Wingecarribee Shire Council - 949 Power FM

Another blow for Destination Southern Highlands

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Wingecarribee Council's Interim Administrator claims Destination Southern Highlands has lost its direction and relevance.

Viv May made the comments at yesterday's council meeting, despite the organisation winning numerous state and national awards.

He's instructed the General Manager to develop a new business model in consultation with not only industry and stakeholders, but local residents.

"A model that taps into the proud tradition of volunteering in the Southern Highlands and has a presence at community events,

"In other words the Visitor Centre should be a significant economic driver that is run under the authority of council with employees working in partnership with stakeholders and residents,''Mr. May said.

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

Christmas comes to Bundanoon

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The Christmas spirit is well and truly alive in Bundanoon.

Wingecarribee Council has installed a large eight metre Christmas tree opposite the Primula Cafe and bus shelter, which is a very first for the village.

Bundanoon Community Association President Andy Carnahan said the village is also holding a get together next month to welcome the festive season.

"Just very casual in the hall on Saturday December 11, starting with a kids movie,

There'll be pre -dinner drinks for the early birds and hopefully a bit of music on the street,''Mr. Carnahan said.

Image: Andy Carnahan

Civic centre & library to re-open

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The new look Civic Centre and Library will be open to the public from today.

Wingecarribee Council’s General Manager Lisa Miscamble said the jewel in the crown is without doubt the reconstructed library.

“It now offers a more welcoming and modern light-filled area for patrons to enjoy at their leisure,”she said.

The foyer, council chambers and customer service area have also been refurbished.

The temporary opening hours for the library are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 5:30pm and Wednesday 1pm to 5:30pm.

You'll need to show proof of your double vaccination or medical exemption to enter.

Image: Jill Wellington/Pixabay

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Image: Wingecarribee Council 

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Image: Wingecarribee Council

Council calls extraordinary meeting

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Wingecarribee Council has called for an extraordinary meeting to take place on Wednesday November 24.

Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May wants to consider additional council business items including audited financial statements and the quarterly financial review to the end of September.

The meeting will take place in the Moss Vale Council Chambers at 3:30pm.

Covid restrictions apply and seating numbers are limited.

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

Council now taking Christmas gifts

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Wingecarribee Council has launched its Christmas Giving Tree, aimed at supporting local families in need.

The tree will be situated in the Moss Vale Civic Centre until December 17.

Council's only request is that gifts are new and that they be left unwrapped under the tree.

All items donated will be passed on to the local branch of the Salvation Army where they will be sorted before being distributed in time for Christmas Day.

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

Council terminates building contract

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Increased delays and performance breaches have forced Wingecarribee Council to terminate its contract with the civic centre builder Matrix Group Co. Pty Ltd

The project began at the start of 2020 and was slated for completion in January this year.

Council's General Manager Lisa Miscamble said contingency plans will enable them to step in and complete the remainder of the project.

This should be done by the end of the year.

Image: Wingecarribe Council 

Financial statements show deficits

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For the first time, in a long time, Wingecarribee Council has recorded financial losses.

The 2020/21 annual financial statements show a deficit of more than $700,000 and the General Fund also reported a deficit of $4.3 million.

Below are a number of factors which havelead to this:

* Cattle put through at the Southern Regional Livestock Exchange down due to COVID ($446k)

* Tulip Time revenue down due to COVID ($400k)

* Unplanned terminations & redundancies ($893k)

* Refunding fees received from Welcome Centre ($121k)

* Independent Reviews and Audits ($115k)

* Workers compensation insurance premium increases (by $500k to $1.9 mill).

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

 

Get on board for Seniors Festival in Wingecarribee

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The 2022 NSW Seniors Festival is being held at the end of March, and Wingecarribee Council is looking for community groups, businesses and organisations that want to be involved.

Each year council coordinates a program of events focusing on keeping seniors healthy, active and social, including community and council-led events.

This year’s theme is Reconnect and council is looking for community-led activities that help connect all community members.

Council’s Director Corporate Strategy and Resourcing, Carmel Foster, explained the importance of the festival for the shire’s seniors.

"It provides an opportunity for seniors to develop new skills, meet people with similar interests and find out how they can get involved with other events throughout the year," she said.

She explained reconnecting could take a range of formats.

“Whether it’s an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, we want to hear from people and organisations interested in participating.”

Expressions of interest must be received by 4 pm on Friday, November 19.

To apply, visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/seniors or contact Wingecarribee Shire Council on 4868 0888.

Wingecarribee Shire’s 2022 Seniors Festival program of events is expected to launch early next year.

Image: Kampus Production/Pexels

Interim Administrator: I'm not convinced Lackey Park is the best spot

 

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Wingecarribee Council's Interim Administrator had decided to put the Lackey Park Regional Sporting Hub project on hold until a Sports Facility Strategy is completed.

Viv May told yesterday's council meeting that he's not convinced Lackey Park is the best spot for the project.

"I think we need to ask the community about where a regional sporting hub sits in the wishlist against a regional aquatic facility .

"I'm told schools cram into Bowral Pool, now that Mittagong is closed, and no one's happy,'' Mr May said.

Wingecarribee Council approved a concept masterplan for the project back in November last year.

Image: Wingecarribee Council

New solar system at Moss Vale civic centre

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A new solar photovoltaic system installed on top of the Moss Vale Civic Centre is now operational.

The 100-kilowatt system is expected to generate 142 megawatt hours of clean, renewable electricity per year.

They're also operating at Bowral Library, the Mittagong Rural Fire Service Building and Moss Vale Depot to name a few.

Wingecarribee Council has about 377 kilowatts in renewable energy installed on Council facilities.

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

Nominations sought for Australia Day awards

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Wingecarribee Council is now seeking nominations for the 2022 Australia Day Awards.

There are two categories including Citizen of the Year and the Young Citizen of the Year, which is open to residents aged 25 and younger.

Council's Interim Administrator Viv May said even if you think someone is well known for their achievements, it’s best not to assume they’ve already been nominated.

Nominations close on December 3.

For further details click here 

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

Questions from the public back on the table

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Wingecarribee Council is re - introducing questions from the public at council meetings in a revised format.

It will now be known as ' Community Question Time ' and will start on Wednesday October 13.

Residents can only ask two questions and they will need to register no later than midday on the day of the meeting.

The session will not be broadcast to the public and people will have to turn up on the day.

Wingecarribee Council's Internal Administrator Viv May will reserve the right to take any question on notice and provide a response within seven days.

Image: Wingecarribee Council

Southern Highlands gives a taste of its generosity

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A taste of the Southern Highlands' treats, along with its generosity, is being sent to people in need in Campbelltown.

More than 150 hampers are being packed full of treats from a range of Southern Highlands businesses, ready for donation to people who have been struggling under the weight of continued lockdown and restrictions.

Wingecarribee Tourism coordinator Izabella Lane said the initiative was suggested by Bowral business Active Therapies, and coordinated by Destination Southern Highlands.

"Active Therapies put a call out to their clientele  and asked if there was any interest in purchasing a local produce hamper that could be donated to someone who is less fortunate or maybe struggling," Ms Lane said.

The response was massive, and community donations funded more than 150 hampers full of the Southern Highlands' finest produce that will be used to bring smiles to the faces of people struggling with the continued restrictions.

Ms Lane said the initiative showcased the region's generosity, and also put money into the pockets of several local business operators.

"It's a real win-win," she said.

"The hampers are valued at $75 and they contain local jams, honey, local lavender products, local nougat, local biscuits, local chutneys, so there's a whole myriad of products that's gone in."

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She said the gifts had brought some recipients to tears.

Wingecarribee Shire Council’s General Manager, Lisa Miscamble, said the benefits of the initiative were twofold. 

“As well as being neighbourly, the hampers showcase the best of what our region has to offer,” she said. 

“We hope that this small gesture goes a long way in promoting the businesses and spirit of the Southern Highlands community.”   

The hampers are being distributed to the most needy by Campbelltown City Council.

“It’s heart-warming to see the generosity of our neighbours in the Southern Highlands, who have reached out during this difficult time to support some of the most vulnerable in our community,” said Campbelltown Council’s General Manager, Lindy Deitz.   

Images: Destination Southern Highlands

Staff retention & recruitment a concern at council

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The United Services Union says a significant number of job vacancies at Wingecarribee Council are causing stress and anxiety amongst its members.

At yesterday's council meeting it was revealed staff retention over the last two or so years has ranged from between 24 and 26 per cent.

Union Official Rudi Oppitz said it's creating delays in planning assessment times.

"The shire is a growing area and the planning department needs to be functioning and appropriately staffed.

"I know our membership within the council are raising their concerns on a continual basis with respective managers,"Mr. Oppitz said.

Council's Interim Administrator Viv May also spoke about the issue at last night's council meeting.

"I would think in relation to DA's, Wingecarribe Council is not alone in the number of DA's coming in to all councils.

"I'm very conscious of the difficulties, that the planning section here has had and we're going through a re-building stage,"Mr. May said.

Image: ArtisticOperations/1055images /Pixabay

Submissions called for the Public Inquiry into former Wingecarribee Shire Council

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The Wingecarribee Shire Council Public Inquiry information about the conduct of the Inquiry has been released.

All contact to the inquiry will be through Email, Post, or Telephone and no contact is to be made with the Commissioners directly.

The Commissioner has also invited written submissions prior to Public Hearings from the former council, councillors, council staff, government agencies, and the public.

It's not intended to make submissions publicly available during the hearing.

Those submissions should be received by the 29th of October.

Submissions should be sent to Locked Bag 3004, Nowra NSW 2541 or [email protected] 

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Details of the venue and times of public hearings will be announced in due course and will be advertised by public notice.

Persons having information relevant to the terms of the Inquiry are being encouraged to come forward voluntarily. 

The Commissioner may also summons any person to attend the Inquiry, give evidence, and produce any documents in that person’s custody or control.

The Commissioner has the right to exercise his discretion to hear evidence and or oral submissions in a private hearing.

The Commissioner may also pass on information, evidence, or material given to the Inquiry to any law enforcement agency, such as the  Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police, or the Independent  Commission Against Corruption if the information or material relates, or may relate to a breach of the law.

Images: Wingecarribee Shire Council Facebook 

 

 

 

 

Tender accepted for bypass design work

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Wingecarribee Council has accepted a tender for detailed designs to be prepared for Stage one of the Moss Vale Bypass.

The work will be carried out by MU Group Pty Ltd at a cost of $1.56 million dollars and should be completed by June 2023.

Council's General Manager Lisa Miscamble has spoken about the importance of the project for the region

“A Bypass for Moss Vale has the potential to deliver enormous transport benefits to the Southern Highlands and provide a significant stimulus to the local economy,”she said.

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

Three day virtual bushfire expo

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Wingecarribee Council is teaming up with Wollondilly Council to host an online bushfire Response, Recovery and Resilience Expo.

The virtual expo will be held over three days starting on Friday and will feature a number of guest speakers including Head of Resilience NSW, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Disaster Recovery Expert Anne Leadbeater.

Issues to be covered include disaster preparedness, recovery assistance and rebuilding advice.

Bookings are essential, and to register click here

Image: Picton Fire & Rescue NSW

Wingecarribee Council the eighth most complained about

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New figures show Wingecarribee Council spent $81,000 dealing with code of conduct complaints about councillors in one year.

There were 12 code complaints against councillors during the 2019-20 year, making the council the eighth most complained about for the year.

However investigations found only one of the complaints resulted in a breach of the rules governing councillor conduct.

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, said a major overhaul of the Model Code of Conduct was need to ensure the system was efficient, effective and not used for political point scoring purposes at the expense of councils and their communities.

“There is no doubt that some people use code of conducts as a way to score cheap political points at a significant cost to the council and their community,” Mr Warren said.

“A lot of time, effort and expense goes into investigating these complaints but the reality is the investigation often results in very little action taken.

“It’s councils and their communities who are counting the cost of an ineffective and inefficient Model Code of Conduct.”

Wingecarribee's Resource Recovery Centre reopens

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Wingecarribee Council's Resource Recovery Centre is again open to the public after changed health regulations and COVID concerns forced tips to be closed across NSW.

Council spokesperson David Sommers says the centre reopened this week after gaining approval from the relevant health authorities.

"We got the green light for the reopening for the NSW Government, the EPA, so it is back open," he said.

"The hours are 8am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 1pm Sundays."

With the centre open seven days a week, it is able to take a wide variety of waste.

"You can drop off your unwanted waste, your recycling, your inert waste, your building and green waste - it is open to the public again," Mr Sommers said.

"The community recycling centre, that's also located within the grounds of the RRC, that's also reopened."

Image: Wingecarribee Shire Council