Blue Mountains City Council’s End of Term Report 2016-2021 highlights achievements
The outgoing Council has delivered its End of Term Report 2016-2021, highlighting achievements over the last five years and the delivery of improved core services to the community.
The report is a legally required document by the outgoing Council to provide an update on progress of the City towards achieving its social, environmental, economic and civic objectives in line with the Blue Mountains Community Strategic Plan.
The report was presented at the last meeting of the outgoing Council, on 30 November.
Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “It’s important that we recognise the achievements of this Council term. These achievements were realised despite many unforeseen challenges.
“Throughout investigations, bushfires, flood and the pandemic, the Council has continued to deliver core services. We have had the largest ever expenditure on capital works in the City.
“We have also been recognised both nationally and internationally, especially for progress towards our ambitious sustainability goals.”
Highlights of the End of Term Report 2016-2021 include:
- Cooperating fully, over a period of three years, with the Public Inquiry into Blue Mountains City Council, which ultimately found that we are on the path to being an exemplar in the management of asbestos.
- Realising an improved financial position and reducing debt by more than $20 million.
- Declaring a climate emergency, reducing Council’s carbon footprint by 25% over four years, and joining the Cities Power Partnership.
- Celebrating our 20th year as a City within a World Heritage Area.
- Adopting a Statement of Recognition and Commitment, acknowledging the strong partnership between Council and Gundungurra and Dharug Traditional Owners.
- Resolving to integrate Rights of Nature principles into Council operations.
- Supporting our community through the devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020 and the subsequent recovery.
- Responding to extreme flood events in February 2020 and March 2021 that caused multiple landslips across the City.
- Committing to establishing a Planetary Health Leadership Centre in Katoomba.
- Completing significant upgrades to sporting facilities, district parks, emergency management capabilities and visitor facilities across the City. This includes:
- The new Echo Point – Gathering Place
- New Rural Fire Service stations at Shipley, Lawson and Blaxland and state-of-the-art technology installed in the Blue Mountains Emergency Operations Centre.
- New clubhouse at Pitt Park, Wentworth Falls and upgrades to parking areas at Knapsack Oval, Lapstone Oval and Warrimoo Oval
- Four new adult change facilities, in line with the Disability Inclusion Action Plan
- New boardwalk, viewing platform and playground at Wentworth Falls Lake
- New Visitor Information Centre at Glenbrook
- Upgrades and reopening of the Katoomba Falls Reserve night-lit walk.
- Rolling out $18.7 million of new projects through the Western Parkland Liveability Program, including:
- Upgrades to our four district parks in Blackheath, Wentworth Falls, Springwood and Glenbrook
- rejuvenation of Blackheath and Springwood town centres
- redevelopment of Springwood Library
- upgrades to the Katoomba outdoor pool precinct
- new facilities for Lawson Parklands and the Scenic Eastern Escarpment
- upgrades to pedestrian infrastructure at Wentworth Falls and Lawson.
- Advocating for the Blue Mountains in response to major State and Commonwealth Government proposals such as:
- the Western Sydney Airport
- the raising of Warragamba Dam wall, and
- the expansion of the Great Western Highway
- Supporting the local business community via the Mayoral Reference Group for Blue Mountains Businesses, and
- Supporting the recovery of wildlife following bushfires, with the Wildlife Recovery Mayoral Reference Group.
With regard to the services Council provides to our community every day:
- In the four years to June 2020, Council resealed 50 km of roads, equating to 7.5% of the sealed road network.
- Since 2016, there have been 80 bus stops upgraded to improve safety and accessibility.
- Over the four years to June 2020, Council allocated $175,000 in funding to local artists and organisations through the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust grants program.
- Ticket sales at Blue Mountains Theatre reached a record high of almost 30,000 in 2018- 2019, before the impacts of COVID-19.
- Council libraries annually process more than half a million library loans and answer around 40,000 information requests.
- Council-supported conservation programs such as Bushcare, Landcare, Trackcare and Swampcare contributed more than 33,000 volunteer hours to environmental regeneration and restoration over the period 2016 to 2020.
- Council’s environmental educators have engaged more than 25 local schools and 3,500 students in hands-on environmental learning activities through the Connecting Kids with Nature program.
- Council has increased engagement with the business community and launched a monthly e-newsletter that now has more than 4,000 subscribers
- The Love Local campaign has reached an audience of more than 3.2 million people.
- On average, over the last four years, we have also answered more than 80,000 calls and served more than 50,000 customers each year through our Customer Service Centres.