Local Government Week 2020: Blue Mountains City Council serving our community
Local Government Week (August 3-9) is a good time to reflect on the past year and how Council has served the Blue Mountains community during unprecedented challenges.
The theme of this year’s Local Government Week – “Councils Do” – is an apt way of describing the broad range of activities Council has undertaken in 2019-2020.
Some of these include:
- Assisting residents prepare their properties for bush fires in December, by offering free extra chipping services; waiving the fee for green waste and adding additional weekly green bin collections.
- Supporting the Incident Management Team managing the bush fires by providing emergency service, communications and administrative staff, delivering bulk water carriers and preparing staging areas, and managing multiple road closures.
- Continuing to support communities in the upper mountains who were directly impacted by the fires. The Bush Fire Mayoral Relief Fund has so far raised almost $100,000 and distributed almost 100 payments.
- Assessing and coordinating ‘make safe’ tree removal works with the Rural Fire Service valued at nearly $480,000 – on public land managed by the Council and some high priority tree removal work on private land – following bush fires.
- Responding to more than a dozen significant landslip events across the City, following flooding in February 2020. We are currently working on the remediation of Cliff Drive, Leura, which resulted from a landslip from a private property onto public land.
- Launching programs like Good Neighbour including delivering hundreds of emergency food boxes and about 400 books to our most vulnerable residents, who were self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Implementing an outreach program to support small businesses across the City. We waived rents for tenants in Council buildings under commercial agreements for as long as needed; provided payment arrangements for ratepayers and businesses who are experiencing hardship; developed a ‘Recovery for Business’ web portal; and implemented the Love Local campaign.
- Adopting a target of becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2025. Council continues to support and advocate for initiatives that address climate change, as outlined in our Carbon Abatement Action Plan. We also took advantage of the recent closure of some community facilities, to finish the installation of solar panels at four more of our facilities
- Developing the Blue Mountains Local Strategic Planning Statement Blue Mountains 2040: Living Sustainably after extensive community consultation. Council’s long term land use plan aimed at ensuring the Blue Mountains local government area can respond in a locally appropriate way to the challenges and opportunities for the future.
- Planning for community infrastructure projects valued at $18.7 million, as part of the Western Parkland City Liveability Program. We asked the community about proposed upgrades at our District Parks, as well as at Blackheath village centre, Lawson Parklands and Springwood Library. Planning also got underway for the rejuvenation of Springwood town centre, development at Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre and upgrades of walking tracks at Knapsack Reserve.
- Embarking on a major upgrade at Echo Point, that will be completed in August 2020. It include the reopening of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, and development of a community amphitheatre, as well as the installation of evacuation signage, fixed and removable bollards and CCTV.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Rosemary Dillon said Local Government Week was the perfect time for people across the region to become more acquainted with the services offered by Council.
“We go far beyond roads, rates and rubbish to create a fantastic place to live, promote a healthy economy and build our community,” Dr Dillon said.
“We are committed to building a sustainable and successful future for the Blue Mountains.”
Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “This year has been particularly challenging for Blue Mountains residents, with a perfect storm of drought, bush fires, flooding and then a global pandemic.
“This has had a massive impact on our community, but I am particularly proud of the way Council has risen to each of these challenges.
“On many occasions Council worked closely with other levels of government and agencies to respond to those events and provide support, all the while continuing to manage day-to-day work for our City.”
For more information on how has supported the community during 2019-2020 go to bmcc.nsw.gov.au/YearInReview_2019to2020.
Photo: Blue Mountains City Council Chief Executive Officer Rosemary Dillon and Mayor Mark Greenhill with Council staff at Mount Wilson, following bush fires.