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Inland amalgamation welcome

Gloucester Advocate – letters to the editor

Congratulations NSW Government for putting geography ahead of politics re local council amalgamations.

Bringing Gloucester and Dungog shires together makes good long-term strategic sense.

And please also act on the community interest in bringing Stroud into the combined new inland council.

Current lack of ownership by Dungog / Gloucester of their connected roads in the Stroud valley is a conundrum that more geographical thinking will clearly fix. The maps published in the media also show inclusion of Stroud to be clearly sensible.

Making the eastern boundary of the new inland shire follow the rugged mountain range east of Stroud, which is also our State Member’s eastern electoral boundary, is geographically and politically common sense.

But the geography also impacts on functionality and on operational costs for Councils, and very importantly their publics. Stroud to Forster is a three-hour round trip for the public and also for Council’s own staff. To Dungog and Gloucester is less than half the Forster journey. Council sourced figures suggest Great Lakes will save over one million dollars every year if it sheds Stroud to the new inland shire.

As for populations, moving the small Stroud population to the new 14,000 person inland Council gives it a population boost of over 10 percent while only impacting Great Lakes 37,000 population by less than 5 percent. Another good “fit for the future” strategy for the new inland council.

While there will always be some vocal critics, local support for Stroud joining Gloucester / Dungog is strong and extensive.

Finally, my experience in senior council administration and in urban and regional planning says that putting Stroud into a new inland rural council that secures State compensation funding is financially, operationally and culturally a very sound concept.

Brian Eastoe

More information – www.gloucesteradvocate.com.au


5 Comments on “Inland amalgamation welcome”

  1. Heather Ogilvie and Sam McLeod January 17, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

    There’s an old saying that clearly applies to this debate. “If it aint broken, don’t fix it.”

    Stroud is part of a healthy, vibrant and financially well managed council. We will always advocate for and embrace change where the outcome is for good of the whole. Changing councils is not. Build all the cultural and geographic bonds with Dungog and Gloucester that you want but leave our formal connection to Great Lakes alone.

    And please don’t speak for us.

  2. Pauline Ibbetson January 14, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    There lies the conundrum Marg. Sentiment or sensibility. I would like there to be a public meeting with all three councils, our local and State reps in attendance and hear all the facts and figures direct from the top before I get off any fence. The general consensus is not conclusive, it depends on who you want to listen to.

  3. Margaret Swilks January 13, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

    What a load of rubbish Brian. Sentiment because of close association over the years between the towns does not mean it is right for Stroud to merge with Gloucester. Stroud has a long association with Foster , Great Lakes has a fine Financial control resulting in it being fit to stand alone.
    I don’t know who you have been talking too but I would have to disagree claiming local support for your idea , general consensus to my knowledge is keeping rates low by staying with Great Lakes.

    • Helen Gillard January 14, 2016 at 10:15 am #

      Thank you Mr. Eastoe for your timely & well thought through comments on the sound points of benefit of an “Inland Amalgamation”.

      Refreshing to hear points of view sourced from reason & natural geography rather than traditional vested interest or its mate nepotism, where those with power favour friends, especially by giving them jobs or status.

      As always “fear of change” becomes the weapon of those wanting to keep the status quo.

      There is no evidence an amalgamation would affect rates.

      Ungrounded fear of that is not a good reason to oppose a natural union of common culture, a union fertile with possibilities for vibrant growth.

      Helen Gillard

      • pauline ibbetson January 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

        Exactly, Helen.

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