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From the Mayor - 29 July 2020

Posted Wednesday 29 July 2020

The ugly resurgence of COVID-19 clusters across metropolitan Sydney has shone a laser sharp light on the ongoing need for every member of our wonderful community to continue putting the public health needs of the collective ahead of individual needs. The potential for the re-emergence of strict lockdown measures is very real and the consistent call out remains for the community to vigilantly adhere to all public health orders.

A second lockdown would be devastating to every sector of our community, but especially so for the vulnerable and elderly residents in our care facilities. What is happening in Victorian care homes is so horrifyingly tragic and my heart is heavy for all affected patients, families and care staff. A second lockdown would again put enormous pressure on our amazing health care workers and health services, our school students and teachers and be overwhelmingly distressing for our local businesses which are all doing their very best to get back on their feet.

Public debate continues on whether the wearing of face masks should be declared mandatory by health officials. With the current uncertainty as to where the next community outbreak will occur, I have decided to wear a face mask when I go into any community space or place where there is a large number of people and physical distancing is difficult.

It is not surprising to read that our precious public parklands are experiencing a significant surge in popularity during COVID. The pandemic has accentuated and emphasised the importance of public spaces to people’s mental, physical and social wellbeing. Professor Graeme Samuel, AC, has just released the interim Report for the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. In a very frank analysis Professor Samuels says the EPBC Act is ineffective, does not enable the Commonwealth to protect and conserve important environmental matters and is not fit for purpose to address current or future environmental challenges. I strongly encourage residents to read the Report and have a say about the reform directions.

Significantly, Council staff have continued to work on the Climate Strategy and Action Plan, which needs to be reinforced and underpinned by community involvement and input. Our initial community workshops, which were COVID-delayed, have been rescheduled with the first to take place 30 July. The Climate Action Forum will now be a community online meeting in early September. Our Federal Member, Zali Steggall, State Member Felicity Wilson and the NSW Energy and Environment Minister, Matt Kean have been invited to attend and speak. Importantly, Council unanimously adopted at the July meeting to set zero net emissions targets, both for the Council and for the community, and to establish a Climate Action Community Consultative Committee.

In closing, I can report that the Woolworths assessment is ongoing and staff anticipate it will go before the Independent Mosman Local Planning Panel (MLPP) in either September or October. Work on the accessible toilet at the Raglan Street West Carpark and the accessible ramp at Clifton Gardens are nearly complete, with both expected to open to the public in August, while the new multipurpose sports court at Balmoral Oval will provide a welcome outdoor exercise venue for our residents from September.