Council Meeting - Thursday 29 May 2008
Diesel Power Plant Submission
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council tonight approved a submission to the Department of Planning detailing community concerns about the proposed Distillate Fired Peaking Power Station at Herons Creek.
The meeting heard that in November 2006, Council gave 'in principle' support to sell a parcel of land at Herons Creek to the proponents of the development, subject to Department of Planning approval for the project.
Acting Administrator, Alan Griffin said, "Council acknowledges there has been significant opposition to the development with Council receiving in excess of 500 submissions opposing the facility. As Council is not the consent authority, we are forwarding those submissions to the Department of Planning.
"Although the 'in principle' support was given to the project as a way of potentially improving the supply of electricity to the region in peak demand times, we are listening to the concerns of the community.
"I have requested a review of Council's position on the sale, as well as seeking legal advice as to any impact any possible withdrawal of the agreement would have for Council, Mr Griffin said.
The results of the review will be reported back to Council.
New SES Facility Tenders
Following tonight's meeting, Council will now enter into negotiations with four companies to construct a new State Emergency Services (SES) building on land in Central Road, Port Macquarie, after all but one of the tenders received were non-conforming to Council's requirements.
Council will negotiate with four of the seven companies who tendered, instead of inviting fresh tenders due to the delays that would occur in completing the much needed project. A budget of $1.64 million dollars has been earmarked for the building,
Director of Infrastructure Services, Steve Finlay said, "The SES play a vital role in our community and have for many years now been operating in less than idea conditions. We would like to see work start as soon as possible on this project and are keen to finalise negotiations."
Community Grants Program Review
Council tonight adopted a recommendation to increase the upper limit of funding applications as well as changing the eligibility criteria for the Community Grants Program.
Changes include the removal of 'dollar-for-dollar' requirements which have been replaced with a need to demonstrate a level of 'in-kind' contribution, project completion time increased from one year to up to two years and the doubling of the maximum limit of any one grant application from $5,000 to $10,000.
Tony Leahy, acting Director of Community Development said, "The changes have been made in recognition of the increased financial costs involved in delivering community projects.
"Council undertook a review of the program and found that the dollar for dollar requirement has meant that good projects have been ineligible for funding assistance because the applicant could not meet the 50% required contribution. These changes will address that issue, Mr Leahy said.
Council has doubled the Community Grants Program funding allocation to $171,000 in the draft Corporate Plan, currently on public exhibition.
Supply of Electricity Tender
A Tender has been accepted by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council for the supply of electricity for contestable sites and street lighting for the next two years. The tender is for 2x12 month terms commencing on 1 July 2008.
The successful tenderer is Country Energy.
Council's Director of Corporate and Business Services, Tony Leahy said, "Due to the volatility of the current electricity market and the changes that are going to be taking place in the retail electricity market over the next few years, Council has chosen an option of accepting the first two pricing periods taking us to the end of June 2010.
"This will ensure that Council receives the best deal possible given that electricity pricing is expected to rise considerably from 2010, Mr Leahy said.