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Wrap-up of the June 23 Ordinary Council Meeting

Catch up on the June 23 Ordinary Council Meeting here:


View the agenda  (PDF 17.4MB)
View the attachments (PDF 26.3MB)

Highlights of the June 23 Ordinary Council Meeting

Pros and cons for reducing number of councillors
An important constitutional referendum will be held in conjunction with the September 4 Local Government election which will require residents to vote on whether the number of councillors should be reduced from eleven to nine. 
Some reasons for and against have been identified, with reasons for including cost savings, quality of representation over quantity, and increased efficiency. Some reasons against include a possible reduction in effective representation, it may be difficult for a smaller group of councillors to understand such a large geographical area and support the current number of community advisory committees, and community access to councillors could be reduced.
To view the full list of reasons for and against reducing the number of councillors, read page 8 of the agenda. (PDF 17.4MB)

Big Chill Festival to return in 2022
Following a successful inaugural event last month, as shown in the post event report, councillors have embraced the return of the festival next year. 
This year’s event saw 2900 attendees, 29 trade vendors, and 21 barbecue competitors. 
The post event report that was presented to councillors recommends a number of key suggestions for future festivals, including what worked well this year and what could have been improved.
To read the full post event report, see page 45 of the meeting attachments. (PDF 26.3MB)

Sports projects endorsed
Council will apply for Stronger Country Community (SCCF) Round 4 funding for two sports related projects identified at the May Sports Council Committee meeting. Council will apply for:
- Lynches Road netball courts lighting installation - $380,000
- Jack Vallance Oval (JVO) upgrade - field renovation and lighting installation - $400,000 

The remaining $908,744 of allocated SCCF R4 funding will go towards the following community-led projects:
- Narwan Eels Rugby League and Sporting Club to apply for approximately $400,000 for the installation of additional field lighting at the Newling Oval sporting fields.
- North Armidale Tennis Club to apply for approximately $140,000 for the upgrade of two existing clay courts to two synthetic grass courts at the North Armidale Tennis Complex.
- Hillgrove Progress Association to apply for approximately $380,000 for the redevelopment of two old clay/grass tennis courts to 2 synthetic multi-use sporting courts, including fencing, at the Hillgrove Recreation Ground and Tennis Courts.
- Armidale Riding Club to apply for approximately $280,000 to build a new amenities block including canteen, training and administration space for Armidale Riding Club, Riding for the Disabled NSW, Showjumping Club and Armidale Horse and Pony Club, at the Armidale Equestrian centre.
- Armidale District Cricket Association to apply for approximately $110,000 to complete the final stage of the Indoor Cricket Training Facility at Armidale Sportsground.

Improved DA turnaround times results in grant funding
Council will receive $3 million in grant funding for the restoration of a section of Dumaresq Creek in the CBD as a result of the Development and Strategic Planning staff successfully achieving assessment targets, completing the Local Strategic Planning Statement and an additional two nominated Planning Proposals.
A total of 299 Development Applications and Complying Development Certificates have been processed to date this financial year, with the average approval time for DAs being 34 days, and just five days for Complying Development Certificates.

Koala Management Strategy endorsed
During the Koala Management Strategy’s public exhibition period, twelve submissions were received with nine respondents in support or mostly in support. The strategy aims to assist Council and the community to understand the factors impacting the koala population in our region and the strategies proposed to protect the species.
To view the strategy and the submissions received, see page 51 of the meeting attachments (PDF 26.3MB).

Community groups the winners
The following nine community groups will receive a $5000 grant from the NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund community led grants:
1. Ben Lomond Landcare Group
2. Armidale Veteran Golfers Association
3. Bald Blair Public School P&C Association
4. Armidale Gymnastics Club
5. Lower Creek LAC
6. Chandler School P&C
7. Ebor Public P&C
8. Armidale Family Support Service
9. Armidale Community Radio Inc.

Measures to be taken to improve accessibility in the region
Disability groups and individuals will now be notified 14 days prior to works commencing to reduce impact on those living with a disability, following a request from the Access Advisory Committee. 
Council will also explore the need for accessibility works to be undertaken on Council owned land near the Equestrian Centre on Kirkwood Street in Armidale where the Riding for Disabled Program is based.

Key facilities to receive upgrades
The Sports Council development levy fund will pay for the following:
- Rologas cricket storage shed - $8000
- Armidale Sportsground replacement of electronic scoreboard - $15,000
- Armidale Sportsground extension of Armidale District Cricket Association clubhouse - $10,000

We want your views…
A number of policies have been placed on public exhibition and can be viewed via Council’s Your Say website. Hard copies can be viewed at the Guyra and Armidale Council offices. 

 The policies on public exhibition are:
- Draft Financial Reserves Policy – This policy is a requirement of the Performance Improvement Order and defines Council’s restricted cash reserves, establishes a policy position for unrestricted cash, and sets out the requirements that must be met for any new reserves to be established.
- Draft Urban Streetscape Policy – This policy has been updated to include Guyra and other villages within the LGA, and  provides best practice standards for the selection, placement and establishment of street trees, as well as pruning, risk and asset management, tree valuations and how Council manages public tree issues.
- Draft Memorials Policy - The purpose of this policy is to provide a clear, transparent and consistent process for the approval of a memorial on public land.
- Draft Cemeteries Operations Management Policy
- Draft Acceptance of Waste from Outside of Armidale Regional Council's Local Government Area Policy

The policy push continues
A number of policies were adopted following their public exhibition period and can be viewed via the policy register on Council’s website.
The adopted policies are:
- Community Leasing Policy – this policy provides a framework for Council to determine the eligibility of community groups to occupy Council owned and managed land and buildings.
- Asset Management Policy – this provides staff with a clear direction and framework to follow when managing and renewing Council owned assets. This will help Council to achieve its strategic goals and meet community needs. 
- Corporate Banner and Flag Pole Sponsorship Policy – this policy outlines conditions to be met when displaying banners and flags around the Armidale CBD.
- Public Art Policy 

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