Residents call for nine council wards
The Peninsula Residents Association has proposed the region be divided into nine wards, including one for the Peninsula, for future Central Coast Council elections.
It has asked the council to include an option for nine wards in the Council's constitutional referendum, along with the choice of 15 or nine councillors
The association said it would not support a reduction in the number of wards, but may support a reduction in the number of councillors.
"We would support a reduction to nine councillors with one councillor for each of nine wards, if this choice were available and the Peninsula was one of those wards," said association secretary Ms Jen Wilder.
Ms Wilder said the association had submitted its proposal to Council Administrator Mr Rik Hart and Council general manager Mr David Farmer last week.
The submission suggested the wards follow the council's own "social planning district" boundaries, and included a proposed map.
"Many of the council's operations are conducted at this level, because it is an appropriate and manageable scale to work at.
"The association supports this approach.
"The proposed boundaries also reflect local communities, where residents share common interests, and council can respond to local needs."
The association's map shows Peninsula, Coastal and East Brisbane Water social planning districts would each form a ward of their own.
Gosford Central and West Brisbane Water social planning districts would be grouped together to form a ward, as would Wyong and Southern Lakes districts.
Northern Lakes would be grouped with the San Remo-Budgewoi social planning districts.
Other groupings would be Ourimbah, Narara Valley and Mountains for one ward and Gorokan, Warnervale-Wadalba and Valleys for another.
"Minor shuffling of the district boundaries, particularly of East Brisbane Water, Coastal and Southern Lakes, should allow the populations to fall within the necessary 10 per cent variation required for Council wards," the submission stated.
The association argued that the Peninsula deserved its own representation in Council.
"The population of the Peninsula is nearly 40,000, which is more than the population of half the councils in NSW.
"The Peninsula has clear physical, social, and environmental boundaries that give residents a community identity and common interests.
"The Peninsula has a population and a range of other features that would normally warrant it having a council in its own right.
"In this context, it is unfair and inequitable that currently the Peninsula does not have the opportunity to elect its own representative to Central Coast Council."
Ms Wilder said the association made the submission because the Council's resolution to engage the NSW Electoral Commission made no reference to offering a choice of the number of Council wards.
She said the resolution stated that "a constitutional referendum arrangement be entered into for the Electoral Commissioner to administer in regard to a reduction of Councillors (15 to 9)".
The submission said: "No reference was made in the resolution to the referendum including the opportunity for voters to choose the number of wards for the Council.
"However, Council has previously made reference to wards being included in the referendum.
"We request that the referendum includes a choice of five or nine wards."
Media release, 8 Jun 2023
Jen Wilder, PRA