The answer is, yes it will because the newly elected Central Coast Council is only there for three years and hopefully at the next election the people will be given an opportunity to learn who they will be voting for. Firstly though, why will we survive? Because too many Development Approvals are in place and the management structure put in by the Administrator should ensure a steady ship until 2020. The very positive and progressive work put in by the former Gosford and Wyong Councils in the three years before they were sacked is now working through into the economy and no one can stop that. The new Mayor can say all she likes but she won’t be able to stop the developments now coming out of the ground, many of which are well above the 20 storeys that she is already on record as being concerned about. Thank God for that! Only last month the JRPP approved $100 million worth of developments one of which included a 24-storey tower (see Page11). Secondly, and another very important point to keep in mind is that there is now in place the Central Coast Growth Plan 2036 and even more importantly is that the Minister for Planning has appointed a Co-ordinator General whose job it is to ensure the implementation of that Plan. While Central Coast Council has responsibility for its implementation, overriding this is the Minister for Planning’s commitment to the Plan. This Plan is going to happen and to reinforce this the Minister has appointed the NSW Government Architect to guide the redevelopment of the Gosford CBD and the Waterfront (see Page 7) and he will have the support of the Co-ordinator General. Also the Department of Planning has just appointed a Director of its Central Coast Planning Team (see Page 13). The new Councillors would do well to study the Central Coast Growth Strategy 2036 and get on board. Because it encompasses the whole region with a Somersby – Erina Economic Corridor that includes Gosford as the Regional Capital and a Warnervale – Tuggerah Economic Corridor that includes development of the Warnervale Town Centre). Much of this growth will be anathema to some but the region desperately needs this vision.
Finally, this Council is only there for three years and we can only hope that at the next election the people of the Central Coast will not be treated in the same cynical way that they were with this election. Both Liberal and Labor Parties thought it would be quite clever to leave the nomination of their candidates until the last minute and then spend nothing on promoting who those candidates were. They thought people would vote on party lines but forgot they are on the nose in the state and in Canberra. And then we had every obscure Tom, Dick and Mary thinking that all they had to do was stand up and they could get to have a say in the running of an organisation with an income of $800 million and assets of more than $11 billion. In the end we had 94 candidates most of whom no one had a clue who they were.
What we now need is a policy to attract business investment to the region. It is all very well saying we will have an additional 70,000 people living here by 2036 but the 27,000 jobs that the Plan talks about need to be real jobs. That is, jobs provided by the private sector that have no dependence on government funding. According to the real estate agents we are talking to there is a renewed interest in our region, not least because of the opportunities that the NorthConnex will bring. That’s something we haven’t had for twenty years and must be nurtured.