Committee structure to give community a voice
The Peninsula will have a voice on the Central Coast Council during the next 16 months through a committee structure, according to council administrator Mr Ian Reynolds.
Mr Reynolds said all the committees of the former Gosford Council no longer existed and he had asked for a report from CEO Mr Rob Noble by June 8 to determine what the new council's committee structure will be.
Wyong Council's committees have also been dissolved, Mr Reynolds said.
"There were stacks and stacks of committees across the north and the south of the new LGA," Mr Reynolds said.
According to a register of the committees of the former Gosford Council, the council had 29 committees.
Wyong Council had a different structure with 12 committees, five groups, two working parties and 12 external bodies or groups.
The register of Gosford Council committees lists the names of community representatives, who appear to have been included on the vast majority of the former council's committee.
The database of Wyong Council committees lists community representatives on only one committee, the Tuggerah Lakes estuary.
It is uncertain which, if any, of the committees of the former Gosford Council will be kept.
"We need data first," Mr Noble said.
"Ian will get the list of committees and review it with senior staff but right now we don't know what it is going to look like," he said.
Mr Noble's recommendation to the first Central Coast Council's meeting stated: "There is a need to urgently review those committees and other groups, and to identify opportunities for improved engagement with the community of the Central Coast.
"That review must carefully consider the current legal status of those committees and bodies, the potential legal consequences of any alteration to the constitution or membership of those committees and other bodies, and ensure that future committees of the Council are directed to addressing the needs of the whole community of the Central Coast."
"We are now the Central Coast, we are all part of a big new thing," Mr Reynolds said.
"Part of my role is to make sure the council reaches out to the whole Central Coast," he said.
In addition to getting committees up and running, Mr Reynolds said he had already changed the NSW Government's decision to have all Central Coast Council meetings held in the former Wyong Council chambers.
"The government proclamation meant all meetings would be held in Wyong and I think that is inappropriate so I changed the rules so we can meet in Gosford and Wyong," Mr Reynolds said.
"I don't expect people to come from Patonga to Wyong, for instance, unless they want to come to speak and I would encourage that," he said.
All Central Coast Council meetings will be audio recorded and the public will be able to access those recordings using the Government Information Public Access Act (GIPA).
Mr Reynolds is also moving ahead with the creation of a Local Representation Committee that will be made up of former councillors from Wyong and Gosford as another way of ensuring all communities within the new LGA have a voice.
"I have already spoken with all the councillors bar one," Mr Reynolds said.
"The best way to keep them involved is to give them a seat at the table," he said.
Mr Noble said the NSW Government had provided the administrator with a template terms of reference for the establishment of the Local Representation Committee and that Mr Reynolds was expected to make a decision at the next council meeting about the terms for the committee.
All former councillors have been given written notice that they will be invited to express interest in being part of the committee.
However, Mr Reynolds would not comment on the number of positions available.
"Yes, we are a new council, but there are issues north and south that have a history with them and the former councillors will still have their contacts within the community," Mr Reynolds said.
"The purpose of the committee is to get feedback," he said.
Interviews, 26 May 2016
Ian Reynolds, Central Coast Council
Rob Noble, Central Coast Council
Central Coast Council agenda item 3.5, 25 May 2016
Reporter: Jackie Pearson