• Continued population growth and the increase in dwelling targets in the years ahead. The Greater Sydney Commission has intimated there will need to be district targets divided between councils but as yet we don’t know what that is for us. Ku-ring-gai has a unique character with architecturally significant homes and a stunning natural environment. Sensitive planning needs to ensure survival of that character: nobody wants the spread of high density into our heritage streetscapes.
• Council has now received $300,000 from the State Government to pay Council’s costs in the successful court case against a merger with Hornsby Council. Council and residents can now look forward to a future as a strong stand-alone council.
• Seeing through to completion projects at Lindfield Green, Lindfield Hub, Gordon and Turramurra, as well as getting underway the St Ives Tourism Precinct. Population growth brings with it increased demand for facilities and Council has spent $42 million over the last seven years acquiring land for public use. Council has recently adopted a Destination Management Plan to guide our visitation and events programs, especially in the St Ives Showground Precinct where we have already had tremendous success with the St Ives Medieval Faire and the Aussie Night Markets.
* Master Plans for other town centres include Turramurra and Gordon, following Lindfield.
* Resolution of ongoing issues of traffic and parking. Master planning of the town centres allows us to include opportunities for underground car parks and making traffic improvements.
* We need to make sure our planning is sympathetic to the character of the area. I’m a passionate advocate of protecting heritage streetscape and buildings and help with a heritage grants scheme that supports owners of heritage properties.
After five years as Mayor Steve was asked by local Liberals to stand aside as Mayor at this election, believed to be because of his calling for Epping to come back under Hornsby jurisdiction, plugging a predicted shortfall in council funds of $200m over the next decade, a move which Liberal insiders felt put the party in a bad light. The move has had many Hornsby ratepayers bemused as to the logic of this when it was an attempt to improve council funds.
• The biggest challenge facing the new Mayor is to get our lost territory back and the lost annual income of $9 million that HSC has suffered since May 2016 when we lost the area south of the M2. In my view financial compensation is not satisfactory as it will not rectify the ongoing cost to our budget.
Our estimates are that the people of Hornsby stand to lose $200 million over the next 10 years – this does not take into account the years beyond, when we will face ever increasing maintenance costs on infrastructure. I do not see rate rises as an answer and we have shown through efficiency gains there is no need to increase rates. Indeed we lowered them this term.
• I think the new Mayor and Councillors need to continue readying HSC for the challenges the 21st century presents and not be tempted to revisit the past. We can’t relive the past as much as I like the past and the heritage of Hornsby as evident with the two murals in Dural Lane and other initiatives I’ve instigated.
Sydney is a growing City and Hornsby Shire is one of the nicest places in Sydney to live. We need to ensure proper planning of our suburbs through continuance of the Master Planning processes instigated by this Council during my term as Mayor.
My future: I have too much life in me to contemplate retirement at this stage. Unfortunately there are some in the Liberal Party who don’t share this view. So I’ll probably embark on a business venture I’ve been experimenting with.