Road reconstruction, recycling, flood recovery and roundabouts were significant projects delivered in the last financial year, says Byron Shire Council’s outgoing general manager Ken Gainger.
Mr Gainger, who recently announced his resignation owing to health reasons, said the operations of the council ‘go well beyond the traditional areas of rates, roads and rubbish.’
‘In 2016/17 we completed ten major road reconstruction projects and resealed a total of 13.5km of road but we also made significant improvements in areas such as our recycling operations.’
‘Byron Shire Council has a commitment to improving recycling, so to see that we collected 200kg of phones, batteries and light bulbs was fantastic,’ he said.
‘We opened the new North Ocean Shores sportsfield which is a great space for residents in the north of the shire.
‘Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie had a severe impact on parts of our community – the council lobbied hard for government support and was successful in its applications for natural disaster funding for the repair of council infrastructure and Disaster Recovery funding for affected residents and businesses.
‘We also developed the Rural Land Use Strategy, which has since been adopted by the council.
‘This is an important document that tries to find the balance between development and preserving our villages and districts and our rich and beautiful farmland.’
He added that council staff worked with the community to develop town and village masterplans for Byron Bay, Bangalow and Mullumbimby, and council also hosted an Affordable Housing summit to shine the light on an increasing challenge in the region.
‘Our tourism industry is ever growing and we continue to grapple with how to provide infrastructure for around two million tourists,’ Mr Gainger said.
‘Pay parking is going some way to providing some revenue from tourists, but the council continues to lobby the NSW government for answers to this problem, which is not going away.
‘Council was awarded a special rate variation (SRV) which allows us to invest specifically in infrastructure such as roads and bridges, areas that historically have been chronically underfunded.
‘Our residents constantly tell us that they are tired of the poor condition of our roads and the special rate variation will see $40 million allocated to infrastructure spending in 2017/18.
‘I am pleased to be able to report that in 2016/17 we met all of our financial targets set by the NSW government and we completed 97 per cent of our actions from our operational plan,’ Mr Gainger said.