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October ordinary council meeting wrap-up

Changes to water restrictions approved

Council approved Level 1 (Low) Water Restrictions be implemented when total water storage was at 90% and Level 2 (Moderate) Water Restrictions when total storage is 80%. The Drought Management Plan (DMP) was subject to widespread industry and community consultation and, Mayor Coupland, said while he was reticent to develop “policy on the run” he had spoken to community members on the land and consulted with Council Staff in relation to the matter. While he said the water levels at dams remained healthy, he would rather be accused of going too early on water restrictions than too late. It was carried unanimously that Council; a. move to Level 1 Water Restrictions when total dam storage is 90%; b. move to Level 2 Water Restrictions when total dam storage is 80%. It was also agreed to investigate a subsidised rainwater tank program.

Renewable Energy Framework adopted

The Renewable Energy Community Benefit Framework has been adopted by Council and it was also agreed at the Ordinary Council Meeting that it would review the Renewable Energy Benefit Sharing Framework within one year of adoption. Council has also endorsed the concept of a “Future Fund” governed by a Board of Guardians and a Community Benefit Panel to be established to manage, invest and distribute contributions from renewable energy planning agreements.

Changes to Keeping of Animals Policy to go on display

Council has agreed to put on exhibition the proposed changes to the Keeping of Animals Policy. This Policy aims to maintain residential amenity and minimise the nuisance effects associated with the keeping of animals in urban areas. The inclusion of “Tom” turkeys into the Prohibited area is based on complaints received regarding the noise created by these animals. Tom or male turkeys are notorious for being noisy (gobbling) at all hours of the day and whenever anything outside of the norm is occurring in their general vicinity. Tom turkeys can be placed in a similar context as roosters which generally create noise complaints within residential areas. Including Tom turkeys into the Prohibited category would assist Council with not only providing solid advice to the community around the keeping of animals within residential areas but also provide a framework around the enforcement of the policy to avoid or minimise complaints regarding noise associated with animals in a Residential area.

Pecuniary interest matters approved

The Disclosures of Pecuniary Interest and Other Matters by designated persons lodged for the 12 months ending 30 June 2023 was approved by Councillors. The Model Code of Conduct states designated officers are required to disclose their personal interests in publicly available returns of interest. These operate as a key transparency mechanism for promoting community confidence in Council decision making, whether by Councillors or by staff or others under delegation. All designated officers are required to lodge their return with the General Manager by 30 September each year. Council has identified 46 designated persons including Councillors, as at the 30 September 2023.

Council win Risk Management Awards

Armidale Regional Council has been successful at the recent Risk Management Excellence Awards for NSW. It was the category winner in the Strategic and Enterprise Risk - Rural, Regional and County Councils and overall winner in the Rural, Regional and County Councils category. Mayor Coupland said Risk Management at Council was continuing to develop and will remain an area of focus. The awards recognise the achievements of Council and the success of the turnaround strategy, culture strategy and risk management roadmap.

Public Interest Disclosure Policy amendments on display

Council has approved for public exhibition amendments to the Public Interest Disclosure Policy. The existing Public Interest Disclosure Policy is no longer current as it is based on the requirements of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994, which is no longer in effect. Councillors endorsed the public exhibition of the draft Public Interest Disclosure Policy for a period of 28 days.

Road reserve realignments to go ahead

Council has approved the realignment of Wards Mistake Road reserves at the crossing of Gara River and the granting of authority to the General Manager to undertake all necessary actions and approval to complete this process. Council notes the proposed sale of the two Crown lots being Lot 209 DP755824 and Lot 70022 DP94112, to the adjoining owners from The Crown to the adjoining landowners at the landowners cost. It has endorsed the relocation of Wards Mistake Road reserves to the current bridge and road alignment adjoining the Gara River, through a process of land swap with the adjoining owners; and delegates authority to the General Manager to execute all necessary documentation to facilitate the realignment of the road reserves

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