The first is the proposal by Cr Paul Farrow to live stream Council meetings on Camden Council's website.
The second is for an upgrade of Argyle Street, Camden, which will see eight new jacaranda trees planted along the centre of the street.
There has been some talk that the Liberal councillors would oppose the proposal to live stream Council meetings. I am, perhaps optimistically, inclined to believe that all sides of the chamber will support the proposal but perhaps with amendments. I believe that the Liberals are confident in the decisions they make in the Council Chambers and in the reasons they give for them and so would not be concerned by having these debates made publicly available. At the same time, there is likely to be political fallout if they try to block the proposal as it would suggest they have something to hide.
As to the Argyle Street improvements, my feeling is there will be some commentary around past changes to the street and the character of Camden that will probably delay what is likely to be a unanimous acceptance of the upgrade.
Amongst all the smoke and mirrors is a very important report from the New South Wales government that proposes changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
So, let's get down to the business paper.
ORD01: Draft submission — proposed changes to the Environmental, Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
I wish I had the time to read the report but at this stage I haven't had the opportunity to look at it in detail. You can see the full proposal here.
Council officers have reviewed the proposed changes and listed a number of concerns in the response to the State Government's submission. This is a relatively complex report and some of the responses by the council offices deserve a more detailed look.
Regardless of how this is passed — which I expect will be unanimously with little comment — I will be reviewing the state government submission and the council's response. There are a number of aspects to this that are likely to have significant impacts on developers, builders and new residents in the Camden Local Government Area. Once I have spent some time with it I will write an article here.
ORD02: Camden companion animals advisory committee — nominated representatives
This is a very standard order of business and, again, is likely to be passed unanimously. The committee will now include a third member of the community.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney and Cr Lara Symkowiak are the Council representatives on the committee.
The residents proposed for the committee include Murray Hamer of Grassmere, Joanne Lawrence of Narellan and Jacqueline Quick of Narellan Vale.
There are also five professional members. They are: Dr Steven Ferguson of Macarthur Veterinary Group, Dr Michael Wallace of Caring Vets, Dr Edward Humphreys of Rossmore Veterinary Hospital, Colin Ritchard of Sydney University Veterinary Hospital, and Dr Simone Maher of Animal Welfare League.
ORD03: RMS funding for Pedestrian Infrastructure Safety Around Schools program and Catherine Fields Road upgrade.
Funding has been received for the pedestrian crossing upgrade near Camden South Public School on the Old Hume Highway ($50,000) and the pedestrian crossing upgrade near Narellan Public School on Elyard Street ($50,000). The estimated cost of each of these projects is $80,000, so the Council will have to put in a total of $60,000 to make up the shortfall.
Unfortunately, no funding was received for upgraded crossings in Belgenny Avenue, Camden, and Franzmen Avenue, Elderslie.
These upgrades along with the Catherine Fields intersection upgrade are expected to be concluded by June 2018.
ORD04: Tender for median works along Argyle Street, Camden, between Elizabeth and Edward Streets.
This item is for additional upgrades to Argyle Street where the existing concrete median strip will be made wider to allow for landscaping and the planting of eight new Jacaranda trees. You can see the proposal here.
Statewide Civil Pty Ltd has been selected by Council officers at a cost of $359,360.80. If the tender is accepted by the councillors, then work is expected to be completed by July 2017.
Notice of Motion
ORD05: Live streaming of council meetings
Cr Paul Farrow has advanced a notice of motion for Camden Council to make all necessary arrangements to enable council meetings to be live streamed and accessible through the Council website.
Personally I think this is a great idea and one that I have advocated for. Considering 12 other councils in New South Wales — including our neighbour, Wollondilly — already do this it is hard to see why it would be resisted.
There is an expectation in a number of parts of the community that this will not proceed smoothly. I hope that expectation is incorrect.
My guess is that the notice will be amended to a form that will allow Council officers to examine and cost the project. Once this is done I expect it will be brought back to the councillors for voting later this year.
Should there be any other outcome that doesn't lead to the broadcast of council meetings I would imagine local media and residents would have a field day with it. That's a situation no politician, local or otherwise, would wish for.