Last Tuesday night the council approved a development application for alterations and additions to Wakefield Park.
Contrary to some discussion online and in the community, council have no intention of closing Wakefield Park, and have never been asked to do so by residents living in the surrounding area.
Residents have in my opinion been very reasonable all along the way, and willing to negotiate - they simply want some peace and quiet in their lives on some days throughout the year, along with the ability to plan ahead through a calendar.
Another thing I would like to clear up is that these residents have not all moved to the area recently; in fact many lived where they live now prior to Wakefield Park opening. They have seen a significant increase in noise over the past decade, and it should be noted that at times Wakefield Park have operated outside of their legal consent.
It has not been easy finding a balance between these competing interests: the great benefits of Wakefield Park to our region economically and the right of residents to enjoy the place they live. This is the role of the councillor, not to override one person or businesses interests over another.
In the conditions of consent we included four different categories of noise level being red (up to 95 decibels), amber (up to 85 decibels) and green (up to 75 decibels). Each of these categories is based on the average noise over 15 minutes. Council also included a blue category, where noise is not to exceed 75 decibels at any time.
The operations under these categories have been transitioned down over three years to allow time for Wakefield Park to adjust. From 2024, Wakefield Park will be allowed 30 days per year in the red category (up to 95 decibels), and 100 days in the amber category (up to 85 decibels). This still allows them 130 days per year with high noise emissions. The rest of each year is broken down into green and blue days which we expect would include car launches, learn to drive days and other quieter noise events. Council has allowed for operations on 363 days out of each year, with only Good Friday and Christmas Day to be closed.
I acknowledge that this decision will likely be challenged in court, as Wakefield Park would prefer to have more days each year in the higher noise category. This is of course their right to do so, however as a council we needed to find a balance between the competing interests, and we acted in good faith to do our best to achieve this.
I hope to see Wakefield Park operating successfully on the outskirts of our city for decades to come.
Our busy week continued on Thursday night when we considered a submission to the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for Jerrara Power.
Council has again sent a strong message of opposition to the Jerrara Power project, re-iterating our total opposition to Waste to Energy proposals until the NSW Government develops a policy establishing that such facilities are in the best interest of communities, the environment, human, animal and biodiversity health.
The general manager was authorised to seek further legal advice with the intent of lodging proceedings in the Land and Environment Court in order to stop the issuing of SEARS. Council believe that the Jerrara Power project is contrary to the provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) and the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Environmental Plan, and therefore SEARS should not be issued. Council are prepared to go to the Land and Environment Court if necessary to fight for our community and prove this.
This is a pristine rural environment close to Bungonia National Park, and on a school bus route. We cannot see the logic in placing a large industrial plant generating toxic emissions in beautiful regional area like this.
Council still endorsed a lengthy submission to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment outlining our concerns in regard to human, animal and environmental health along with transport, flooding and biodiversity concerns. This submission was lodged without prejudice, and our number one priority will be halting the issuing of SEARS.
We will also write directly to Jerrara Power advising total opposition to the proposal and seeking withdrawal. Furthermore a copy of the resolution and attached submission will be sent to Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor and NSW Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman.
Consultation continues as part of the Towards 2042 project, which will inform our new Community Strategic Plan. This document will set a vision and framework for the next Council to operate within, following elections in September.
We unfortunately had to postpone face-to-face consultation due to COVID-19 concerns, but now that things are again looking positive in Goulburn staff have rescheduled some COVID-safe pop up events.
Dates and locations for the pop-up consultation are:
Marulan Hall: Wednesday, July 28 from 4-5pm
Tarago Hall: Thursday, July 29 from 4-5pm
Goulburn Community Centre: Friday, July 30 from 3-5pm
I encourage community members to drop in to have your say on some key questions, focusing on where we are now, where we want to be in ten years, how we will get there, and how we will know if we've been successful.
I'm also told we have had a great response to the online survey, with over 100 responses. I encourage you to take this survey if you have not already.
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