Council meeting proceeds with strict social distancing

Published on 26 March 2020

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Social distancing requirements were implemented at MidCoast Council’s ordinary meeting yesterday afternoon to comply with the Government directives.

Despite reports to the contrary, the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 which provides for councils to run their meetings via teleconferencing, had passed through the State Parliament but had not commenced before the MidCoast Council meeting.

The social distancing requirements were met by reducing the number of seats available in the public gallery and ensuring they are appropriately spread out. Four members of the public attended the meeting.

The NSW Police were also in attendance following hoax calls indicating Council had breached social distancing requirements.

The meeting resolved to enter into negotiations with a preferred tenderer with a view to award a contract for the conversion of the former Masters site on Biripi Way into Council’s head office. However a rescission motion has since been received on this item and it will form the subject of an extraordinary meeting to be held at 1pm tomorrow.

While members of the public will not be able to physically attend the meeting, they will be able to view the meeting through a weblink accessed via Council’s website.

Importantly, other matters resolved at the 25 March meeting included:

  • The establishment of a Community Recovery Bushfire Reference Group to provide strategic advice and feedback to assist Council to support the community to recover and renew following the bushfire events of late 2019. The reference group will support local recovery efforts and play an important role in helping individuals and communities get back on their feet by identifying and establishing priorities and providing information and advice to affected communities and recovery agencies.
  • The engagement of an independent professionally qualified heritage consultant to prepare a conservation management plan for The Bight Cemetery. This plan will be prepared in accordance with the NSW Heritage Office guidelines and the National Trust guidelines for cemetery conservation.

The audit of the 2018/19 financial statements was also reported to the meeting. The audited statements will now be lodged with the Office of Local Government by the approved extension deadline of 31 March 2020. The Financial Statements will be placed on exhibition during which time the community can make submissions. A date will also be set for the presentation of the annual financial reports by the auditor. This date will be advertised.

An audio recording of the proceedings is available on the Council’s website for those who wish to follow the process.

To keep up to date on the latest information on how MidCoast Council is providing services to the community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, please go to Council’s website www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/covid19 or follow MidCoast Council on Facebook.

“We will continue to operate in line with the latest advice from the Federal and State Governments and aim to get any of our impacted services up and running again as soon as it is responsible to do so,” said MidCoast Council’s General Manager, Adrian Panuccio.