Hornsby’s Mayor Steve Russell

    Hornsby Quarry
    Hornsby Quarry

    Pennant Hills Master Plan: we have just got back the results of the community consultation so we are assessing that and we have to fit it into council’s budget  – it could cost up to $500,000 – and we have to factor in substantial expense for this but we are hamstrung as we have lost Carlingford and Epping. I’d like to see overhead wires underground and a nicer streetscape with trees but it’s hard to pedestrianise and it’s a known fact that passing traffic deters people from hanging around for the wrong reasons.

    Also now we may have to redirect funds over to the east side of Hornsby to do more planning on the CBD here in Hornsby as we have asked the Department of Transport to incorporate the bus and taxi interchange in George Street.

    Storey Park: the DA has been approved and we are now going out to tender for the construction. We hope that will start later this year and we expect it to be finished by the end of 2018, at a cost of $4.5m. There will be no cafe as it would have been subsidised by us,  and this isn’t feasible to subsidise private enterprise.

    The pedestrian bridge across the railway: should be ready by June hopefully, though it keeps faltering. We found asbestos there the other day. But we have crews working night and day. When done it will be the nicest part of the mall.

    The quarry: we’re going to see trucks starting to take soil down to the quarry in the next few months, but we’re trying to get the road down to the quarry finished first. Our website for the project and public feedback, Hornsbypark,com.au has now opened  – we’ve had 500 submissions in its first week.  This is a long slow burn – it’s two years before we get the park back from WestConnex and six years before we get the park open. We have the money in the bank and we’re going to keep it for the quarry.

    South Dural: I’ve written to the Ministers for Planning and Roads asking to meet with them and councillors. The State Government needs to either improve New Line Road or halt development out west that puts pressure on this and surrounding main roads. All developments in the Hills, Blacktown and Hawkesbury affects this part of Sydney. Everything you do out there puts additional pressure on the roads. The Roads Department has a fund that can be used to expedite housing so if they are serious about affordable housing, they should be putting some of that pot of money towards road improvements, but a letter from duncan gay said south dural would not qualify as not only 2,900 dwellings. But my argument is  – look at Box Hill North with its 40,000 houses that will put huge pressure on the roads. Meanwhile 40,000 cars a day use New Line Road which is more than Windsor Road when the Labour Government decided to widen it.

    Fulfilling housing quotas: we’re on target for that right now. We are ahead on approvals but that’s not buildings going up. It could be a decade before some of these buildings going up. DAs have been approved for buildings that may take years to be built while developers seek finance.

    We’re also trying to identify sites for more townhouses and villas as we know there’s a need for villas, for people downsizing who want homes on one level.

    Beecroft Gardens: we have money set aside for the Memorial Gardens, but there’s a shortfall. We’ll find the money from somewhere for the Gardens and I was going to ask the Minister for Transport as they took out a lot of trees along all that corridor for the TTT. The upgrade will happen slowly and surely. All the apartments will be finalised in the next year or so and it will have a much nicer feel when we add street trees.

    Standing again: The sooner we can get the amalgamation sorted out and get elected representatives back, the better. If the merger happens the new council will have five wards, each with three councillors. The councilors will be elected by the people. If I stand again, it will be as a councillor and then I will need to get support from other councillors to become Mayor of the new council as there’d be no popularly elected Mayor.

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