Public meeting on proposed Council merger tonight and last week to make written submissions

To ensure residents know about the NSW Government’s proposed merger of Hawkesbury City Council and part of the Hills Shire Council, the Mayor of Hawkesbury and Councillors have been staffing local shopping centre information displays and will continue to do so this week.

Residents can find out more about the proposed merger at an additional public inquiry meeting being held tonight, 22 February from 7pm to 10pm at Hawkesbury Racecourse, Clarendon.

Hawkesbury Mayor, Councillor Kim Ford wants all residents to find out how the proposed changes will affect them.

“The shopping centre displays are giving Hawkesbury residents the chance to meet their Councillors and access information regarding the proposed Council amalgamations and how they will affect our Hawkesbury way of life,” Councillor Ford said.

“We’ve also been telling people that there is one more public meeting tonight at Hawkesbury Racecourse – being run by the State Government – and that they can make written submissions until 5pm this Sunday, 28 February.

“Some residents have said they thought it was a ‘done deal’ and didn’t realise they could make their own written submissions – it is really important they we let them know they can still make a submission this week.”

The Hawkesbury Mayor is gravely concerned that the Hawkesbury’s future needs will not be met by a merged council.

“This merger will simply throw together two distinctly different regions, destroying historical and traditional values and weakening our community ties,” the Mayor said.

“We don’t need a merger mess to deal with; we need the best strategy to advance the needs of our community, a community that refuses to be forgotten or worse, treated like an outlying woop woop.

“The proposed merger of Hawkesbury and Hills is not in the best interest of our community as they will be NOT proportionally represented by a larger, mainly metropolitan council that will focus on the urban intensification and renewal of the North West Growth Sector and Sydney Metro Northwest,” he added.

“I can see our residents being conveniently, and completely, forgotten by a merged Council with an eastern- centric mindset.”

The communities of interest of the Hawkesbury’s towns and village extend to where our residents send their children to school, where they shop and where they engage in community groups, Councillor Ford affirmed.

“This merger proposal is not well thought out and our evidence is that the merger is not the solution because we can achieve the same, if not better results without the many shortcomings of the proposal,” he said.

“Even the doubtful net financial benefits flowing from the proposal are minimal and far outweighed by the adverse economic impact of the merger on the local economy.

“I urge residents to make the time for this last chance meeting and to write a submission before it’s too late.”

Members of the public can comment on the NSW Government’s proposal to merge Hawkesbury City Council with part of The Hills Shire Council up until 5pm Sunday, 28 February 2016 at the latest if lodging online at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au/proposals/hawkesbury-city-and-the-hills-shire-councils or earlier (such as Wednesday) if lodging by post to GPO Box 5341 SYDNEY NSW 2001.

Call1300 813 020 or visit www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au/proposals/hawkesbury-city-and-the-hills- shire-councils for information on how to make a written submission.

For more background, see https://yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au/getting-council-fit-for-the-future.