I am very pleased to announce that Hilltops Council has received the Gateway Determination from the Department of Planning Industry and Environment for the Hilltops Local Environmental Plan Planning Proposal. The Gateway Determination grants permission for Council to progress the LEP. Council will receive a thorough update on the LEP program at the February Council Meeting. Consultation with the community is expected to commence next month. The timeframe for completing the LEP is to be 12 months from the date of the Gateway determination, at this stage we are expecting the final draft to be presented to Council around July this year before going back to the Department for gazettal.
Councillors will be discussing Rates Harmonisation and the upcoming budget at a briefing session being held this week. These important matters are high on our agenda for 2021. A lot of work is currently being done on Rates Harmonisation, following a direction from the Office of Local Government that rates must be harmonised by 1 July 2021. Rates Harmonisation is a redistribution of rates whereby some ratepayers may end up with an increase to their rates while others may end up with a decrease. The intention is fairness across the Hilltops Local Government Area.
Recently, Council’s General Manager and Director Infrastructure attended a meeting in Wollongong with the Regional Manager of Department Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) for our area regarding the Boorowa Water Security Project. It was a productive meeting and we look forward to working with DPIE to progress this project which is still very much a priority.
It is exciting to see progress on the Young Joint Use Library Facility. Please be aware, especially when using Carrington Park or dropping off/picking up students from the High School, that construction is underway and adjoining land can at times be impacted by the works. To ensure safety, I request that anyone in the area follow direction given by site managers and the school regarding access.
As school has now commenced for the year I ask everyone to be mindful of school zones and school bus routes, especially along rural roads where buses are now stopping frequently. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from a school bus.
The announcement of the closure of the Southern Cross Care residence in Harden was very disappointing for the community and devastating for the vulnerable residents of the facility. While the decision was made by a private enterprise it was obviously a calculated decision. Discussions are being held to try to reach a positive outcome for the residents and the wider community and I hope a resolution that allows for the continuation of care for the elderly in Harden can be reached.
Mayor Brian Ingram