If Hunters Hill Council is merged with Ryde and Lane Cove Councils, how would this affect ordinary property owners, renters and rate payers? It seems sensible to …
- gather some facts
- consider the issues
- raise questions
- look for risks and opportunities.
The Trust’s Rough Guide draws together information from the websites of the 3 councils and from NSW government planning controls. It identifies the likely impact on:
- Basic council services
- Planning and heritage issues
- Council representation, Wards, and residents’ access to Council
- Council chambers and buildings
- Rates and financial matters
- a future role for the Hunters Hill Trust.
Thank you very much Tony Coote, and other members of the Trust committee for this very clear outline of where we stand, and our need to ensure the best outcome in the face of what appears to be an inevitability.
A very well thought out and balanced piece of work – thank goodness for The Trust. If only others in the municipality were as open minded and balanced in the realities of the challenges faced. Unfortunately council’s strategy to date has been to spend an enormous amount of rate payers money funding a campaign (as in the immortal words of one councillor) of telling the state Govt to “get stuffed”.
Now that has back fired, we (as residents) are faced with a barrage of lobbying and coercion (read bullying) form the SHHMC to ignore the short comings of councils and the realities of a modern Local Government.
The greatest sadness from all of this, is that Hunters Hill could have merged with Lane Cove and formed a “Rivers Council” of approx. 40k in size. Now, thanks to the “get stuffed” strategy we are going to have a council of approx. 160k
The Trust, now more than ever will be crucial in maintaining our natural and built heritage.
Thanks to the Hunters Hill Trust for trying to stimulate constructive and intelligent debate by raising substantive issues.
The Council let us down by deciding that the only form of ‘superior alternative’ to be considered would be joint regional authority (additional bureaucracy), and then engaging in some level of rubber-stamping consultation. The information campaign was held in the shadow of research describing how bad forced amalgamations can be – which was only relevant because a controlled voluntary amalgamation of a small number of councils was rejected out of hand, when it should have been given due consideration during the public consultation phase. At the 11th hour, we can now start having more constructive conversations.
Thanks to the Hunters Hill Trust we have a thought-provoking set of substantial issues around which rational debate can now start, so we can hope to win more than we lose from Local Government Reform.
If the amalgamation goes ahead, the Trust’s role, as a defender of Hunters Hill within a larger council, will be more important than ever.
This is an excellent document!! Congratulations and well done on such a time consuming piece of research! To be honest, it needs to be given to any newly amalgamated council so that it can plan to move forward in the best interests of all residents.
The prospect of amalgamation makes the work of the HHT even more crucial.
Again, brilliant document!
Some people have expressed disappointment that The Trust is apparently actively supporting amalgamation with Ryde and Lane Cove. This is not the case.
In preparing the Rough Guide to the potential impact of amalgamation, The Trust has attempted to go beyond an emotional response to the proposal and to calmly look at the issues. It’s not that we are actively supporting amalgamation – it’s simply that we don’t think the sky will fall in when it happens and that there also may be opportunities there for Hunters Hill to do better.
Amongst all the rhetoric and ribbons of the anti-amalgamation campaign, there is no-one advocating for the continuation of the planning controls, conservation areas and heritage listings of Hunters Hill in a new merged Council. By concentrating all its energy on a totally negative campaign, which we believe is doomed to fail, HH Council has let us down once again. The Trust is trying to fill this gap and we will be pushing this in our submissions to the Delegate.
The “Rough Guide” Is full of errors, mis-information, wishful thinking and personal opinion.
Most disturbingly It claims that “Amalgamation is inevitable” – which is incorrect by law.
Amalgamation is currently being examined through the statutory processes to see if it meets the 11 factors that must be taken into consideration. This will determine whether it is recommended to go ahead or not.
There has never been a more important time for the Trust to be active in supporting and working to achieve it’s constitutional objective to protect the independence of the Municipality against amalgamation.
There has never been a more important time for the Trust to be submitting an informed response on behalf of its members that puts the case strongly for Hunters Hill Municipality to maintain it’s independence and hence it’s autonomy over planning and development. I hope and expect (as all members have the right to do) that the TRUSTS submission will be strongly targeted at this constitutional objective.
I note, that this does not prevent also identifying the most important factors the Trust would want preserved in the case Amalgamation does goes ahead.
I have been a member and a strong supporter of the Hunters Hill Trust for over 35 years. The objectives of the Trust are very clear – to preserve and protect the character and heritage of Hunters Hill and to maintain its integrity as a separate Municipality.
All members of the Trust have an obligation to support and fight for these objectives, many have done so on repeated occasions over the years. It was never part of the Trust’s philosophy to give in without a fight or accept something as being inevitable if it was breaching those objectives.
The Trust’s ‘Rough Guide’ is indeed just that – it contains unfortunately many inaccuracies and much wishful thinking. In reality the likely consequences of Hunters Hill and Lane Cove being taken over by the City of Ryde with the creation of a Mega council of 164,000 people, is a serious loss of representation and local democracy, a loss of local identity and sense of community, and a loss in our ability to keep our planning controls and protections resulting in overdevelopment.
Margaret and I have been involved with the Trust for over forty years and we confidently expected that the Trust would take a leadership role in the fight against amalgamation as the Trust did when Ryde tried in 2001 to snatch the western side of the municipality.
Certainly the Trust newsletters in 2015 strengthened this view
Your June 2015 Newsletter whilst detailing concerns about Hunters Hill Council development record went on to say
“Despite all this, the question remains whether there would be any improvement with a bigger Council area. There is little evidence that there would be any change…..and
Clearly there is a benefit from being so well represented by our elected Councillors……..With a much larger Council the Trust’s profile and influence in the halls of power would be significantly diminished.”
And in your November Newsletter you wrote
“The Trust is fundamentally opposed .to forced council amalgamations And while we have been critical of Hunters Hill Council’s performance in a number of areas………there is no evidence that we will be better with a bigger council and there is no doubt that our current level of representation and access to council will be severely reduced as a result of any broad amalgamation.
We encourage Trust members to keep the pressure on the government by contacting our local State member Anthony Roberts” (your bold)
It was therefore quite a shock when on 25 January we received you Analysis of the issue in which you stated that as amalgamation is now almost inevitable….
And went on to say
“It seems more realistic to face up to the reality of a merged council and consider ways the Trust can best pursue its aims and objectives under such a body and to examine how the Trust can have an impact on shaping the new council”
The analysis considered the impact on the Trust and stated
“The Trust committee is in the process of looking at the Constitution with a view to bringing it into line with the realities of what has happened in the 47 years since it was first drawn up. Some of these aims and objectives have been “overtaken by events”
Whilst the aims and objectives have remained unchanged since the Trust was formed they were re-affirmed at a special general meeting of the Trust in 1996 which decided to incorporate using the original constitution. Then in 2003 the Trust endorsed a new Constitution which met the requirements of the Association Incorporation Act, but the original aims and objectives remained unchanged.
In analysing the current Trust objectives you questioned the continuing relevance of two objectives
i) To limit the spread of home units etc
vii) To maintain the declaration of Hunters Hill as a protected area
And by deciding not to oppose amalgamation you rejected a third objective
v) To maintain the integrity of Hunters Hill as a separate Municipality
These three objectives are the articles of faith of The Hunters Hill Trust and without them you are left with a “clayton’s” Trust.
The necessary action by the Trust Executive having come to these conclusions was to have called an extraordinary meeting of the Trust for 15 February to consider the analysis and amendments to the Trust Constitution.
Unfortunately this didn’t happen and as such a meeting cannot be held before the closing of submissions to the Inquiry on 28 February, we believe the Trust should stand aside from the issue and encourage all Trust members including the Executive to submit individual submissions.
John Birch AM
Past Treasurer and Member of Hunters Hill Trust
Hunters Hill Councillor 1999-2004
As we noted in the letter to members:
“We wish to make it clear that the Trust is not advancing the case for amalgamation. However in the event that this were to occur and given the Trust’s Aim in maintaining the unique and historical character of Hunters Hill, we believe we need to put our energies into advocating for the inclusion of those things we have set out in our submission in any new merged Local Government Area.
Within The Trust and the wider Hunters Hill community there is a range of differing views about the current council and about the proposed amalgamation. As well there are differing levels of passion and enthusiasm for the anti-amalgamation fight. Clearly we respect the fact that our members will have come to their own conclusions about this.
We therefore urge members to make their own individual submissions and we hope that our Submission and the Rough Guide can be instructive and of assistance.”
The submission to The Boundary Review submitted by the HHT Executive clearly stated that “Whilst the Trust is not advancing the case for amalgamation, in the event that this were to occur and given the Trust’s Aim in maintaining the unique and historical character of Hunters Hill, we believe that any future merged Council should include the following:”, which was followed by a list of what we believed important things that should flow over into any merged LGA in order to continue the protection of those things that make Hunters Hill special.
As we noted in our submission, the Executive believes that “Whatever the merits of this particular grouping (HH, Lane Cove and Ryde), it would seem that the State Government is firmly committed to press on with council amalgamations across the state. If the State Government succeeds in its plan for a merged LGA, the Trust will continue to fight for the preservation of the existing character and heritage of Hunters Hill Municipality to ensure that it is safeguarded for future generations and that the existing level of services provided by Hunters Hill Council are preserved and enhanced.