It gives me great pleasure to present this 2015 Community Report on behalf of my fellow Councillors and North Sydney Council.
In 2014/15 the elected Council set an agenda of revitalisation for the North Sydney CBD. I was really pleased to see this being delivered with the launch of the NTH SYD marketing strategy and a revitalised brand for the North Sydney CBD in May. The strategy centres around the tagline of Happiness Works Here.
Each week events and street activations under the NTH SYD banner have helped breathe new life into the North Sydney centre and we have launched new digital platforms to support the campaign. As part of our commitment to revitalisation we have also progressed the plans to redesign Brett Whiteley Place, to make it the cultural hub of North Sydney.
In September 2014, the NSW Government announced its Fit for the Future program for local government. We consulted widely with our community about the Government's proposal and provided our submission to IPART, as requested in June 2015, arguing that we are fit for the future just as we are. And, as the financial year ended, we were awaiting the outcome of IPART's findings.
We continue to invest in the future of North Sydney. The 50m pool in the North Sydney Olympic Pool complex has reached the end of its life and Council is taking the opportunity to redevelop this iconic pool to ensure it can serve current and future generations. In late 2014 we completed Phase One of community consultation on the pool. Design options for the redevelopment of North Sydney Olympic Pool were developed and extensive consultation of these design options planned for the new financial year.
In 2014/15 Council's community events continued to go from strength to strength. Council hosted tens of thousands of people at numerous events across the North Sydney area. Whether it's a concert, produce market or community fair, the events help to bring energy to our neighbourhood and connect us all as a community.
There's a lot that's been achieved this year and I would like to acknowledge the work of Council staff and my fellow Councillors. I hope this Community Report provides you with an insight into the great things that have been achieved for the North Sydney community and our vision for the future.
Cr Jilly Gibson
Mayor of North Sydney
I am pleased to present my second Community Report as General Manager.
North Sydney Council finished the 2014/15 financial year on a high note with a strong financial position and an operating surplus of $22.6 million. This is actually $15.6 million higher than that forecast in the original budget.
Councillors set an ambitious and challenging program for 2014/15. We have continued to deliver high quality services to the North Sydney community with 97% of the 591 identified activities in our annual Operational Plan completed or on track. In 2014/15 Council invested $32.7 million on capital works, the majority of which was spent on infrastructure projects including footpaths and public domain upgrades. This is an outstanding achievement by staff and represents a 32% increase in our capital works from 2013/14 and a 105% increase since 2012/13.
We continue to build and foster an even more responsive customer focussed culture throughout Council. This is evidenced in a number of ways. For example, DA determinations remained very low at 51 days and 99 per cent of all correspondence was responded to within ten working days.
One of our key achievements for 2014/15 was the completion of an organisational realignment with the formation of a City Strategy division and the establishment of a centralised legal and risk management unit. The realignment process will help ensure we can fulfil our strategy led, delivery focussed agenda.
We're also planning for the future of our growing population, to ensure that we can retain the amenity and services that people expect and enjoy in North Sydney.
The St Leonards/Crows Nest planning study is a creative and thoughtful blueprint for future sustainable growth in the area. Transport will continue to be one of the most important issues facing Sydney as a global city. We have started work on a strategic transport framework which will help direct and guide future transport related projects both within and external to Council.
Maintaining our parks and sportsgrounds so that they can meet competitive usage, increasing demand and community expectations is a continuing challenge for Council. In 2014/15 we completed a Recreation Needs Study which will help us plan for the future demand for recreation and sports facilities in the North Sydney area. The installation of the synthetic turf in Cammeray Park in early 2015, completed ahead of time and below budget, will give us the capability to use this field all year round. Another synthetic turf playing field is planned for Anderson Park in the new financial year.
Council has set another ambitious capital works program for the 2015/16. I am very proud of the excellent progress we have made as a Council and congratulate and thank the staff on their hard work and achievements for the community. It's an exciting time for North Sydney.
in capital works
of Operational Plan
completed or on track