Jan 242012
 

Make your comments on Council’s Community Strategic Plan FORUM

Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA)

Major priorities for Council

As part of the consultation for the Community Strategic Plan, the Ocean Shores Community Association hosted a public meeting at the Ocean Shores Country Club on Monday night October 31st 2011. Two Council staff members and Cr. Diane Woods attended.

Priority issues as identified by
Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA)

The meeting was asked to identify two major priorities for Council to achieve out of all the issues raised. The two issues prioritised are as follows:

  1. Fair equity of allocation of resources to the Ocean Shores area based on the proportion of rate payers contributing revenue.  This includes provision of sports fields and the dedication of the Roundhouse site for public use as a cultural and tourism precinct.
  2. Financial sustainability of Council

The full list of issues raised with comments from the meeting are as follows:

Fair equity of allocation of resources to the Ocean Shores area based on the proportion of rate payers contributing revenue.  This includes provision of sports fields and the dedication of the Roundhouse site for public use as a cultural and tourism precinct.

The Ocean Shores area (the coastal far north) is now the largest residential population base in the Shire. However over the years, Council’s resources allocations have consistently been used elsewhere in the shire. The meeting called on council to address this. For example if the Ocean Shores area contributes 25% of rates and other income then 25% of the council spend should average out to be spent here.

The provision of services and facilities in the Ocean Shores area falls far below any fair and equitable distribution. This is especially the case in the provision of sporting facilities and the dedication of the Roundhouse site for public use as a cultural, tourism and arts precinct.

Historically, when Ocean Shores was founded in 1969, a Deed of Agreement between the developers Wendell West, the NSW State Government, local councils and owners of rural properties on which the town is situated provided for three stages of the town’s development.

The first and second stages were completed as agreed. Stage three never occurred mainly because of the work of political activists which stopped any further development for most of the third stage.

This third stage was planned to include many public amenities for town and district residents. Residents of Ocean Shores were never compensated for the loss of the planned sports fields, an art gallery, a high school, another primary school, a regional shopping centre, hospital, civic centre, a beach club, tourist development etc.

The Roundhouse building on the 1.388 Ha site was the administration centre for the town’s developers. It was opened in 1969. Council bought the Roundhouse site in 1993 following a $3 million court battle and zoned the land for community purposes. It later rezoned the land as residential and now plans to develop it for subdivision and sale.

The meeting called on Council to recognise that the Roundhouse and sportsfields is considered by many residents to be part compensation for the loss Stage Three of the Ocean Shores development.  According to an OSCA survey in 2010, 97% of respondents supported the dedication of the Roundhouse site for an arts and cultural precinct.

However, Ocean Shores is not asking Council to pay for or build a cultural centre on the site. The community asks Council to dedicate the site for public use as a cultural precinct and allow the community to fundraise and manage the site. The Roundhouse Action Group submitted a business plan to council in December 2010 proposing this community management model. In the short term, this would save Council the $1.3 million borrowings needed to subdivide the site.

Financial sustainability of Council.

OSCA Treasurer, Dianne Costin, a practising accountant, has studied Council’s financial report on the 2010/2011 budget and has raised issues of concern. She has put a number of questions to Council and addressed Council at its meeting of November 3 2011. The financial statements have been put on public exhibition in accordance with Section 419(1) of the Local Government Act. However, this does not have any impact on the content of the reports. More about this later.

Additional community issues identified:

  1. Provision of better transport services
  2. Need for access to beach and river
  3. Re-zoning of land behind shopping centre and Marshalls Creek to allow foreshore access/passive recreation.
  4. Renewable energy and efficiency:
    • Subsidised usage metres (permanently fixed to house.
    • Community group buy of solar power
  5. Consideration of wards (riding) system to provide better electoral
    equity.
  6. Support for the establishment of an aged care facility including independent living, supported care and nursing home.
  7. Additional street lighting.
  8. Additional footpaths (also needs monitoring of rockworks and tree planting on road reserves/nature strip – can inhibit people walking on the grass/road reserves.
  9. Playgrounds – more small passive recreation areas needed.
  10. Increased youth activities for Ocean Shores in existing community facilities including the Ocean Shores and South Golden Beach community centres.
  11. Support for proposed Community Health Centre planned for Ocean Shores by NSW Health.
  12. Bush fire protection – especially adjacent to the Ocean Shores primary school which urgently needs an Asset Protection Zone (APZ) against adjoining bushland in the Billinudgel Nature Reserve.
  13. Affordable housing:
    • Working in partnership with business/developers & workable planning policies.
    • Council relaxing more planning conditions to support Affordable Housing
    • Council implementing its Affordable Housing Strategy.
    • Council to advocate for a change to State legislation to allow for a 120sqm secondary dwelling on large rural properties. This would provide a pool of affordable three bedroom rural family rental housing as secondary housing cannot be subdivided off and sold. This would also allow for provision for elderly parents to stay on the farm. Current planned legislation provides for a maximum 60 sq. metre for rural secondary housing.
  14. Higher priority of the economic development of the Shire will lead to increased employment – better housing.
  15. Increased Council support for economic development, especially support for business, industry and tourism sectors (council in partnership with industry rather than an adversarial approach).
  16. Greater consideration/consultation for existing and new Businesses when allowing any additional farmers’ and monthly markets to occur.
  17. Better accounting of Council money spent per town and area. Transparency needed to allow a more equitable allocation of resources.
  18. Council to listen to the coastal far north community.

Byron Shire Council Website: www.byron.nsw.gov.au

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