22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110

Each week, Mayor Mark Bennett shares his thoughts, ideas and news with the community of Hunters Hill in one of the longest-running community newspapers, The Weekly Times.

Safety a whole community effort

As COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed in recent weeks I would like to thank everyone in our community who has safely and responsibly enjoyed the re-opening of facilities including outdoor playgrounds and exercise areas. While Council has taken what measures it can in the way of installing signage and hand sanitiser at popular sites, it takes a whole community effort to make these spaces accessible. Please remember to respect the rules and guidelines, including those of social distancing, in the interest of public health and take measures where you can, such as bringing wipes and sanitiser to clean areas before and after use. Stay home if unwell.

In the coming weeks Council will consider re-commencing citizenship ceremonies online, while Council meetings will continue to be conducted remotely, with public access via live streaming services.

Bike plan

Work on a Bike Plan for our local government area is underway and we want you, our community, to share your ideas and feedback. You can do so using our new online consultation tool Social Pinpoint. The consultation process will be supported by guidance from a Bike Plan Working Group, which includes six local residents passionate about bicycling as a form of active transport.

Council has engaged consultants for the development of the Bike Plan.

Using the feedback collected in the engagement and consultation phase, a draft plan will be prepared. This will be put on exhibition in the coming months, providing the community with another opportunity to provide feedback and help Council set the vision for the Bike Plan.

Once Council officers and the consultants have reviewed feedback from the public exhibition, the final Bike Plan will be presented to a Council meeting for Councillors to consider adoption.

For more information go to: huntershill.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/bike-plan

SES thank you

In the past week we’ve marked WOW Day, which involves wearing orange on a Wednesday, as an acknowledgement of the extraordinary efforts of our State Emergency Service (SES).

We are very fortunate in Hunters Hill to have a dedicated group of volunteers at the ready to step up for our community when the need arises.

Council in March again acknowledged the work of our local crew, presenting a certificate of gratitude in recognition of the team’s exceptional service during severe storms in February.

When a significant area of the municipality experienced fallen trees, water inundation, building damage and power outages, NSW SES Hunters Hill Unit was on hand to respond quickly and effectively, logging 101 jobs and completing most of these requests for assistance within 48 hours.

Once again I thank those Hunters Hill SES volunteers, who worked 400-plus hours during that time.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

Community acting for one another

In Hunters Hill we have been very fortunate to date to have avoided the worst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and the sacrifices made by our community have helped us achieve a very low infection rate. However, as COVID-19 restrictions are being gradually relaxed, please take care to continue to observe physical distancing restrictions and download the COVIDSafe app. If you find yourself with any respiratory illness, please seek medical advice.

The risk of infection is still high and health experts remain concerned. A change in our habitual behaviours is difficult but important to protect ourselves, loved ones and those in our community who are vulnerable due to pre-existing illness and age-related risk factors. 

Budgeting for a sustainable and thriving year

Our draft operational plan and budget for 2020/21 is now on public exhibition and includes a number of highlights for our community in the coming year.

Among them are a $4million capital works program, which includes the $1m State Government grant towards the delivery of the new facility at Boronia Park.  The program also includes works on our buildings, roads and bridges, footpaths, kerbs and guttering, stormwater drainage and information technology.

We are increasing our focus on assets, which includes work on a digital asset management plan that will place Hunters Hill at the cutting edge in this area and will be of great benefit in Council’s ability to plan, design, construct and maintain accessible, safe and high-quality infrastructure.

In the coming year we will also be working to establish a library and community program space in Hunters Hill Village and partnering with the University of New South Wales Circular Economy Innovation Network to deliver a Circular Economy program that will focus on diverting materials from landfill.

Protection and rehabilitation of bushland areas and heritage conservation provisions are other key considerations.

The draft operational plan and budget recognises that there will be negative budgetary impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through reduced revenues.

However, Hunters Hill has a strong foundation from which to grow and we are proud of that fact that we have been able to maintain a high standard of service delivery throughout the pandemic.

The operational plan and budget is set to be reviewed regularly as the impacts of the pandemic are fully realised.

Boat trailer parking

Council has adopted a boat trailer parking policy to manage and regulate the long-term parking of boat trailers on residential streets, in response to an increasing number of community complaints about the lack of available parking, car and traffic visibility and traffic congestion in relation to the number of parked boat trailers in residential streets, particularly those parked for extended periods.

The policy enables residents who own boat trailers to park them on a more long-term basis, on-street adjacent to their properties and encourages all boat trailer owners to use off-street storage or parking for trailers.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

Supporting our village centres

Hunters Hill main streets and village centres are the heart of our neighbourhoods.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for all who live, work and play in these vital locales.

Council recognises the need to support these places and the people who make them special during this time of hardship and in to the future when were are all able to come together again to eat, shop and enjoy a sense of community.

Council is proposing to provide initiatives as part of operational and budget planning that act as a stimulus for the economy and foster a sustainable and thriving municipality.

This will include initiatives around: investing in the village centres; bringing forward developer-funded works; and bringing forward asset maintenance and capital works.

Our recently-adopted Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) sets out a vision for the future and will inform land use planning for the next 20 years.

Five local precincts are the focus for Council’s initiatives under the LSPS. They are: Gladesville Town Centre; Hunters Hill Village; Boronia Park Village; Woolwich Corner Village/Garibaldi Village; and the Gladesville Hospital Precinct.

Growth and change in these precincts will focus on ‘place-making’, enabling growth and change to activate these places for people and business, while protecting their character and heritage.

All councils are required to prepare a LSPS, under direction from the NSW Government and the Greater Sydney Commission.

Places to play   

Council has adopted a Hunters Hill Playspace Strategy 2020 – 2024, to guide management and renewal of our playgrounds in to the future.

The strategy will support work to make play spaces inclusive for people of all ages and abilities and guide opportunity for the delivery of three new play spaces at Riverglade Reserve, Figtree Park and at Huntleys Point over the life of the plan.

Hunters Hill is blessed with a wealth of beautiful outdoor recreation areas, enjoyed by many members of our active community.

Playgrounds feature in many of our best-loved locations, from those that look out across the waterfront to others that sit alongside sporting fields and public transport routes.

Having a strategy to maintain and promote our playspaces is essential, not only from an asset management point of view, but to ensure that these places are well-utilised and accessible to all.

Our municipality includes about 2350 families. Almost a quarter of our population is aged 0 to 17 years. So playspaces that cater to all ages and all abilities are an important part of Council’s commitment to deliver for our community.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

Community ties

As the smallest municipality in metropolitan Sydney, the Hunters Hill local government area is home to a tight-knit community, with links that have offered an opportunity to strengthen ties in dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As well as maintaining essential services and operations, Council has implemented additional measures to recognise the need for a focus on the health of its community.

These programs are aimed at supporting people, leveraging off the social capital that exists in Hunters Hill. We have a passionate and connected community and a range of committed local service providers.

Council has to date made more than 1200 phone calls to connect with residents to let them know they are not alone and assist them in linking to services, where required. Feedback from this has been extremely positive.

Partnerships with local service organisations and businesses is providing for delivery of food packages to hundreds of households.

Free online programs have been developed to promote health and well-being and skills development, as well as encouraging business networking and advice.

A series of family yoga and meditation sessions has been extended due to popular demand, while a series of woodworking skills classes and workshops filled all places ahead of commencement.

The business connection program is also being well received.

More online programs covering fitness, music gardening, art and more are planned.

Keep an eye on our social media channels and website for details: www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au.

Road safety

As most of you will have noticed our roads are less congested at the moment, allowing you to drive more freely through the streets.

With more people taking time out to exercise, please be mindful of the speeds you drive and look out for young children on bikes and playing around the roads.

While many parents may be opting to keep their children home from school at present, schools are open for students that need to attend, so NSW school zones with 40km/h speed limits are in operation in the mornings and afternoons.

Here in Hunters Hill, Council has recently undertaken works to help improve road and pedestrian safety around school campuses. These include footpath works on Earl Street, following damage caused by tree roots, to make the area safer for pedestrians and students outside Boronia Park Public School, and re-marking the existing lines of the pedestrian crossing and ‘Keep Clear’ pavement marking on Alexandra Street outside Hunters Hill Public School.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact has been significant and far reaching as we all strive to keep our community and livelihoods safe.

As a Council, our immediate focus has been on continuing service provision and the well-being of staff and residents, particularly vulnerable or socially-isolated members of our community.

Work has also focused on how we can ease the burden on those who may be experiencing financial hardship, with measures including waiving of some fees and charges for sporting and community groups and business owners, and assisting those who may be experiencing financial hardship when it comes to paying rates.

However, these measures have a long-term financial impact and in order to mitigate this as far as possible in to the future, we as a local government organisation will be looking to further bolster ties with our state and federal counterparts to deal with the consequences of COVID-19.

The NSW and Federal governments are to be commended on their stewardship during this crisis, and an ongoing partnership with local authorities will continue to protect community health and sustain local economies through this crisis.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) are leading a sector-wide campaign to obtain financial assistance, employment support and stimulus funding for the local government sector.

Such measures would be of considerable benefit to councils and their communities, including Hunters Hill.

It is early in the pandemic however Hunter’s Hill Council has already experienced impacts and these are likely to follow through into subsequent financial years. While revenue is expected to be reduced because of waivers to some fees and charges and lower rates income while we support those experiencing financial hardship, costs have increased in areas such as information technology and infrastructure to enable staff to work remotely and maintain customer service levels. Meanwhile we continue to offer essential services such as renewal of roads, footpaths and maritime assets. The refurbishment of our Town Hall is ongoing and is helping provide economic stimulus for our economy.

The impacts are escalating and are anticipated to continue over the coming 12 to 18 months.

Hunter’s Hill Council is doing everything possible to provide support and deliver the services needed to protect community health and keep our communities running during these difficult times.

It is critical that the local government sector receives adequate funding and resources to coordinate and deliver the goods and services needed as we navigate through, and recover from the new challenges presented by COVID-19 and its massive impacts on people and our local economies.

 

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

This article was featured in April’s printed newsletter to residents.

It has been a busy start to the year in Hunters Hill, natural disasters and global pandemics notwithstanding.

After working with emergency services to clean up after the February storms and now to adapt to continue service delivery in the face of COVID-19, it is pleasing to see what we have already achieved in the first quarter of 2020, across the spectrum of key areas of our Community Strategic Plan.

Focus on the community: bright young minds shared ideas for innovative environmental projects at our Youth Summit. An enthusiastic crowd attended a NSW Seniors Festival Urban Bush Dance, while volunteers joined our working bee to craft pouches to aid the recovery of bushfire-injured wildlife. On Australia Day we welcomed new citizens and honoured community leaders.

Maintain character and manage growth: the launch of an ePlanning portal means all DAs for Hunter’s Hill Council area can be lodged online. Plans and strategies adopted or drafted include a Local Strategic Planning Statement, bushfire risk management plan, draft boat trailer parking policy and local infrastructure contribution plan paving the way for a $4million, five-year works program.

Manage and preserve the environment: volunteers collected 125 kilograms of rubbish and 30 kilograms of recyclables on Clean Up Australia Day in March at Gladesville and Riverglade reserves. Popular recreation area Woolwich Baths has benefited from maintenance works, while a drainage project at Boronia Park Oval 3 has enhanced this sporting and recreation site. Street sweeping is keeping neighbourhoods tidy, while pit cleaning works removed leaves, branches and other debris from storm water pits, helping prevent flooding during heavy rainfalls.

Making getting around easier: drivers in Hunters Hill can now pay for parking and top up from their phones, with the NSW Government’s Park’nPay app going live in our council area. Council delivered a footpath and traffic project in Reiby Road, outside Hunters Hill High School, in time for the start of the 2020 school year. Footpath upgrades and kerb and guttering projects have been taking place in locations including Collingwood Street, Ryde Road, The Avenue and Ferry Street, for which Council has received positive comments from a number of happy and satisfied local residents.

Leadership and governance: Council has hosted public hearings on the draft Boronia Park Plan of Management, as well as Transport for NSW and Sydney Ferries operator Transdev’s proposed changes to ferry timetables (subsequently cancelled due to councils’ and community feedback). Upgrades to Hunters Hill Town Hall are making it more accessible. Our work with other councils and organisations continues in areas such as bushfire recovery assistance, as well as our COVID-19 response and pandemic planning.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

Thank you to everyone for their compliance with the health advice and measures recently introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19, which we expect to be in place for some months. Together we are already making an impact!

Business as usual for us as an organisation means doing whatever we can to continue service delivery, while supporting the health and well-being of our staff and community and working in line with state and federal government directives.

In a matter of days and weeks, much work has already taken place to deal with the pandemic and take action for the benefit of our community, however and wherever we can.

This work is ever-evolving as we act swiftly on advice from other levels of government in relation to matters such as management of open spaces, planning and council meetings.

Key members of our staff meet remotely each day to manage the crisis response. All staff who can work remotely are doing so, with the exception of our Works Team and those in compliance, health and building divisions, who are following safe work methods.

We continue to support Sydney Community Services in its outreach to vulnerable residents who may be socially isolated, as well as making phone calls to check that members of our community have what they need and know we care.

Council is rolling out webinars to keep businesses connected and provide leisure and recreation activities for people to do at home. We will continue to investigate ways to address social isolation and mental health at this time, as well as providing up-to-date communications via our website, social media and through the support of The Weekly Times.

We are seeking to support local community organisations and businesses by waiving fees for outdoor dining, community centre hire and sporting field use to support groups and enterprises that have, until recently, used those facilities.

In the area of compliance and enforcement, we are continuing to take a ‘relaxed’ approach to the issuing of infringements. Compliance officers are giving warnings in relation to parking matters, where appropriate. The exceptions to this are where there are safety issues, blatant flouting of the rules or where we are responding to resident complaints about vehicles blocking sight lines or driveways.

We’ve also had positive feedback from local residents who recognise the difficult role our compliance team has, particularly at present, expressing appreciation in relation to the way in which they are managing this.

Most importantly, we want our community to remain informed and stay safe. The best way to do this is to adhere to government advice, particularly in relation to physical distancing and keep an eye on our website, www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au/covid19, for regular updates on everything from Council services, to resources for staying healthy at home. You can also sign up to our eNews and follow us on social media.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

 As our community adapts to the challenges presented by COVID-19, our priority at Hunter’s Hill Council continues to be the health and safety of our staff and residents.

We are working hard to balance the continued delivery of service with the welfare of all in our municipality and Council is responding rapidly in line with the ever-changing national and global situation.

In keeping with the scaled-up social distancing measures announced recently by State and Federal authorities, our outdoor playgrounds and skate parks are closed.

Exercise remains an important part of maintaining health and well-being during this time of social distancing. While Hunters Hill is fortunate to have so many outdoor recreation areas for all to enjoy, it’s important that restrictions on public gatherings, which have been reduced to a maximum of two people, excluding household members, are adhered to and that people are only heading out to exercise, not to congregate. If you do go out, please remember to stay 1.5 metres from other people at all times.

Our Customer Service Centre is not receiving ‘walk-ins’, our team continues to deliver service over the phone, via email and through our website.

We have also been checking in over the phone with calls to residents, in an effort to ensure everyone in our community has access to the services they need, especially the elderly or those self-isolating and unable to get supplies. Please contact our team on 9879 9400 if you know of anyone who need helps.

Most importantly, we want to keep our community informed. I would encourage you to sign up to our email newsletter and follow our social media pages, details of which can be found on our website: www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au.

Over Easter, please remember to stay home unless you are shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to employment in instances where you can’t work remotely.

While we continue to face many challenges, Easter is an opportunity to think of friends and family and of how we can continue to support those in need in our community.

It’s time to maximize your use of the ever-evolving world of remote social connection and make good use of your phone to keep yourself and others socially connected.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

What a challenging few months it’s been! Drought, fire, floods and now a virus which is having a worldwide impact.

Our ability to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will determine how quickly we can get back to normality. We need your help and I’m sure we’ll continue to support each other for as long as it takes.

The first priority of Hunter’s Hill Council is the health and well-being of our staff and residents and together we will get through this difficult time.

I’ve been very impressed by our staff’s dedication and urgent actions over the past few weeks to address the essential day-to-day issues, as well as the complexities surrounding COVID-19.

We’re receiving regular medical updates and we’ll keep you informed through our website: huntershill.nsw.gov.au/covid19

We are doing everything we can to ensure business continuity for our community.

Our staff are committed to supporting the community. Over the coming weeks, you might receive a call from one of our team, checking on your well-being and ensuring we have the best contact details to share any updates with you as efficiently as possible. 

If you’d like to get in touch with us, please call 9879 9400 or email customerservice@huntershill.nsw.gov.au

Council meetings

Council meetings are an important part of our organisation’s commitment to open and transparent governance.

Ordinary meetings of the Council are usually held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the Council Chamber at Hunters Hill Town Hall.

However, given State and Federal mandated restrictions, closures and social distancing requirements, we will be holding virtual meetings to allow Council to continue to function and make decisions on behalf of our community, while helping to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Hunter’s Hill Council already live streams meetings on our Facebook page, with videos available afterward on both Facebook and YouTube.

We will be taking additional measures in the coming months to hold Council meetings remotely, using audio visual links.

We will keep you informed closer to the next scheduled meeting date of April 27 as to how to watch the deliberations and decisions.

Please remember to limit your travel and keep physical contact with others to an absolute minimum.

Our mandated social landscape has changed dramatically with the aim of keeping infection rates to an absolute minimum. Please do everything that you can to support all of these initiatives.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, not only here in Hunters Hill, but across the nation and the globe, as all feel, if not directly, the flow-on effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is at times like these that we see the strength and resilience of our tight-knit Hunters Hill community at its best, working together (albeit in many cases remotely) to support each other.

At Hunter’s Hill Council, our focus continues to be on keeping our community and our staff safe and informed.

We are taking proactive and precautionary steps to ensure that essential Council services can continue to be delivered during any COVID-19 outbreak.

We have a small workforce, so minimising risk to frontline workers is in the best interests of being able to maintain service delivery to the community.

Council is encouraging the community to use online and phone services, rather than visit the Customer Service Centre in Alexandra Street.

If you are out in the community, please remember to maintain a 1.5 metre distance from others where possible, wash your hands and sneeze or cough in to a tissue or your elbow.

Most importantly, stay home if unwell.

Council is also working closely with our community allies to support those residents most in need.

Sydney Community Services is a central source for anyone in Hunters Hill or Lane Cove who either need to self-isolate or choose not to go outside if they worry they are at risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

The organisation has been putting together a database of people who are in isolation, as well as seeking volunteers who are able to help others who need emergency supplies, or even just give social contact through a phone link.

Sydney Community Services can be contacted via phone 9427 6425 or email support@sydneycs.org.

Residents of Hunters Hill who are self-isolating and do not have support can also contact Council via email customerservice@huntershill.nsw.gov.au or phone 9879 9400 for assistance with service provision.

As this situation is rapidly evolving, we are providing regular updates in our local newspaper The Weekly Times, through our Council website, social media channels and electronic newsletters.

Go to www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au/covid19 for relevant information as it comes to hand.

For more information on COVID-19, including updates, alerts and resources, please visit the COVID-19 page on the NSW Health website or the COVID-19 health alert page on the Federal Department of Health website.

Mark A. Bennett

Mayor of Hunters Hill

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Hunter’s Hill Council

22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400