The Northern Beaches Council is facing an estimated $21m loss in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Releasing their draft budget this week, Council has responded to those in need in our community by freezing for six months, any increases in rates, fees and charges.
The due date for the first instalment of rates has also been delayed by one month to 30 September.
Presented as a subsidy to ratepayers, the freezing of all rates, fees and charges will cost $5m in financial assistance to ratepayers. Those in hardship can also apply for rate assistance.
A support package has also been provided to local businesses and community groups as well as families with children via child care subsidiaries.
The overall pandemic support package is costing $6.588m.
However Councillors and staff have worked closely to ensure that essential services and capital works are not affected, although some projects will be delayed. The capital works budget is still substantial at $92m over the financial year 2020/21.
Projects in Manly
The Manly Ward will not be majorly affected, with most scheduled projects continuing including the Stage 11 of East Esplanade and the new toilet block, facility upgrades at LM Graham Reserve including the demolition of the old amenity block, ongoing works at Clontarf Reserve and the restoration of Little Manly and 40 Baskets Pools.
We await news from the State Government regarding their much needed $5m contribution in funding for the rebuild of Manly Surf Club, with funds already secured from Council and the Federal Government for this project.
Full details of the Northern Beaches 20/21 Draft Budget can be viewed here as well as the opportunity to submit your comments.
UPDATE: The Plastic Hack Project is not going ahead. Sadly, it's an early Coronavirus casualty. The pandemic has created huge uncertainty around community activities and the Project’s financial partners, local business operations and school programming have all been affected. In the end, the Plastic Hack project wasn't able to get over the line.
If there is a post Corona revival, Good For Manly will agin provide support. It would have been a fabulous project for the environment, and our Manly community as a whole.
24/2/2020: The plastic shredder has finally found a Northern Beaches home. And it's here in Manly, in the new Royal Far West precinct. The children's charity has partnered with the Plastic Hack Project to create an environment & educational hub on Manly oceanfront, anchored by the plastic shredding machine. School children will be able to see & participate in the transformation of rubbish plastic from the beach, into filaments and beads that can then be transformed, via 3D printing etc, into vases, hats, benches, or almost anything.
1/1/2019: Plastic debris will be transformed to useful plastic products in a game-changing set-up coming to the Northern Beaches this year. The key is a plastic shredding machine that will convert plastic rubbish to small fragments, to be used as building products, filaments or cord, or 3D printed into almost anything.
The project will be run by Surfrider Foundation Manly, which has received a $50,000 State Government grant. Surfrider will use the funds to set up a community-based Ocean Recovery Hub, centred around a Shruder - a compact, industrial machine that shreds plastic. The grant will also cover a 3D printer and appropriate training.
As well as recycling plastic waste, Surfrider aims to deliver
Images: Shruder machine; plastic shreds
In early 2019, Surfrider Foundation Manly will be looking for suitable venues and partners to establish the Ocean Recovery Hub and start to ‘close the loop’ on the plastic economy. Contact Surfrider Manly here.
Items from this month's Manly Community Forum newsletter.
MANLY PROJECTS MOSTLY COVID-IMMUNE
Despite Coronavirus ripping a $21 million hole in the Council's budget, most projects in our area will still go ahead. These include:
Little Manly Pool where major restoration work has just started. It includes restoration of the timber 'boardwalk' and beautiful new seahorse-friendly netting.
The desperately-needed new toilet block at East Esplande Reserve will have more toilets, accessible facilities, showers and a baby change room. The whole area will get a revamp including landscaping, new sandstone edges on garden beds, new swings, fitness equipment, a picnic table and seating. Work has finally started and it should all be finished by summer.
Funding is also locked in for a revamp of Little Manly Reserve, although that work won't start until 2022/23. It will include landscaping, wide steps down to the beach and the demolition of No 40 Stuart Street with the land added to the park, and the zig-zag access ramp straightened out.
Funding is also secure for future work to rebuild the playground at Little Manly Point, with Council teaming up with a consultation committee of parents and grandparents, including Forum member Cathy Griffin.
The much-needed new toilet block at Little Manly Point is not yet funded, and we are concerned it will be delayed. There are no toilets in this park at all, despite it being extremely popular for fishing, picnics and late night parties. This year Clean Up Australia Day volunteers were disgusted when they found human waste in Little Manly Point bushland. Manly Ward councillors must push this project forward, despite the Council's COVID economic hit.
Meanwhile, the rebuild of Manly Life Saving Club is in a holding pattern, awaiting a $5 million contribution from the State Government. Funds from Council and the Federal Government are already locked in.
And in a win for the Forum, the Council has now moved Manly Wharf's new double decker bike racks to a more suitable spot near the hotel games area. They had been placed too prominently near the wharf main entrance.
MANLY LODGE HOTEL DA DIFFICULTIES
Manly Lodge Hotel's proposed rebuild has hit a hurdle after the Council knocked back the $5 million proposal. The Victoria Pde hotel has the right to appeal, but it's good news for residents concerned by the scale of the project. A new five-storey, 49-room hotel with a rooftop open area was proposed. Hakan's cafe is safe for now.
WIN FOR CABBAGE TREE BAY
Cabbage Tree Bay has another 5 years with all its aquatic reserve 'no take' protections in place. Despite all the kerfuffle, the State Government has maintained full protection for our precious marine sanctuary.
DOGS ON THE ROCK PLATFORM
Many dogs are being let off the lead on Manly rock platforms and some swim in the water as well. It's now clear that the Council does have jurisdiction over the rock platform, as it is "wholly within Northern Beaches Council LGA". So dogs MUST be on the lead just like on Marine Pde and Council rangers are doing regular patrols. But whether dogs can, or should, be banned entirely from the rock platform will have to wait until the finalisation of the Council's Management of Dogs in Public Places policy. So no 'dog' signs on Marine Pde until then.
Clontarf beach and Fairlight harbour pool now have some of the 'greenest' seawalls in Sydney.
Beautiful textured tiles (pictures) have been attached to the old seawalls, so barnacles, seaweeds, oysters and limpets can find a new home, and the intertidal eco-system can begin to regrow.
The intertidal areas, which are crucial for the overall aquatic environment, should be teeming with life. But in Sydney kilometres of walls have been built along our harbour and ocean foreshore, stunting plant and animal life. The new eco-tiles will fix that, providing a much greater surface area full of cozy nooks and crannies for sea life to take hold.
The work at Clontarf and Fairlight has been funded by our local philanthropists Dorset Sutton and Jenny Lim Sutton. Wonderful work!
Following extensive lobbying by the Clontarf Community Forum and Manly Ward Councillors, our much loved Clontarf Reserve is to have an extensive upgrade featuring a newly equipped playground, with construction scheduled from June- September 2020.
A themed playground concept design has been developed that embraces the unique and diverse Middle Harbour aquatic environment – the seagrass/foreshore habitat, fish movement and fishing.
The concept plans were utilised in a funding application Council recently submitted (11 December 2019) in the Everyone Can Play (ECP) grant program through the NSW Government. An additional $200,000 has been sought to supplement the project budget. The outcome of that grant is expected by the end of February 2020.
Council is currently liaising with playground equipment suppliers on play equipment options for the key play activities areas in the design, and associated costs, and preliminary costing for the overall design is being prepared. Some items may require staging.
March 2020 Finalise Design Documentation
April 2020 Procurement - Play equipment supply (pre-order to allow for
18- 20 week lead-time)
May-June 2020 Procurement – Landscape Contract
June-September 2020 Construction
Second toilet block
Once the playground design is finalised Council will prepare to undertake community engagement on a proposed second toilet block
Car park works and dingy storage
Sydney Water has advised that any proposed watercraft storage and carpark works at the end of the car park adjacent to the boat ramp would be impacted by anticipated remediation works planned by Sydney Water to their infrastructure over the next few years. Coucil will work closely with Sydney Water on this.
Based on this update, relocating dinghy storage at Sandy Bay (if decided) would need to be postponed in the short term.
Sandstone Bleachers and seawall
The proposed sandstone log walling to the foreshore (approx. 170 lin.m using 500x500x2000 logs) will extend from the new bleachers / accessible ramp south down to the existing boat ramp.
Late February 2020 Site Establishment
June 2020 Completion
Council recently completed minor landscape improvements to the front entry path to kiosk café prior to the café opening. Works included a new 1.5m wide pathway entry, garden modifications, replacement of koppers log barriers with sandstone logs;
synthetic grass area for casual seating; mulching under large fig tree and some returfing.
The newly renovated Clonnys Cafe looks fantastic and is well worth a visit.
More office space for Manly, and more funds for the country kids supported by childrens’ charity Royal Far West.
In a clever partnership, Royal Far West is using its surplus buildings to raise funds to help kids in rural and remote Australia. Office space provider WOTSO is moving into the South Steyne buildings to provide co-working desks, office space & meeting rooms. It’s a good fit, with the Northern Beaches home to a huge number of small businesses, including lots of small-scale, work from home arrangements.
In the next few years Royal Far West will develop its oceanfront buildings into something beautiful, that also provides a constant income for the charity. But all that takes time, and the WOTSO partnership means the buildings are being maintained and put to good use in the meantime.
FINAL OUTCOME: January 2020
"It's a good outcome", that's the general view of residents regarding the updated Manly Resident Parking Scheme, aimed at providing parking for residents in their nearby streets, and preventing the illegal on-sale of permits for a profit.
While each dwelling will still be entitled to apply for up to three permits main changes are:
* Two permits must be registered to the car's registration and owner's home address.
* A multi-purchase permit can be used for visitors, tradies, carers etc and will also be linked the the home address of the applicant.
Fees are proposed follows*:
1st Permit - $47
2nd Permit - $121
3rd Permit - $210
*The fees are are public exhibition until February 12.
You can make a submission here
The new scheme will be applicable as existing permits become due, as follows:
Little Manly Zone 1 February 2020**
Balgowlah 1 February 2020**
Isthmus 1 March 2020
Ocean Beach 1 April 2020
Tower Hill + 1 May 2020
Ethel Street 1 June 2020
Fairy Bower 1 July 2020
Ivanhoe Park + 1 August 2020
** Until the fees have been finalised both Little Manly & Balgowlah existing permits will be extended beyond the February 2020. Notification will be made via email when these permits are due for renewal.
The council is working towards introducing digital permits, which will also make the trade in permits even more difficult.
UPDATE: December 2019
After extensive community consultation, the proposed Manly Resident Parking scheme has been rewritten, with many proposed parking permit restrictions scrapped. Manly residents will now be able to apply for up to two parking permits (which will be linked to vehicle registration and address) whether they have off-street parking or not. And they will be able to apply for a third permit "in extenuating circumstances". The "visitor permit" has been re-instated: one will be available for each household and it will now be linked to that specific residence, but not to a specific car. Linking permits either to a car or a household has been introduced to stop on-selling of permits, which has been a major problem.
Businesses can apply for permits, but they will be limited to one each. Some special issue permits will be available for schools, charities, clubs etc, but their numbers will be reduced and applications must be made in writing. Other changes from our existing system are that only motor vehicles (no boats, trailers or caravans) will be eligible for permits, and the price of permits will rise.
While Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is pushing for changes to Manly’s non-compliant parking scheme (there are many more permits issued than street parking spaces available), the Council has recognised that Manly is different, and will now implement only small and gradual changes to the scheme.
The updated framework is on display on the Council's Your Say web page, and is open for comments until 24th November. After that it will go to Council for ratification.
You can download and view the proposed revised scheme below:
Those residents living in areas with restricted parking are about to have their parking permits reviewed in an effort by the Northern Beaches Council to bring the long-running scheme in line with Roads & Maritime Services Parking Permit Mandatory Guidelines.
Currently there are less than 5000 on-street parking spaces, with over 10,000 permits issued.
The ten areas affected are Little Manly, Balgowlah, Tower Hill, Tower Hill Extension, Ocean Beach, The Isthmus (CBD), Fairy Bower, Ivanhoe Park, Ivanhoe Park Extension and Ethel Street.
The Guidelines state that only residents who have no off-street parking (or a residence that could not be reasonably modified to provide on-site parking space(s), are entitled to an on street permit - and only one.
Also, the number of permits are not to exceed the number of spaces available!
This will be a big task for council staff who will explore the issues residents face in finding parking, while also providing parking for tradies and visitors and regular carers of the elderly or young children.
The first step will be consulting with existing permit holders as well as undertaking an audit of off-street parking options. Current permit holders will receive an email from Council in the coming weeks inviting their input, and face-to-face meetings will be available at the Manly Town Hall.
A copy of the RMS Guidelines are attached.
UPDATE: In a big win for Little Manly, Northern Beaches Council has accepted my motion to knock down the house at No 40 Stuart St and add the land to the beachfront park next door. Councillors also agreed to reclassify the block as 'Community Land', which safeguards it as open space.
Demolition work will not begin until 2022/23, but the reclassification process will start right away, putting an end to years of community angst that the property would be sold off.
The extra land opens up exciting possibilities for the popular park, including relocating the access ramp, which frees up more space again. As part of the Little Manly Masterplan process a draft plan has already been prepared by council staff (see below) with this possibility in mind.
This step is in line with a 40-year vision to return this part of the harbour foreshore to the public. Thanks also to residents and groups Save Little Manly Foreshore & Manly Community Forum who have fought for years to keep the vision alive.
No 40 was purchased by the former Manly Council in 2012 for $4.2M. It has since been rented out for $100,000 a year to part way offset the debt.
12/8/2019: Enhancement, Not Changes, for Little Manly
A revamp of Little Manly Reserves is one step closer after Northern Beaches Council completed a second round of community consultation this month.
But not much will change after strong community feedback that Little Manly is almost perfect as it is. Council staff have tailored the draft masterplan to make ‘minor adjustments’ only, meaning the area’s laid-back ‘look and feel’ will be kept and much-loved Little Manly Kiosk will stay the same.
Potential ‘adjustments’ include;
New toilet facilities at Little Manly Point park, located at the top near the carpark. The end of the point, now used on both sides for fishing and barbeques, will be upgraded with landscaping, shade trees, sandstone wall seating – like East Esplanade, and viewing seats. The existing playground will get a revamp.
At Little Manly beach itself, a new path will be built in front of the kiosk to fix the choke point caused by the accessible access path going right through the middle of the café. There will also be more shade trees, but none blocking the Marshall St harbour sight lines, new decking around the Norfolk Island pine, and better access to the beach down the main steps. Repositioning the swings, and adding more seating, depends on community feedback.
Images clockwise from top left: two views of Little Manly Point, space around this Norfolk Is pine to be enhanced by decking, Little Manly beach from Stuart St with clear harbour sight lines.
The unclear future of No 40 Stuart St – the council-owned block next to the open space – has generated community concern that it was about to be sold off. That won’t happen, according to Cr Candy Bingham with the Northern Beaches Council committed to protecting public open space. The situation will continue as it is – with No 40 rented out, and generating about $100,000 per annum, until the loan to purchase the property is substantially paid off.
The other council-owned house – No 34 Stuart St – is also up for review, with council canvassing ideas for community use of the property. Any new use would be limited to recreational or educational activities, with final selection to be made by a public tender process. Improvements are planned for the nearby kayak and boat storage areas to make better use of space.
Other recommendations include widening a narrow section of the footpath on the beach side of Stuart St, and a possible new footpath through No 34 to move pedestrians away from busy Craig Ave. Parking in Stuart St may be reduced from eight hours to four and traffic calming put in place. In the water, powered boats may be kept out of swimming areas.
Images: Boat ramp access to beach, narrow footpath on Craig Ave
Northern Beaches Counillor Candy Bingham praised staff for listening to the community as they drew up the plan.
“Most people love this area as it is, so what they have done very effectively is that they haven’t changed things so much as enhanced things," Cr Bingham said. “The opportunity of this round of consultation is that it will just tweak things and I’m sure the community will be absolutely delighted with the final outcome”.
Council staff will now review submissions from the consultation process and complete the Masterplan accordingly. It will be presented to Council for adoption later this year.
The Northern Beaches needs more public halls. That's no surprise to most of us but now it's official, with a Council report finding a lack of community spaces for hire. As well some existing facilities are in poor condition, or away from central locations with poor public transport or parking.
It turns out Manly Ward is worst affected, with relatively fewer community centres than anywhere else on the Peninsula. At the moment Manly has no real community space and Balgowlah doesn't have a single council-managed hall for hire.
The good news is that a major revamp of the old 'Fishos' site (pictured above), at the corner of Raglan and Kangaroo Streets is already underway. The $1M refit will be finished next year and will create a new home for Community Northern Beaches (previously Manly Community Centre), when their existing home in Wentworth St returns to Manly Public School. A new community hub fo local support services will also be created.
As well, the Manly Youth Centre building next door, is under renovation.
The council will also develop a masterplan to transform the Seaforth Community Centre into a multipurpose facility, and investigate whether Council-owned properties in Balgowlah town centre can be re-purposed for community space.
Good For Manly President Candy Bingham said Manly Town Hall also has a major role to play. "My council initiative has now opened up the beautiful first-floor hall for public hire," Deputy Mayor Bingham said. "And in the long-term I'm working to transform the space into a venue that Manly can be proud of. A performance space, art gallery, museum or cinema are all possibilities. It's very exciting."
Images: Town Hall exterior; First floor former council chambers.
You can download the Council's Draft Community Centres Strategy (Oct 2019) here:
UPDATE: Pominent Australian architecture firm COX Architecture has been appointed lead consultant for the transformation of old Manly Hospital site. The firm, which won a competitive tender for the job, will be responsible for the masterplan and rezoning of the site to create a new 'health and wellbeing' precinct. The firm will work with Property NSW, NSW Health, National Parks & Wildlife Service and community representatives and is expected to deliver a masterplan to Northern Beaches Council next year. The plan will also be put on exhibition for public comment. COX Architecture is a multi-disciplinary firm which integrates architecture, planning, urban design and interior design. It has been involved in many large-scale projects, including the recently-released concept design for the passenger terminal at Western Sydney International Airport
3/10/2019: Heritage buildings will be preserved and a masterplan will be developed for the old Manly Hospital site. That's the promise from Property NSW after a tour of the site for community group members today.
Project manager Tahlee Smith gave a guarantee that all heritage listed elements on site would be preserved, including most of the 'main building' (where admissions and emergency used to be) and the gateway arches which marked the original hospital entrance (both pictured below). She said the buildings would be restored to their former glory, with the old entrance reinstated, if possible, as the gateway to the new precinct.
Part of Building No 15 (previously Outpatients and Physiotherapy), Parkhill Cottage (previously respite care for Alzheimer's patients) and a long sandstone wall next to the site of the proposed Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice will also be retained. As well, the well-known five-sided kiosk building may be retained despite its not having a heritage status.
Images: The proposed site of the new hospice, and artist's impression of the completed building.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.