Minutes of the Berry Forum Meeting and AGM
Held at the School of Arts on Thursday 10 September at 7.30pm
Present: 70 residents and ratepayers. Councillors Andrew Guile & Patricia White
Apologies: Councillors John Wells and Lynne Kearney
Berry Forum Meeting
Welcome & Introduction
(Chairman, David Carter)
Berry District Park
James Harris and Donna Corbyn presented an overview of Council’s Master Plan and explained the submissions deadline of 11 September could be extended for the Forum’s input. Consultation to-date has been with various stakeholder groups.
Questions and input from the floor, and clarification from James and Donna included –
- A spacious, fenced off-leash dog area was requested
- The second oval on the plan is just an example of what the area could be used for. It will remain leased rural land until such time as a use is agreed.
- After all submissions are received a recommendation will be made to Council. Following endorsement, a staged plan will be set based on access to funding.
- It was suggested that the ongoing charges levied on businesses by Council for additional parking could be diverted to funding new parking off North Street.
- Extension of the footpath around the Park to include the section along Woodhill Mountain Rd was requested
- The Adventure Playground will be segregated into areas to accommodate all ages
- Rotary Club sees the Adventure Playground as an opportunity to attract tourists of all ages to Berry and is disappointed that its plan has been significantly downsized
- The Chamber of Commerce also believe the planned area for the Adventure Playground is inadequate; that long vehicle parking along the south side of North Street would not be acceptable to residents and that an expansion of the parking area G is needed to accommodate 100 vehicles and 20 long vehicle spaces; that toilet facilities should be incorporated into the parking area G; that the leased rural land could incorporate a substantial dog off-leash area.
- Berry Landcare confirmed its interest in the ‘Creek Riparian’ area, which is registered as a Bushcare site and maintained by a volunteer group. It was requested that no native trees are removed without prior consultation with Landcare, but that the Coral trees be removed. RMS has been contacted about the need to raise the creek bank to reduce flooding.
- Berry Garden Club is concerned that there is a misapprehension in the Plan that the appeal of the town is rustic and that log seating would be appropriate. This does not reflect the history of the town. Seating should be suitable for retirees. The casuarina trees along Woodhill Mtn Rd should be removed over time. The Club strongly believes that a large and easily accessed toilet block is essential close to the parking area G.
David Carter concluded the discussion by recommending that the Forum inform Council of the key issues raised, endorse work on the initial priorities that Fulton Hogan could assist with and state that further work on the Berry District Park Master Plan should be incorporated in the overall Strategic Master Plan for Berry. The recommendation was unanimously endorsed by the Forum.
Minutes of General Meeting held on 9 July 2015
The minutes were agreed and approved.
Matter arising from the Minutes:
- Anthony Colfelt, President of Berry Chamber of Commerce, met with the Committee to discuss the Strategic Master Plan. Committee members Stuart Coughlan and James Robinson subsequently met with Jessica Rippon from Council.
- The School of Arts building works will include a new roof, an upgrade of the commercial kitchen facilities and further repainting if funds allow.
- A footpath along Kangaroo Valley Rd is not included in the Berry Alliance ‘Tracks to the Future’ project.
Public Toilets in Berry
Council has funding of $50,000 this year and $150,000 next year for public toilets in Berry and is seeking confirmation of its preferred site.
We need to be aware that overall spending constraints in Council’s Asset Management Plans could result in a request for new toilets at Berry District Park causing the removal or downgrade of other existing facilities. In this context, it was pointed out by Councillor Guile that Council ‘owes’ Berry two toilets due to removal of toilets at Coolangatta Rd/Broughton Vale Creek.
Noel Marshall provided an update on the locations of toilet facilities in the Berry business district. Council’s favoured site is behind the Sew and Tell shop, but some members gave an impassioned plea ‘that the heritage feel of the area at the rear of the museum not be destroyed’; other options are behind NAB and next to the service station. There was also general dissatisfaction with the architectural design of the block in Alexandra Street.
Discussion on the topic included the following –
- The need for amenities south of Queen Street.
- Essential to include toilets in the planning for the Adventure Park
- Toilets should be close to where coaches park
- The Museum grounds should not be used for a toilet block
- A toilet block should not be sited in the street and the design should reflect Berry’s heritage
- It is not the number and siting of toilet blocks that is critical; it is the lack of volume of toilets in a block.
The last comment received widespread support and it was agreed that the Forum should inform Council that the community’s priority is a larger facility with more toilets. The increased cost is acknowledged, but continuing the piecemeal approach will result in a loss of future tourism revenue.
The pre-circulated financial statement was approved. The current balance of $23 will be increased by donations of $500 from Council and $1000 from Berry Alliance.
- Notification that Council has adopted the Shoalhaven Equestrian Centre of Excellence Master Plan
- Council advice that a donation of $500 has been granted to the Berry Forum CCB.
- Notification that a Planning Proposal to amend Shoalhaven LEP (Housekeeping Amendment Stage 1) is being re-exhibited as Council has clarified its intent. The Planning Proposal seeks to: (a) Insert ‘Shop top housing’ as a specific ‘permitted with consent’ use in the B3 Commercial Core zone; and (b)Insert a provision to enable the subdivision of split zoned land (e.g. residential and rural or environmental protection) to enable the creation of a residue lot that is smaller than the minimum lot size.
The Constitution was endorsed by the Forum.
This is a very important piece of work, which will determine the future character of Berry and where Council funding is prioritised over the next few years.
Participation is encouraged and we will be emailing out a list of thought starters for potential focus areas. A sub-committee will be formed to direct development of the Strategic Plan and an early priority will be to liaise with Council on selection of consultants.
The Mount Hay DA should go to the Development Committee Meeting on 6 October and the Rockfield Park JRPP meeting has been deferred to 12 November
Rick Gainford, President of the Berry Alliance presented a cheque for $1000 to the Berry Forum to assist with set-up and ongoing costs. He also offered space in the Town Crier for any Berry Forum articles.
Next Meeting is on 8 October.
Meeting closed at 8.45pm.
Berry Forum AGM
Introduction (Chairman, David Carter)
The Berry Forum financial year ended on 30 June 2015. As the Forum was only established on 11 June there is no Chairman’s Report. The financial position was discussed during the preceding Forum meeting.
Stuart Coughlan, Dorothy Hanbridge, Hania Norman, Bill Rice, Noel Marshall, David Carter, Mary Beare, Margot Claringbold, Laurie Watson, James Robinson, Marilyn Kellett (not present), John Underwood, John Cullity
The Forum unanimously endorsed the Committee membership.
Meeting closed at 9pm