January Community Update

Feb 1, 2023

A summary of business from the Council meeting

Lithgow Council takes bold action to secure the future of the Lithgow area

The current Council has engaged significantly with the community about their priorities. As an outcome, the Council has made a major commitment to improving the city’s infrastructure, growing the local economy and improving services. To create the capacity for these activities, councillors endorsed that an application be made to IPART for a permanent increase to land rates.

The overall income from land rates will increase by a maximum of 45.7% (including a 3.7% rate peg), but the average resident will have their increase limited to 27.7% (including 3.7% rate peg).

Wolgan Valley access

Wolgan Road was closed to traffic in early November 2022 because of immediate concerns regarding slope stability. This has stranded a community of about 150 residents. Businesses have also been gravely affected, including the Emirates One&Only Resort.

The Council has actively constructed a new access (the Donkey Steps) with the second section of pavement being concreted on the top steep section. Council is aiming to have the track opened to residents and essential business needs in the week of the 6th February while minor safety works continue on the track.

The Council has worked with the NSW Government’s Public Works and Peter Gracey (the contractor) who have excelled in their management and construction of the new access over difficult terrain for residents.

The support of the Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation, who have assisted in assessment and safeguarding of any indigenous heritage, is also acknowledged.

A detailed geotechnical report has found that the Wolgan Road is built upon highly erodible material and any attempt to maintain this route for long term access will be extremely difficult. As a backstop, the Council has commenced work on the identification of an alternate, permanent resilient access route as a matter of priority. Council will also actively explore all avenues to secure funding and move forward with minimal delay.

Council will continue to work at getting the long- term access issues resolved. Continued support from State and Federal government departments for the residents and businesses of Wolgan Valley is being pursued.

The well-being of residents in the Wolgan Valley is a priority for Council and we continue to work closely with residents, the Wolgan Valley Association and businesses of the valley to ensure their needs are met.

Community Cultural Protocol – working together as one with our Aboriginal Community

Council has affirmed its commitment to work together with the local Aboriginal Community to protect and improve the interests of all Aboriginal people in the Lithgow area.

The recently endorsed Community Cultural Protocol fosters unity, ownership, participation, and leadership. The Protocol acknowledges the significance of local Aboriginal people and heritage to the Seven Valleys.

The protocol is a valuable guide for organisations seeking to engage with our local Aboriginal people and is available for viewing on Council’s website.

“Living within the Environment”, Waste Management & Resource Recovery Strategy

Council adopted the Waste Management & Resource Recovery Strategy 2022-2026 “Living within the Environment”. The strategy recognises waste as a resource and focuses actions on reducing, reusing and recycling.

Key actions include developing a kerbside organics (FOGO) implementation plan, finishing construction of the Resource Recovery Centre and undertaking material separation on site to match available recycling markets.

The completion of the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) has experienced long delays due to poor weather conditions which has slowed the construction of new roadways. Dry weather conditions have been required to allow underlying subbases time to appropriately dry out and to warm to an appropriate level for hot- mixing. The RRC is nearing completion. Once the road ways are completed, the RRC will be quickly approaching its opening to the community.

Work Progress Report

  • Main Street CBD final plans are being prepared for community consultation to commence in February.
  • Burton Street Crossing over Farmers Creek design work and environmental assessments have been completed for a low level causeway crossing over Farmers Creek near Burton Council will be calling for quotations to undertake the works. Construction is expected to be completed by 30 June 2023. Completion of these works will reinstate this crossing which forms an integral part of the Farmers Creek shared pathway.
  • Union Theatre Upgrade Council is awaiting delivery and installation of a modern seating system to replace the decades old theatre Installation is expected in April 2023.
  • Design work will soon be completed for upgrade of the theatre kitchen including installation of a servery between the kitchen and theatre. kitchen works are expected to be completed in the second half of 2023 after development consent is obtained. The upgrade works will further enhance the functionality of the theatre for performances and provide greater comfort for patrons.
  • Get Active NSW Grant – quotations for footpath construction projects for Lithgow (Hartley Valley Road, Maple Crescent), Wallerawang (Barton Avenue, Pindari Place), Cullen Bullen (Castlereagh Highway), and Portland (High Street) and are currently being assessed.
  • Kremer Park Grandstand, Portland – heritage assessment has been completed. Detailed designs and scope of works are being prepared for the tender documents.
  • JM Robson Aquatic Centre – plans are currently being prepared for a sauna to be installed.
  • Fixing Country Bridges Round 1 – works have commenced on Coco Creek Bridge replacement. For further information on the Glen Davis Bridge Replacement program please visit https://council.lithgow.com/glen-davis-road-bridge-project/
  • Fixing Country Bridges Round 2 – planning, studies and approvals are commencing for Charles Street Rydal and Red Hill Road, Palmers Oaky
  • Rydal Toilets – consultation with UGL Regional Linx and additional approvals being prepared.
  • School Zone Infrastructure Program – Linemarking is being undertaken – to be completed in February.
  • Pothole Repair Round – planning underway.
  • Cullen Bullen Sewer Scheme has taken shape with the majority of serviced properties in the village having the low pressure units and their auxiliaries installed on site. All reticulation has been laid and connected awaiting the commissioning of the treatment plant. Construction of the treatment plant has begun with the large tank being excavated currently and buildings such as the Administration and Laboratory Building and Electrical Switch Room bases ready to accept the prefabricated buildings. There have been some delays due to the weather in the last twelve months with the site being difficult to access and excavate without causing undue damage in the area however, Council and its contractors are progressing the project forward.
  • Portland Water Mains – This project is now in the remediation stage with all sites that have been excavated being repaired prior to finalisation. The project has replaced and renewed a vast amount of the water mains in East Portland as well as constructed a new trunk main to service the Portland Foundations sites to allow for site activation and future usage. This project was funded by the NSW Government and delivered by Council.
  • Smoke Testing of sewer lines – has commenced in various sections of the Lithgow area and will progress in the early parts of 2023. This will be a process of inserting a nonhazardous smoke into the sewer mains and connections across the area and examining properties and the area for breakages and illegal connections. This project is part of Council’s ongoing sewer management works to remove illegal connections and overflows from Council infrastructure.
  • Sewer relining – the sewer relining project will begin on the 6th of February 2023 with the inspection of lines to be completed this financial year. The initial works will include CCTV inspection of lines, the repair and renewal of any issue areas in the mains prior to the relining of the sewer main. This work is being completed as part of the sewer management and repair program to reduce the ground water infiltration into the sewer mains across the Lithgow area.
  • Browns Gap Road is continuing to show movement in the adjacent slopes. Assessments are continuing to identify the best treatment. Mines Subsidence is looking to repair a collapsed sinkhole next to the road. Council can then repair the unstable section of the road. Browns Gap Road will remain closed until further notice.
  • Wolgan Valley Evacuation Plan expressions of interest are expected to close and be assessed in February.
  • Recreation update – The warmer weather brings a fast growing environment and Council’s Recreation Team have been extremely busy catching up after the Christmas / New Year Break. The focus has been on preparing parks, gardens and sporting facilities for high level events such as the recently secured NRL Laurie Daley Cup and the commencement of regular events & carnivals including the annual Nick Way Memorial Touch Football Cup & Rydal Show.