The Council has been instrumental in initiating and supporting a diverse range of programs, projects and plans in order that our City be sustainable into the future.
In the course of these projects, the Council engages, consults and partners with the community to understand and deliver their needs and required levels of service. The Council also advocates to other levels of government to secure funding and resources in order to provide these services.
Our Community Vision to achieve a more sustainable Blue Mountains includes a continued focus on the well-being of our community, and the financial sustainability of our City.
Below are some of the key projects we have achieved together towards our common vision.
Stronger Families Alliance
The Stronger Families Alliance (SFA) is a network of people and organisations working together to build better outcomes for children and youth in the Blue Mountains. It focuses on the well-being and resilience of children and young people, with a cradle-to-career approach.
The Alliance has come a long way since 2006, when a handful of child and family organisations were convened by the Blue Mountains City Council and the Mountains Community Resource Network to find more effective ways of supporting children’s developmental outcomes.
Powered by the knowledge that strong, healthy children are the bedrock of enduring communities, the group was concerned with the rising number of children who were needlessly falling through the cracks because services for children worked in isolation from each other.
The group developed a profound yet simple vision for itself: a plugged-in network of people with a shared purpose – to enhance connections with all local families and guarantee speedy specialist help for children with complex needs.
Over the past four years the SFA has continued to facilitate better outcomes for children and families through:
- Faster, better co-ordinated, more comprehensive service delivery;
- Improving the capability of organisations to match children to the right service;
- Delivering new programs and initiatives for prevention and early intervention; and
- Involving new stakeholders in the focus on creating a child and family friendly City of Blue Mountains.
In 2012, the SFA expanded to include a focus on creating child-friendly initiatives designed to enhance family life in the Blue Mountains.
In 2015, in response to teachers and health professionals detecting an increase in anxiety, behavioural problems and self-harm among teenagers, the SFA integrated young people aged 12–18 into its programs. 46 Alliance partners now take a ‘cradle-to-career’ approach in the best interests of children aged up to 18.
Resourcing Our Future
The Resourcing Our Future engagement process resulted in community endorsement for a special rate variation to achieve better infrastructure, improve emergency preparedness and response, and continue to protect the environment.
This successful application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in 2015 for a rate increase provides needed additional funding for our City and community.
Without this additional revenue, the Council forecast that the proportion of built assets in poor condition would increase from 21% in 2015 to 37% by 2024.
Due, however, to community endorsement in 2014, through the Resourcing Our Future engagement process, the Council is now able to use this funding to:
- Stop the decline in the City’s $1 billion worth of built assets;
- Improve our emergency preparedness and response; and
- Continue to protect our valued World Heritage natural environment.
Thank you to the Blue Mountains community for supporting our efforts to protect, improve and maintain our valued assets and environment for future generations.
Local Environmental Plan 2015
After more than three years of preparation, exhibition, review and negotiation, the Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2015 was approved on 21 December 2015.
This plan conforms to the NSW Government’s standard template, but also incorporates many provisions specific to the Blue Mountains, responding to local values.
The new LEP applies to the whole of City and protects the values of our community. It continues to:
- Protect the special characteristics of our natural environment;
- Manage the requirements of our built environment;
- Support the preservation of the unique character of our villages; and
- Protect our water quality and significant vegetation.
Sealing of Unsealed Roads
Over the past four years the Council has successfully implemented the Sealing of Unsealed Roads Program.
This program was developed following a best value review of the Council’s gravel road maintenance service. The costs associated with continually regrading gravel roads were significant and there was a growing number of residents finding it difficult to access gravel roads, particularly after wet weather.
The review found that it would be more cost effective in the medium to longer term for the Council to permanently seal the City’s gravel roads rather than continually regrade them.
Between 2012 and 2016, 31 gravel roads were permanently sealed. While the program initially aimed to seal 55,000 square metres of road, it proved so successful that it was expanded to sealing approximately 100,000 square metres of road equivalent to 678 km of road.
The program was funded through the sale of plant previously used to regrade roads and through the cost savings associated with no longer having to maintain unsealed gravel roads, the proceedings of which were used to repay a loan.
Key benefits of the program included:
- Significant recurrent annual savings;
- Improved road accessibility for residents; and
- Improved maintenance service in other areas, as the reduction in the number of unsealed roads has allowed previously needed resources to be re-allocated to other priority maintenance activities.