Top 10 council stories

A lot has happened this year in council, here's a list of the top 10 stories of 2017:

- Wingecarribee shire’s water audit results

Water quality from a section of the Wingecarribee River has been labelled as “poor” in a recent audit. 

The 2016 Audit of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment found the section river was in the top four areas that had the poorest water quality during the audit period.

The report, tabled in state parliament earlier this year, contained data from the Sydney catchment area between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2016.

- Moss Vale homes face flood threat

Flooding in Moss Vale is under the microscope, with a new study finding more than 30 homes at risk of above-floor flooding.

Complaints from residents about backyards constantly under water and damaged after heavy rains led to a flood study of Wembley Road and Farnborough Drive catchment areas.

According to the report, residents most at risk are those in Wembley Road, James Street, Watkins Drive, Headlam Road, sections of Farnborough Drive and Windsor Crescent and downstream of Woodville Road and Narellan Road.

- EPA waste levy charge for the Wingecarribee

Councillor Garry Turland wants the EPA to pay back millions of dollars he believes it owes Wingecarribee Shire Council.

Council pays a metropolitan rate for its EPA waste levy.

The metropolitan rate is almost 74 per cent more than the regional rate.

For 2017-18 the metropolitan levy is $138.20 per tonne and the regional levy is $79.60 per tonne.

- Asbestos in Highlands roads

Another asbestos issue has reared its head at council.

The mayor declared the problem a matter of urgency at the March 8 meeting.

A total of 18 shire roads containing asbestos traces were brought to councillors’ attention, brought to light after a Robertson resident complained about the degradation of McEvilly Road.

- Rubbish collection for the elderly

Kerbside rubbish collection was a hot topic at the February 8 council meeting, but one motion ended up in the bin.

Two similar motions were put forward to investigate the cost and feasibility of free kerbside rubbish pick ups for ratepayers across the Highlands.

The first motion, held over from unfinished business at the final meeting of council last year, was put forward by Cr Ian Scandrett.

It proposed that council staff investigate the costs associated with a “twice-yearly, free kerbside clean up collection” for residential ratepayers.

- Holland Park development knocked back

Highlands builder Garry Turland is considering legal action after his Bowral development was refused.

It has been a topic of heated debate since the development application (DA) was lodged in November last year.

On August 29, Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) representatives met to make a decision on the Holland Park development.`

- Mittagong Pool closed for the summer

Wingecarribee Shire Council announced that the Mittagong Swimming Centre will remain closed for the upcoming 2017/18 summer swim season.

Council’s operations, finance and risk deputy general manager Barry Paull said it was with great regret that the call was made. 

“After discussions with our recently appointed contractor, we’ve decided that it would be unfair to continue to raise the expectations of our patrons,” he said. 

- Increase of fees benefits charity

Councillors voted to increase their yearly stipend by 2.5 per cent, but several will donate all or part of their fee to charity.

Councillors regularly vote on the yearly fees they receive in accordance with guidelines set by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, as per the Local Government Act.

Councillors’ fees must be between the minimum and maximum range set by the tribunal. This year, considering economic factors including the Consumer Price Index and Wage Price Index, the tribunal recommended a full increase of 2.5 per cent.

- Danger zone for businesses

Some Highlands businesses could be trading illegally.

Misunderstandings around zoning changes in the 2010 Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan (LEP) has already caused the closure of one business in Berrima.

The village’s business centre is no longer zoned as a 3(a) Business Zone.

Council deputy general manager corporate, strategy and development services Mark Pepping said the zoning decision for Berrima was a unique situation. 

- Scandrett remains committee chair

Councillor Ian Scandrett will remain as chairman of the economic development and tourism committee despite a council motion that asked him to step down from the role.

The motion was originally brought up at the October 25 meeting but was deferred.

Cr Garry Turland’s motion sought support for councillors to ask Cr Scandrett to step down from the role.

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