Aside from the usual pointed asides in some of the debates, there was also a surprising amount of agreement.
A very long list of Notices of Motion (eight in all) also added to the length of the meeting. For this reason I have tried to be relatively brief in summarising each of the points made by councillors and residents during their public addresses, but guaranteed this is still a looooooong story.
Some of the key points well worth checking out include ORD09 the $1.2m overspend in the operational budget (another $720k for the Narellan sporting hub and $500k for Macaria - doubling its costs in one fell swoop); ORD04 the strong push back by Council after a ludicrous proposal by the State Government for a high school almost entirely without parking in Oran Park; ORD14 rezoning suggestions for Little St, Camden; and the decisions made on the new Camden Region Economic Task Force, after the meeting was closed to the public.
There are also lots of interesting little tidbits of debate, well worth reading through with a cup of tea and a slightly cynical turn of mind.
No declarations of interest.
There were three public addresses.
Ms Lorraine Iddon spoke in opposition to ORD01, the construction of an industrial building at 18a Little Street, Camden.
Ms Iddon said the DA was very troublesome for the people of Little Street and Barsden Street because of the additional activity and already overcrowded zone. She noted there were a lot of families on the street and that the Council had recently approved a new dance studio. She was very concerned that there was a large number of children on the corners and that the area needed to be given proper consideration because it was not just an industrial zone but there were a lot of families living around it. Ms Iddon said that the controls of this zone should not disturb other zones.
"Our responsibilities to the families and the safety of our families," she said. She described her statement as an alarm and said that the councillors should hear the voices of residents when they raise such an alarm about safety.
Ms Iddon recognised that the council had compliance teams and ways of controlling and regulating the businesses along Little Street but that from the experience of residents the changes of behaviour only last for around two weeks before things return to what they were. She noted that families also contribute to productivity and growth in the region. She concluded by saying, the future of Little Street has to change for the safety of residents and their families.
Clearly there were a number of residents from Little Street in the chambers, as her statement was followed by a smattering of applause.
Dr Gary Shiels, on behalf of Oxanda Childcare Property Trust spoke in support of ORD01, the Construction of a two storey childcare centre, medical centre, indoor swimming pool, neighbourhood shop and associated car parking, site works and landscaping at 34 & 40 Milton Circuit, Oran Park. Mr Shiels said he was pleased the Council officers supported the recommendation and the applicant accepted the conditions. He noted that the close proximity of the school was one of the reasons they chose the location. He said the childcare centre and additional businesses would be accommodated with 52 car parking spaces. He then proceeded to compliment the council on the way the masterplan was being implemented.
As part of this process the Council officers had said the application required more car parking spaces, which is why they bought the land next to the original application area. He noted that to the best of the applicant's ability they had responded to objections changing the entrance and exit to the car park and altering the internal layout in regards to noise concerns. He concluded by saying he felt the childcare centre would satisfy a need and that his client has a proven track record of offering high quality childcare service. If this one was successful he said they were likely to provide another childcare centre for the area
The councillors then agreed to let Mr Adrian Fonesca also speak on behalf of the childcare centre. It is worth noting that regulations for public addresses usually only allow one person to speak in support and one person to speak in opposition to items on the agenda. However, the council was unanimous in allowing this exception.
Mr Fonesca said he was pleased with the report by Council officers and the consultative approach between both parties. He said the centre would reflect a high quality of care and that the analysis of the company indicated a need for it. He noted that Oxanda had centres in three Australian states and he felt that they had addressed the objections and engaged with the community.
Item 01: Construction of a light industrial premises at 8a Little Street, Camden
Moved by Peter Sidgreaves, seconded by Michael Morrison.
Cr Paul Farrow did intend to move an alternative motion but the meeting had proceeded beyond this and so Cr Sidgreaves spoke.
Cr Sidgreaves followed what has now become a fairly standard but understandable approach to applications of this type. He said the building was in a permissible area, it complied with the local environment plan and the development control plans. He noted that where there were minor variations they actually improved the situation for residents. He indicated that these variations meant that there would be smaller vehicles and the driveway would be 4m wide not 9m wide, keeping it more in line with the streetscape. He did say he had other reasons for supporting the application but that he would reserve these for his right of reply.
Cr Paul Farrow then spoke against the development application. He said he had struggled with this application because the area was zoned light industrial. However, the conflicts in the zone between residents and industry inclined him to oppose it. He said it was important to have regard for the zones around this area. He noted residents had showed photos of semi-trailers in the street and that this traffic was having an adverse impact on the residents. He understood the variations lessened the impact of the current application but felt that the Council should be looking at a long-term solution for the area. He felt that if this was accepted it would only compound the current problem.
He said this application was a prompt to look for a bigger solution rather than just this issue in isolation. He noted that as councillors they must have regard for the objectives of the area and those around it as stated explicitly in the Land and Environment Plan and that these were clearly not being met.
Cr Eva Campbell spoke in support of the development application. She thanked Ms Iddon and the local residents for putting their case passionately against the development. Cr Campbell said you can hear those voices with your heart but you have to deal with the reality of the here and now. She said the development application was assessed under the IN2 Zone with controls appropriate to that zone. In this light, it was unfair to take away the owner's expectations of what is allowed.
She also noted that Little Street was being used as a shortcut from Cawdor Road and that some businesses had trucks accessing the street at a time that had not been consented. She said there should not be a B-double in the street at any time.
Cr Campbell said if the conditions of consent for businesses in that area were being met then that would address many of the issues that are concerning residents. She also noted that the ambulance service has been moving asbestos, which has caused traffic grief, and when that was done it would alleviate some of the problems.
Finally she stated that Little Street was being used as a dragstrip and it would be useful to get the numberplates of people using the street for inappropriate purposes.
Cr Campbell then revisited the history of the street and explained how it came into being when this part of Camden was not the prestige area that it is now.
Cr Cindy Cagney spoke against the development application and asked for rezoning for this area to be considered. In light of housing prices she noted it would probably be worth more than it is currently. Such rezoning she said would remove the tapestry of zones that currently occur in this area.
Cr Cagney also took into consideration that elements of the building did not comply with the zoning. She was also concerned that because the future of the building had not been decided in terms of the business that would occupy it that it would be possible there could be some future conflicts with the business should there be a need for rigid vehicle to access the site.
Cr Michael Morrison asked a question through the chair. He wanted to know if in light of the development being approved whether it would be possible in the future to use a medium rigid vehicle or whether this would be restricted as it is under the current development application.
A Council officer replied that the current condition of consent would restrict ongoing use conditions and therefore only a small rigid vehicle would be allowed.
Cr Morrison then asked the members of the chamber if they would like all businesses to be in Campbelltown and Liverpool. He said the applicant should be commended for staying within the guidelines and reducing the impact of the construction. He noted that once various constructions were completed there was likely to be a reduction in traffic anyway.
Cr Campbell asked if the matters around trucks and other vehicles brought up in the discussion in regards to increased traffic without consent could be dealt with immediately.
A Council officer said such action would be taken on the following day.
In his right of reply, Cr Peter Sidgreaves thanked Cr Eva Campbell for her very rational arguments. He said he could not support motion to rezone Little Street and that the development application had been put up under the current controls and zoning. "If we were to reject this development, the owners would be successful if they challenged it in court — and quite rightly so”, he said.
The development application was approved with the support of the Liberals and both independents.
Item 02: Construction of a two-storey dwelling with detached garage at 13 Ascot Drive, Currans Hill.
Moved Michael Morrison, Seconded Peter Sidgreaves.
Cr Michael Morrison noted that the building was compliant with the local environment plan and development control plan. He also noted that entry was from the rear of this property. With this in mind he decided to support recommendation.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves also supported the development application and noted that due to section 88B restrictions on these lots the entranceway would be from Oakbank Place even though the lots faced Ascot Drive.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney said she drove by the lot and while she sympathised with the objectors she did not see much of an issue in regards to visual impact. For this reason she was happy to support the application.
Cr Cindy Cagney also sympathised with the objectors but due to the restraints on the block there was no other option for the developers to construct the building in this form.
The development application was passed unanimously.
Item 03: Construction of two storey medical centre, childcare centre, indoor swimming pool, neighbourhood shop and associated car park. 34 & 40 Milton Circuit, Oran Park.
Moved Peter Sidgreaves. Seconded Michael Morrison.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves supported the application saying it was a fantastic facility that would create local jobs. He noted it was a significant investment and that a minor variation in the development application had been answered sufficiently. He noted that businesses of this type had always been a marked in this location according to the local environment plan.
Cr Cindy Cagney opposed the application "only slightly". Her concern was around the variation in the development control plan, which initially specified one storey.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney asked if the matter could be deferred given that the council was not the consenting authority for the development and the extension of a potential high school next door. Her concern was that as a result of the high school the current conditions around this development could change or become inappropriate.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves refused to accept a deferral.
Cr Eva Campbell requested more information in regards to a 12 seater courtesy bus that was being provided to pick up parents, children and staff from their home. She wanted to clarify whether this bus was specific to the Centre or for the general public.
The understanding of Council officers was that it was only for the use of picking up children associated with the centre.
Cr Campbell also noted that there seemed to be a disparity between what appeared on the Oran Park masterplan and what appeared on the marketing plan of developers and what may be allowable in the area. She asked if there was any way this could be raised as an issue to avoid future confusion.
A Council officer said it would be raised with developers.
Cr Campbell also wanted to know how the childcare centre's car park could be secured after hours, as there was no indication of a boom gate to the car park.
A Council officer said there would be site security after hours in the form of a gate. She noted that the Council did not want a boom gate to operate during daylight hours considering the amount of traffic likely at that time.
There was then an intention to go to a vote but Cr Ashleigh Cagney asked if she could speak against the motion. This was accepted by the Chair.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney said that if a deferment was not available she felt compelled to speak against the application. Her concerns were that South Circuit would be filled with cars as a result of the teachers working at the school across the road, the childcare centre and other businesses. She recognised that the centre was needed and she thought that this was a "fantastic" development.
However, with the unknown component of the high school and no opportunity for deferral she was concerned that this could be overdevelopment of the site, especially with Woolworths just a stone's throw away. For her this was about potential traffic conflicts and considering it was in a R1 residential area she felt it was important to maintain the existing land use pattern.
In his right of reply, Cr Peter Sidgreaves said that he felt the 52 car parks proposed for the centre would cater for all of the businesses. He felt that the school parking was an entirely separate argument and that regardless of what State government does with the site he did not think it was fair to delay or penalise the applicant.
The development application was passed with only councillors Ashleigh Cagney and Cindy Cagney voting against it.
ORD04: Extension of Oran Park Public School and the addition of a new Oran Park high school at 390 South Circuit, Oran Park
This vote refers to a Council response to the State government submission for a new school that is currently before the Department of Planning and Environment. Council officers have recommended rejecting the submission for 14 separate reasons primarily around car parking spaces, transport options and congestion. Editorialising here briefly, I have to say they were on the money. This is yet another egregious example of incredibly poor planning at State government level.
Moved Paul Farrow. Seconded Eva Campbell.
Cr Paul Farrow was astonished by the lack of a parking proposed for this extensive development of a new school. He thought it was an excellent move for the Council officers to have made this recommendation and fully supported it.
Cr Eva Campbell commended the officers for their conclusions. She said she had only one word in relation to enrolling an extraordinary number of students for the primary and high schools without adequate parking. And that word was wow.
She said that she could not believe the level of incompetence exhibited by the State government in this instance and she asked that the submission by Council officers also be sent to the NSW Police Minister, NSW Minister for Education and the State P&C. Cr Campbell said that it is about time somebody did something that benefited the students and the staff in terms of notifying the State Government about developments around schools like this. She said this example may be the one to bring about change because it is quite simply "monstrous".
Cr Farrow asked if there were any concerns about sending it to these other ministers and agencies.
A Council officer said there were no concerns. As such, Cr Farrow was happy to include that as an amendment to the recommendations.
Cr Eva Campbell continued her statement. She noted that the security of students around public schools was a major issue, as the Council had already seen at Camden South and Elderslie. This was why she recommended sending this letter to the Police Minister, as police need to be aware of these safety concerns. She also noted that the Education Minister needed to be aware of the shortcomings of individuals within their departments. She explained that the safety concerns we also concerns mirrored by the State P&C.
Cr Campbell noted that the roads around the schools she had mentioned in the local area was still not safe and asked what it would take before someone at State government level wakes up to themselves when putting new facilities into new communities.
Cr Cindy Cagney thanked the staff for a strong report. She noted that all of the issues highlighted by the Council staff were almost a list of insults to the community. She said the submission by the State government did not even meet a minimum standard. "This tends to be how we are treated out here," she said.
Cr Cagney highlighted that there was 20 years of research around sporting fields shared and co-located schools and that the submission by the Department of Education showed no consideration for these or parking and safety. She was impressed that the Council and the Council officers had stood up to say this was not good enough.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves supported the recommendation and then asked if the 3000 students across these schools would be asking permission to use the Council's sporting grounds.
A Council officer said the Council had entered into preliminary discussions but no decision had yet been made.
Cr Sidgreaves asked if the Council had the right to say no.
The General Manager said they did have the right.
Cr Sidgreaves then asked whether the community could use the school's facilities on the weekends.
The General Manager said that was possible and was the logical other side of the equation.
Cr Sidgreaves said that as long as it was a two-way street he would be satisfied. However, he said if the school used the community’s fields and did not share their own facilities then that would be unfair and it should probably be added to the submission. He then went on to congratulate Council officers for the very strong submission. Cr Sidgreaves went on to say that in his Limited dealings with the Crown he had found them extremely arrogant and were likely to do whatever they wanted. For this reason he felt it was vital to express the strong concerns on this development.
Cr Eva Campbell then asked Council officers if there was any school, public or private, in the area that did not use community facilities for its students.
The question was taken on notice but at this stage the Council officer said they were unaware of any.
Cr Campbell then asked if this had become an automatic expectation by the Department of Education and if there had been any change of attitude from this.
The General Manager said he was not aware of any changes to the expectations of the Department of Education.
Cr Paul Farrow in his right of reply said he felt everything had been captured by the debate and the submission by Council staff. He said it was a great submission.
The vote to support the Council submission to the State government was passed unanimously.
ORD05: Disability Inclusion Action Plan
This order of business was to seek the Council’s endorsement of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan.
Cr Michael Morrison left the room at this time.
Moved Peter Sidgreaves. Seconded Cr Eva Campbell.
Cr Sidgreaves said the plan was a step in the right direction and he fully endorsed it.
The endorsement of the Plan was passed unanimously.
ORD06: Camden Active Ageing Strategy
This order of business was to seek the endorsement of the strategy across the community.
Moved Paul Farrow. Seconded Cindy Cagney.
ORD07: NAIDOC Week Funding
Michael Morrison returns to the room.
Moved Cindy Cagney. Seconded Eva Campbell.
Cr Cindy Cagney said she was happy to support funds for the Week and was delighted that the Council had made NAIDOC Week and indigenous a centre of the community flag-raising. She said it sent a sign that the Council takes these things seriously and that this was a special event for the community.
Cr Eva Campbell noted that the date for NAIDOC week was incorrect and asked that it was amended.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves noted they had received two grants for NAIDOC week, with one coming from the Prime Minister and Cabinet. However, he was not aware of who had granted the Council $800.
A Council officer explained that it was from NSW Aboriginal Affairs.
Cr Sidgreaves said he would like the notice amended so that the Council could write a letter to them as well.
Cr Campbell asked that being that it was a NSW Grant, shouldn't the Council just write to local State Member Chris Paterson.
The motion with amendments was passed unanimously.
ORD08: Create NSW grant for Western Sydney Making Space initiative
This $15,000 grant aims to put in place a Creative Camden Hub to be located at Harrington Park.
Moved Michael Morrison. Seconded Peter Sidgreaves.
Cr Michael Morrison said it was a great initiative that would put in a creative hub at Harrington Park Community Centre. He said he had looked at the mural artists put between the Centre and the lake and noted that anything that helps arts is a big asset for the community.
ORD09: March review of the 2016/17 Operational Plan (Budget)
This is a summary of the budget and any changes that are required in this quarter.
Moved Peter Sidgreaves. Seconded Michael Morrison.
Cr Sidgreaves congratulated Council officers on reallocating surplus towards recurrent borrowing, which he said was effectively a double saving. He noted that the Council would have to contribute more during the current financial year to continue the reduction of the loan. “We shall just have to keep finding savings where we can”, he said.
Cr Paul Farrow said he was speaking for the recommendation to accept the plan but he would not go as far as congratulating the Council. He noted there were some significant amendments to the budget with major adjustments for the development of the Macaria Gallery — which had now been budgeted another $520,000.
Cr Farrow pointedly referred to the meeting of November 8, 2016, where Cr Cindy Cagney had put forward a notice of motion requesting a report on how the former administration buildings at John Street would be used and the likely costs. At the time, as you can read here in the notes of that meeting, Cr Cagney was roundly condemned by the mayor who produced a massive file around the development of the medical centre and the art gallery.
Cr Farrow noted that how at the time the big bundle of paperwork provided was impossible to go through. "I don't see the same smugness we saw at that meeting now we have another $520,000 to pay," he said.
"There is a reason we called for a report as at the time we had concerns that this might have been a bit undercooked."
He also noted that the concerns of ALP Councillors around the Narellan Sports Hub were also now bearing fruit with an additional cost overrun of $760,000. This was a lot of money but he said it was not something they would withhold from the community.
The report in the budget suggested this additional money was the result of significant rainfall. "Let's hope we don't get too much more rain," he said.
Cr Cindy Cagney also noted that she had concerns with the cost of the new gallery. She said the gallery was dear to her heart but she felt it was important to ask for a report on the refurbishment, which, she said, led to "a bit of a circus".
She said that previously she had been on the committee that internally upgraded a much larger art gallery and that the air-conditioning alone was a significant expense. "I have no problem with it being an art gallery but we are only halfway there and it is already becoming a bottomless pit," she said.
Cr Cagney asked that if there were any further expenses could these be brought back to the Council for approval. She noted that if more than $1 million was put in to the refurbishment and it still wasn't complete then it would take an awfully long time to recapture the costs. She said she would vote for the recommendation to approve the budget but she would like to see that particular item referred back to the Council.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney said she would go one step further and specifically add to the recommendation that if there are any further developments around the costs for the gallery and the sports hub that these come back to the Councillors as a report.
As the mover of the recommendation, Cr Sidgreaves accepted the amendment.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney thanked Cr Sidgreaves for his approval saying that she supported the developments but she did have concerns that in the case of the gallery the cost was now double what was originally recommended.
Cr Eva Campbell said she had issues with the Macaria building because it was a heritage construction. Such constructions she said often had unknown costs and in particular for a facility of this kind.
Cr Michael Morrison had a query regarding invoices, noting that of the 27 invoices paid one had become overdue. He was curious as to the reason why this wasn't paid.
The General Manager said he agreed and that it appears in this case it was simply an oversight.
Cr Campbell enquired about Consolidated Ward Funds 2016/17 and asked if pre-election commitments to Jack Nash Reserve in Currans Hill and Harrington Park United Football Club had been met. She also asked if a commitment by Lara Symkowiak, former councillor Rob Copeland and Peter Sidgreaves had been met for refurbishment for the Falcons Football Club, all as none of these appeared to be in this budget four.
A Council officer all confirmed those commitments did exist and were on a priority list. The kitchen for the Falcons Football Club had been completed.
Cr Campbell then asked why those projects were listed. She was told by the General Manager that it was possible these commitments came from a different funding source.
Cr Campbell said that these commitments were from ward funds and asked if this was an accounting oversight.
The question was taken on notice.
Cr Farrow then asked, in keeping with the amended resolution, would any changes to Macaria Gallery still need to come through the quarterly budget review.
The General Manager said that any such reports would come in advance and would be reported immediately. They would then be reported in the quarterly review in much more detail.
In his right of reply, Cr Peter Sidgreaves suggested that Cr Paul Farrow did not want the Art Gallery (although this was never stated or suggested by Cr Farrow). He said he was a big believer in artistic and cultural values and it was important that the gallery was here. He said Camden artists were great and that the investment, whether $500,000 or $1 million, was worth it. He said the busloads of people coming to the Council Art Gallery would bring benefits that outweighed the costs.
The story, he said, was the same with the sports hub. "This will be a regional sports facility and regional sports events will also bring money to local businesses," he said.
He also pointed out that both had been funded within the budget and had not gone out to loans. While he accepted that it was disappointing that ratepayers would have to pay more than expected he felt the value of both developments made it valid.
The budget was accepted by all counsellors except for Cr Eva Campbell.
ORD10: Investment monies
Moved Cindy Cagney. Seconded Peter Sidgreaves.
There was no discussion on this order of business. Passed unanimously.
The council meeting now moved into a range of Notices of Motion.
NOTICES OF MOTION
ORD11: Notice of Motion – Greater Macarthur Priority Growth Area
This notice of motion by Cr Cindy Cagney was in response to a submission by Mirvac to include an area of Menangle in the Greater Macarthur Priority Growth Area. The aim was to bring a report that outlined the views of Campbelltown and Wollondilly councils for discussion and endorsement at a future meeting.
Moved: Ashleigh Cagney. Seconded Eva Campbell.
Cr Cindy Cagney outlined why she felt it was important to liaise with our two neighbouring councils, stating that all levels of government need to work together.
Cr Eva Campbell said the notice of motion was very timely with large parcels of land being held by the Department of Primary Industries in and around the Camden local government area. She noted that the Liberal member for Hume, Angus Taylor, was not in favour of the Menangle development.
The notice of motion was passed unanimously.
ORD12: Notice of Motion — Traffic and transport in the Camden LGA
This notice of motion by Cr Cindy Cagney had four key points. They were to:
- Acknowledge that traffic in the Camden area was reaching gridlock levels.
- Recognise the difficulties along Narellan Road and the impact congestion was having on local businesses.
- Acknowledge the impact that the Narellan Road redevelopment is having on other local roads.
- Write to Camden State MP Chris Paterson to request that priority be placed on funding and planning for:
- The Spring Farm Parkway with on and off ramps in both directions for the Hume Highway.
- An integrated transport system, including rail extension from MacArthur to Narellan.
Moved Ashleigh Cagney. Seconded Cindy Cagney.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney said the motion was particularly relevant to Central Ward and anyone who navigates Narellan Road in their car. She said the motion was born out of frustration because it can take up to 15 minutes just to get out of Currans Hill and the journey along the 6 km route typically takes 30 to 45 minutes.
She noted sections of Mount Annan were now gridlocked and this was affecting the viability and efficiency of businesses. She was deeply concerned what this will look like when Camden ends up with a population of 360,000 people.
For this reason she felt it was important that locally they were beating down the doors at Macquarie Street to develop an integrated transport system.
Cr Cindy Cagney supported the notice of motion saying that in Mount Annan, where she lives, the streets often turn into rat-runs. However, she noted that at one point when there was an accident on Camden Valley Way and Narellan Road it was almost impossible to leave the suburb. When she eventually decided to go via Menangle, a crash on Finns Road brought that thoroughfare to a halt. "You could have sold coffee to people, the traffic was that bad," she said.
Cr Cagney said this notice had nothing to do with the personalities involved just that the south-west were the poor cousins and that ministers needed to understand the number of lost business hours and lost family time that has become part of the daily life in our region, especially for those who commute. "We have a great area — we deserve better," she said.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney had the right of reply and used it to reiterate this was not about playing politics but was part of the process to recognise the issue and to fire up whoever can get something done. She noted a quote in the editor's column of The Macarthur Chronicle and thanked the State member for Campbelltown, Greg Warren, who called on the State government to reprioritise funding for the area.
The notice of motion was passed unanimously.
ORD13: Notice of motion — Camden Civic Centre
The notice of motion by Cr Paul Farrow called for an update on the investigation into initiatives to improve the use of Camden Civic Centre and that a report by the Council's officers be returned in one month to be reported to the Council meeting.
Moved Paul Farrow. Seconded Cindy Cagney.
Cr Farrow stressed his request had nothing to do with the Oxley Street car park extension but he just wanted an update on where initiatives for the increased use of Camden Civic Centre were placed.
The general manager explained that the process for increasing the use of Camden Civic Centre was adopted and formally allocated on March 17 and officers were now going through the processes required. The Council officer responsible then explained where the process was at.
He said once funds were available a request for quotation process would begin internally. There would be a public exhibition of proposed ideas followed by consideration and appointment of a tender. Once the best value choice had been selected the process would commence. He estimated that this process would start 13 weeks from the council meeting.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves then said he would like to move an amendment, saying he supported the process and noting that it would be fairly inconceivable for a report to come back in eight weeks. He asked for an amendment to the notice of motion, so that it read four months rather than one month.
Cr Farrow said he was happy to accept that amendment.
Cr Sidgreaves then commented that he didn't believe the notice of motion was necessary. He said that councillors had the capacity to approach Council staff and he asked if Cr Farrow had approached the general manager for an update.
Cr Farrow said he had asked questions but these were not in the public domain. He noted that when the initial resolution was made back in November to improve the use of the Civic Centre there were concerns because of the car park. He said, he chose this route so that he could get something for the community. "As far as the public is concerned this has just been sitting there even though a report has been conducted and money has been allocated," he said.
"Now, in 13 weeks time, we can look forward to a public report."
Cr Sidgreaves said that it was unfair to say the community was waiting and for Cr Farrow to imply that the Civic Centre was being underused. He noted that attendance was actually increasing.
Cr Farrow said he had implied no such thing and his comments simply referred to the report being brought back.
Cr Sidgreaves then said that he felt Cr Farrow had implied it was underused and that as far as Cr Sidgreaves was concerned the entire process had been in the public domain. He reiterated that he felt Cr Farrow should have dealt directly with the general manager and that "this is just some grandstanding".
Cr Cindy Cagney said she fully supported the amended recommendation, saying she didn't think this was grandstanding. Instead, she said, it was about supporting the community and alerting Camden ratepayers and residents on what was happening. She said this was serving the community, doing the job of due diligence and letting the public know what the Council was doing. "We are accountable and responsible to the community," she said.
Cr Eva Campbell said that having been here for what seemed like forever that Notices of Motion like this had a place and that it was once not unusual to have questions without notice in Council. She noted that it was while Cr Chris Paterson was mayor that these were abolished. Those questions, she said, had served the council and the community well. She then asked why Camden Council no longer had questions without notice.
A Council officer replied that these questions without notice did not satisfy the provisions of the Act for bringing business before the council and were contrary to the way council meetings were being run.
Cr Campbell said that those questions without notice gave a voice for issues of current concern in a public forum, as did public addresses. She said it also alerted Council officers to concerns of the community and it was one of the most valuable tools that they had as elected representatives. "Given that we are now much bigger council with more staff and in the rapidly growing area, my personal assessment is that service is more relevant now," she said.
Cr Paul Farrow then spoke to his right of reply. He noted the Civic Centre was an important issue for the community. He said he recognised the cultural niche it fulfilled and very little has changed since it opened in 1982.
He explained that the report was important to ensure investment in the right areas — as he had expressed in a previous budget item during this meeting. "It is the money we budget compared to what we spend," he said. He noted that the $1.2 million added to the budget for the gallery and the sports hub could easily have gone to another cause.
Cr Farrow talked about looking forward to a day when the Centre offered dinner and show packages. He wanted to see more comedians and entertainers sell-out the Centre and to create a proper live entertainment venue. In finishing he said that this was not about grandstanding. "I am for promoting the cultural niche of Camden but I am also about informing the community on these issues," he said.
ORD14: Review of zoning in Little St, Camden
Cr Paul Farrow’s notice of motion called for a report into how to address the conflicts between the zones around Little Street as required by the Camden Local Environment Plan. He asked that the report be brought back to the Council chambers in one month.
Moved Paul Farrow. Seconded Eva Campbell.
Cr Paul Farrow noted that the conflict of zones in Little St was inconsistent with the local environment plan. He said the idea of the report was to bring back possible solutions that wouldn't see business shift to other local government areas. He noted that when different development applications are brought before the Council they have to deal with each on their merits. However, he felt it would be useful to look at Little St not in light of a single development application but as a broader issue.
He noted that while Little Street was an industrial area years ago he is not entirely sure that is the case now. "Is this where we want our industrial area and Camden?" he said.
Cr Eva Campbell noted that when Camden’s Vision 2025 strategy was developed it set the whole of New South Wales on its head. The reason she said was because it described to developers and residents what an area would look and feel like. She said in some ways Camden has regressed from that period. However, she said there is no need to divide business and residence if planning is done well. She gave examples such as a small business providing local employment operating within conditions of consent from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. The alternative she said might be a neighbour with five or six teenagers and multiple vehicles partying late into the night.
Cr Campbell said we do need to look at this but we need to be aware that businesses and residents can coexist. At the moment in Little Street the conditions for that area are being flaunted and that is the problem. "You can't take away residential amenity or the right of the business to be in that locale," she said.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney supported the notice of motion in particular because of what she has seen in the buffer area between Smeaton Grange and Curran Hills. She said she was disheartened when people suggested that hers was an anti-business position. "It's not about being anti-business, it's about the right business in the right location," she said.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves asked if it was reasonable to have a report back to the council within one month.
A Council officer said it would be a very preliminary report if it was compiled in one month.
Cr Sidgreaves asked Cr Farrow whether he would like to extend the timeframe.
After a little bit of discussion it was extended out to 3 months.
Cr Cindy Cagney, with a Back to the Future reference, talked about how many of the residential streets in Camden are now filled with businesses. Little Street, she said, is an anomaly. She suggested that it makes sense to look backwards to see how Camden township has evolved up to this point and how it is likely to evolve into the future.
Cr Cagney described how they had been changes in industrial areas and that where once Barsden Street was expected to accommodate an industrial area, that expansion never eventuated as other industrial areas in Camden were developed. The result, is that there has been patchwork zoning and residents are having to police truck movements and the like when it is not their role. She said Councillors need to look to the future of this part of the town to determine where to go from here.
Cr Paul Farrow in his right of reply talked about the idea of coexistence. He said there were a myriad of possibilities that could take in better coexistence and deal with compliance issues. "This is about the zone working effectively," he said.
We need to think about what it will look like and residents need to have more surety about what industrial buildings will be permitted.
The notice of motion was passed unanimously.
ORD15: Notice of motion — live streaming of Council meetings
This notice of motion by Cr Paul Farrow requested an update on the investigation into the live streaming of Council meetings and a call for a report to be brought back to the Council on live streaming within one month.
I admit to a personal interest in this one and was very curious to see both what position investigations had reached into live streaming and also to get a sense of how various councillors felt about the proposal.
The General Manager opened by saying that the proposal required a comprehensive analysis from cost benefit and a risk point of view. He referred to the Council officer who was investigating the process.
The Council officer said it had been investigated since it came before the Council. He said the investigation revolved around managing the risk to counsellors and the general public. They were also looking at legal advice around the possibilities of defamation and the types of protections and risk management practice that would be required. He highlighted workplace surveillance issues and the possibility of inadvertently defaming someone. He also said that Council officers were investigating the extent of liability against the organisation itself in such situations or whether this liability was carried entirely by the councillor.
He said they were also seeking advice on what this would mean to the code of meeting practice, signage and technical matters around transmission. "A number of these enquiries are still outstanding," he said.
Cr Paul Farrow asked when these questions would likely be finalised.
The officer said he was unable to be definite at this point in time but hoped to have communicated all of the issues by the end of the next quarter.
When pressed for what this meant by Cr Farrow, the Officer said by the end of September.
The notice of motion for a report was passed with only Cr Michael Morrison voting against it. He later mentioned that the issue was with the timing of the report and had nothing to do with the live streaming proposal itself.
ORD16: Notice of Motion - school crossing Camden South Public School, Belgenny Avenue, Camden South
Cr Paul Farrow’s notice of motion asked for the issue of crossings around Camden South Public School to again be referred to the Traffic Committee; that a letter be sent to the Roads and Maritime Services to conduct a recount at the Belgenny Rd crossing; and for any progress on this issue to be reported back to the Council.
Moved Paul Farrow. Seconded Ashleigh Cagney.
Cr Paul Farrow said the notice of motion was out of pure frustration more than anything else. He said the crossing at the back of the school was in dire need of a traffic supervisor and the current situation was a recipe for disaster. Currently he said a small number of parents across the space while hundreds of children do the same. "We had a near miss with the car ending up on the centre area and injury or worse was avoided only because the sister of the child pushed her out of the way," he said.
Cr Eva Campbell described how she had been concerned by this area over many years. She, further, felt there were other issues including an access road parallel to the Old Hume Highway and a bus zone.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves said he was happy to support this notice of motion but made the point that the RMS had conducted two audits and both had failed to meet the required numbers. He noted that the way they measured people crossing excluded certain groups when an adult was present.
Cr Sidgreaves informed the chambers that State MP Chris Paterson had organised another audit and in the meantime signage and flag works from previous audits had been approved. He said he was all for taking information back and trying to convince the RMS but "my concern is where do we go if this audit doesn't meet the benchmark?"
Cr Ashleigh Cagney said the method of measuring pedestrians was clearly a hole in the system. "To be frank we're talking about the safety of kids," she said. Cr Cagney said she did not want a significant incident with a child and if there was something the council could do then it should do it. She supported the notice of motion 100%.
In his right of reply Cr Paul Farrow said he appreciated the support, that he would never stop trying on this issue and he would be happy to attend the traffic committee.
The notice of motion was passed unanimously.
ORD17: St John’s church heritage precinct
Cr Eva Campbell’s notice of motion stated that any development application for the St John’s Church Heritage Precinct be brought before the Council for consideration.
This would suggest the aim of this notice of motion is that even if there is no opposition to a development in this precinct it would still come before the Council.
Cr Eva Campbell explained that she had two primary reasons for the notice of motion. The first was to facilitate leadership by the Council and to ensure that anything decided was entirely transparent to the whole community. The second reason was to avoid destroying heritage infrastructure, especially where it was nationally significant, as St John’s is. “It is the jewel in Camden’s crown,” she said.
Cr Campbell said she was already concerned by some decisions taken outside of the Council. She noted a public assertion that everyone’s heritage is equal in relation to the church was a statement that was offensive in its ignorance. Looking over the history of St John's, she said that the Council had supported the heritage listing but because it was not considered to be an area under threat it was let go.
She felt that the Anglican diocese didn't seem to understand the significance of the building. For this and many other reasons she was asking the Council to step up to ensure that the whole conservation zone comes to the chambers and that nothing is decided in this zone until it comes through the Council.
Cr Michael Morrison supported the motion wholeheartedly. He said it was unrealistic that any changes wouldn't come before the Council as any development would almost certainly attract submissions.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves said he agreed with everything Cr Campbell had said — certainly the sentiment. He wasn't sure that this particularly needed a notice of motion as any councillor can bring a development into the chambers, but he would still support it.
Cr Cindy Cagney also supported the notice of motion saying the Council needed to be on the front foot. She said she was hopeful that any development would come to a briefing of councillors and staff. It was vital that any possible purchasers would get significant construction from heritage experts.
In her right of reply, Cr Campbell said that she accepted what everyone had said. She said the important question was to develop a conservation plan of management, especially as there was evidence of a previously prepared proposal for the area.
"We don't want something slipping through on delegated authority," she said. "This alerts the Council, community and Council officers that anything to do with this precinct comes before the council to be openly debated before a decision is taken."
The notice of motion was passed unanimously.
ORD18: Closure of meeting to the public for appointment of chairperson and directors for the Camden Region Economic Task Force
Closure agreed to unanimously.
Result of closed meeting:
Amendment: Cr Ashleigh Cagney asked for a deferral of the vote to allow for a Councillor briefing on the Camden Region Economic Task Force.
The vote was split and then lost on the vote of Deputy Mayor Theresa Fedeli’s casting vote.
For deferral: Paul Farrow, Ashleigh Cagney, Cindy Cagney, Eva Campbell.
Against deferral: Peter Sidgreaves, Michael Morrison, Rob Mills, Theresa Fideli (casting vote).
- Cr Lara Symkowiak and Cr Peter Sidgreaves nominated as directors of Camden Region Economic Task Force.
- Appointment of independent director (Chairperson). Adriana Care has been elected to this position.
- General Manager or delegate to arrange incorporation of CRET.