For those not able to attend the Tuross Head Progress Association meeting held on Feb 1st 2018
It was a very good attendance, possibly due to the publicity that heralded the Mayor and her entourage would be attending. Also in attendance as observers were Councillors Pat McGinlay and Anthony Mayne Following the opening and welcome by Chairman Gary Cooper the Mayor took the floor saying that she hoped there would be regular meetings and that we would be able to have good relations and outcomes in 2018.
She congratulated the THPA committee saying it was “a productive and an exceptional committee” that was producing results with notable mention of John Tilbrook who “is doing a good job and bringing good results for Tuross.”
The Mayor then spoke more broadly stating that in the first twelve months of Council it has had to develop programs and policies. This has been a learning curve and an enormous workload for a fantastic Council that consists of diverse views with mutual respect, and this reflects the community.
“At the moment the focus is on the north of the Shire with a new aquatic and cultural centre. This is being funded by grants, and an application has been made and we will know the result by the end of February.”
“There is contention about the size of the swimming pool, while we would like a larger size there is a problem with the funds. The burden of the cost cannot be imposed on the whole community, but Council is trying to have a good range of aquatic facilities to suit older people, those to learn to swim, water play for disabled children, and a water slide. We want a multipurpose facility for the community, including a hall that can be used as a theatre with the appropriate lighting and seating for 500 people.”
“The new Bateman’s Bay bridge will have a major impact. There are more people coming south so there is a need to plan and anticipate so that we have a good outcome with the appropriate infrastructure.”
“There is a vision for Bateman’s Bay’s future. The same could be done for Tuross by forming an informal committee to determine what we want for the future and develop a master plan so that a we are masters of our own destiny.”
“We are delighted that the General Manager & CEO, Dr Catherine Dale, is staying on having agreed to a four-year term as General Manager.”
“The Moruya Library is to be expanded to allow for up to 80 art exhibitions a year.”
There was discussion from the floor about a new boat ramp showing some frustration from the fishing fraternity, with the lack of an adequate response from Council to requests for advice on grants applications, given that it is a maritime village with an emphasis on fishing. The Mayor said that Council is aware of what Tuross Head wants and they can be included in the plan. To this the Mayor was reminded that the priorities it might have for the whole of shire kept bumping Tuross towards the bottom as other more pressing priorities came up in the more populated towns and that with Council’s continued focus on the main centres small towns like Tuross were being left behind. It was made very clear to the Mayor and her entourage that Tuross Head is very much reliant on tourism to support its local businesses and to provide employment. It was stated at the meeting that currently most boats are too large to be launched at the Nelson Parade ramp, so fishers are now preferring to avoid Tuross Lake and instead launch their vessels at Moruya and Narooma. This means they are not spending their money in the township (fuel, bait, fishing gear, food, accommodation and clubbing to support local businesses)
The primary issue on the table is that the dredging of Nelson Parade launching site is only effective for short durations and that much better utilisation of annual expenditure of $16k for dredging the Nelson Boat Ramp might be better spent to benefit fishers. It was then that the Community endorsed Option 1 for a new boatramp being built opposite Lake Street was raised and that Council had a very well known history of not applying for Fishing Trust grants with the example that recently Bega Shire gained $1.2m for fishing infrastructure of jetties, fishing platforms and the like while Council secured $300,000 that it spent on carparks adjacent to boatramps with no provision The recreational fishing fraternity in Tuross led by the THFC are very keen to see some positive action, or at least intent on the part of Council to seek and make submissions for grants funding opportunities from any available avenues with the aim of achieving the long awaited staged implementation and delivery of the mooted new all-season boat ramp, jetty, fish cleaning facilities and car and boat trailer parking at Kyla Park Broadwater.
It was then that the meeting learned of Council’s reluctance to pursue grants for new infrastructure because the grants did not come with any contribution to the ongoing maintenance that would be a burden to ratepayers. The meeting were advise by a community member that the State Government has told the Tuross head community on several occasions that there are funds for such projects, broken down into development stages to enable grants funding bids, and there will be further discussions in September or August. THPA member Andrew Gordon told the Mayor that he had written in considerable detail to Council and then received a phone call from the Director of Engineering of which he was most dissatisfied. He then wrote t the Mayor of his encounter and his dissatisfaction advising the Mayor that he expected a response from her however the reply came from the very same Director he had written to the Mayor about. Andrew asked the question “Was the Mayor not capable of writing her own letters?” Andrew Gordon wrote to the Fisheries Minister and the reply was in the same vein as the Warren Sharpe response. In short the lake in the vicinity of the Nelson Parade boat ramp is shallow, and the area around Lavender Bay is OK for Kayaks – but unsuitable for the type of recreational fishing vessels, which is why Tuross head need an all seasons boat ramp, such as that proposed for Kyla Park.
The Mayor in response said that it was appropriate to approach officers on technical matters. Warren Sharpe is the Director of Infrastructure and he provides informed advice from that standpoint. He is not a Counsellor. The new Council have had to continue with the policies that the previous Council had decided on for the long term projects. Council has to look at the distribution of ratepayers funds over the whole Shire. Dredging of sand from around the Nelson Parade boat ramp prior to Christmas each year is the immediate solution at a cost of $15k. The Mayor finished with ..”do not despair as Council is willing to reprioritise”.
The Mayor concluded her address at 15.15 pm and she and her entourage left. The Councillors remained. The meeting returned to the Agenda items.
John Tilbrook stated that there are now 147 members of the THPA. This number includes 2 new members he recruited in January, plus 2 new member enrolments who signed up at today’s 1 Feb 18 meeting (Max Castle THFC and Stephen Hodge THCC). There would have been about 155 members, but the THPA membership has dwindled by 8 members since the same time last year due to the passing of four members with others relocating to other areas and to retirement homes.
Kyla Park Picnic Naming of Reserve
There are four aboriginal groups contesting what the name should be. This matter will be debated in the week 12-16 Feb 18 by the Eurobodalla Aboriginal Advisory Group in Council chaired by Aboriginal elder – Trish Ellis.
Nelson Parade Boat Ramp
There is still limited depth despite the dredging, and boat trailer parking is bad. There is need for improvement. The local state member (Minister Andrew Constance) has been agitating for funds. We have been told that Kyla Park launch site on Tuross Lake is the designated site, and has been known for 10 years.
There is no funding for the actual infrastructure. Comments from the THPA audience was that a representative of the State Government (Maritime & Fisheries) had said that the on-going maintenance costs for a new boat ramp, properly constructed, was low cost and the State Government would use fishing funds for maintenance. Max Castle & Andrew Gordon conveyed the clear message that the Fishers are not getting value for their annual fishing license fees, and that the Eurobodalla Shire receives a very low percentage of the funds from fishing licenses compared with the neighboring Bega Shire. The system is not working. The Eurobodalla Shire Council does not appear to be applying for funds under the 1st and 2nd round of available grants funding to improve fishing facilities which is sorely needed as a higher priority to extending car/boat trailer parking. The Mayor said that she was happy to have another look.
It was suggested from the floor that the overall design for the proposed new boat ramp and facilities at Kyla Park was a gold-plated project, that could easily be divided into separate development stages so that Tuross could complete for grants funding. In summing up the new boat ramp to launch into the Tuross Lake broad water is considered to be critical for the Tuross economy. There is not enough agitation on the part of Council.
There are not enough footpaths in Tuross, older people with scooters have to use the road. Other towns have footpaths. The walkway is not enough and it does not reach most people.
John Tilbrook stated that a submission outlining the priorities for new footpaths for connectively across both sides of the Town had been included in the Eurobodalla Footpaths Strategy and provided details for Priority 1 and Priority 2.
The Mayor said there had to be a strategy to give a fair, hence the Eurobodalla Pathways Strategy called for submissions from right across the Shire. It was asked by Dee Meek why our rates were not used instead of grants for shared pathways. The Mayor stated that Local Government only receive 3% of the national tax. “If there is an opportunity to gain funds from the State or Federal Governments, we would make an application, and this can be supported by the strategy document now in place.” The General Manager (Catherine Dale) for some reason, as if to prove a point that Tuross Head did receive money from the budget, read out the expenditure on reconstruction, maintenance works, stormwaters etc from the Annual Report as if to placate the meeting saying Council had spent funds in Tuross however those in the room were well aware that the works she spoke of were not of any NEW infrastructure and everyone knew Council hadn't spent anything of note on footpaths for a very long tie. The General Managers attempt to prove otherwise with her list was seen for what it was, smoke and mirrors, to the question of why other areas have footpaths installed by Council where Tuross Head has had to basically raise the funds for the majority of paths in the town. No satisfactory answer was given and they just kept referring to the Priority List that gets revised every couple of years. "That just amounts to a sack of nothing for Tuross Head" cam one response from the floor.
The issue of the “Missing Link” (the unmade dirt section of the shared cycle/walk alongside the Coila Lake foreshore) was raised. Rather than leave it to the Developer as planned, this at the meeting agreed the Tuross community should be allowed to “do it ourselves”, and using the current route as walkers prefer to avoid slopes and hills, this way it will not encroach into the planned residential development which has been mothballed for more than a decade, meanwhile the is NO other pedestrian pathway connecting both sides of Town.
Signs on Hector McWilliam adjacent to Golf Course.
Council had said there had to be a DA submitted for the erection of the THCC sign and the Motel signboard erected on the edge of the Golf Course nearing the end of H.Mc.W Drive (Council owned property LEASED TO THE THCC). The manager of the THCC (Stephen Hodge) has been negotiation with the planning section at Council who insist on the submission of a DA for the two signs, with Council advising that even though a DA is required to be submitted, there is no guarantee that it would be approved. In the meantime, the Council staff have written to the owners of the two signs, demanding that they be taken down and removed immediately. What was revealed was the absolute double standard that exists with Council allowing promotion signs on the Moruya Golf Course which is community land leased from the Crown and a host of illegal signs across the Shire yet choosing to use bullying tactics based on a sole complaint to remove the sign of a course sponsor.
The meeting as a whole was quite adamant that Council will need to be uniform in how it treats any “non-approved” sign such as those at the Moruya Golf Club if they are going to press for the removal of that sign.
The Mayor concluded by saying that we need to work on the communication keep up to date. Highway Intersection
The RMS is awaiting the allocation of $100K from the Commonwealth, and there will be a telephone conference this week. Not all vehicles are observing the new STOP Sign, but given the addition of a concrete median strip, this will prevent all vehicles from cutting the corner when entering and exiting H.Mc.W Drive against high speed on-coming traffic. The Deputy Mayor promised to take the matter back to the Transport Committee.
Kyla Park Hall
The rain water tank for storing fire-fighting water supply will be considered by Council if approached by the Kyla Hall Management Committee.
Street Directory Signage
The additional direction Signs from the Allenby T intersection to the shopping centre were finally erected on 31 Jan 18.
Shops car park
There has been no information from the Shopping Centre owners/Landlord about the deplorable state of the carpark surface. Council has no jurisdiction as it is privately owned land.
Recreational Vehicle (RV) Sewerage Dump points
It was suggested that there should be a dumping point to encourage RV’s and caravans to visit Tuross as a RV Friendly Destination. This type of tourist promotion has a success in other areas. Historically this has always been opposed by local caravan park owners as it would damage the business of these existing camping parks. It was noted that Council has not removed the illegal signs at Lavender Bay that say that there can be no dogs (even on leads) and there is no camping or overnight stay.
The signs illegally erected by Council to discourage overnight visitors and keep dogs away from the Lavender Bay area. Both have no legal authority and tickets can't be issued for "contravention"
The meeting was advised that this section of public “reserve” is actually public road from Nelson Parade property boundaries right to the highwater mark and that the signs are in fact erected illegally by Council in an attempt to deceptively intimidate overnight visitors allowed to legally “use” their vehicles for overnight if they chose under LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1993 - SECT 632. And the NO DOG sign is contrary to the Companion Animal Act where you can take your dog on a lead on a Public Road. The beach area of Lavender Bay and the Lavender Bay sandflats adjacent HAVE NOT been identified by Council as a NO DOG area. It was put to the meeting that both signs MUST be removed by Council as soon as possible before a ranger inadvertently issues a ticket only to find that they have no legal right to do so.
Meeting concluded at 3.30 pm.
Next meeting 1 March 2018