Manly & Pittwater Councils have joined forces to reject the concept of one amalgamated Northern Beaches Council, and have commissioned KPMG to assess the financial stability and capability of both their Councils. (KPMG reports at end of article).
While Warringah Council is actively pushing for one large council it has not been successful in gaining support from its neighbouring Councils.
At an extraordinary meeting on 30 March, Manly Council voted unanimously to remain unchanged. Council rejected outright the concept of one mega council for the Northern Beaches citing the fact that of the 33 financially sound Councils out of 152 in NSW, three were are on the Northern Beaches.
At the meeting, it was resolved that Council affirm its support for the State Government’s ‘No Forced Amalgamation’ policy and continue supporting the Manly community’s long-held stance against structural change to the local area.
Good or Manly Councilllor, Candy Bingham, while supporting the no Northern Beaches Council stance, raised the possibility of boundary changes saying it was timely to explore inconsistencies in the current local area boundaries.
"It doesn't make sense that while Manly Council manages Queenscliff Beach, Warringah is responsible for Queenscliff Pool. Many also believe that North Balgowlah and North Seaforth should be in Manly, not Warringah", she explained.
Clr Bingham also questioned the fact that, should the amalgamation go ahead, the Northern Beaches would have four State Members, two Federal Members and one Mayor. "That's not local government by any stretch of the imagination", she said.
According the Manly Mayor, Jean Hay, the one big council idea is not a new one, and has in fact being explored twice in recent times. Firstly in 1978 and again in 2003.
"The 2003 attempt was a repeat of an attempt in 1978. At the time, Manly residents voted 4 to 1 against amalgamation with Warringah to form a single council on the Northern Beaches – there was no Pittwater then, It was formed later in 1992. In 1985 Warringah Council was dismissed. (The first time it was dismissed was in 1967.)" she explained.
During the month of May, Manly ratepayers will be asked to give their views on what they think should happen. They will be consulted on three options: 1. Manly remain unchanged; 2. Warringah to be split in half to from two Councils, Manly & Pittwater; or 3. one Northern Beaches Council.
How will you vote?
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.