PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

Finally the Kurri Kurri end of the LGA is about to get some recognition

Going back to 2010, some 9 years ago Kurri Kurri business people and one Ward D Labor councilor raised concerns about the neglect and deteriation occurring in the Kurri Kurri CBD
Footpaths were constructed of various mediums including concrete, tar, pavers and in a couple of places in Barton Street they didn’t exist at all.
Council in its wisdom after many complaints about tripping hazards, tar sealed Barton Street footpath as a stop gap measure.
And then along came a project to study the Land Use Zoning and housing in and around Kurri Kurri. But the proposed study excluded the Hydro Smelter land, Gingers Lane land zoning, Heddon Greta and Cliftleigh residential areas. When the business people of Kurri Kurri raised these omissions they were told that to include these areas would make the study too broad! The study also included a separate strategic study of the Kurri Kurri CBD.
Now that both studies were under consideration and finally completed over the last year they were ready for grant applications, as there was no finance available in the Council Operational Plans so the work would rely on grants.
Thankfully the NSW Government issued a round of the Resources for Regions Grants for mining affected communities in late 2018. Council having completed their studies was in a position to apply for a grant for the Kurri Kurri CBD works. The application was for funding in excess of $3 million for stage one of the CBD works.
The Resources for Regions funding announcement is imminent and when announced work should get underway over the next 12 months. Thanks to the current State Government.
I ask what would you think should be the number one priorities?
Footpaths ripped up and new ones laid with a common theme throughout the CBD including the unmade sections in Barton Street?
The Lang and Barton Streets road surface ripped up and renewed as they are both in very poor condition?
Rotary Park public amenities brought up to 21st Century standards including a path down to the edge of Barton Street.
Rotary Park upgraded when the new Pit Horse Statue is installed?
Additional street trees and street furniture installed?
There is a lot of work to be undertaken and $3million won’t cover all the work, but a firm start on works will be welcome.

Council adopts LED street lighting technology

Cessnock Liberals support the introduction of LED street light technology.

Cessnock City Council adopted LED street lighting across the LGA as from the 17 of October council meeting and will progressively replace 2,013 street lights.
As far back as 2011 discussions were taking place on how to lower the council street lighting power costs. LED technology was in its infancy back then but the people who were part of the Kurri Kurri 2030 futures development committee recognized the need and placed it as one of their Top 10 priorities to have low energy lighting installed by the year 2030.
Over the ensuring years various organizations showed off their technology in Kurri Kurri and to council staff including the City Mayor.
Smaller communities across Australia and New Zealand began adopting the technology with instant savings on power and maintenance.
The small council district of Kaipara in NZ replaced 1400 street lights with LEDs resulting in a 70% saving on power and significant savings on maintenance
In WA, the Lighting the West project is a partnership between Wyndham City, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay to bring sustainable street lighting to the west.
In 2015 as part of the project, over 26,000 80W mercury vapour street lights have been changed to energy efficient technology across the municipalities. Across the four Councils, this will result in 176,117 tonnes reduction in equivalent carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years and a $1.4 million saving in 2015 alone.
The biggest LED street light replacement project is in NSW, Light Years Ahead, has come to an end with the last light installed in March 2016
Crews installed 13,951 LED street lights across Western Sydney – 951 extra lights than originally forecasted. Final reporting is underway and Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), who is coordinating the project, is investigating options for additional lights.
Nine Western Sydney councils have been working on this collaborative street lighting project since 2014. Councils involved in the project are Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hills Shire, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith. The project is estimated to save the participating councils $20 million and 74,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years. The $20 million savings are significant as street lighting makes up around 55% of councils’ energy costs.

In Cessnock, Ausgrid owns and maintains 5,049 street lights within the Cessnock LGA for which Council pays maintenance and electricity costs. These lights include 2,013 pre 2009 lights on residential streets that can be cost effectively replaced by newer, more efficient and more reliable LED’s. The proposed street lighting replacement project has a positive payback with the overall project paying for itself in approximately 7 years. There are also positive environmental and community benefits from the project.

Cessnock wins with Government road funding

 

Since 2010 the Cessnock Local Government Area has received in excess of $60 million in road and bridges funding grants.

The first big grant was for $20 Million to rebuild Broke Road, McDonalds Road from Wine Country Drive to the intersection of Hermitage Road in Pokolbin. This has been topped up by a further $16 million to complete the Broke Road/Hermitage Road intersection and upgrade of Hermitage Road through the New England Highway at Belford. This road also includes a cycle way. This brings Wine Country road works to more than $36 million.

On top of this the State Government has allocated funding to upgrade feeder roads for the Hunter Expressway. Work has been undertaken on Lovedale Road and Buchanan Road. (While much more needs to be done on both these roads the funding is welcome).

Lemmings Corner on the old North Road south of Wollombi has been rebuilt for safer road use. This was under the Federal Government Black Spot program. Funding has also been provided for the rebuild of the intersection at Duffy Drive and Maitland Road Cessnock (yet to start).

Many new bridges have been rebuilt due to funding from the Country Bridge Renewal scheme. These include Milgang Bridge at Ellalong, Vermont Bridge at Mulbring, Frame Drive Bridge, Lomas Lane, Crawford Bridge, Congewai, Watagan Creek, Paynes Crossing, Murrays Run and many more.

Forster’s Bridge on Sandy Creek Road is to be replaced with Government money ($2 Million) and the latest announcement of a $4.45 million grant to upgrade Frame Drive adds to the funding from the current State Government and Federal Government.

And further to this there is $17 million in the pipeline to upgrade Testers Hollow to increase the flood threshold of this road.

This all from the Coalition Government into safe Labor seats.

Rod to stand for Mayor

Liberals embrace concerns and aspirations of residents
Mayoral candidate for Cessnock City Council, Councillor Rod Doherty, today announced the 12 candidates pre-selected to contest elections for the four Wards on Saturday, September 10.
Liberal Party candidates in Ward A are Paul Dunn, Karen Jackson and Robyn Strengers; representatives in Ward B are Jacqui LaFrance, Michael Gane and John McKendry; candidates in Ward C are John Fagg, Paul Monforte and Harry Slade; with Cr Doherty heading the group in Ward D also consisting of Carol Doherty and Maureen King.
Cr Doherty said he was pleased with the passion and diversity of the Liberal team.
“Our candidates represent the many and varied thoughts and aspirations of the community,” he said.
“Cessnock has boundless opportunities that need to be tapped and promoted. We are a growing city with all of the pains and expectations that go with growth.
“Appropriate planning, community involvement and listening is paramount to good leadership and we will consider all input from residents.
“I am passionate about the future of this community from job creation through to personal safety.
With strong leadership from our team we will see our community prosper.”
For more information or additional comment, please contact Bryce Gibson 0422 227 668 or Rod Doherty 0409 448 191

My first 200 days

Last August when I decided to run as a Liberal candidate for election to Cessnock City Council little did I realize the enormity of the task that lay ahead.

It is now some 200 days since the September 2012 Election and to say that four Liberals were to be elected to Cessnock City Council would have been laughable in the past.

The council elections are now behind us and the hard work and challenges over the next 4 years is in front of the elected council.

Some local media have reported that the council has been dysfunctional and that there are still issues that we face into the future. I say that the past is behind us and we can look forward to the future where there is cooperation between council staff and the elected council to drive economic development and future prosperity for the shire.

Cessnock is experiencing some of the worst unemployment in decades with youth and mature aged workers having a hard time finding local work. This is affecting retail confidence and consumer confidence.

Since the election there have been some very positive moves to get things underway. Firstly there will be the Bunning’s development which will employ additional people. Then there is the Vintage Balance Lands and Golden Bear that have been referred to the State Government for consideration and recently the Avery’s Village development in Heddon Greta. Once these are approved they will provide much needed employment in the housing construction industry.

We are still awaiting the Huntlee new town approval but with the establishment of the Huntlee reference group things are moving in the right direction. We are also awaiting positive decisions on the Golden Bear resort and the (HEZ) Hunter Economic Zone at Kurri Kurri.

The closure of the Kurri Kurri Smelter late last year was a significant blow to the local economy both in jobs and a $50 million income lost, but from the ashes of this very poor decision is the opportunity that the site of some 1,800 hectares could be rezoned for industry, commerce and residential development.

We have the completion of the Hunter Expressway coming up later in the year and the impending announcement of a new Hunter hospital imminent both significant economic drivers.

I would like to thank my helpers at last year’s election and the many people who supported my election to council.

As a Ward D councilor I can assure residents that I will continue to represent your best interests to ensure that council sets a direction that is suitable to all.

Community engagement poor

After attending four community meetings over the past two weeks representing Cessnock City Council constituents of Ward D and C I am amazed at the lack of support from the community.
 
Cessnock City Council is attempting to engage the community in the future direction of the LGA both face to face and via online surveys on the council website.
 
Meeting attendances where I have been are, Branxton 8, Kurri Kurri 8 and 4, Lovedale 8 and at Branxton 21st February 3.
 
The meetings being conducted are important to the city’s future covering such things as Rates and Roads, economic development and jobs and what people feel are important issues facing them.
 
While the turnout at these meetings has been less than favourable people can still have their say via the online surveys on the council website. The more people complete these surveys the better the picture will be for council in directing its efforts.

First council meeting

Well last weeks first council meeting for me was a blurr. I had very little introduction into the running of council meetings other than the odd visit as a spectator. Last Wednesday night saw the gallery packed for the first meeting of the newly elected council, I suppose hoping for miracles to happen.

The coming months up until the Christmas break will probably set the scene for the next four years. I personally hope it will be a fruitful one for the Cessnock LGA.