The MDA is by and large a project driven organisation. We take on projects both proactively (to help further the goals and answer the needs of the community), and reactively (usually to address one or another threat to the community).
Depending on the scope of any specific project the MDA Committee may elect to establish a formal Sub Committee, which then operates fairly autonomously under an established governance framework.
The MDA’s current major projects are:
- Mangrove Mountain Landfill and expose on Four Corners
A major project the Mountain Districts Association (MDA) has been working on for more than two years will be part of a dramatic Four Corners exposé of the waste industry, to be aired on Monday 7th August at 8.30 pm.
This is a major breakthrough, and although we are not sure of the amount of exposure our project will receive the Four Corners crew have spent weeks interviewing our members who have been researching the issue, and have had film crews and helicopters on the Mountain.
The Landfill Subcommittee of the MDA has been researching a landfill site in Central Mangrove (Inland from the NSW Central Coast). This site was originally approved to take 80,000 tonnes of waste, but now contains an unapproved gigantic mountain of 800,000 tonnes of waste. The site which is non-compliant with the development consent, and in breach of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, has been allowed to proceed by both Gosford City Council (GCC-now amalgamated to become the Central Coast Council) and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)!!
To the community’s absolute astonishment, in August 2014, a Land & Environment Court Order ratified a Heads of Agreement, negotiated by GCC and the landfill operator, without any reference to the Community, specifying that an additional 1,317,503 m3 of waste could be dumped on the site.
An early 2017 GIPA (Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009) search by the MDA discovered that not only had the former GCC not managed compliance of the original target of 80,000 tonnes of waste but incredibly it was a major contributor to this non-compliance, transferring in excess of 120,000 tonnes of waste from its own Woy Woy and Kincumber waste management facilities to Mangrove Mountain.
This landfill sits in a watercourse that supplies fresh water to more than 300,000 people on the NSW Central Coast. A massive pit on the site has been dug into the ancient aquifer, a major contributor to the Coast’s water supply. This pit, intended to hold more rubbish, is continually full of water leaking out of the excavated aquifer and, under heavy rain conditions, fills with surface water and leachate from the waste mound, which is forced by hydraulic pressure back into the aquifer.
- Election of the new Central Coast Council
Democracy at last, have your say
In May 2016 Wyong and Gosford Councils were axed, very controversially, by the State Government to make way for the creation of an amalgamated Central Coast super Council. It might be useful for everyone to revisit the history.
When the new Central Coast Council (CCC) was formed all former Mayors and Councillors were removed from their positions and an Administrator, Ian Reynolds, was appointed by the NSW Government in their place. Reynolds’ role was to replace the function of the former Mayor and Councillors, and make decisions on behalf of the community at regular Central Coast Council meetings.
Rob Noble, who was the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the former Wyong Shire Council, became the Chief Executive Officer of the new Central Coast Council.
Former Councillors were invited to join a Local Representative Committee (LRC), an advisory committee only because it had no decision making role.
After sixteen months without elected representation on the amalgamated Council the community finally gets the opportunity to choose their own representatives at the next Local Government elections, which will be held on Saturday 9 September 2017. During this time, all major Council decisions were made by the Administrator, Ian Reynolds.
The five new wards are Gosford West, Gosford East, The Entrance, Wyong & Budgewoi. Ward locations are shown on the map below and available for viewing on the CCC website (http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/about-council/governance-and-strategy/central-coast-council-elections-2017).
The Central Coast LGA has been divided into the above wards not for geographical reasons but to allow a more equal representation of Councillors in each ward. The intention is that once the Councillors have been elected, they represent the interests of the entire Central Coast LGA, and do not base decisions on the interest of the ward they are elected in.
All residents of the Mountain Districts are included in Gosford West ward which covers an enormous area from Patonga in the South and Gosford CBD in the East all the way to The Letter A at Bucketty in the North West.
The boundary separating Gosford West Ward and Wyong Ward runs up Yarramalong Valley and through Cedar Brush Creek and Kulnura. It is important that all residents check if they are enrolled to vote, or they may be fined. Make sure of the Ward you are in by going to https://roll.elections.nsw.gov.au/NSWLookUp/
The Mountain Districts Association has organised a candidate’s forum, just before the election, so that all residents can become familiar with their candidates, get information about the election process and the location of polling booths and quiz the candidates about their plans for the district if they are elected.
The forum will be held at the Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club at 7.30pm on Wednesday 30th August.
More details of the forum will be published in the 18th August issue of the Community News. If you would like to ask questions of the candidates at the forum please forward your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ensure that there is no duplication. Residents whose questions have been chosen for the forum will be notified in advance, to make sure that they are able to attend to ask the question.
- Mobile phone coverage
Poor Mobile telephone coverage of the Mountain Districts has long been of concern. The situation has serious consequences for health and safety, particularly in emergency situations such as accidents and bushfires. In addition many properties and businesses rely on effective communications and find the existing landlines unreliable, thus making mobile coverage essential for the future growth of the Districts. Mountain Districts Association is working with the Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, to undertake a “mapping” of mobile Black Spots. Black Spot information is being collated for Lucy Wicks by our Secretary. Please email your questions and coverage reports.
- Department of Planning’s Regional Growth and Infrastructure Plan
During 2014 the Central Coast Regional Office NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure produced a discussion paper titled 2031 / Your Future Central Coast, released by the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Pru Goward MP and Minister for the Central Coast, the Hon. Rob Stokes, MP. The Discussion Paper focused on areas important to supporting the projected addition of 64,250 people to the Central Coast by 2031 – housing, jobs, transport, infrastructure, natural resources (such as water supplies) and services, and the question of how we maintain the natural environment.
When the plan was presented there were no towns, villages, roads, farms, forests, dams or infrastructure west of the M1!! As a result of this massive omission the MDA undertook to gather community views and submit a response to the Department. More details can be found at MDA Response to 2031 Your Future Central Coast Discussion Paper