Largest capital works budget and plans for future growth adopted

Kempsey Shire Council

Several key planning documents were presented to Council at the June Meeting including the 2023-24 budget and plans to accommodate the projected growth in the shire.

The ordinary meeting was held in Council Chambers from 9am on Tuesday 26 June 2023.

For a full outline of the meeting, the discussion points and supporting documentation, please refer to Council meeting agendas & minutes.

The meeting was also live-streamed via Council’s YouTube page.

Vale Joy McKean

A tribute was given by Leo Hauville to honour the memory of Joy McKean, who peacefully passed away on 25 May 2023. Councillors and staff observed a minute of silence to pay their respects to her.

Councillors and staff celebrate Pride

Councillor Ring organised tie-dyed Baylin’s Gift and It’s OK on the Macleay shirts for councillors and executive staff to show support for Pride Month and promote equality and inclusion for LGBTIQ individuals.

Reviewing priority list for bitumen sealing of Spooners Avenue

Councillors agreed to review the priority list, with a specific focus on placing Spooners Avenue as the top priority due to recent resident concerns.

A comprehensive assessment will be conducted, considering factors such as traffic count, road usage, and conditions.

Any changes will be reported in a future meeting.

Sustainable investment key discussion at NSW Local Roads Congress

Mayor Hauville gave a report on the Local Roads Congress at NSW Parliament on 5 June.

The congress is held annually to address issues for road safety and betterment.

Councillors resolved to express full support of the communique and for Council to write to federal and state members for action on these issues.

Local Traffic Committee

Councillors noted the minutes and adopted the recommendation from the Local Traffic Committee meeting on 6 June 2023.

$120 million of capital works coming in 2023-24

Councillors adopted a vital body of work for the coming financial year in the form of the 2023-24 Operational Plan.

The adopted suite of planning and reporting documents were placed on public exhibition from 21 April to 21 May and we thank all who read the documents and commented.

During the 2023-24 financial year, a large capital works program amounting to almost $120 million will be delivered across the shire.

This program will encompass the construction of various new and replacement assets, facilities, and infrastructure.

There are a huge number of projects including:

  • Continued multi-million-dollar investment in maintaining and improving the shire’s road network
  • Continuing to deliver the Fixing Country Bridges Program
  • Significant investment in implementation of Council’s Waste Masterplan
  • Progression of major water and sewer infrastructure projects including:
  • Stuarts Point Sewerage Scheme,
  • Central Kempsey Wastewater Treatment Plan,
  • Crescent Head Water Treatment Plant,
  • Steuart McIntyre Dam Water Treatment Plant,
  • Willawarrin Water Treatment Plant,
  • Bellbrook Water Treatment Plant and
  • Clybucca Reservoir Refurbishment.
  • Riverside Park Foreshore and riverbank stabilisation
  • Kempsey Regional Saleyards infrastructure upgrade
  • Macleay Valley Coast Holiday Parks maintenance and improvements
  • Implementation of the Verge/Eden Street sports complex masterplan
  • Horseshoe Bay headland carpark and walkway as part of the masterplan implementation
  • Kemp Street Sporting Complex upgrades

The adoption of this plan reflects the council’s commitment to addressing critical infrastructure needs and improving the overall development of the shire in the upcoming financial year.

Rates increase

While conscious of the present cost-of-living crisis and the wider financial pressures in our community, Councillors approved a general rate increase of 3.7% as well as increases to specific levies, including a significant increase of approximately 13% to the sewer levy.

The sewer levy increase comes after a jump in the estimate for essential sewer capital program planned for the next 10 years in light of increased costs. The program is now estimated to cost almost $250 million, including the Central Kempsey Wastewater Treatment Plant project, which is now estimated to have a total project cost of approximately $150 million.

The decision to raise rates and levies was not taken lightly. Council also committed to measures to improve the financial position.

Council faces a huge financial challenge where we need to deliver services and infrastructure across a massive land area while ensuring a financially safe future under severe economic pressure.

Council also faces numerous financial pressures including rising costs of materials, labour and interest rates.

Councillors highlighted their support for Council to undertake a rate review from July to November to identify and address anomalies in the current structure.

This is in addition to significant measures that have been taken over the last five years to address Council’s financial sustainability.

The coming year will also see Council continue to focus on delivering continuous business improvements as part of the Financial Sustainability, Internal Audit and Service Review programs. This includes ongoing investigation into a special rate variation.

These investigations are fundamental to ensuring Council continues to meet the expectations of the community in a financially sustainable way over the long term. Council has committed to ongoing communication with the community on the issue in the months to come.

Your town’s character locked in

Council adopted the draft Local Growth Management Strategy, a crucial document outlining how population growth will be planned for over the next 20 years.

The process of creating this document began in June 2022, with the community invited to share their feedback and ideas regarding the aspects they value in their town. The aim was to protect natural and cultural assets while accommodating the anticipated growth.

Having been adopted by Council, the Local Growth Management Strategy will now be submitted to NSW Planning for approval. This step ensures that the strategy aligns with the broader planning framework and meets the necessary requirements for implementation.

South West Rocks Structure Plan continues final tweaks

During the meeting, Councillors engaged in a constructive discussion regarding the South West Rocks Structure Plan. Taking into account the valuable input provided by the community and thorough examination by the councillors, it was decided to defer the final decision until July to allow for further discussion.

The purpose of this plan is to address the needs arising from the projected population growth in the South West Rocks area. According to forecasts, an additional 1,582 dwellings will be required in the area by 2041.

The development of this plan commenced in January 2022, with the public being invited to contribute their perspectives on how to sustainably support the anticipated growth. The draft plan was made available for public exhibition from 1 February to 14 March 2023, allowing interested parties to review and provide feedback on the proposed strategies.

By deferring the decision, Council aims to ensure that all viewpoints are considered and that the final plan aligns with the aspirations and requirements of the community while addressing the challenges posed by future growth.

Contributions Plan adopted

Councillors adopted the Kempsey Local Infrastructure Contributions Plan.

Developer contributions are payments made by developers to enable Council to provide public amenities and services required for new residents and businesses.

The key purpose of the review was to make the plans easier to implement, monitor, report on and easier to review and update in the future.

This plan was on exhibition throughout February 2023 for public comment with majority of respondents happy for Council to adopt the strategy.

Kempsey Airport Master Plan takes flight

Councillors adopted the 20-year plan for Kempsey Airport, making two key changes:

  • Relocation of fuel facility: The plan includes moving the fuel facility away from active runways to improve safety.
  • Council review before terminal demolition: A report will be presented to the council for their review before proceeding with the demolition of the airport terminal.

Short Term Rental Accommodation Strategy

Councillors noted the content in this report and will consider the feasibility of preparing a social and affordable housing strategy to source housing supply, demands and affordability within the 2024-25 OP DP.

Furthermore, Council agreed to purchase an additional module on the .id community demographic resource website. This module will provide detailed information on housing diversity, affordability, and construction within the Local Government Area (LGA). This decision aims to enhance understanding of the housing situation in the area and support informed decision-making regarding housing-related matters.

Order of Business considered in open session

10.1 Integrated Planning and Reporting 2023-24

10.2 Making of Rates and Annual Charges

10.3 Loan Borrowings

10.4 Draft Local Growth Management Strategy

10.5 South West Rocks Structure Plan

10.6 Kempsey Local Infrastructure Contributions Plan

10.7 Draft Kempsey Airport Master Plan 2042

10.8 Works on Private Land

10.9 Short Term Rental Accommodation Strategy

10.10 Greenhill Lookout Concept Design

10.11 Statement of Cash and Investments – May 2023

/Public Release. View in full here.