Draft Minutes for the Berry Forum
Held 20 June 2024 7.30pm at the Uniting Church Hall

Present: 103 people attended including Mayor Amanda Findley, CEO Robyn Stevens, and Councillors Serena Copley, Tonia Gray, Matthew Norris, John Wells and Patricia White. Director City Services, Carey McIntire also attended.

Welcome and Introduction: Ian Hendry (Chair)
Minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024: Approved

David Berry Hospital
Irene Birks reported that no decisions will be made on the hospital until the two units which operate there are transferred to the new Shoalhaven Hospital. A meeting with the Health Minister and staff has been organised. The agreement for use of the hospital does state if there is no health use it can be sold. The completion date for the new hospital is 2026.

A major public meeting for all Ward 1 residents is being held on Saturday 20 July at 2pm to discuss the future of David Berry Hospital. Petitions will be available on the day.

Berry Hotel DA 
Council outsourced the DA and the assessment has recommended refusal. Councillors will vote on whether to support the recommendation at their meeting on Monday.

Proposed Sale of the Princess St Car Park
Judith Ball provided research regarding potential sale of 77 Princess Street, which proved the process had not been transparent. Councillors will vote on Monday to decide if the car park should not be sold.

Council’s Financial Crisis
On Monday, Councillors must decide whether they support the proposed 2024/25 budget, which projects a net operating deficit of $25 million. Council’s failure to confront the continuing escalation of employee costs, which is the fundamental cause of the growing deficit, will result in no funding for road repairs and a substantial increase in rates.

The Forum Committee has asked several times about transfers of employee costs between the General Fund and the Water Fund but has not received an answer.

The CEO was asked to respond and said Council was making good progress on the financial crisis.

24 hr convenience store / service station DA status
Richard Wiseman is in contact with the management of Viva Energy and will meet with them soon.

General Business
Kangaroo Valley Road will be closed from Monday during daylight hours.

A resident was concerned about flooding on Prince Alfred St. during recent rain events and requested Council to prioritise this project to prevent impact of flooding in the area.

A resident proposed Forum meetings return to bi-monthly. He was informed that attendees at the March 2023 meeting had voted to move to quarterly meetings and use the Newsletter for regular updates. Special meetings would still be held when appropriate

Council elections on 14 September
Ward 1 candidates standing Tonia Gray, Serena Copley, Mathew Norris and Peter Wilkins. John Wells is retiring. A Meet the Candidates forum will be held on August 28th.

Meeting Closed: 8:55pm.  Next Forum meeting – 28 Aug 2024 ‘Meet the Candidates’