Ettalong Channel and the politics of poison

For those who think that the Brisbane Water is a playground for the rich then it is time to think again.
Brisbane Water supports a Marine Economy that is as vital to the regional economy as any industry sector.
There are four marinas plus Gosford Sailing Club servicing a fleet of boats from luxury cruisers to tinnies, an oyster industry worth millions of dollars and all employing a lot of people.
And of course there is (or was!) a ferry service that brought tourists from Palm Beach, serviced the Wagstaffe and Hardy’s Bay area and took morning commuters to work on the northern beaches of Sydney.
The State Government takes over two million dollars each year out of Brisbane Water in fees and licences.
And yet right now thanks to the poisonous politics being played out at Central Coast Council the economy generated by Brisbane Water is in jeopardy as the Ettalong Channel continues to silt up and has stopped the ferry service from operating.
It took a public meeting called by Ettalong Diggers Club at which over 450 people attended, followed up by most of them attending a Council meeting a few days later that convinced these councillors that they had better do something (see story Page 7).
But having reluctantly agreed to come to the party and apply to the State Government for 50-50 funding to dredge the Channel the Mayor says the funds will have to come from some programme because council doesn’t have the funds.
Well Mayor Smith where did the $500,000 come from to fund the Marine Discovery Centre at Terrigal run by the Community Environment Network of which you are CEO?
What council programme was robbed for this huge sum to this outfit?
At the same Council meeting on the 14th May at which over 300 people attended in support of the Ettalong Channel the Mayor allowed a marathon debate to continue over a child care centre at Wamberal which was subsequently knocked back and will be approved by the Land & Environment Court at great legal cost to council. That infantile debate took over an hour and then it was another hour and a half to debate the Ettalong Channel.
When all that was over it took five minutes to approve Council’s $761.3 million dollar Budget.
That Council meeting said everything.
We welcome Central Coast Council CEO Gary Murphy who will take up his position at the start of July (see Page 13).
Mr Murphy comes to the Central Coast with considerable experience in local government and that includes in South Africa where he comes from.
He has achieved much as General Manager of Lismore City Council.
Mr Murphy is a man of vision and here on the Central Coast that is exactly what we need.
Central Coast Council has been without a permanent CEO since it was elected in September 2017.
I am sure the staff at Council who have been doing an exceptional job will be happy to have him on board.
On a positive note we congratulate Michelle and Daniel Syddall of Construct Central Coast, a building company that has swept the field before them and taken out the 2018 HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year Award (see Page 7).
The luxury waterfront home they have built for a Sydney family at Wagstaffe has shown them to be Australia’s leading high-end home builder.
This is just another example of a Central Coast business who is equal to the best in the country. Think about it, there were a hell of a lot of builders in Australia vying for this prestigious award.