COUNCIL MEETING: Voters to choose how mayor is elected.

This is a summary of the April 11 Kyogle Council meeting. You can read the full minutes or listen to the recording at the council’s website. This s a summary of the parts of the meeting I found most interesting and is not a blow by blow account.

Here we go again, it’s the referendum

The first motion at the meeting was about a referendum on a popularly elected mayor.

Councillor Janet Wilson put up the motion, as she did at last month’s council meeting, although the wording was much simpler this time.

Councillor Maggie May said she agreed in principle with the motion but wanted two amendments.

The same ones she asked for at the last meeting – that residents be asked about abolishing the ward system and another amendment to include an education program to inform people on the referendum decision.

The ward amendment failed; the education program got through.

The vote on a referendum to find out whether residents want to elect a mayor directly was passed with three councillors out of nine voting against.

Councillors Tom Cooper, James Murray and Rob Cullen voted against the referendum.

The referendum will be held at the next local government elections and if it passes, would come into effect at the following local government election.

Roads: potholes will have to wait

Infrastructure manager Tony Lickiss said the council was still working out the level of damage to the road network after the floods. It was likely to be around $60 million, he said.

Flood damage meant the council would need external resources.

The deficit of contractors and the fact that other flood affected councils would also be “pulling contractors” from the Gold Coast made repairing roads and bridges more difficult, Mr Lickiss said.

The council had already asked for an extension of the bridge replacement program from funding bodies.

Councillor Cullen said people were asking about potholes.

“People are going to need to suck it up, that pothole is not going to get fixed straight away,” Mr Lickiss said.

The priority was access roads and bus routes, he said. The focus too was on places where there were landslips and detours such as Lilian Rock.

“We have public support behind us, that will wane,” Mr Lickiss said. “I’m already seeing the front edge of that.”

This flood recovery will take months and years, he said.

Councillor Danielle Mulholland suggested getting help from councils not affected by the disaster.

Mr Lickiss was clear on what he needed to get the job done.

“I need machines on the ground.

“It’s physically getting big, yellow machines.”

There was a lot of discussion on roads – grading them, resheeting them, using more gravel and fixing drainage.

Kyogle masterplan

Councillor Murray had concerns about tree planting in the redevelopment of the CBD precinct.

The trees would attract bats, he said.

“You’re going to have trouble with roots, they are all buttress trees.”

Councillor Cooper wanted Kyogle LGA villages to look as good as Urbenville (Tenterfield Council).

While most councillors voted to adopt the revised landscape design for Kyogle CBD, the proposal acknowledged continuing issues including the loss of car parking spaces and opposition to a dedicated cycle lane on Summerland Way.

Planning and Environment director Chris White said there would be consultation with the wider community through listening posts at markets and through popup events.

Some reading for you

For more there are two important documents to look at:

Kyogle Council Draft Operational Plan 2022/2023 Delivery Program 2022/2026

Works Program Progress Report March 2022

and

Kyogle Community Strategic Plan (draft)

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