A message from the Mayor and General Manager
Life is changing rapidly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are aware of how stressful that is for all of us. Some of you may have lost your job, taken a cut in income or are struggling to keep a business open. All of us are having to cope with restrictions in our daily lives. We hope you and your family are remaining well and adapting to the changes as best you can.
Council has been working hard behind the scenes for the past few months to ensure we can maintain all essential services during the pandemic. If you are a pool or Lane 9 gym user, you no doubt feel that the pool is an essential service for your health and wellbeing! However, the decision about whether to close the Pool was taken out of our hands when the Federal Government issued a notice that all community centres, libraries, pools and gyms were required to close. The advice is to expect these measures to be in place for at least six months.
We would like to take this opportunity to address some of the rumours that have been circulating in the community since the pool closed last week. First, let us begin with staff.
While Council staffing is primarily a matter for the General Manager, we did discuss the best approach to take. It seemed inappropriate to stand staff down with the expectation that they would return to their role when we knew the pool redevelopment would commence in spring.
The permanent staff have therefore been offered redundancy or redeployment within Council. At this stage redeployment options have been identified for more than half of the staff. Any staff member who elects to take up the redeployment option will retain their right to take a redundancy payment within the next three months. It is anticipated that some staff will opt to take the redundancy payment immediately as this may be the best option for their circumstances.
The second rumour circulating is that the pool DA is unlikely to be approved and that closing the pool is therefore premature. While it would be inappropriate for us to second guess the Sydney North Planning Panel, we can assure you that from a Council perspective the DA is currently on track.
Council officers provided a report to the Council in March about a couple of heritage issues, including whether a sunshade over the children’s water play area is appropriate. We’re confident the Planning Panel is capable of deciding where the line between heritage and modern sun safe practices should be drawn. Frankly, we would be surprised if there were not issues to be addressed in a DA of this size. If you are interested, you can find all the reports on the project, including the most recent one, on Council’s website.
We can assure you Council is working to maintain services, keep major projects on track and keep as many staff as possible employed during this difficult time. We send our very best wishes to you and your family and friends.
North Sydney Mayor
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