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Since the merger in May last year, the team at MidCoast Council has been focused on consolidating processes and projects across the region and in yesterday’s council meeting, strategic planning was in the spotlight.
Bringing together the systems, procedures, policies and processes of three entities into one is no mean feat.
The past eight months has already seen streamlining of various services and functions across the organisation, resulting in significant savings that will contribute to freeing up millions of dollars over the next four years. An opportunity to develop a region-wide approach to planning has been identified and was endorsed in yesterday’s council meeting.
Pre-merger, the former Gloucester Shire Council team received Planning Reform funding from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to commence a Town Centre Study in consultation with the local community.
As part of this process, Gloucester’s Development Control Plan (DCP) was also under review.
As the Town Centre Study has been underway since 2011 and the funding hasn’t been expended within the agreed period, the Department asked the team at MidCoast Council for advice on their intentions for the project, which gave rise for the matter to be reported to Council yesterday.
At the meeting, it was decided that rather than continue down this path in the Gloucester region alone, these projects would be consolidated into MidCoast Council’s Strategic Planning Program.
A decision was also made to request that the Department of Planning and Environment consider reallocating the funding to a new project that will help establish a solid Strategic Planning framework for MidCoast Council.
MidCoast Council’s Manager of Strategic Planning, Roger Busby, explains, “As part of the amalgamation process, the preparation of a consolidated Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and DCP for the entire MidCoast region has been identified as a priority and the groundwork that has been done in the Gloucester region will greatly contribute to this happening sooner rather than later.”
As part of the Town Centre Study, the Gloucester community also highlighted various options for the relocation of the Gloucester Tourist Information Centre to address accessibility issues for caravans and motorhomes, which will be further investigated by the team at MidCoast Council.
“We recognise and will take on board the community’s feedback in the Gloucester Town Centre Study and will use it in developing future strategies for the area,” said Roger.
Further updates will be provided at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au as the process moves forward.