Residents from across the Coast rallied at the entrance to Council's Gosford chambers tonight, pushing as one for the local government body to prioritise habitat protection as the region rapidly develops.
The 50 or so who turned out represented a range of local issues, including the railyards being constructed at Kangy Angy, a residential development sleighted for 64 hectares of Glenning Valley, plans for an underground coal mine near Wyong and the impending sale of 48 hectares of wetlands in Davistown.
While their battles were separate, all those present got behind the push for Council to adopt an 'Integrated Urban Tree Policy' - to compel developers to include new or protect existing trees in any new proposals.
The gathering proved the ultimate hopes of these residents campaigning to preserve the peaceful lifestyle and environment of their separate suburbs have neatly aligned.
Katriona MacKenzie from "Save Wyong Trees", is now hoping Council can find a similar harmony with its development policies.
"There is no reason why we can't have development and provide for green and open spaces at the same time. The trouble is there's always this imbalance that tends to favour development," Ms MacKenzie said.
"The more buildings we have at the loss of green spaces, it actually leads to higher levels of crime, disconnection and dissatisfaction in the community."
Mayor Jane Smith and her Deputy Chris Holstein ultimately came out to receive the crowd, Ms Smith revealing the design for the much-anticipated upgrade to Langford Drive has been redesigned to save three mature trees. She also promised a review of Council's existing environmental policies.
Directly after, at the meeting, Council reaffirmed its opposition to the Wallarah 2 Coal Project.
At the meeting:
Council to review future of Central Coast Airport
Council will receive a briefing on a detailed Masterplan for the development of the Central Coast Airport, and will consider whether the Masterplan is publicly exhibited at its next Ordinary Meeting.
Liberal Councillor Troy Marquart initially moved an amendment that all works continue, but this was voted down.
Council further requested the Department of Planning be invited to provide a briefing to Councillors on options for the Airport.
Councillors will also be provided with a briefing on the proposed strategic development of the Wyong Economic Zone prior to the November 27 meeting.
The Council also requested the Chief Executive Officer make available to the public, including on Council's website, all information concerning the WEZ that can be made available. If documents are unable to be provided then the reasons for doing so be reported to the Council.
Council further requested the proactive release of documents be completed prior to the final meeting of the Council on 18 December 2017.
Process for appointing members to Mangrove Mountain Committee decided on
Councillor positions have been confirmed and Expressions of Interest called for community stakeholder members of the recently established Mangrove Mountain and Spencer Advisory Committee.
Councillors Holstein, Marquart and Mehrtens will sit alongside Mayor Jane Smith as Council’s official representatives on the Committee. Other Councillors who wish to sit on the Committee have been invited to also nominate.
Community stakeholder positions will be filled by way of a public EOI process, facilitated by the Chief Executive Officer and reported back to the next Council meeting.
Decision on meeting schedule deferred
Council unanimously deferred the public exhibition of an amended Code of Meeting Practice, which included revised meeting dates and time, to consider different options on how to make important decisions in the best interests of its community.
The proposed amended Code included 11 Council meetings a year to be held on a Monday (fourth of the month except December when it is third) and four new Committees be established. Outspoken Councillor Greg Best has described the idea as a joke.
Change in Open Pile Burning Policy to go out on exhibition
Council is looking to consolidate its policy for open pile burning across the Central Coast to enable landowners to be able to better manage dead vegetation on their properties.
Under the draft policy, Landowners will be self-regulated and be allowed to burn one pile of vegetation on their land at any one time without a permit. The vegetation must be dry or dead and generated from the land where the pile is burnt.
Permits will still be required from RFS during the bushfire season which is set between 1 October to 31 March.