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Re:  Your article “Welcome to our new GM!”

Dear Editor

You inspired me to write to the new GM of MidCoast Council, Mr Adrian Panuccio.  I recently made the move from North Sydney Council area where Council listens to the community and rate payers.  As such, I hold strong hopes that positive changes will ensue.

Since moving to this beautiful part of the world I have become quite disillusioned with the lack of community engagement by MidCoast Council, State Member for Myall Lakes Steven Bromhead and Old Bar Public School Principal Deborah Scanes.  In particular I refer to the lack of transparency and secrecy surrounding the Crown DA to “Increase the Old Bar Public School’s capacity to 480 students” when the schools capacity has already well exceeded that – 529 students in fact!  The NSW Education Minister Stokes, Schools Infrastructure NSW and the Principal, who are entrusted with the education of our children, have problems with basic mathematics!  The project is sadly not about our children.  It is about political grandstanding and building personal monuments.

The problem began with Council’s processing of the Crown DA where six owners immediately and detrimentally affected by the development did not receive notification from Council and were therefore denied the right to comment.  The next error by Council was providing an Assessment Report to the Joint Regional Planning Panel that was full of inaccuracies.  If MidCoast Council had done their job correctly, as in providing the JRPP with an accurate Assessment Report, the JRPP would have had grounds to refer the Crown DA to the Planning Minister.  Instead we have a development about to start that the community does not want.  The community wants the $6.287 million to be spent on start-up costs to develop a new safe site unaffected by coastal erosion, with state of the art facilities for all the students with plenty of room to grow.

In my welcome email to the new GM, I brought the above issues to his attention.  To my surprise and utter delight, Mr Panuccio was immediately on top of it.  The impact of Council’s mistakes will have serious and detrimental consequences for the Community of Old Bar and their children, the neighbourhood and property owners/residents impacted.  It is wonderful to see the GM is serious about his commitment to our beautiful MidCoast community.

Virginia Marsden

Old Bar

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