard to the recommendations contained within the draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan, the draft Active Living Hornsby Strategy, and associated strategic documents it is recommended that the following facilities should be provided as part of a redevelopment of Council’s properties at 8 and 10 Pembroke Street, and Chambers Court:

·              Co-located public library and community centre.  It is envisaged that the library would be approximately 1,500 square metres in size and the Community Centre approximately 2,000-2,500 square metres, noting that some efficiencies may be able to be achieved as a result of their co-location.

·              An urban plaza adjoining the library/community centre.  It is envisaged that the urban plaza would be 2,000 square metres in size.

It is considered that the inclusion of an urban plaza in the site vision for Pembroke Street would provide significant community benefit by:

·              Enhancing the flexibility of the proposed community hub facility by enabling both indoor and outdoor activities to occur.

·              Acting as an additional draw and attractor to the community hub.

·              Providing an important location for community activities and events linked to the community hub or held independently

·              Providing valuable outdoor public space in an environment zoned for high density living with little private open space provision.

·              Promoting social connection and sense of place through the provision of a community meeting space and focal point for informal community activity.

To achieve a successful outcome, an integrated solution to the creation of an urban plaza space that is closely associated with the proposed library/community spaces and also has active business/shop front uses fronting the urban plaza is recommended.

Planning Proposal – Hornsby Local Environmental Plan

As noted earlier, Chambers Court and 10 Pembroke Street are zoned B2 Local Centre in the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan.  The objectives of this zone are to:

·              Provide a range of retail, business, entertainment and community uses that serve the needs of people who live in, work in and visit the local area.

·              Encourage employment opportunities in accessible locations

·              To maximise public transport patronage and encourage walking and cycling.

In light of the above objectives, residential development is only permitted in the form of Shop Top Housing.  The current definition of shop top housing contained in the Standard Instrument means one or more dwellings located above ground floor retail premises or business premises

In respect of Council’s vision for its library site, this would result in retail/business uses being provided at ground floor with a new library and community centre provided above this, likely at the first and second floors.  Situating the library and community centre away from the ground floor would take away from the residential yield of the site and have implications for the proposed redevelopment’s funding model.

The requirement for retail/business use to be located on the ground floor would also serve to physically separate the library/community facilities from the proposed town square.  A guiding principle in planning for community and cultural facilities is to make them readily accessible (preferably at ground level), well exposed and identifiable and to locate them adjacent to public space including plazas, town squares and parks.  This enhances the flexibility and responsiveness of community facilities enabling the range of activities that can occur in and around the facilities to be expanded.

Concerns regarding the limitation posed by the shop top housing definition in the Standard Instrument extend beyond Hornsby Shire Council, and The Northern Planners Group made up of planning professionals from NSROC/SHOROC Council’s along with LGNSW have recently written to the Department of Planning and Environment highlighting the issue and seeking to have the definition amended to broaden the range of ground floor uses to include other uses such as community facilities, medical centres, child care centres etc.

Notwithstanding, to provide certainty in respect of the redevelopment of the Epping library site, it is recommended that Council seek to amend its planning controls for the site to substitute the ground level commercial uses for community facilities.  This may be achieved by preparing an amendment to the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 (HLEP).  As Shop Top Housing is defined by the Standard Instrument and cannot be amended, an alternative approach would be to permit ‘Residential Flat Buildings’ as a permissible land use. This would enable a mixed use development with community facilities at the ground floor and residential uses above.

The procedure for amending the HLEP is to prepare a Planning Proposal and seek Gateway Authorisation from the Department of Planning and Environment.  Depending on whether Authorisation is issued, the Planning Proposal would be publicly exhibited and a further report presented to Council on the outcome of submissions.  Council may then choose to proceed with the amendment and request that the Minister for Planning finalise the plan. This process can take a minimum of 9 – 12 months. It is considered that this process is able to be run concurrently and can be accommodated with the EOI processes, without any significant compromising of the EOI.

Property Asset Management Strategy

The adoption of the Epping UAP amendments to the HELP 2013, providing for increased density and redevelopment, has provided land owners within the precinct with significant increase in property values.

Council’s Epping Library site has significantly benefitted from the increase in value and now represents an ideal opportunity to capitalise on the increased value to fund the renewal, consolidation and expansion of Council’s community facilities and assets in a single location, while leveraging off Council’s long history with that site.  These new and expanded community facilities would be provided in accordance with the vision of Council’s draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan.

Subject to the aforementioned proposed amendment to Council’s planning controls, Council has the opportunity to sell the site to a developer and then buy-back the retail/commercial space for a new library and community facilities and associated car parking.  Council may also purchase back any additional land required for the urban plaza.

Council has already received some unsolicited approaches from a range of potential proponents.  This off market activity demonstrates the very strong market interest and demand for apartment sites from developers in the Epping UAP area.  The current high level of activity in the market has been driven by the current very strong market for ‘off the plan’ apartment sales in Sydney generally.  This market strength is being driven by a combination of lower interest rates, pent up demand after a decade of under building in Sydney, changing buyer preferences, investor interest and overseas buyers.  This would suggest that now is an ideal time for Council to best capitalise on the high property values to then seek to renew and centralise its community facilities in Epping as part of a redevelopment of the site, funded (in whole or in part) by the net proceeds of the sale of its asset.

While private-public joint ventures are often proposed for projects of this type, they can become difficult to manage as they are effectively ‘an agreement to agree’ and require considerable project governance from a public entity.  Joint ventures can take up considerable resources and can be subject to renegotiation in changing market conditions and other (unforeseen) circumstances, producing an uncertain outcome.  Also, Council’s role in the approval process on its own joint venture project can create some public perceptions that are difficult to manage.  As such, the recommended action for this Council project is to minimise risk by simply selling the overall site to a developer and then purchasing back the community facilities, library and associated car parking and additional land for the urban plaza at an agreed price with guaranteed facilities.

It is recommended that Council engage a suitable real estate agency to conduct a public Expression of Interest (EOI) process stating Council’s preference for the sale and purchase back deal structure but also inviting alternative proposals that may not fully comply, but may potentially deliver superior outcomes.  Council would reserve its rights to have a one stage selection process (EOI) or it could conduct a further Request for Detailed Proposals (RFDP) to a selected short list if the EOI doesn’t provide the desired outcome.  Any EOI would be conducted in accordance with the Probity Plan that has been specifically prepared for the project.  The Probity Plan sets out the principles, practical procedures and protocols for conducting the EOI and communicating with proponents.  This Probity Plan details the obligations on all participants in the process to behave in a manner consistent with the requirement for Procedural Fairness whilst maintaining accountability, transparency and the control of conflict of interests and confidentiality.

Continued Operation of Epping Library

Any redevelopment of 8-10 Pembroke Street would temporarily impact upon the current operations of the facilities located at this site, namely Epping Library, the Epping Leisure and Learning Centre and the public park.  The continued operation of the Library during any redevelopment is considered to be important. The main hall of the Epping Community Centre at 9 Oxford Street has been identified as a temporary location whilst the new facilities are constructed.

There are a number of advantages associated with temporarily relocating the Library to the Community Centre in Oxford Street including:

·              It is owned by Council meaning that Council does not need to factor in lease costs in the redevelopment process.

·              It is of a sufficient size to maintain a reasonable library presence.

·              It is located within close walking distance to public transport.

·              It is in a highly visible location on the main street.

It is, however, acknowledged that temporarily relocating the library to the Community Centre would adversely impact some existing hirers and where possible Council would seek to reaccommodate users in nearby centres such as Beecroft and Roselea Community Centres.  In this scenario, Council would prioritise reaccommodating community groups with limited income generating capacity, followed by commercial hirers.

CONSULTATION

Recognising that Epping falls partly into the local government areas of both Hornsby Shire and Parramatta City, in March 2015 Council resolved to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Parramatta City Council regarding the Epping Town Centre Urban Activation Precinct.

The MoU is designed to address concerns about the potential for differing approaches to managing and servicing the Precinct and seeks to encourage a ‘Whole of Centre’ approach to:

·              Revitalising the public domain and creating an active town centre;

·              Improving transport, traffic, pedestrian and cycling connections;

·              Creating high quality built form and improved residential amenity;

·              Delivering community programs and services; and

·              Avoiding duplication and increasing effectiveness and efficiency

The key community facilities presently servicing Epping residents (irrespective of Council area), namely the library, community centre, leisure and learning centre and creative centre are provided by Hornsby Council.

It should be noted that whilst the signed MoU is yet to be returned, staff of each Council are liaising to ensure consistency of approach.  It is understood that Parramatta currently does not have any active plans regarding the provision of community facilities for the area, rather is considering a plaza associated with their Rawson Street carpark site.

Redeveloped community facilities will form an important part of the social fabric of the growing Epping community and as such it is recommended that Council continue to liaise with Parramatta Council to ensure that a whole of centre approach is taken.

The Treadstone Company Pty Ltd and Neil Adams Consulting and Training respectively have assisted Council with the development of the property asset management strategy and probity plan discussed in this Report.

BUDGET

It is intended that the redevelopment of the site is funded by the net proceeds of the sale and purchase back of the Epping Library site and the closed Chambers Court public road, supplemented, as appropriate by funding identified under Council’s Section 94 Plan.  Up-front costs will require short term funding in the order of $110,000, based on cost estimates for the asset management planning, probity plan, legal and disbursements, marketing and incidentals.  These costs are able to be met from existing budgets.

Whilst significant, the cost of the commission associated with the appointment of a real estate agent to conduct the marketing and the EOI process is normally deducted from the deposit on settlement of the Contract for the Sale of the Land and is, therefore, funded from the sale proceeds. It is anticipated that a highly competitive rate of commission can be negotiated, below Council’s tender threshold.

POLICY

The proposal to redevelop Council’s Community and Cultural Facilities in Epping has been prepared having regard to Council’s draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan, draft Active Living Hornsby Strategy, Epping Town Centre Structure Plan, draft Epping Town Centre Public Domain Guidelines and Council’s Disposal of Land Policy.

CONCLUSION

The rezoning of Council’s properties as part of the Epping UAP has provided an opportunity for Council to expand and improve its community facilities in Epping in line with the strategic direction outlined in the draft Community and Cultural Facilities Strategic Plan.

Significant value has been added to Council’s assets as a result of the rezoning, providing a funding source to deliver the desired improvements.  As such, a property strategy has been developed to capitalise on the current market opportunities.  It recommends that Council seek Expressions of Interest for the sale of the library site at 10 Pembroke Street and subject to successful road closure, the potential sale of part or all of Chambers Court including the purchase back of community facilities comprising a library of 1,500 square metres, a community centre of 2,000 to 2,500 square metres, associated parking, and an urban plaza of 2,000 square metres.

Council’s library services in Epping would be relocated to the Epping Community Centre at 9 Oxford Street during any subsequent redevelopment providing continuity of this important community function.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager Property Services – Peter Thompson, who can be contacted on 9847 6669.

 

 

 

 

Gary Bensley

Deputy General Manager

Corporate Support Division

 

 

Stephen Fedorow

Group Manager

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.

Pembroke Street Town Square - Social, Urban Design and Financial Value Analysis - This attachment should be dealt with in confidential session, under Section 10A (2) (c) of the Local Government Act, 1993. This report contains information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2014/00499

Document Number:    D05167178

 


 

Group Manager's Report No. EH9/15

Environment and Human Services Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

9        SUBMISSION TO BEROWRA VALLEY NATIONAL AND REGIONAL PARK DRAFT PLAN OF MANAGEMENT   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              The National Parks and Wildlife Service of NSW (NPWS) has prepared and is currently seeking comment on a draft Plan of Management for Berowra Valley National Park and Berowra Valley Regional Park (the draft Plan).

·              The draft Plan considers that the cleared area at Stringybark Ridge (the former Hornsby Pony Club site) is not suitable for rehabilitation and identifies that it could be used for activities of a recreational, sporting, educational or cultural nature; as a designated camping area for users of the Great North Walk; or for community group activities.

·              The draft Plan notes Hornsby Shire Council’s expressed interest in developing sporting facilities on the cleared area at Stringybark Ridge and notes that if provided such sporting facilities may be considered for management under a future lease or licence arrangement in accordance with section 151A of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

·              The development of a precinct plan by NPWS that will dictate the specific activities and facilities to occur at Stringybark Ridge has been identified as a high priority and will be prepared following adoption of the draft Plan.  It is recommended that Council actively participate in the development of the precinct plan.

·              In spite of the NPWS Sustainable Mountain Biking Strategy that aims to guide the provision of high quality mountain biking experiences for riders of all levels and the continued growth of the sport, the draft Plan proposes to limit mountain biking to designated management trails within Berowra Valley National Park (BVNP).

·              It is recommended that Council prepare a submission to the draft Plan supporting the establishment of sporting facilities at Stringybark Ridge and advocating for amendments to the draft Plan to encourage sustainable mountain biking within the BVNP.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Support the provision made within the draft Plan of Management for sporting facilities to be considered at Stringybark Ridge.

2.         Endorse the draft points of submission to the draft Plan of Management for Berowra Valley National Park and Berowra Valley Regional Park as outlined in Attachment 2 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH9/15.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is for Council to consider and endorse a submission to the draft BVNP Plan of Management.

BACKGROUND

The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Adjustment of Areas) Bill 2012 was introduced to the NSW Parliament in May 2012, which sought to change the reservation of part of BVRP to BVNP.

At the Ordinary Meeting of 16 May 2012 Council considered a Notice of Motion 3/12 and resolved that:

“Council defer further consideration on its position concerning the potential future use of the former pony club site at Stringybark Ridge for one month pending a briefing to Councillors regarding the environmental, social and economic impacts of various land use options including: active sports, passive recreation and/or reservation for conservation purposes; and to clarify with the State Government as to the status of this parcel in terms of it being included in the national park.”

At the 20 June 2012 Ordinary Meeting, Council considered Executive Manager’s Report No. EN34/12 and resolved that:

1.         The contents of Executive Manager’s Report No. EN29/12 be received and noted.

2.         A report be prepared for Council’s consideration detailing future use options and any consequent budget impacts when the NSW State Government has reached a decision on the future use of the former Hornsby Pony Club site, and Council formally request care control and management of the site should it be excised from the currently proposed National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Adjustment of Areas) Bill 2012.

3.         Council request the State Government consult with all relevant stakeholders in determining the future of the former Pony Club site in Pennant Hills.

4.         In the meantime Council officers be requested to identify a range of other options to address the shortage of training and playing facilities within the southern part of the Shire. This is to also include working with relevant State authorities to investigate alternative sites which may not currently be under the care control and management of Council. Such sites to include but not be limited to public schools, land owned by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and any other cleared or degraded lands.

5.         That any options presented to address the shortage of sportsgrounds within the southern part of the Shire be mindful of any environmentally sensitive lands.

6.         Council request the State Members advise Sydney Water to enter into negotiations with Hornsby Council for the transfer to Council of the land known as the Sydney Water site, Quarter Sessions Road, Westleigh to enable the creation of recreational and community facilities on that site.

7.         The General Manager write to relevant State Members and relevant Ministers advising of Council’s determination and support for further investigations.

DISCUSSION

Stringybark Ridge

In November 2012 the majority of the former BVRP was reserved as BVNP.  This required the preparation of a new Plan of Management which is currently on exhibition as a draft, and the public has been invited to make submissions.

The draft Plan notes that as a result of previous uses (including as a former Pony club site), some parts of Stringybark Ridge have experienced substantial native vegetation modification and removal.  These lands comprise two open grassed areas, approximately 2 hectares in size that are considered to be modified natural areas in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act that are not appropriate for rehabilitation.

The draft Plan identifies that the cleared areas could be used for a range of purposes as follows:

·              Activities of a recreational, sporting, educational or cultural nature;

·              A designated camping area for users of the Great North Walk

·              Community group activities.

Upon adoption of the Plan, a precinct plan will be developed by NPWS in consultation with the community and Council as a high priority that will articulate the specific activities and visitor uses to occur at the site.  The precinct plan will examine in more detail the physical constraints and resourcing implications associated with possible future uses, including recreational and sporting facilities.

Council’s Bushland Management Advisory Committee (BMAC) discussed the NPWS draft Plan at its May meeting and formed the view that the potential development of sporting facilities at Stringybark Ridge should not be supported.  This view relates to concerns regarding the environmental impacts associated with their development and operation, the cost to establish and maintain appropriate environmental controls and the legal precedent regarding future leases within NSW National Parks.

BMAC hold the view that instead Council should seek better utilisation of all its existing sports facilities and work with community owned facilities such as schools before reclaiming more natural landscapes for the purpose of sporting fields.  The BMAC advice to Council is included as Attachment 1.

Council has a long standing shortage of sportsgrounds in the southern area of the LGA – an area where the highest demand is experienced.  Over time Council has sought to alleviate these pressures by embellishing existing fields and making arrangements for community access to school ovals.

Despite this, existing fields in Pennant Hills and surrounding suburbs are at capacity, with usage including training up to four nights per week, Saturday and Sunday usage, as well as use by schools mid-week for organised and unstructured sport.

Coordination is required to enable several sporting codes to be able to operate out of a venue.  This includes use by three separate sporting codes of the one field, and often at least two of these codes operating on the same day.

Sporting participation continues to grow with access to suitable facilities a limiting factor.  To place this in context local soccer associations alone report over 2,400 registered players with Rugby Union, AFL, Baseball, Rugby League, Little Athletics, Baseball and Cricket also using Council’s facilities.

It is clear that whilst Council has proactively sought to improve the utilisation of its existing sporting facilities and gain community access to school grounds and the like, the level of demand exceeds the capacity and additional facilities are required to service this demand.  To ensure that Council can meet demand into the future, it is considered that additional land to develop new facilities is required.

Accessing land that is already in public ownership is considered to be the only cost effective way of realising this outcome and in addition to its interest in Stringybark Ridge Council has actively sought to engage with Sydney Water regarding its land at Quarter Sessions Road

Noting that NPWS consider that the disturbed areas at Stringybark Ridge are not appropriate for rehabilitation and that the areas could be used for recreational and sporting activities, it is recommended that Council’s submission to the draft Plan supports the use of these areas for recreational/sporting facilities. 

It is noted that upon adoption of the Plan of Management, in consultation with Council a precinct plan would be developed by NPWS as a high priority that will articulate the specific activities and visitor uses to occur at the site.  The precinct plan will examine in further detail the environmental and physical constraints and resourcing implications associated with possible future uses, including recreational and sporting facilities.

Mountain Biking

The draft Plan limits cycling in BVNP to designated management trails and public roads.  BMAC supports this approach, holding the view that the construction of a mountain bike track near Stringybark Ridge or anywhere else in the park should be opposed on the basis that mountain biking will cause environmental damage and is not compatible with the objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

The position taken in the draft Plan appears not to reflect the intent of the NPWS Sustainable Mountain Biking Strategy (2011) that is designed to guide the provision of high quality mountain biking experiences in appropriate locations that meet environmental standards.  Of note, one of the key actions arising out of the strategy is for NPWS to consider opportunities for creating longer tracks that can contribute to regional tourism as well as 1-4 hour single-track loops situated near urban centres.

In this regard, Stringybark Ridge was one of three potential options considered in the Metropolitan North East Region for the potential construction of a mountain bike facility.  It is understood that the NPWS environmental review of the site found that it was suitable for the construction of a mountain bike trail.

In light of the above, it is of concern that the draft Plan restricts cycling to designated management trails and public roads and appears to rely on the existing Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Council mountain bike tracks to justify this position.  Heavily utilised, both the Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Council tracks are constrained in size due to land availability and there is significant demand within the region for additional facilities to be provided – particularly ones offering a longer riding experience.

The draft Plan does not appear to reflect the vision of the NPWS Sustainable Mountain Biking Strategy that sees excellence in mountain biking as a normal part of recreation management in NSW National parks and reserves and where high quality mountain biking experiences are provided in an ecologically sustainable manner, and NPWS as a key land manager to assist in meeting regional demand.

As such it is recommended that Council’s submission to the draft Plan advocates for amendments to encourage sustainable mountain biking within BVNP.

Other Issues for Comment

A number of other minor issues have been raised in the draft submission.  These are largely administrative in nature and are outlined in the draft points of submission that is provided as Attachment 2 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH9/15.

BUDGET

There are no budgetary implications associated with this Report.  Should the draft Plan be adopted and Council subsequently obtain approval for a sportsground at Stringybark Ridge, Council would incur all costs associated with its design, construction, operation and ongoing environmental controls.

POLICY

There are no policy implications associated with this Report.

CONCLUSION

As a result of the reservation in November 2012 of the majority of BVRP as BVNP, a new Plan of Management has been required.  NPWS have prepared and are consulting on a draft Plan designed to guide the activities to occur within BVNP and inform the operational management of the Park.

It is recommended that Council endorse the draft points of submission shown in Attachment 2 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH9/15 supporting the establishment of sporting facilities at Stringybark Ridge and advocating for amendments to the draft Plan to encourage sustainable mountain biking within the Park.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Group Manager Environment and Human Services – Steve Fedorow, who can be contacted on 9847 6541.

 

 

 

 

Stephen Fedorow

Group Manager

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

BMAC Advice in Respect of Draft Plan of Management

 

 

2.View

Draft Points of Submission to Berowra Valley National Park Plan of Management

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2004/07809

Document Number:    D05502337

 


 

Group Manager's Report No. EH10/15

Environment and Human Services Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

10      REGISTER OF CULTURAL ORGANISATIONS AND REGISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS     

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              Council resolved in 2010 to investigate and establish mechanisms that would allow people making a donation to Council to receive tax deductions for gifts of money or property relating to cultural and environmental matters.

·              In 2011 Council set up two public funds, the Hornsby Shire Natural Environment Fund (HSNEF) and the Hornsby Shire Cultural Fund (HSCF).  Applications were made in 2011 for registration of the HSNEF on the Register of Environmental Organisations and for registration of the HSCF on the Register of Cultural Organisations, both of which included an application for Deductible Gift Recipient status.

·              In 2013 the HSCF was included on the Register of Cultural Organisations and became eligible to receive tax deductable donations with a governance structure placing Council as the trustee.  In light of difficulties posed by this governance structure and a lack of activity associated with the HSCF it is questionable whether there is value in maintaining the HSCF.

·              In 2012 the Register of Environmental Organisations contacted Council regarding issues with the structure of the Trust Deed establishing the HSNEF and its Public Fund Management Committee.  These concerns are ongoing.  To date the HSNEF has not been registered on the Register of Environmental Organisations and is not eligible to receive tax deductable donations.

·              In view of the above it is recommended that Council seek to close both the HSCF and the HSNEF and advise the Register of Cultural Organisations and Register of Environmental Organisations accordingly.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Write to the Attorney General’s Department – Ministry for the Arts seeking to remove the Hornsby Shire Cultural Fund from the Register of Cultural Organisations.

2.         Withdraw its application for the Hornsby Shire Natural Environment Fund with the Register of Environmental Organisations.

3.         Authorise the General Manager to execute any legal documents required to wind up the funds as required by Council’s legal advisors.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to inform Council of the status of the HSNEF and the HSCF and for Council to determine a way forward with respect to the two public funds.

BACKGROUND

At the July 2010 Ordinary Meeting, Council considered General Manager’s Report No. GM15/10 and resolved that Council:

·              Establish a public fund whose principal purposes are the protection and enhancement of the natural environment and the provision of information or education, or the carrying on of research about the natural environment and then seek registration on the Register of Environmental Organisations.

·              Establish a public fund with the purpose of the promotion of literature, music, performing arts, visual arts, craft, design, film, video, television, radio, community arts, aboriginal arts and moveable cultural heritage and seek registration on the Register of Cultural Organisations.

·              Make application to be endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient or a fund, authority or institution within the categories of environmental organisations as a public fund on the Register of Environmental Organisations.

·              Make application to be endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient as a public fund on the Register of Cultural Organisations, a public library, a public museum, a public art gallery, or as an institution consisting of a public library, public museum, public art gallery, or any two of them.

·              Authorise the General Manager to execute any documents necessary as may be recommended by Council’s Solicitors to implement this resolution.

·              Approve, in respect of any Trust Deeds required to be executed, that the Council be appointed as Trustee.

DISCUSSION

Hornsby Shire Cultural Fund

The Register of Cultural Organisations assists cultural organisations to attract private support through a tax deduction incentive and aims to strengthen private sector support for the arts by encouraging contributions. Cultural bodies listed on the Register are able to receive tax deductible donations to fund a wide range of activities in arts and culture.

The HSCF was created in 2011 as a separate entity to Council with its own ABN and bank account to:

‘receive donations and bequests to assist in the promotion of literature, music, performing arts, crafts, design, video, television, community arts and moveable cultural heritage and the provision of public libraries, museums, public art gallery or any two of them’.

The HSCF was approved and registered on the Register of Cultural Organisations and by the Australian Tax Office in 2013 and is eligible to receive tax deductible donations.

Administration of the HSCF

Council is the Trustee of the HSCF with an obligation to act in accordance with the objects of the HSCF, the Register of Cultural Organisational Guidelines and the Income Tax Assessment Act and not otherwise in accordance with the dictates of the Local Government Act. 

In respect of the HSCF, this presents a difficulty where the interests of the HSCF may not necessarily align with the general interest of Council.  To mitigate this issue, the Deed establishing the Trust provides for the appointment of an Advisory Committee by the Trustee.  This is yet to occur.

The HSCF is designed as a public fund which means that it must satisfy the following requirements:

·              The Public contribute to the fund

·              The Public participates in the administration of the fund

·              The Fund must be promoted to the Public and be receiving Public donations.

To date the HSCF has not been actively promoted and no donations have been received.  The HSCF is required to submit a six-monthly report on its activities to the Register of Cultural Organisations – so far these reports have reported NIL activity.

Removal from the Register

It is questionable whether the HSCF is meeting the original intentions of Council or whether its current structure is best suited to the continued operation of the HSCF.  This is demonstrated by the lack of activity associated with the HSCF.

As such it is recommended that Council close the HSCF and advise the Register of Cultural Organisations so that it can be removed from the register. 

Hornsby Shire Natural Environment Fund

The Register of Environmental Organisations assists environmental organisations to obtain financial support from the community for use in the conservation and protection of the natural environment, by providing a tax incentive mechanism for the community to donate to those organisations.

The HSNEF was created in 2011 as a separate entity to Council with its own ABN and bank account to:

‘receive donations and bequests to assist in the protection and enhancement of the natural environment; and to provide information or education, or to carry out research about the natural environment’.

An application was submitted to the Register of Environmental Organisations in 2011 for the HSNEF to be listed the Register of Environmental Organisations and for Deductible Gift Recipient status.

Despite using a similar Deed structure to the HSCF which received approval from the Register of Cultural Organisations, the HSNEF has not received approval or registration on the Register of Environmental Organisations nor for Deductible Gift Recipient status due to concerns that the structure of the Deed of Trust for the HSNEF does not comply with the ‘Register of Environmental Organisations Guidelines – A Commonwealth Tax Deductibility Scheme for Environmental Organisations’.

The administrative requirements for the HSNEF are similar to that of the HSCF, however, in addition there is the requirement to a separate Management Committee in addition to the Advisory Committee appointed by the Trustee, neither of which has occurred.

Council should note that the due to the structural issues with HSNEF and its lack of Deductible Gift Recipient status, it has not been promoted.  In light of the above issues, it is recommended that Council close the HSNEF and advise the Register of Environmental Organisations accordingly.

BUDGET

There are no budgetary implications associated with this Report as no donations have been made to the HSCF or the HSNEF.

POLICY

There are no policy implications associated with this Report.

CONCLUSION

The HSCF and HSNEF were established as separate entities for the purpose of receiving tax deductible donations that could then be used to further cultural and environmental initiatives.  Whilst the HSCF has received tax deductible status, it has not been promoted nor have any donations been received.  In light of the lack of activity associated with the HSCF and the difficulties posed by its structure, it is questionable whether there is value in maintaining the HSCF.

Despite using a similar Deed structure to the HSCF, the HSNEF is yet to receive tax deductible status due to concerns that the structure of the Deed of Trust does not comply with the ‘Register of Environmental Organisations Guidelines – A Commonwealth Tax Deductibility Scheme for Environmental Organisations.

In view of the above it is recommended that Council seek to close both the HSCF and the HSNEF and advise the Register of Cultural Organisations and Register of Environmental Organisations accordingly.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager Natural Resources – Diane Campbell, who can be contacted on 9847 6903.

 

 

 

 

Diane Campbell

Manager - Natural Resources

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

Stephen Fedorow

Group Manager

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.

 

File Reference:           F2010/00069

Document Number:    D05510245

 


 

Group Manager's Report No. EH11/15

Environment and Human Services Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

11      COUNCIL'S CONTRIBUTION TO CHRISTMAS 2015   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              In December 2014, Council resolved to further consider options in relation to themed public domain improvements and activities associated with Christmas celebrations.

·              Community consultation has been undertaken and Councillors briefed on options to enhance Christmas celebrations.

·              It is recommended that Council re-confirm and enhance its commitment to focusing its Christmas celebrations on the Hornsby West Side government precinct, including retaining the ‘Mayors Christmas Tree’ outside of the Council Chambers on the West Side of Hornsby.

·              It is recommended that Council continue to work with Westfield on ensuring that the public domain in the Hornsby Mall is decorated for the festive season but that the Mall is available for celebrations and not encumbered by a large Christmas tree.

·              Due to the withdrawal of Council’s community partner who assisted in the delivery of the annual Christmas Spectacular event, it is recommended that Council commit to the delivery of this event in 2015 as its major event in the second half of 2015.  Further options will be explored in 2016 for new community partners to assist in the delivery of the Christmas Spectacular.

·              If the recommended public domain improvements are approved, initiatives can be delivered in time for Christmas 2015.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council:

1.         Expand its commitment to Christmas decorations and celebrations on the West Side of Hornsby and in Hornsby Mall as outlined in Group Manager’s Report No. EH11/15.

2.         Extend its thanks to Community Church Hornsby for its long term partnership contribution to delivering the Christmas Spectacular.

3.         Focus the remainder of its 2015 events schedule on the delivery of Christmas Spectacular.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is to respond to Council’s request to consider options for Christmas related activities, events and infrastructure.

BACKGROUND

At the December 2014 General Meeting, Council considered Notice of Motion No. NOM7/14 and resolved that:

1.         Council consult with the community, including churches, schools and business owners, with respect to opportunities for facilitating activities and public domain decorations in the Shire.

2.         A briefing be provided to Councillors by May 2015 on feedback received and support offered.

3.         A report be prepared to determine Council’s contribution to Christmas activities and decorations in time for the festive season in 2015.

Community consultation was undertaken during the first quarter of 2015 and an informal briefing for Councillors was held on 1 April 2015.

DISCUSSION

Promotion of Community Christmas Initiatives

Community research has indicated that there is a wide range of activities occurring across the Shire during the Christmas period including Council supported events, church and community group run activities, Christmas light displays and street parties, and fundraising activities such as Christmas tree sales etc. 

Christmas is often a busy time of the year and the consultation undertaken by Council suggests that rather than add to an already crowded calendar, the major area where Council can support the community is in promotional support for existing community events.  It is considered that this support can be cost effectively provided through promotion on Council’s website and social media channels.

Council has recently transitioned the focus of its community events/place making activities towards working with interested local communities to support and develop local initiatives.  In this regard, specific feedback received during the consultation period sought Council support for community driven public domain improvements/decorations in Beecroft.  It is noted that no budget allocation is requested for this initiative but that staff time would be allocated to working with interested local groups.

Council Christmas Tree

Prior to 2013, Westfield annually erected a large Christmas tree in Hornsby Mall.  Council historically supported the placement of a tree in this location by funding the installation costs associated with the tree.  Due to the size of the tree and the physical layout of the Mall, the delivery of any major community event in the Mall was impeded.

In recent years Council and Westfield have shifted the Christmas focus in the Mall away from a large static tree to more widespread decorations throughout the Mall (including synthetic turf), and live community events such as Christmas Carols in the Mall and children’s concerts by The Wiggles.  This approach has been well received with thousands of residents participating and enjoying the live events. 

Council has also sought to bring a focus to the West Side of Hornsby by decorating the “Mayor’s Christmas Tree” a Cedar outside the Council Chambers.

In light of the success of this approach, it is recommended that Council reaffirm its commitment to focusing Council’s Christmas celebrations on the “Mayor’s Christmas Tree” and the surrounding precinct on Hornsby’s West Side.  In 2015, it is proposed that this include additional fairy lights and Christmas themed signage to be installed on Council infrastructure extending down Peats Ferry Road towards the retail precinct.  These additional initiatives are estimated to cost $20,000 per annum.

Hornsby Mall

As noted above, for the past two years Westfield have focussed on activating the Mall at Christmas with live events rather than the static tree.  Supporting this, Council has redirected the funds that would ordinarily be used to install the Westfield tree to decorate the living trees in the Mall.

It is considered that there is scope for Council to undertake further place making activities in the Hornsby Mall by installing additional Christmas decorations along Florence Street such that the Christmas theme is enhanced during the day and evening. Such decorations would include ribbons, green garlands and additional fairy lights and are estimated to cost an additional $20,000 per annum.

Christmas Spectacular

Council has recently been advised by our long term community partner, Community Church Hornsby, who drove the delivery of Christmas Spectacular that it has decided to refocus its Christmas efforts on providing support to the needy in the local community.  Delivering Christmas Spectacular is a major undertaking that takes months of planning and it is considered unlikely that Council would be able to engage a new community partner in time for the 2015 event. 

Council is able to deliver Christmas Spectacular in 2015 however it will require Council to focus its events schedule for the remainder of the year on this event then seek a new community partner in 2016. Practically, this means that there will be no other large Council delivered event for the remainder of 2015.

CONSULTATION

In the preparation of this Report there was consultation with local community groups who host or could potentially host Christmas celebration events.

BUDGET

Council has historically allocated $10,000 per annum to the installation of the Westfield Christmas tree in the Hornsby Mall.  The additional decorations described above are estimated to cost an additional $40,000 per annum.  To remain within existing budget allocations and expand its commitment to Christmas decorations and celebrations, Council will need to find savings and reprioritise its community events and place making activities.  In this regard, it is recommended that Council’s community events and place making schedule be the subject of a forthcoming informal briefing.

POLICY

There are no policy implications associated with this Report.

CONCLUSION

Over the past two years Council’s Christmas focus has expanded beyond the Mall and now includes the ‘Mayor’s Christmas Tree’ outside of the Council Chambers.  It is recommended that Council reaffirm its commitment to retaining the tree in this location.

Council also has the opportunity to further improve the public domain on both side of Hornsby by installing additional Christmas decorations both in the Mall and on the West Side of Hornsby on an annual basis.  To achieve this outcome and remain within existing budget allocations, Council will need to find savings and reprioritise its community events and place making activities.

Council can also provide additional support to the community who coordinate and deliver Christmas events through assisting with promoting those events. This support could be provided at little cost via inclusion of community based Christmas events on Council’s web page and promotion via social media channels.

Finally, due to the withdrawal of Council’s community partner who assisted in the delivery of the annual Christmas Spectacular event, it is recommended that Council commit to the delivery of this event in 2015 as its major event in the second half of 2015.  Further options will be explored in 2016 for new community partners to assist in the delivery of the Christmas Spectacular.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager Community Services Branch – David Johnston, who can be contacted on 9847 6800.

 

 

 

 

David Johnston

Manager - Community Services

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

Stephen Fedorow

Group Manager

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.

 

File Reference:           F2014/00465

Document Number:    D05538879

 


 

Group Manager's Report No. EH12/15

Environment and Human Services Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

12      TRANSFER OF OPEN SPACE LAND TO COUNCIL   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·              The Department of Planning and Environment’s Office of Strategic Lands acquires open space land as part of Sydney’s Green Grid, later transferring the land to councils as part of their open space networks.  Thirty three parcels of land throughout the Hornsby Shire have been approved for transfer to Council by the Minister for Planning and Environment.  Twenty five of the subject parcels of land have been under the care, control and management of Council for a significant period of time.

·              The majority of the parcels are bushland and are contiguous with other bushland managed by Council.  Transfer of the land will consolidate boundaries of the reserves, provide improved opportunities for parkland, bushland conservation and recreational trails, and enhance security of management under the Local Government Act.  Transfer of the land is consistent with the open space zoning and objectives of the Generic Plans of Management for Council and Community Land.

·              It is considered that the transfer of the land would not impose an unacceptable maintenance burden or risk liability to Council, with the management costs associated with acceptance of this land able to be accommodated within existing budgets.  Transfer would provide future opportunities for Council to enter into potential Biobanking agreements in respect of the land.

·              Two parcels located at 1328 Pacific Highway, Brooklyn, that form a hardstand turning area alongside the Pacific Highway are not considered to offer any benefit to Council from an open space perspective and impose potential maintenance liabilities.  It is recommended that Council decline to accept the transfer of these parcels.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT:

1.         Council accept the transfer of the land described in Attachment 1 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH12/15 from the Department of Planning and Environment.

2.         On transfer Lot 102, DP 850797, being a portion of County Drive, Cherrybrook be dedicated as public road under the Roads Act 1993.

3.         On transfer the remaining portions of land be classified as Community Land.

4.         Council decline to accept the transfer of the land described in Attachment 2 to Group Manager’s Report No. EH12/15 from the Department of Planning and Environment.

5.         The General Manager be authorised to execute any documents in relation to this matter deemed appropriate by Council’s legal advisors.

 


PURPOSE

The purpose of this Report is for Council to consider accepting the transfer to its ownership of 31 parcels of open space land for the purposes of bushland conservation, parkland and community infrastructure from the Department of Planning and Environment valued at over $22 million.

BACKGROUND

The land proposed to be transferred to Council was acquired by the NSW Government from 1964 to 2004 under the County Open Space Scheme as part of Sydney’s green belt. 

Twenty five of the thirty three parcels were previously gazetted as being under Council’s care, control and management, with Hornsby Council having undertaken this function for up to 43 years.  All land holdings have been previously zoned for regional open space purposes under previous planning instruments and public recreation under the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013, with discussions occurring between Council and Department of Planning and Environment staff on these matters for many years.

Council has previously resolved to accept transfer of the land at Cowan and Galston.  In relation to acquisition of 2 parcels of land at Cowan for future sportsground use, at the 8 August 2007 Ordinary Meeting, Council considered Executive Manager’s Report No. 32/07 and resolved that:

1.         Council agree to the transfer of Lots A and B, DP 3465, 1065 Pacific Highway, Cowan, from The Department of Planning to Council's ownership, subject to a review of land contamination investigations of the site.

2.         The General Manager be authorised to execute any documents in relation to the transfer deemed appropriate by Council's legal advisors.

In relation to acquisition of parcels of land at Galston, at the 16 October 2013 General Meeting, Council considered Group Manager’s Report No. 21/13 and resolved that:

1.         Subject to the approval of the Minister administering the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Council accept the transfer of Lot 1 DP 567189, Lot 1 DP 568238 and Lot 7 DP 240287 from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for open space purposes.

2.         The General Manager be authorised to execute any documents in relation to this matter deemed appropriate by Council’s legal advisors.

DISCUSSION

In response to Council’s interest expressed in potential biobanking of land at Galston in 2013, discussions were held with the NSW Office of Strategic Lands (OSL) regarding transfer of the land to Council and the approval of the Minister for Planning was sought.  In addition to seeking the Minister for Planning’s approval for transfer of the land at Galston, OSL obtained the Minister’s approval to transfer all of the land in Hornsby Shire acquired as part of the County Open Space Scheme.

The County Open Space Scheme evolved into the Sydney Region Development Fund whereby OSL identifies, acquires, manages (on an interim basis) and transfers to Councils, land that is required for open space throughout Sydney Region.  Land is acquired to provide for regional open space and conservation, infrastructure, parklands and biodiversity corridors to deliver Sydney’s Green Grid, under the NSW Government’s Plan for Growing Sydney (2014).

Thirty three parcels proposed to be transferred are described in Attachments 1 and 2.  Land parcels proposed to be transferred to Council occur in 6 locations in Hornsby Shire, namely Epping, Beecroft, Castle Hill, Galston, Cowan and Brooklyn. 

Epping Parcels

The land at Epping proposed for transfer occurs in two areas – Terrys Creek Bushland and near Devlins Creek. 

Twelve parcels of land occur within Terrys Creek Bushland, located off Gloucester Road, Essex Street and Donald Avenue.  All twelve lots had previously been gazetted as being under Council’s care, control and management in Government Gazettes dated from 1976 – 1983. Transfer of this land would have no impact on Council’s management or costs.  It would consolidate Council’s management of Terrys Creek Bushland as it adjoins land already owned by Council and Crown land managed by Council.  The land is also currently being restored by 9 Bushcare Groups and transfer of ownership would improve security under the Local Government Act.  Terrys Creek is an important habitat and corridor for wildlife, and provides opportunities for bushwalking as identified in the Epping Open Space Strategy.  Transfer of the land to Council’s ownership would allow Council to consider entering into future biobanking agreements on the land.

Four parcels of land are located at Epping near Devlins Creek off Wycombe Street and Kerry Avenue and one parcel was previously been gazetted as being under Council’s care, control and management in the Government Gazettes in 1976.  These parcels create a bushland corridor that links with Beecroft Reserve South near the M2 and create opportunity for future cycling and walking tracks, identified in the Epping Open Space Strategy.

Beecroft Parcels

Four parcels of land are proposed for transfer in Beecroft off Austral Avenue.  The parcels adjoin Beecroft and Chilworth Reserves which are bushland reserves and transfer of the land would consolidate ownership and management of the reserves, and allow for expansion of Bushcare activities.  The bushland has value for nature conservation and bushwalking, containing vegetation of local conservation significance and potential habitat for several species of threatened fauna.

Castle Hill Parcel

One parcel of land is proposed for transfer in Castle Hill.  The parcel is a 300m section of County Drive, which is already under Council management.

Galston Parcels

The four parcels of land at Matthew Close Galston are steep bushland on the north eastern side of Galston Gorge and features native vegetation in very good condition with many threatened species. They are already under Council’s management and adjoin freehold sections of Galston Park Bushland.

Cowan Parcels

Two areas of land are proposed at Cowan.  The first area of land off the Pacific Highway includes three parcels and has been identified as suitable for a future sportsground and mountain bike trail. A fourth adjoining parcel is also included in the attachment, but is proposed for future transfer due to complex lease issues requiring resolution.

The second area of land also off the Pacific Highway includes two bushland lots already gazetted as being under Council’s care, control and management and occurring adjacent to reserves that are managed for bushland and nature conservation purposes.

Brooklyn Parcels

Two areas of land are proposed at Brooklyn.  One lot is off Hawkesbury Crescent which is bushland.

The second area of land includes two lots off the Pacific Highway at 1328 Pacific Highway.  This land forms a hardstand turning area alongside the Pacific Highway that is not considered to offer any benefit to Council from an open space perspective and impose potential maintenance liabilities.  Accordingly, it is recommended that Council decline to accept the transfer of these parcels.

CONSULTATION

In the preparation of this Report there was consultation with the Department of Planning and Environment.

BUDGET

There is no cost to Council associated with the land transfer apart from legal costs which would be borne by each party.  Sufficient funds are available within the budget to meet this cost.

The majority of sites are already under the care, control and management of Council, with the remainder adjoining Council land, it is considered that their acceptance would not impose an unacceptable maintenance burden or risk liability to Council.  The management costs associated with acceptance of this land can be accommodated within existing budgets.

POLICY

The proposed transfer of ownership of the land from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to Council is consistent with the Generic Plan of Management for Community and Crown Land for District 6.  The land would be classified as ‘community land’.

CONCLUSION

Council has assumed responsibility for the care, control and management of 25 of the parcels of land for over 26 years managing it as part of its open space network.

The proposal for ownership to transfer from the Department of Planning and Environment to Council is consistent with its zoning and the objectives of the Generic Plans of Management for Council and Community Land.

The proposed transfer of ownership would also enable Council to enter into Biobanking agreements across the land that would provide funding for management of the land in perpetuity.

Transfer of the land will consolidate boundaries of the reserves, provide improved opportunities for parkland, bushland conservation and recreational trails, and enhance security of management under the Local Government Act

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager Natural Resources – Diane Campbell, who can be contacted on 9847 6903.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diane Campbell

Manager - Natural Resources

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

 

 

Stephen Fedorow

Group Manager

Environment and Human Services Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

Description of Land Recommended for Transfer from OSL to Council

 

 

2.View

Description of Land Not Recommended for Transfer from OSL to Council

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           F2007/00946

Document Number:    D05558511

  


 

Group Manager’s Report No. PL36/15

Planning Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

13      DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - RESIDENTIAL FLAT BUILDING COMPRISING 26 UNITS - 24 AND 26 LORDS AVENUE, ASQUITH   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

DA No:

DA/1514/2014 (Lodged on 4 December 2014)

Description:

Demolition of existing structures and construction of a five storey residential flat building comprising 26 units and basement car park.

Property:

Lot 26 DP 12901, Lot 25 DP 12901, Nos. 24 and 26 Lords Avenue, Asquith

Applicant:

Lords Development Pty Ltd

Owner:

Mrs S M Andrew, Mr C E Onslow and Mrs D Onslow

Estimated Value:

$6,763,333

Ward:

A

·              The application involves construction of a five storey residential flat building comprising 26 units with basement car parking.

·              The proposal complies with State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65 – Design Quality Residential Flat Development and Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013. The proposal is generally in accordance with the requirements of the Residential Flat Design Code and the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013 subject to recommended conditions.

·              The proposal relies on the creation of a stormwater drainage easement over downstream properties. A deferred consent commencement condition is recommended for registration of the easement.

·              Three submissions have been received in respect of the application.

·              It is recommended that the application be approved.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Development Application No. DA/1514/2014 for demolition of existing structures and construction of a five storey residential flat building containing 26 units and basement car park at Lot 26 DP 12901, Lot 25 DP 12901, Nos. 24 & 26 Lords Avenue, Asquith be approved as a deferred commencement pursuant to Section 80(3) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL36/15.

 


BACKGROUND

The subject land was rezoned from Residential A (Low Density) to R4 (High Density Residential) on 2 September 2011 as part of Council’s Housing Strategy.

SITE

The site has an area of 1,505.1m2 with a frontage of 31.6m to the eastern side of Lords Avenue. The site is generally regular in shape with a depth of 49m.

The site has an average fall of 8% to the north-eastern corner of the site and has a northerly aspect.

The site is located 290m south of Asquith Park which includes an oval and sporting facilities.

Surrounding developments include a community centre and a 70 place child care centre adjoining the southern boundary, with frontage to Lords Avenue and the Pacific Highway. The community use site has an area of 4,071m2 and is owned by Council. The developments to the east and north include dwelling houses on similar sites zoned for high density residential development. The western side of Lords Avenue is a low density residential area with single and two storey dwelling houses.

The site is located 300m north of Asquith Railway Station and Commercial centre.

PROPOSAL

The proposal is for the demolition of existing structures and construction of a five storey residential flat building comprising 26 units and basement car park over two levels.

The proposed units include 3 x 1 bedroom units, 16 x 2 bedroom units and 7 x 3 bedroom units.

ASSESSMENT

The development application has been assessed having regard to the ‘A Plan for Growing Sydney’, the ‘North Subregion (Draft) Subregional Strategy’ and the matters for consideration prescribed under Section 79C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act).  The following issues have been identified for further consideration.

1.         STRATEGIC CONTEXT

1.1        A Plan for Growing Sydney and (Draft) North Subregional Strategy

A Plan for Growing Sydney has been prepared by the NSW State Government to guide land use planning decisions for the next 20 years.  The Plan sets a strategy for accommodating Sydney’s future population growth and identifies the need to deliver 689,000 new jobs and 664,000 new homes by 2031.  The Plan identifies that the most suitable areas for new housing are in locations close to jobs, public transport, community facilities and services.

The NSW Government will use the subregional planning process to define objectives and set goals for job creation, housing supply and choice in each subregion.  Hornsby Shire has been grouped with Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Manly, Mosman, North Sydney, Pittwater, Ryde, Warringah and Willoughby to form the North Subregion.  The Draft North Subregional Strategy will be reviewed and the Government will set housing targets and monitor supply to ensure planning controls are in place to stimulate housing development.

The proposed development would be consistent with ‘A Plan for Growing Sydney’, by providing additional dwellings and would contribute to housing choice in the locality.

2.         STATUTORY CONTROLS

Section 79C(1)(a) requires Council to consider “any relevant environmental planning instruments, draft environmental planning instruments, development control plans, planning agreements and regulations”.

2.1        Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013

The proposed development has been assessed having regard to the provisions of the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 (HLEP).

2.1.1     Zoning of Land and Permissibility

The subject land is zoned R4 High Density Residential under the HLEP.  The objectives of the R4 zone are:

(a)        To provide for the housing needs of the community within a high density residential environment.

(b)        To provide a variety of housing types within a high density residential environment.

(c)        To enable other land uses that provide facilities or services to meet the day to day needs of residents.

The proposed development is defined as ‘residential flat building’ and is permissible in the zone with Council’s consent.

2.1.2     Height of Buildings

Clause 4.3 of the HLEP provides that the height of a building on any land should not exceed the maximum height show for the land on the Height of Buildings Map.  The maximum permissible height for the subject site is 17.5m.  The proposal complies with this provision.

2.1.3     Heritage Conservation

Clause 5.10 of the HLEP sets out heritage conservation provisions for Hornsby Shire.  The site does not include a heritage item and is not located in a heritage conservation area.  Accordingly, no further assessment regarding heritage is necessary.

2.1.4     Earthworks

Clause 6.2 of the HLEP states that consent is required for proposed earthworks on site. Before granting consent for earthworks, Council is required to assess the impacts of the works on adjoining properties, drainage patterns and soil stability of the locality.

The site has a gradual fall and comprises the Wianamatta Group Shales soil type. The proposed excavation works are unlikely to result in impacts on adjoining properties or the surrounding environment subject to recommended safeguards.

Appropriate conditions are recommended to address site stability, downstream water quality, fill quality and amenity of adjoining properties.

Subject to recommended conditions, the proposal is satisfactory in addressing the provisions under HLEP Clause 6.2.

2.2        State Environmental Planning Policy No. 55 – Remediation of Land

The application has been assessed against the requirements of State Environmental Planning Policy No. 55 – Remediation of Land under which consent must not be granted to the carrying out of any development on land unless the consent authority has considered whether the land is contaminated or requires remediation for the proposed use.

The land use history of the subject site is for residential use purposes. The site is unlikely to be contaminated. 

The proposed development includes the demolition of existing buildings and substantial excavation works which would remove any potential for contamination. A condition of consent is recommended regarding the disposal of demolished building waste.  No further assessment is considered necessary in this regard.

2.3        State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65 – Design Quality Residential Flat Development

The Policy provides for design principles to improve the design quality of residential flat development and for consistency in planning controls across the State.

The applicant has submitted a “Design Verification Statement” prepared by a qualified Architect stating that the proposed development achieves the design principles of SEPP 65. The design principles of SEPP 65 in respect to the proposed development are addressed in the following table.

Principle

Compliance

1.         CONTEXT

Yes

Comment: The site is located within a precinct planned for five storey residential flat buildings in proximity to Asquith Railway Station and commercial centre. The proposal responds to the desired future character of the precinct as envisaged by Council for residential flat buildings in landscaped settings with underground car parking.

Once the development of the precinct is completed, the proposal would integrate with the surrounding sites and would be in keeping with the future urban form.  The proposed building would contribute to the identity and future character of the precinct.

2.         SCALE

Yes

Comment: The scale of the development is generally in accordance with the height control and setbacks for the precinct prescribed within the Hornsby DCP and with regard to the site aspects. The development achieves a scale consistent with the desired outcome for well-articulated buildings that are set back to incorporate landscaping, open space and separation between buildings.

3.         BUILT FORM

Yes

Comment: The proposed building achieves an appropriate built form for the site and its purpose, in terms of building alignments, proportions, and the manipulation of building elements.  The building would appropriately contribute to the character of the desired future streetscape and includes articulation to minimise the perceived scale.

The proposed materials and finishes would add to the visual interest of the development. Flat roof forms have been adopted with an increased top storey setback on the external facades to minimise bulk and height of the building as required by the Hornsby DCP. 

4.         DENSITY

Yes

Comment: The HLEP does not incorporate floor space ratio requirements for the site. The density of the development is governed by the height of the building and the required setbacks.  The proposed density is considered to be sustainable as it responds to the regional context, availability of infrastructure, public transport, community facilities and environmental quality and is acceptable in terms of density.

5.         RESOURCE, ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENCY

Yes

Comment: The applicant has submitted a BASIX Certificate for the proposed development. In achieving the required BASIX targets for sustainable water use, thermal comfort and energy efficiency, the proposed development would achieve efficient use of natural resources, energy and water throughout its full life cycle, including demolition and construction.

6.         LANDSCAPE

Yes

Comment: The application includes a landscape concept plan which provides landscaping along the street frontage, side and rear boundaries.

Large trees are proposed along the street frontages intercepted by shrubs and hedges which would soften the appearance of the development when viewed from the street.  Deep soil areas that incorporate canopy trees are provided around the building envelope which would enhance the development’s natural environmental performance and provide an appropriate landscaped setting.

7.         AMENITY

Yes

Comment: The proposed units are designed with appropriate room dimensions and layout to maximise amenity for future residents.  The proposal incorporates good design in terms of achieving natural ventilation, solar access and acoustic privacy.  All units incorporate balconies accessible from living areas and privacy has been achieved through appropriate design and orientation of balconies and living areas. Storage areas have been provided within each unit and in the basement levels. The proposal would provide convenient and safe access via a central lift connecting the basement and all other levels.

8.         SAFETY AND SECURITY

Yes

Comment: The submitted Statement of Environmental Effects includes an assessment of the development against Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Principles (CPTED) and includes recommendations to ensure surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement and space management such as artificial lighting in public places; attractive landscaping whilst maintaining clear sight lines; security coded door lock or swipe card entry; physical or symbolic barriers to attract, channel or restrict the movement of people; security controlled access to basement car park and intercom access for pedestrians.

Appropriate conditions of consent are recommended to require compliance with the above matters.

9.         SOCIAL DIMENSIONS AND HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

Yes

Comment: The proposal incorporates a range of unit sizes to cater for different budgets and housing needs.  The development complies with the housing choice requirements of the Hornsby DCP by providing a component of adaptable housing and a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom dwellings. The proposal responds to the social context in terms of providing a range of dwelling sizes with good access to social facilities and services as the site is located in proximity to Asquith Railway Station and Commercial centre.

10.        AESTHETICS

Yes

Comment: The architectural treatment of the building incorporates indentations and projections in the exterior walls with balcony projections to articulate the facades. The roof is flat to minimise building height and incorporates eaves which would cast shadows across the top storey wall.  The articulation of the building, composition of building elements, textures, materials and colours would achieve a built form generally consistent with the design principles contained within the Residential Flat Design Code and the Hornsby DCP.

 

2.4        SEPP 65 – Residential Flat Design Code

SEPP 65 also requires consideration of the Residential Flat Design Code, NSW Planning Department 2002. The Code includes development controls and best practice benchmarks for achieving the design principles of the SEPP 65. The following table sets out the proposal’s compliance with the Code:

Residential Flat Design Code

Control

Proposal

Requirement

Compliance

Deep Soil Zone

38%

25%

Yes

Communal Open Space

25%

25-30%

Yes

Ground Level Private Open Space 

12m2- 27m2

Min dimension 2.5m+

25m2

Min Dimension 4m2

No

No

Minimum Dwelling Size

1 br – 54.7m2

2 br – 75.8m2-93.6m2

3 br – 95.0m2-105.9m2

1 br – 50m2

2 br – 70m2

3 br – 95m2

Yes

Yes

Yes

Maximum Kitchen Distance

10m (Units 2, 8, 14, 20)

8m

No

Minimum Balcony Depth

2.5m

2m

Yes

Minimum Ceiling Height

2.7m

2.7m

Yes

Total Storage Area

1 bed – 6m3 (Min)

2 bed – 8m3 (Min)

3 bed – 10m3 (Min)

50% accessible from the apartments

1 bed – 6m3 (Min)

2 bed – 8m3 (Min)

3 bed – 10m3 (Min)

50% accessible from the apartments

Yes

Dual Aspect and Cross Ventilation

85%

60%

Yes

Adaptable Housing

30%

10%

Yes

As detailed in the above table, the proposed development complies with the prescriptive measures within the Residential Flat Design Code other than the ground floor open space areas and kitchen distance requirement. Below is a brief discussion regarding the relevant development controls and best practice guidelines.

2.4.1     Apartment Layout and Mix

The proposed floor plans include a range of apartment layouts with a mix of dwelling sizes including adaptable units.

The kitchens for unit Nos. 2,8,14 and 20 are further from a window than the Code’s best practice. The non-compliance is acceptable with regard to kitchen integration with the larger living/dining room.

The proposal would provide a range of unit sizes and layouts which are appropriately designed for internal privacy and amenity.  The range of unit sizes proposed would address the objectives of the Code to provide a mix of both well-proportioned and affordable dwellings.

2.4.2     Ground Floor Apartments

The Code encourages separate entries for ground floor apartments and private gardens areas at ground level. 

The proposed ground floor unit open space areas are designed with regard the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013 (HDCP) key development principle of the Lords Avenue, Asquith Precinct for five storey residential flat buildings in garden settings. The proposed setback areas adjoining ground floor units would form common open space landscaped areas in accordance with this principle.

A number of units do not comply with the Code’s best practice for ground floor open space minimum area of 25m2 and dimension of 4m.  The private open space areas have been designed in accordance with the requirements of the HDCP.  The HDCP states that the deep soil area with the setbacks of the development should provide communal open space and landscaping.  The objective of this control is to provide a landscape setting to the development.  As such, the non-compliance is considered acceptable with regard to the submitted landscape plan and the area made available for deep soil landscaping.

2.4.3     Internal Circulation

The proposed building includes a central lift providing access to up to six units on each level of the building in accordance with the SEPP 65 Code best practice for a maximum of eight units per lift. The proposed lift lobbies and corridors provide adequate circulation space and appropriate social amenity for residents.

The proposed internal circulation is acceptable in respect to the SEPP 65 Code objectives for creation of pleasant spaces for circulation of people and their possessions and to encourage interaction between residents.

2.4.4     Acoustic Privacy

The site is not in close proximity to road or rail noise impacts that would require noise mitigation measures.

The bedroom windows of Unit 1 would be affected by noise from the driveway operation. A condition is recommended for acoustic measures to mitigate noise impacts in accordance with the recommendations of an acoustic consultant.

The internal layout of the proposed units is satisfactory for acoustic privacy to ensure separation of activity areas from bedroom areas. 

2.4.5     Building Separation

The proposed setbacks would enable future developments of adjoining sites to meet the best practice requirements of the SEPP 65 Code for building separation.

2.4.6     Storage

The proposed units include built-in robes and linen cupboard storage. The basement includes residential storage areas of various sizes. The proposal would comply with the Codes best practice storage area requirements subject to a recommended condition for the allocation of equivalent storage area for size of dwelling (i.e. for a minimum of 6m3 of storage area for one bedroom units, 8m3 for two bedroom units and 10m3 for three bedroom units).

2.5        State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index – BASIX)

The application has been assessed against the requirements of State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) 2004. The submitted BASIX Certificate for the proposed units is satisfactory.

2.6        State Environmental Planning Policy No. 32 - Urban Consolidation (Redevelopment of Urban Land) (SEPP 32)

The application has been assessed against the requirements of SEPP 32, which requires Council to implement the aims and objectives of this Policy to the fullest extent practicable when considering development applications relating to redevelopment of urban land.   The application complies with the objectives of the Policy as it would promote the social and economic welfare of the locality and would result in the orderly and economic use of underutilised land within the Shire.

2.7        Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 20 – Hawkesbury – Nepean River

The site is located within the catchment of the Hawkesbury Nepean River.  Part 2 of this Plan contains general planning considerations and strategies requiring Council to consider the impacts of development on water quality, aquaculture, recreation and tourism:

Subject to the implementation of sediment and erosion control measures and stormwater management to protect water quality, the proposal would comply with the requirements of the Policy.

2.8        State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007

The proposed development is not adjacent to a State road or rail corridor and therefore, is not subject to consideration under the provisions of this Policy in respect to infrastructure.

2.9        Draft State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Flat Development (Amendment No 3)

The draft amendment is to revise the Policy following review by the Department of Planning and Environment. The amendments include objectives to meet housing and population targets, affordable housing and to facilitate timely and efficient assessment of development applications. The amendments would replace the Residential Flat Design Guidelines with an Apartment Design Code which prevails to the event of any inconsistency with a Development Control Plan. The amendments would make further provision for design review panels, include additional provisions for the determination of development applications and for standards for ceiling height, apartment area and car parking, which cannot be used as grounds for refusal of development consent.

The proposed development would not be inconsistent with the provisions of the draft Policy and the requirements of the Apartment Design Code.

2.10      Clause 74BA Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 - Purpose and Status of Development Control Plans

Clause 74BA of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 states that a DCP provision will have no effect if it prevents or unreasonably restricts development that is otherwise permitted and complies with the development standards in relevant Local Environmental Plans and State Environmental Planning Policies. 

The principal purpose of a development control plan is to provide guidance on the aims of any environmental planning instrument that applies to the development; facilitate development that is permissible under any such instrument; and achieve the objectives of land zones.  The provisions contained in a DCP are not statutory requirements and are for guidance purposes only.  Consent authorities have flexibility to consider innovative solutions when assessing development proposals, to assist in achieving good planning outcomes.

2.11      Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013

The proposed development has been assessed having regard to the relevant desired outcomes and prescriptive requirements within the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013 (HDCP).  The following table sets out the proposal’s compliance with the prescriptive requirements of the Plan:

Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013

Control

Proposal

Requirement

Compliance

Site Width

31.8m

30m

Yes

Height

5 storeys – 16.7m

5 storeys – 17.5m

Yes

Lowest Residential Floor Above Ground

N/A

N/A

N/A

Maximum Floorplate Dimension

30.7m

35m

Yes

Building Indentation

4m x 4m

4m x 4m

Yes

Height of Basement Above Ground

1.5m

1m (max)

No

Front Setback

10m

8m < 1/3rd bldg

Balc 8m

10m

8m < 1/3rd bldg.

Balc 7m

Yes

Yes

Yes

Rear Setback

10m

8m < 1/3rd bldg

Balc 7m

10m

8m < 1/3rd bldg

Balc 7m

Yes

Yes

Yes

North Side Setback

6m

4m < 1/2 bldg

6m

4m < 1/3rd bldg

Yes

No

South Side Setback

6m

4m < 1/2 bldg

6m

4m < 1/3rd bldg

Yes

No

Top Storey Setback from Ground Floor

3m-8m

3m

Yes

Underground Parking Setback

6.7m-7.2m-front

7.3m-rear

2m-4m-side (north)

4m-side (south)

7m-front

7m-rear

4m-side (east)

4m-side (south)

No

Yes

No

Yes

Basement Ramp Setback

2m

2m

Yes

Deep Soil Landscaped Areas

7m-front and rear

4m-side (north)

4m-side (south)

7m-front and rear

4m sides

Yes

Yes

Yes

Private Open Space

1 bed – 8.7m (Units 7, 13, 19)

2 bed – 12m

3 bed – 17.5m

1 bed - 10m

             

2 bed – 12m

3 bed – 16m

No

 

Yes

Yes

Communal Open Space with Minimum Dimensions 4m

25%

25%

Yes

Parking

30 spaces

3 visitor spaces

9 bicycle racks

3 visitor bicycle racks

0 motorbike space

29 spaces

4 visitor spaces

5 bicycle racks

3 visitor bicycle racks

1 motorbike space

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

 

No

Solar Access

69%

70%

No

Housing Choice

1 bed – 3 (12%)

2 bed – 16 (61%)

3 bed – 7 (27%)

10% of each type (min)

Yes

Adaptable Units

30%

30%

Yes

As detailed in the above table, the proposed development does not comply with a number of prescriptive requirements within the HDCP.  The matters of non-compliance are detailed below, as well as a brief discussion on compliance with relevant desired outcomes.

2.11.1   Desired Future Character

The proposed five storey residential flat development is of appropriate design in respect to the aspects of the site within the Lords Avenue, Asquith Precinct. The proposed building is sited over a basement car park in a garden setting.

The proposed built form, façade treatment, materials and finishes are in accordance with the prescriptive measures for the desired future character of the area.

2.11.2   Site Requirements

The consolidated site comprising two existing allotments is generally of regular shape with a width of 31.8m in compliance with the HDCP minimum 30m site width requirement.

The proposed development would maintain an orderly pattern of development for adjoining properties in accordance with the HDCP site requirements and would not result in an isolated site. 

2.11.3   Height

The proposed five storey building has a maximum height of 16.7m in compliance with HDCP height requirement for five storey buildings with a maximum height of 17.5m.

The proposed basement would extend 1.5m above ground in non-compliance with the maximum 1m above ground requirement of HDCP. The non-compliance, which is at the north east corner of the building is warranted in respect to the site topography. As the overall height of the development complies with the 17.5 maximum building height control, the height of the basement is supported in this instance.

2.11.4   Setbacks

The proposed building is stepped to the angular front and rear boundaries and complies with the HDCP front and rear setback requirements.

The proposed north and south elevations exceed the HDCP maximum 1/3rd encroachment to 4m.  The non-compliances involving narrow width wrap around balconies are acceptable in respect to the articulation of the building, the minimal impacts on privacy and the angular shaped site. The proposal includes balcony screening for Units Nos. 7, 8, 13, 14, 19 and 20 in accordance with the HDCP requirements.

The south eastern corner of the building at the southern elevation is setback 5m. To bring the building into compliance with the required 6m setback and building separation requirements, a condition is recommended for a setback of 6m for Units Nos. 10, 16 and 22 (living/dining section) and a balcony setback of 5m.  A condition is also recommended for a balcony setback of 5m for Units Nos. 9, 15 and 21.

Subject to recommended conditions the proposed setbacks would meet the desired outcome of HDCP for setbacks.

2.11.5   Built Form and Separation

The proposed building is well articulated in compliance with the HDCP prescriptive measures with appropriate façade treatment and elements to break the massing of the building.

The proposed building complies with the required 4m x 4m indentation where the building exceeds 25m in dimension and includes appropriate treatment to create the appearance of separate building pavilions.

The proposed building is designed with regard to the angular shape of the site. The proposed setbacks would allow development of adjoining sites in accordance with the HDCP setback requirements.

The proposed built form is satisfactory in meeting the desired outcome of the HDCP for building form and separation. 

2.11.6   Landscaping

The existing site is essentially cleared of locally indigenous vegetation and comprises mainly shrubs and lawn areas for the existing dwellings.

The proposed deep soil landscaping areas comply with HDCP requirements within the setback areas other than the northern side setback where basement level 2 is setback 2m instead of 4m. In this regard, the 4m setback of Basement 1 above would allow sufficient depth of soil for canopy tree planting. The non-compliance is therefore acceptable.

The proposal incorporates adequate setbacks to ensure the development would not impact on trees on adjoining sites including Council’s land at Nos. 18-22 Lords Avenue.

The submitted landscape plan should be updated to incorporate the relocated stormwater detention system from the frontage to the north-east corner of the site.  The system involves an above ground soft engineering design suitable for landscaping and open space use. A condition is recommended for the landscaping plan to be amended to show the amended detention system. A condition is also recommended for additional canopy tree planting around the perimeter of the building and for street tree planting at the frontage.

Subject to recommended conditions the proposed landscaping is acceptable.

2.11.7   Open Space

The proposed unit private open space areas include angular balconies for Units 6, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 23 that reduce from 3.0m to less than 2.5m in width but include sufficient area to comply with the minimum area private open space requirement and are acceptable.

The proposed 8.72m2 open space areas of units, 7, 13 and 19 (1 bedroom) is less than the required 10m2 of HDCP. The applicant submits the open space area for the 1 bedroom units is in compliance with the Residential Flat Design Code which is acknowledged.  The minor non-compliance does not warrant refusal of the application.

The proposed communal open space area at the rear of the proposed building is readily accessible for residents and complies with the required minimum of 25% of the site area and minimum 2 hours sunlight during mid-winter.

The proposed private and communal open space areas meet the HDCP desired outcome.

2.11.8   Privacy and Security

The proposed units are primarily oriented to the front and rear boundaries and are satisfactory in respect to privacy. The balconies of proposed Units 8, 14 and 20 at the northern elevation are setback 4m from the northern boundary and include privacy screens in compliance with the HDCP requirement concerning building separation. A condition is recommended privacy screening and for glass balconies to be translucent.

The proposed building would enable passive surveillance of the pedestrian entry off Lords Avenue and common open space areas. The proposal includes appropriate fencing of the frontage and landscaping for privacy and security of private open space areas of ground floor units. Appropriate conditions are recommended for security access, crime prevention and graffiti management.

Subject to recommended conditions the proposal would meet the HDCP desired outcome for privacy and security.

2.11.9   Sunlight and Ventilation

The site is generally advantaged by the northerly aspect however, the proposed units are oriented primarily to the east and the west. There are no units oriented to the south. The proposed units would achieve 69% solar access for 2 hours between 9am and 3pm 22 June. To increase solar access to unit living areas, a condition is recommended for a highlight window at the northern elevation of living areas to Units 9, 15 and 21. Subject to the recommended condition, the proposal is acceptable in respect to solar access.

The proposed units would comply with the HDCP minimum requirement for 60% of units to be designed for cross ventilation and dual aspect.

2.11.10 Housing Choice

The proposed dwelling mix complies with the HDCP prescriptive measure for a minimum of 10% of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units and for a minimum of 30% of units to be adaptable for access for people with a disability.

2.11.11 Vehicular Access and Parking

The proposed driveway and basement parking areas are in accordance with the HDCP prescriptive measures subject to recommended condition for provision of a minimum of 29 resident car parking spaces, 4 visitor car parking spaces and one motorcycle space.

The basement car park includes separate provision for resident storage areas. A condition for storage spaces to meet the minimum area requirement according to unit size as prescribed by the Residential Flat Design Code.

2.11.12 Waste Management

The submitted Waste Management Plans for the demolition and construction stage of the proposed development are acceptable subject to recommended conditions.

The site will require 6 x 240 litre garbage bins serviced twice weekly, plus 6 x 240 litre recycling bins serviced weekly, plus 1 x 660 litre bin for paper/cardboard recycling. The proposed waste management system including facilities on each residential level and the basement chute service room/bin storage area can accommodate the required number of bins subject to recommended conditions.

The proposal is for waste collection at the driveway frontage of the site.  The proposed 1.5m x 4.9m waste collection point facility along the northern side boundary of the driveway is acceptable in the streetscape. A condition is recommended for deletion of the proposed bi-fold doors for ease of manoeuvring the bins and replacement with sliding doors.

The proposed waste management system is satisfactory in respect to the HDCP controls subject to recommended conditions.

2.12      Section 94 Contributions Plans

Hornsby Shire Council Section 94 Contributions Plan 2012-2021 applies to the development as it would result in an additional 24 residential dwellings in lieu of the 2 existing residences.  Accordingly, the requirement for a monetary Section 94 contribution is recommended as a condition of consent.

3.         ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Section 79C(1)(b) of the Act requires Council to consider “the likely impacts of that development, including environmental impacts on both the natural and built environments, and social and economic impacts in the locality”.

3.1        Natural Environment

3.1.1     Tree and Vegetation Preservation

The site and adjoining properties contain exotic and non-locally indigenous tree species. The proposed building setbacks would ensure the development would not impact on any trees on adjoining sites.

The proposed landscaping and recommended conditions for additional locally indigenous tree planting would contribute to the natural environment.  

3.1.2     Stormwater Management

The proposed stormwater drainage is subject to creation of an easement over a downstream property for connection to Council’s stormwater drainage system. The downstream property owner has granted consent to the creation of an easement. A deferred consent commencement condition is recommended for registration of the easement with the NSW Department of Lands. 

The proposal includes an above ground soft engineering designed stormwater detention system within the landscaped open space area in the north-east corner of the site. The proposed system has a top of wall height along the boundary of 1.6m above existing ground level. To minimise amenity impacts on adjoining residents, a condition is recommended for the system’s retaining wall along the site boundary not to exceed 600mm.

The proposal includes stormwater water harvesting integrated with the stormwater drainage system.

Subject to recommended conditions the proposed stormwater drainage system is in accordance with the requirements of the HDCP for water hydrology and quality.   

3.2        Built Environment

3.2.1     Built Form

The site forms part of the Asquith urban area recently rezoned for five storey residential flat development. The future built form envisaged by Council is provided for in Council’s planning controls as discussed in Section 2.11.

The proposed development is consistent with the built form envisaged for the area.

3.2.2     Traffic

A traffic and parking assessment has been submitted with the proposal. The estimated traffic generation of the existing site and proposed development has been determined using Roads and Maritime Services traffic generation rates with the Guide to Traffic Generating Developments – Technical Direction TDT 2013-04 (May 2013). The net traffic generation of the proposed development is estimated to be 9 vehicle trips in the AM and PM peak periods.

Although peak hour traffic generation may appear negligible when compared with the traffic volumes on the adjacent road network, the cumulative traffic impacts for all sites within the Lords Avenue Asquith Precinct will be significant. The cumulative impact has been considered in the strategic transport model for the Housing Strategy. The required traffic management improvements have been included in the Section 94 Development Contributions Plan 2012-2021.

The location and design of the proposed driveway provides for servicing by waste collection vehicle and access for residents and visitors and would not detract from road safety.

3.3        Social Impacts

The proposed development would increase the availability of housing in the locality including the provision of adaptable housing and be of positive social impact.

3.4        Economic Impacts

The proposal would have a minor positive impact on the local economy in conjunction with other new residential development in the locality by generating an increase in demand for local services.

4.         SITE SUITABILITY

Section 79C(1)(c) of the Act requires Council to consider “the suitability of the site for the development”.

The subject site has not been identified as bushfire prone or flood prone land.  The site is considered to be capable of accommodating the proposed development.  The scale of the proposed development is consistent with the capability of the site and is considered acceptable.

5.         PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Section 79C(1)(d) of the Act requires Council to consider “any submissions made in accordance with this Act”.

5.1        Community Consultation

The proposed development was placed on public exhibition and was notified to adjoining and nearby landowners between 8 January and 22 January 2015 in accordance with the Notification and Exhibition requirements of the HDCP.  During this period, Council received three submissions.  The map below illustrates the location of those nearby landowners who made a submission. 

NOTIFICATION PLAN

 

 

 

•       PROPERTIES NOTIFIED

 

 

 

 

X      SUBMISSIONS

         RECEIVED

 

 


          PROPERTY SUBJECT OF DEVELOPMENT

 

Three submissions objected to the development, generally on the grounds that the development would result in:

5.1.1     Demolition and Construction Impacts on Adjoining Child Care Centre

The site adjoins a 70 place child care centre and community centre.

To address impacts of the development on the adjoining child care centre during excavation and construction work, the applicant submitted a ‘Construction & Excavation Air Quality, Noise & Vibration Management Plan’. The plan is satisfactory in addressing dust and air emissions, noise and vibration during excavation and construction, and in establishing an Asquith Nursery and Preschool Centre Community Management liaison procedure.

The applicant also submitted a ‘Fence Management Plan’ to address the existing retaining wall and fence on the boundary with the child care centre, during construction of the proposed development. The plan is satisfactory in ensuring the safety and stability of the boundary during construction of the proposed development.  A condition is recommended for implementation of the management plan.

To ensure appropriate management of the child care centre during demolition works a condition is recommended for 14 day notification prior to the demolition works commencing. A condition is also recommended for temporary hoarding over the existing fence along the boundary of the child care centre.

5.1.2     Unacceptable Traffic and Parking on Lords Avenue

The proposed development complies with Council’s requirements for off street parking for residents and visitors and is acceptable in respect to traffic generation. 

5.1.3     Unacceptable Change in Residential Character of Lords Avenue

The streetscape will change with high density housing development on the eastern side of the street and the existing low density housing on the western side. The proposed high density built form has regard to the pattern of low density development in the street and is considered acceptable in meeting the key development principles of HDCP for the Lords Avenue Asquith Precinct.

5.1.4     Unacceptable Privacy Impacts on Adjoining Dwelling-House

The proposed building is designed in accordance with the HDCP controls for five storey residential flat buildings in respect to setbacks and location of balconies, subject to recommended conditions. Appropriate conditions are recommended for privacy screening and translucent glass balustrades.

The proposal includes landscaping for trees and shrubs along the boundary with the adjoining dwelling house and subject to condition for 1.8m high lapped and capped timber fencing along the boundary, the proposal is acceptable in respect to privacy.

6.         THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Section 79C(1)(e) of the Act requires Council to consider “the public interest”.

The public interest is an overarching requirement, which includes the consideration of the matters discussed in this report.  Implicit to the public interest is the achievement of future built outcomes adequately responding to and respecting the future desired outcomes expressed in environmental planning instruments and development control plans.

The application is considered to have satisfactorily addressed Council’s and relevant agencies’ criteria and would provide a development outcome that, on balance, would result in a positive impact for the community.  Accordingly, it is considered that the approval of the proposed development would be in the public interest.

CONCLUSION

The proposed development is for demolition of existing structures and construction of a five storey residential flat building containing 26 units and basement car park over two levels.

The proposed development complies with HLEP and is generally satisfactory in respect to the design principles of SEPP 65 and the requirements of the Residential Flat Design Code. The proposal is generally in accordance with the requirements of the HDCP subject to condition for amendment of the submitted plans to increase a side setback and for solar access. A deferred consent commencement condition is recommended for registration of a stormwater drainage easement.

Four submissions have been received in response to notification of the proposed development. Appropriate conditions are recommended to safeguard the adjoining child care centre during construction of the proposed development.

The application is recommended for approval subject to conditions in Schedule 1 of this report.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The officer responsible for the preparation of this Report is the Manager – Development Assessments – Rodney Pickles, who can be contacted on 9847 6731.

 

 

 

 

Rod Pickles

Manager - Development Assessment

Planning Division

 

 

James Farrington

Group Manager

Planning Division

 

 

Attachments:

1.View

Locality Plan

 

 

2.View

Site Plan

 

 

3.View

Landscape Plan

 

 

4.View

Floor Plan

 

 

5.View

Elevations

 

 

6.View

Shadow Plan

 

 

7.View

Stormwater Plan

 

 

 

 

File Reference:           DA/1514/2014

Document Number:    D05366223

 


SCHEDULE 1

GENERAL CONDITIONS

The conditions of consent within this notice of determination have been applied to ensure that the use of the land and/or building is carried out in such a manner that is consistent with the aims and objectives of the relevant legislation, planning instruments and council policies affecting the land and does not disrupt the amenity of the neighbourhood or impact upon the environment.

Note:  For the purpose of this consent, the term ‘applicant’ means any person who has the authority to act on or the benefit of the development consent.

Note:  For the purpose of this consent, any reference to an Act, Regulation, Australian Standard or publication by a public authority shall be taken to mean the gazetted Act or Regulation, or adopted Australian Standard or publication as in force on the date that the application for a construction certificate is made.

1.         Deferred Commencement

Pursuant to Section 80(3) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, this consent does not operate until the following information is submitted to Council:

a)         The registration and creation of an easement to drain water from the site over downstream properties.

Such information shall be submitted within 12 months of the date of this notice.

Upon Council’s written satisfaction of the above information, the following conditions of development consent will apply:

2.         Approved Plans and Supporting Documentation

The development must be carried out in accordance with the plans and documentation listed below and endorsed with Council’s stamp, except where amended by Council and/or other conditions of this consent:

Plan No.

Plan Title

Drawn by

Dated

DA 1 Issue D

Cover Sheet

Design Effect Pty Ltd

5 March 2015

DA 2 Issue D

GA Site Plan

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 3 Issue D

GA Basement

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 4 Issue D

GA Ground

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 5 Issue D

GA First (2nd & 3rd)

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 6 Issue D

GA Fourth/Roof Plans

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 7 Issue D

GA Urban Context Analysis

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 8 Issue D

S/04 Ramp to Basement Section

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

 DA 9 Issue D

Elevations

Design Effect Pty Ltd

8 April 2015

DA 11 Issue B

External Finishes

Design Effect Pty Ltd

10 Aug 2014

0954.L.01 Issue A

Landscape Plan

Greenland Design Pty Ltd

27.11.14

0567.L.02 Issue A

Landscape Details & Specification

Greenland Design Pty Ltd

27.11.14

 

Document Title

Prepared by

Dated

Construction & Excavation Air Quality, Noise & Vibration Management Plan

Lords Group Pty Ltd

13/2/15

Asquith Nursery & Preschool Centre Fence Management Plan

Lords Group Pty Ltd

23/02/15

Waste Management Plan

Lords Development Pty Ltd

17.11.2014

Design Verification Statement

Vladimir Hripac

1.12.2014

Traffic and Parking Assessment

Traffic Solutions Pty Ltd

3 Dec 2014

Access Report

PSE Access Consulting

24 Nov 2014

BASIX Certificate No. 590903M

ESD Synergy

30 Nov 2014

3.         Amendment of Plans

The approved plans are to be amended as follows:

a)         The basement car park must include a minimum of 29 resident car parking spaces, 4 visitor car parking spaces, 5 resident bicycle racks, 3 visitor bicycle racks and 1 motorcycle parking space.

b)         The south east elevation of the building involving Units 10, 16 and 22 is to comply with the required setbacks for 6m (living/dining section) and 5m (balconies).

c)         The northern elevation is to include highlight windows to the living areas of Units 9, 15 and 21.

d)         The balconies of Units 9, 15 and 21 are to be setback 5m from the northern boundary.

e)         The landscape plan is to be amended for the relocation of the stormwater detention system in the north east corner of the site (refer also Conditions 47, 48 and 49).  

4.         Construction Certificate

A Construction Certificate is required to be approved by Council or a Private Certifying Authority prior to the commencement of any works under this consent.

5.         Section 94 Development Contributions

a)         In accordance with Section 80A(1) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Hornsby Shire Council Section 94 Development Contributions Plan 2012-2021, the following monetary contributions shall be paid to Council to cater for the increased demand for community infrastructure resulting from the development:

Description

Contribution (4)

Roads

$29,950.20

Open Space and Recreation

$325,982.40

Community Facilities

$45,438.35

Plan Preparation and Administration

$1,359.35

TOTAL

$402,730.30

being for 3 x 1 bedroom units, 16 x 2 bedroom units, 7 x 3 bedroom units and a credit for two existing lots.

b)         The value of this contribution is current as at 14 May 2015. If the contributions are not paid within the financial quarter that this condition was generated, the contributions payable will be adjusted in accordance with the provisions of the Hornsby Shire Council Section 94 Development Contributions Plan and the amount payable will be calculated at the time of payment in the following manner:

$CPY   =   $CDC  x CPIPY

CPIDC

Where:

$CPY      is the amount of the contribution at the date of Payment

$CDC     is the amount of the contribution as set out in this Development Consent

CPIPY    is the latest release of the Consumer Price Index (Sydney – All Groups) at the date of Payment as published by the ABS.

CPIDC    is the Consumer Price Index (Sydney – All Groups) for the financial quarter at the date applicable in this Development Consent Condition.

c)         The monetary contributions shall be paid to Council:

i)          prior to the issue of the Subdivision Certificate where the development is for subdivision; or

ii)          prior to the issue of the first Construction Certificate where the development is for building work; or

iii)         prior to issue of the Subdivision Certificate or first Construction Certificate, whichever occurs first, where the development involves both subdivision and building work; or

iv)         prior to the works commencing where the development does not require a Construction Certificate or Subdivision Certificate.

It is the professional responsibility of the Principal Certifying Authority to ensure that the monetary contributions have been paid to Council in accordance with the above timeframes.

Council’s Development Contributions Plan may be viewed at www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au or a copy may be inspected at Council’s Administration Centre during normal business hours.

6.         Demolition Existing Dwelling Houses

a)         For safety and security the existing dwelling houses when vacated must be demolished.

b)         To enable appropriate management of the adjoining child care centre operation during demolition works, the applicant is to give written notice to Council’s General Manager 14 days prior to the demolition works commencing. 

REQUIREMENTS PRIOR TO THE ISSUE OF A CONSTRUCTION CERTIFICATE

7.         Building Code of Australia

All building work must be carried out in accordance with the relevant requirements of the Building Code of Australia.

8.         Contract of Insurance (Residential Building Work)

In the case of residential building work for which the Home Building Act 1989 requires there to be a contract of insurance in force in accordance with Part 6 of that Act, that such a contract of insurance is in force before any building work authorised to be carried out by the consent commences.

9.         Notification of Home Building Act, 1989 Requirements

Residential building work within the meaning of the Home Building Act 1989 must not be carried out unless the principal certifying authority for the development to which the work relates (not being Council) has given Council written notice of the following information:

a)         In the case of work for which a principal contractor is required to be appointed:

i)          The name and licence number of the principal contractor; and

ii)          The name of the insurer by which the work is insured under Part 6 of that Act.

b)         In the case of work to be done by an owner-builder:

i)          The name of the owner-builder; and

ii)          If the owner-builder is required to hold an owner-builder’s permit under that Act, the number of the owner-builder’s permit.

Note:  If arrangements for doing the residential building work are changed while the work is in progress so that the information notified becomes out of date, further work must not be carried out unless the principal certifying authority for the development to which the work relates (not being Council) has given Council written notification of the updated information.

10.        Water/Electricity Utility Services

The applicant must submit written evidence of the following service provider requirements:

a)         Ausgrid (formerly Energy Australia) – a letter of consent demonstrating that satisfactory arrangements have been made to service the proposed development.

b)         Sydney Water – the submission of a ‘Notice of Requirements’ under s73 of the Sydney Water Act 1994.

Note:  Sydney Water requires that s73 applications are to be made through an authorised Sydney Water Servicing Coordinator.  Refer to www.sydneywater.com.au or telephone 13 20 92 for assistance.

11.        Dilapidation Report

A ‘Dilapidation Report’ is to be prepared by a ‘chartered structural engineer’ detailing the structural condition of the adjoining properties:

a)         Nos. 18-22 Lords Avenue, Asquith (Asquith Leisure and Learning/Nursery and Preschool); and

b)         No. 28 Lords Avenue, Asquith.

12.        Excavation

A detailed geotechnical assessment of the site by a chartered structural engineer is to be undertaken for the design of the basement excavation and support, groundwater drainage, basement and foundation design.

13.        Adaptable Units

The details of the adaptable units Nos 4, 5, 10, 11, 16, 17, 22, and 23 must be provided with the Construction Certificate Plans.

14.        Preservation of Survey Infrastructure

Prior to the issue of a construction certificate, a registered surveyor shall identify all survey marks in the vicinity of the proposed development. Any survey marks required to be removed or displaced as a result of the proposed development shall be undertaken by a registered surveyor in accordance with Section 24 (1) of the Surveying and Spatial Information Act 2002 and following the Surveyor General’s Directions No.11 – "Preservation of Survey Infrastructure".

15.        Road Works

All road works approved under this consent must be constructed in accordance with Council’s Civil Works Design and Construction Specification 2005 and the following requirements: -

a)         Removal of existing kerb and gutter along the Lords Avenue frontage of the development and reconstruction of Council standard 150 mm integral kerb and gutter on the alignment and level of the existing kerb and gutter.

b)         A concrete footpath to be constructed within the road verge on the Lords Avenue frontage with the remaining area turfed.

c)         The existing road pavement to be saw cut a minimum of 600 mm from the existing edge of the bitumen and reconstructed.

d)         The submission of a compaction certificate from a geotechnical engineer for any fill within road reserves, and all road sub-grade and road pavement materials.

e)         Pursuant to s138 Roads Act 1993, application shall be made to Council for consideration and approval of all road works. The Applicant shall pay the Roads Authority’s fees for plan assessment and compliance inspections. Early application shall be made to Roads Authority in to order to permit reasonable assessment time prior to proposed construction.

16.        Vehicular Crossing

A separate application under the Local Government Act 1993 and the Roads Act 1993 must be submitted to Council for the installation of a new vehicular crossing and the removal of the redundant crossing.  The vehicular crossing must be constructed in accordance with Council’s Civil Works Design 2005 and the following requirements: -

a)         Any redundant crossings must be replaced with integral kerb and gutter;

b)         The footway area must be restored by turfing;

c)         The crossing levels shall be provided by Council prior to construction of the crossing, or the basement ramp.

Note:  An application for a vehicular crossing can only be made to one of Council’s Authorised Vehicular Crossing Contractors. Or be the subject of a Construction Certificate Application to Hornsby Council as Roads Authority. You are advised to contact Council on 02 9847 6940 to obtain a list of contractors.

17.        Construction Vehicles

a)         All construction vehicles associated with the proposed development are to be contained on site or in an approved ‘Work Zone’ in Lords Avenue.

b)         A Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) detailing construction vehicle routes, number of trucks, hours of operation, access arrangements and traffic control must be submitted to Council. Council will review the CTMP, agree any modifications with the proponent and enforce the CTMP during construction.

18.        Traffic Control Plan

A Traffic Control Plan (TCP) must be prepared by a qualified traffic controller in accordance with the Roads & Traffic Authority’s Traffic Control at Worksites Manual 1998 and Australian Standard 1742.3 for all work on a public road and be submitted to Roads Authorities.  The TCP must detail the following:

a)         Arrangements for public notification of the works.

b)         Temporary construction signage.

c)         Vehicle movement plans.

d)         Traffic management plans.

e)         Pedestrian and cyclist access/safety.

19.        Internal Driveway/Vehicular Areas

The driveway and parking areas on site must be designed in accordance with Australian Standards 2890.1, 2890.2, 2890.6 and the following requirements:

a)         Design levels for the front boundary crossing must be obtained from Council.

20.        Stormwater Drainage

The stormwater drainage system for the development must be designed and constructed in accordance with Council’s Civil Works – Design and Construction Specification 2005 and the following requirements:

a)         Connected directly to Council’s street drainage system via an interallotment drainage system.

b)         The development is to provide water harvesting system in accordance with Council’s HDCP s1C.1.2.j. Details of the harvesting system are to be shown on the Engineer’s drainage plans.

c)         In regard to a) above and pursuant to s68 Local Government Act 1993, an Application shall be made to Hornsby Shire Council for the connection of the internal drainage system to the Council-controlled drainage system in Pacific Highway. The Applicant shall pay Council’s fee for compliance inspections and approvals prior to release of the Occupation Certificate.

21.        On Site Stormwater Detention

An on-site stormwater detention system must be designed by a chartered civil engineer and constructed in accordance with the following requirements:

a)         Have a capacity of not less than 18 cubic metres, and a maximum discharge (when full) of 30 litres per second;

b)         Have a 900 x 900 mm surcharge/inspection grate located directly above the outlet;

c)         Discharge from the detention system to be controlled via 1 metre length of pipe, not less than 50 millimetres diameter or via a stainless plate with sharply drilled orifice bolted over the face of the outlet discharging into a larger diameter pipe capable of carrying the design flow to an approved Council system. An overflow weir shall also be incorporated into the discharge control pit system.

d)         Where above ground and the average depth is greater than 0.3 metres, a ‘pool type’ safety fence and warning signs to be installed.

e)         Not be constructed in a manner that would impact upon the visual or recreational amenity of neighbouring residents.

f)          To ensure amenity of neighbouring residents any retailing wall for the detention system must not be more than 600mm in height. 

22.        Waste Management Details

The following waste management requirements must be complied with:

a)         The bi-fold doors on the waste collection area (bin holding area) on the driveway are to be replaced with sliding doors.

b)         The internal dimensions of the recycling bin cupboards on each residential level are to be no less than 750 mm wide by 900 mm deep.

c)         The internal dimensions of the garbage chute cupboard must comply with the chute manufacturer’s specifications.

d)         The automatic volume handling equipment (carousel) must be caged to prevent access by unauthorised persons.

e)         Instead of being a separate room within the bin storage room, the walls and door between bulky waste storage area and the bin storage room need to be deleted and the bulky waste storage area marked by paint and signage.

f)          The door opening width for the bin storage rooms is to be no less than 920 mm.

Note: it is recommended that the door opening to the recycling bin storage room be increased to a minimum 1300 mm.

g)         Vehicle turning paths are to be provided demonstrating that the small rigid vehicle is able to reverse into the site, park on the driveway and forward out.

23.        Acoustic Report

An acoustic report prepared by a suitably qualified acoustic consultant is to identify noise mitigation measures necessary for the bedrooms Unit 1 to address noise form the use of the driveway.  The necessary measures are to be implemented prior to the issue of the Construction Certificate.

REQUIREMENTS PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF ANY WORKS

24.        Erection of Construction Sign

A sign must be erected in a prominent position on any site on which building work, subdivision work or demolition work is being carried out:

a)         Showing the name, address and telephone number of the principal certifying authority for the work;

b)         Showing the name of the principal contractor (if any) for any demolition or building work and a telephone number on which that person may be contacted outside working hours; and

c)         Stating that unauthorised entry to the work site is prohibited.

Note:  Any such sign is to be maintained while the building work, subdivision work or demolition work is being carried out, but must be removed when the work has been completed.

25.        Protection of Adjoining Areas

a)         A temporary hoarding, fence or awning must be erected between the work site and adjoining lands before the works begin and must be kept in place until after the completion of the works if the works:

i)          Could cause a danger, obstruction or inconvenience to pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

ii)          Could cause damage to adjoining lands by falling objects.

iii)         Involve the enclosure of a public place or part of a public place.

Note:  Notwithstanding the above, Council’s separate written approval is required prior to the erection of any structure or other obstruction on public land.

b)         The adjoining child care centre must be protected by temporary hoarding erected above the existing fence for the duration of the building construction.

26.        Toilet Facilities

Toilet facilities must be available or provided at the works site before works begin and must be maintained until the works are completed at a ratio of one toilet for every 20 persons employed at the site.  Each toilet must:

a)         be a standard flushing toilet connected to a public sewer; or

b)         be a temporary chemical closet approved under the Local Government Act 1993; or

c)         have an on-site effluent disposal system approved under the Local Government Act 1993.

27.        Erosion and Sediment Control

Erosion and sediment control measures must be provided and maintained throughout the construction period in accordance with the manual ‘Soils and Construction 2004 (Bluebook)’, the approved plans, Council specifications and to the satisfaction of the principal certifying authority.  The erosion and sediment control devices must remain in place until the site has been stabilised and revegetated.

Note:  On the spot penalties may be issued for any non-compliance with this requirement without any further notification or warning.

REQUIREMENTS DURING CONSTRUCTION

28.        Construction Work Hours

All work on site (including demolition and earth works) must only occur between 7am and 5pm Monday to Saturday. No work is to be undertaken on Sundays or public holidays. No excavation or rock sawing/breaking is to occur on Saturdays or between the hours of 12 pm and 1 pm weekdays.

29.        Demolition

All demolition work must be carried out in accordance with “Australian Standard 2601-2001 – The Demolition of Structures” and the following requirements:

a)         Demolition material must be disposed of to an authorised recycling and/or waste disposal site and/or in accordance with an approved waste management plan;

b)         Demolition works, where asbestos material is being removed, must be undertaken by a contractor that holds an appropriate licence issued by WorkCover NSW in accordance with Chapter 10 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 and Clause 29 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 ;and

c)         On construction sites where buildings contain asbestos material, a standard commercially manufactured sign containing the words ‘DANGER ASBESTOS REMOVAL IN PROGRESS’ measuring not less than 400mm x 300mm must be erected in a prominent position visible from the street.

30.        Environmental Management

a)         The site must be managed in accordance with the publication ‘Managing Urban Stormwater – Landcom (March 2004) and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 by way of implementing appropriate measures to prevent sediment run-off, excessive dust, noise or odour emanating from the site during the construction of the development.

b)         The site must be managed to address the adjoining sensitive site comprising a child care centre at Nos. 18-22 Lords Avenue, Asquith in accordance with the submitted ‘Construction & Excavation Air Quality, Noise & Vibration Management Plan’ and ‘Fence Management Plan’.  

31.        Street Sweeping

Street sweeping must be undertaken following sediment tracking from the site along Lords Avenue during works and until the site is established.

32.        Council Property

During construction works, no building materials, waste, machinery or related matter is to be stored on the road or footpath.  The public reserve must be kept in a clean, tidy and safe condition at all times.

Note:  This consent does not give right of access to the site via Council’s park or reserve.  Should such access be required, separate written approval is to be obtained from Council.

33.        Landfill

Landfill must be constructed in accordance with Council’s ‘Construction Specification 2005’ and the following requirements:

a)         All fill material imported to the site is to wholly consist of Virgin Excavated Natural Material (VENM) as defined in Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 or a material approved under the Department of Environment and Climate Change’s general resource recovery exemption.

b)         A compaction certificate is to be obtained from a geotechnical engineer verifying that the specified compaction requirements have been met.

34.        Excavated Material

All excavated material removed from the site must be classified in accordance with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW Waste Classification Guidelines prior to disposal to an approved waste management facility and reported to the principal certifying authority.

35.        Survey Report – Finished Floor Level

A report(s) must be prepared by a registered surveyor and submitted to the principal certifying authority prior to the pouring of concrete at each level of the building certifying that:

a)         The building, retaining walls and the like have been correctly positioned on the site; and

b)         The finished floor level(s) are in accordance with the approved plans.

36.        Waste Management Details

Waste management during the demolition and construction phase of the development must be undertaken in accordance with the approved Waste Management Plan. Additionally written records of the following items must be maintained during the removal of any waste from the site and such information submitted to the Principal Certifying Authority within fourteen days of the date of completion of the works:

a)         The identity of the person removing the waste.

b)         The waste carrier vehicle registration.

c)         Date and time of waste collection.

d)         A description of the waste (type of waste and estimated quantity).

e)         Details of the site to which the waste is to be taken.

f)          The corresponding tip docket/receipt from the site to which the waste is transferred (noting date and time of delivery, description (type and quantity) of waste).

g)         Whether the waste is expected to be reused, recycled or go to landfill.

Note: In accordance with the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, the definition of waste includes any unwanted substance, regardless of whether it is reused, recycled or disposed to landfill.

REQUIREMENTS PRIOR TO THE ISSUE OF AN OCCUPATION OR SUBDIVISION CERTIFICATE

Note:  For the purpose of this consent, a reference to ‘occupation certificate’ shall not be taken to mean an ‘interim occupation certificate’ unless otherwise stated.

37.        Fulfilment of BASIX Commitments

The applicant must demonstrate the fulfilment of BASIX commitments pertaining to the development.

38.        Sydney Water – s73 Certificate

An s73 Certificate must be obtained from Sydney Water.

39.        Damage to Council Assets

Any damage caused to Council’s assets as a result of the construction of the development must be rectified in accordance with Council’s Civil Works Specifications.  Council’s Restorations Supervision must be notified for a formwork inspection prior to pouring concrete.

40.        Creation of Easements

The following matter(s) must be nominated on a plan under s88B or s88E of the Conveyancing Act 1919: -

a)         Consolidation of the subject lots;

b)         The creation of an appropriate "Positive Covenant" and "Restriction as to User" over the constructed on-site detention/retention systems and outlet works, within the lots in favour of Council in accordance with Council’s prescribed wording.  The position of the on-site detention system is to be clearly indicated on the title.

c)         To register the OSD easement, the restriction on the use of land “works-as-executed” details of the on-site-detention system must be submitted verifying that the required storage and discharge rates have been constructed in accordance with the design requirements.  The details must show the invert levels of the on-site detention system together with pipe sizes and grades.  Any variations to the approved plans must be shown in red on the “works-as-executed” plan and supported by calculations.

Note:  Council must be nominated as the authority to release, vary or modify any easement, restriction or covenant.

41.        Works as Executed Plan

A works-as-executed plan(s) must be prepared by a registered surveyor and submitted to Council for completed road pavement, kerb & gutter, public drainage systems, driveways and on-site detention systems.

42.        Garbage Collection Easement

For the purpose of waste collection, an easement entitling Council, its servants and agents and persons authorised by it to enter upon the subject land and to operate thereon, vehicles and other equipment for the purposes of garbage collection must be granted to Council by the owner of the land. 

Note:  The easement must be in a form prescribed by Council and must include covenants to the effect that parties will not be liable for any damage caused to the subject land or any part thereof or to any property located therein or thereon by reason of the operation thereon of any vehicle or other equipment used in connection with the collection of garbage and to the effect that the owner for the time being of the subject land shall indemnify the Council, its servants, agents and persons authorised by it to collect garbage against liability in respect of any such claims made by any person whomsoever.

43.        Installation of Privacy Devices

The following device(s) must be installed to maintain an element of privacy.

a)         All privacy screens must be sliding stackable louvered metal screens extendable to the full width of the balconies;

b)         All glass balustrades must be translucent glass;

c)         Outdoor clothes drying area must be screened from view of publicly accessible areas.

44.        Storage Areas

Each dwelling within the development must have an area for storage (not including built-in storage) not less than 6m3 for one bedroom units, 8m3 for two bedroom units and 10m3 for three bedroom units.

45.        Safety and Security

a)         Fire exist doors to the development must be fitted with single cylinder locksets (Australia and New Zealand Standard – Lock Sets) to restrict unauthorized access to the development.

b)         Ground floor windows must be fitted with window locks that can be locked with a key.

c)         A graffiti management plan must be incorporated into the maintenance plan for the development for graffiti to be removed within a forty-eight hour period.

d)         The basement car park entry must be secured by security gates/roller shutters and controlled by secure access located at the top of the driveway. The access control to include an audio/visual intercom system to allow visitor access to the parking area.

e)         In order to prevent tail-gating on entry to the basement car park the timing of the security door closing is to be a maximum of 10 seconds. Signage is to be erected instructing drivers to wait until the roller door fully closes prior to proceeding.

f)          Lighting of pedestrian pathways throughout the development must comply with Australia and New Zealand Lighting Standard 1158.1 – Pedestrian.

g)         Front fencing to be designed to allow casual surveillance at the frontage.

h)         The entry foyer door is to be a security door with access being restricted to an intercom, code or card lock system.

i)          The street number of the building is to be readily identifiable from Lords Avenue.

j)          Quality mail box doors and non-tamper proof locks must be fitted to the mail boxes.

k)         The bicycle racks are to have secure locking loops bolted into the concrete flooring.

l)          Storage cages are to be constructed of quality steel mesh, welded to a sturdy metal frame and provided with a total of 3 hinges and 3 locking points. A secure locking loop bolted into the concrete floor is also required to be provided to enable use of padlocks.

m)        The internal portions of the basement are to be illuminated in accordance with the AS1158.1, AS1680 and AS2890.1.

n)         The ceiling of each basement level shall be painted white or a like colour to increase visibility and reflective light throughout each basement level.

46.        Planter Boxes / On Slab Planting

On slab planter boxes must include waterproofing, subsoil drainage (proprietary drainage cell, 50mm sand and filter fabric) automatic irrigation, minimum 500mm planting soil for shrubs and minimum 1000mm planting soil for trees and palms and 75mm mulch to ensure sustainable landscape is achieved.

47.        Boundary Planting

Supplementary plantings (preferably selected from Council’s booklet ‘Indigenous Plants for the Bushland Shire’) to boundary setbacks as follow:

a)         Southern side setback – 5 trees capable of reaching a mature height of 6 metres;

b)         Eastern rear setback – 2 additional trees capable of reaching a mature height in excess of 10 metres, installed at minimum 25 litre pot size;

c)         Front setback – 2 additional trees capable of reaching a mature height in excess of 10 metres, installed at minimum 25 litre pot size.

Note: Trees are required to be installed at a minimum 25 Litre pot size but larger sizes within the mix and up to 200 Litre are preferable where screening may be desirable in the shorter-term.

48.        Street Tree Plantings

Street tree planting to the front verge to include 3 x Tristaniopsis laurina (‘Water Gum’), installed at minimum 200 Litre pot size with mulched areas maintained at base and HWD staking and hessian ties. Staking and ties are to be maintained for a period of establishment of not less than 1 year.

49.        Communal Open Space

The Communal Open Space must be furnished with seating and landscape treatment that will encourage use of the space by residents and guests for active and / or passive recreation.

50.        Completion of Landscape Works

A certificate must be provided by a practicing landscape architect, horticulturalist or person with similar qualifications and experience certifying that all required landscape works have been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the approved Landscape Plans.

Note: Applicants are advised to pre-order plant material required in pot sizes 45 litre or larger to ensure Nurseries have stock available at the time of install.

51.        Works as Executed Plan

A works-as-executed plan(s) must be prepared by a registered surveyor and submitted to Council for completed road pavement, kerb & gutter, public drainage systems, driveways and on-site detention system.

52.        Consolidation of Allotments

All allotments the subject of this consent must be consolidated into one allotment.

Note:  The applicant is recommended to submit the plan of subdivision to consolidate allotments to the NSW Department of Lands at least 4-6 weeks prior to seeking an occupation certificate.

53.        Unit Numbering

The allocation of unit numbering must be authorised by Council prior to the numbering of each unit in the development.

54.        Survey Marks

A certificate by a Registered Surveyor must be submitted to the Principal Certifying Authority, certifying that there has been no removal, damage, destruction, displacement or defacing of the existing survey marks in the vicinity of the proposed development, or otherwise certifying that the necessary re-establishment of any damaged, removed or displaced survey marks has been undertaken in accordance with the Surveyor General’s Direction No. 11 – “Preservation of Survey Infrastructure”.

55.        Provision for National Broadband Network (NBN)

Provision must be made for fibre ready passive infrastructure (pits and pipes) generally in accordance with NBN Co.'s pit and pipe installation guidelines to service the proposed development. A certificate from NBN Co or Telstra must be submitted to the PCA that the fibre optic cabling provided for the development complies with MDU Building Design Guides for Development.

56.        Completion of Landscaping

A certificate must be provided by a practicing landscape architect, horticulturalist or person with similar qualifications and experience certifying that all required landscaping works have been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the approved landscape plans.

Note:  Advice on suitable species for landscaping can be obtained from Council’s planting guide ‘Indigenous Plants for the Bushland Shire’, available at www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au.

57.        External Lighting

All external lighting must be designed and installed in accordance with Australian Standard AS 4282 – Control of the Obtrusive Effects of Outdoor Lighting.  Certification of compliance with the Standard must be obtained from a suitably qualified person.

58.        Boundary Fencing

Lapped and capped timber fencing must be erected along all property boundaries behind the front building alignment to a height of 1.8 metres. 

Note:  Alternative fencing may be erected subject to the written consent of the adjoining property owner(s).

OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS

59.        Waste Management

A site caretaker must be employed and be responsible for moving bins where and when necessary, washing bins and maintaining waste storage areas, ensuring the chute system and related devices are maintained in effective and efficient working order, managing the communal composting area, managing the bulky item storage area, arranging the prompt removal of dumped rubbish, and ensuring all residents are informed of the use of the waste management system. The site caretaker must be employed for a sufficient number of hours each week to allow all waste management responsibilities to be carried out to a satisfactory standard.

60.        Car Parking and Road Safety

a)         All car parking must be constructed and operated in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2890.1:2004 – Off-street car parking and Australian Standard AS 2890.2:2002 – Off-street commercial vehicle facilities.

i)          All parking areas and driveways are to be sealed to an all-weather standard, line marked and signposted;

ii)          Car parking, loading and manoeuvring areas to be used solely for nominated purposes;

iii)         Vehicles awaiting loading, unloading or servicing shall be parked on site and not on adjacent or nearby public roads;

b)         Any proposed landscaping and/or fencing must not restrict sight distance to pedestrians and cyclists travelling along the footpath.

c)         Residential parking spaces are to be secure spaces with access controlled by card or numeric pad.

d)         Visitors must be able to access the visitor parking spaces in the basement car park at all times.

e)         All parking for people with disabilities is to comply with AS/NZS 2890.6:2009 Off-street parking for people with disabilities.

f)          Bicycle parking spaces are to be designed in accordance with AS 2890.3-1993 Bicycle parking facilities

g)         Motorcycle parking spaces are to be designed in accordance with AS 2890.5-1993

61.        Noise

All noise generated by the proposed development must be attenuated to prevent levels of noise being emitted to adjacent premises which possess tonal, beating and similar characteristics or which exceeds background noise levels by more than 5dB(A).

62.        Fire Safety Statement - Annual

On at least one occasion in every 12 month period following the date of the first ‘Fire Safety Certificate’ issued for the property, the owner must provide Council with an annual ‘Fire Safety Certificate’ to each essential service installed in the building.

63.        Landscape Establishment

The landscape works must be maintained into the future to ensure the establishment and successful growth of plant material to meet the intent of the landscape design. This must include but not be limited to watering, weeding, replacement of failed plant material and promoting the growth of plants through standard industry practices.

- END OF CONDITIONS -

ADVISORY NOTES

The following information is provided for your assistance to ensure compliance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, other relevant legislation and Council’s policies and specifications.  This information does not form part of the conditions of development consent pursuant to Section 80a of the Act.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 Requirements

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 requires:

·              The issue of a construction certificate prior to the commencement of any works.  Enquiries can be made to Council’s Customer Services Branch on 9847 6760.

·              A principal certifying authority to be nominated and Council notified of that appointment prior to the commencement of any works.

·              Council to be given at least two days written notice prior to the commencement of any works.

·              Mandatory inspections of nominated stages of the construction inspected.

·              An occupation certificate to be issued before occupying any building or commencing the use of the land.

Long Service Levy

In accordance with Section 34 of the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986, a ‘Long Service Levy’ must be paid to the Long Service Payments Corporation or Hornsby Council.

Note:  The rate of the Long Service Levy is 0.35% of the total cost of the work.

Note:  Hornsby Council requires the payment of the Long Service Levy prior to the issue of a construction certificate.

Tree and Vegetation Preservation

In accordance with Clause 5.9 of the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 a person must not ringbark, cut down, top, lop, remove, injure or wilfully destroy any tree or other vegetation protected under the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013 without the authority conferred by a development consent or a permit granted by Council.

Notes:  A tree is defined as a long lived, woody perennial plant with one or relatively few main stems with the potential to grow to a height greater than three metres (3M).  (HDCP 1B.6.1.c).

Tree protection measures and distances are determined using the Australian Standard AS 4970:2009, “Protection of Trees on Development Sites”.

Fines may be imposed for non-compliance with both the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 and the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013.

Disability Discrimination Act

The applicant’s attention is drawn to the existence of the Disability Discrimination Act.  A construction certificate is required to be obtained for the proposed building/s, which will provide consideration under the Building Code of Australia, however, the development may not comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.  This is the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Dial Before You Dig

Prior to commencing any works, the applicant is encouraged to contact Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or www.dialbeforeyoudig.com.au for free information on potential underground pipes and cables within the vicinity of the development site.

Telecommunications Act 1997 (Commonwealth)

If you are aware of any works or proposed works which may affect or impact on Telstra’s assets in any way, you are required to contact: Telstra’s Network Integrity Team on Phone Number 1800810443.

Asbestos Warning

Should asbestos or asbestos products be encountered during demolition or construction works, you are advised to seek advice and information prior to disturbing this material. It is recommended that a contractor holding an asbestos-handling permit (issued by WorkCover NSW) be engaged to manage the proper handling of this material. Further information regarding the safe handling and removal of asbestos can be found at:

www.environment.nsw.gov.au

www.nsw.gov.au/fibro

www.adfa.org.au

www.workcover.nsw.gov.au

Alternatively, telephone the WorkCover Asbestos and Demolition Team on 8260 5885.

House Numbering

House numbering can only be authorised by Council.  Before proceeding to number each premise in the development, the allocation of numbers is required to be obtained from Council's Planning Division prior to the issue of a Subdivision Certificate.  The authorised numbers are required to comply with Council’s Property Numbering Policy and be displayed in a clear manner at or near the main entrance to each premise.

 


 

Group Manager’s Report No. PL31/15

Planning Division

Date of Meeting: 10/06/2015

 

14      DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - RESIDENTIAL FLAT BUILDING COMPRISING 36 UNITS - NO. 1 FOREST GROVE, EPPING   

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

DA No:

DA/1606/2014 (Lodged on 22 December 2014)    

Description:

Demolition of existing structures and erection of a five storey residential flat building comprising 36 units with basement car parking and strata subdivision.

Property:

Lots 1-4 SP 51979, No. 1 Forest Grove, Epping

Applicant:

Forest Grove Project Pty Ltd

Owner:

Owners Corporation – SP 51979

Estimated Value:

$8,569,838

Ward:

C

·              The application involves demolition of existing structures and the erection of a five storey residential flat building comprising 36 units with basement parking.

·              The proposal complies with the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013, State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65 – Design Quality Residential Flat Building and is generally satisfactory in respect of the requirements of the Residential Flat Design Code and the Hornsby Development Control Plan 2013.

·              Three submissions have been received in respect of the application.

·              It is recommended that the application be approved.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Development Application No. DA/1606/2014 for demolition of existing structures and the erection of a five storey residential flat building comprising 36 units with basement car parking and strata subdivision at SP 51979, No. 1 Forest Grove, Epping be approved subject to the conditions of consent detailed in Schedule 1 of Group Manager’s Report No. PL31/15.

 


BACKGROUND

On 20 December 1993, the Land and Environment Court approved development application DA/874/1993 for the erection of two duplexes to create a cluster development comprising 4 dwellings and strata title subdivision on the subject site.

The site forms part of the Epping Urban Activation Precinct (Epping UAP). 

On 14 March 2014, the Department of Planning and Environment finalised amendments to the Hornsby Local Environmental Plan 2013 (HLEP 2013) to implement the Epping UAP via State Environment