Mountain Districts Association Chairperson’s Report, 2023

Our Association aims to represent our rural community on issues that affect residents as well as encouraging initiatives that enhance our environment and lifestyles.

In 2022 as we began to move on from Covid lockdowns there continued to be disruption to community and Government services and the impacts caused by natural disasters.

MDA has represented our local community on the following issues:

*Our lack of elected representation at Local Government level. Next election of Councilors is to be in 2024.

*Following the verdict by the Land and Environment Court handed down in favour of Verde Terra the case has now been referred to the Court of Appeal. Following representation to Rik Hart (Council Administrator) we have been assured that Council will defend the need for Verde Terra to submit a new Environmental Impact Statement before being able to resume work at Central Mangrove. The work began as a Golf Course re-modelling project but morphed into a Regional Waste Facility. The protection of local water resources is seen as critical.

*MDA continues in discussions with Council to complete our Visitor Information Signage project for which we have received funding. We hope to install signs at Mangrove Mountain, Kulnura, Somersby and Peats Ridge that will have maps and information about the local area.

*MDA made a submission to Councils Draft Plan of Management for Council Community Land. Several blocks of land have been categorized as General Community, Natural Wetland, Water Course or Bushland for the first time. We hope that this will ensure that they are going to be included in Council’s cyclical maintenance program in future. We sought clarification on some areas including Ovals and Reserves that were not listed perhaps because they are categorized as Operational Land.

*A meeting with the new Federal Member for Robertson Dr Gordon Reid gave us the opportunity to raise local issues such as Postal Services at Mangrove Mountain, Telecommunications concerns, Road infrastructure, Health Services and Natural Disaster Management.

*Shane Geerin from Central Coast RFS explained to us that a Community Protection Plan for our area has been approved. Community Safer Places have been nominated at Mangrove Mountain Hall and Mountain Districts Sports Park. Protection plans for mobile phone towers are being discussed. Individuals should continue to create Asset Protection Zones on their properties.

*MDA was pleased to be able to support the Emergency Planning and Communications Committee’s submission for funding to develop a CB Radio network that would help mitigate communications failures during disaster emergencies. We are very pleased that the grant was approved and the project is in a trial phase.

*Our fundraising activities this past year have included Harvest Festival and Country Fair.

Thanks to our dedicated and hard working volunteer committee who have worked co-operatively and inclusively to improve this special place we call the Mountain Districts.