NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

 

Ordinary Council Meeting - 14 August 2013

 

LATE AGENDA                                                                                        Page

 

 

   

9        General Manager Report

9.9     Undetected Water Leak Policy.................................................................... 2

9.10   Adin Street Reserve, Scotts Head - Proposed 21 Year Lease - Additional Submissions.............................................................................................. 5

9.11   Bowraville Off River Water Storage - Amendments to Part 5 Approval.......... 9

9.12   Provision of legal access to 11 and 11A Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads 13    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


      


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                        14 August 2013

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.9     SF848              140813        Undetected Water Leak Policy

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:   Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

Council receives representations about excessive water consumption charges arising from water pipe breakages on the private property side of the water meter.  On average there may be 6 – 12 per annum.

 

The internal approach to dealing with these has been to apportion liability strictly.  That is if the water pipe break is on the private property side of the water meter, the property owner has been required to pay for all the water wasted/consumed.

 

It is proposed that the approach to debt recovery move away from the existing uncapped, strict liability requirement to incorporate a cap where the property owner can demonstrate they were attentive to having the leak repaired when it became or should have become evident.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council adopt the following approach to varying water consumption as well as related sewer and trade waste usage charges arising out of undetected water leaks:

 

Undetected Water Leak Policy

 

Council will consider varying water consumption as well as related sewer and trade waste usage charges where:

 

·    The water service is constructed of material approved by Council including

copper pipe

polyethylene (PE) pipe for pressure applications and

 

·    A defect in the service has occurred which is not readily visible or apparent and Council is satisfied that there has been immediate and effective action to make repairs and

 

·    A copy of the invoice from a licensed plumber for the repairs has been provided to Council

 

The variation to an account will reduce the charges to an amount which is the lesser of the actual metered amount or twice the average water usage for the property as determined using three (3) previous equivalent billing periods not affected by the unseen leak.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council’s rates staff have checked the policies which apply at Port Macquarie – Hastings Council and also at Coffs Harbour City Council.  Their approach is similar to that proposed although both only provide an adjustment to 50% of the difference between the water consumed/wasted and the average water usage.  In the example quoted in the report, this would mean the ratepayer would have to pay approximately $4,000 instead of approximately $2,000 under the proposed cap of twice their normal usage.  It is a matter for Council as to what it believes is fair and reasonable.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Council receives representations about excessive water consumption charges arising from water pipe breakages on the private property side of the water meter.  On average there may be 6 – 12 per annum.

 

The internal approach to dealing with these has been to apportion liability strictly.  That is if the water pipe break is on the private property side of the water meter, the property owner has been required to pay for all the water wasted/consumed.  This may amount to thousands of dollars.  It was believed that residents needed to accept responsibility for maintaining their infrastructure and appreciate the true cost of water.  Also that residents should be attentive to the sound of running water; damp patches in yards which were normally dry, or ticking water meters when there were no taps running.  It is probably also fair to say that the approach was considerate of maximising Council’s revenue.

 

With the significant increases in the per kilolitre cost of water this strict liability approach is unlikely to be sustainable.  In 2013/2014 the cost of water is $2.81 per kilolitre.

 

For example, Council staff are currently dealing with one incident where a water line break on private property has resulted in a water usage charge of $7,000 more than their typical bill.  In that particular incident the leak could not be readily detected and it was only when it was detected coming through a wall that a plumber was called and the leak located and repaired.

 

Council’s rates staff need to have a consistent approach to dealing with incidents where water pipe breakage results in substantial water charges.  It is proposed that the internal approach to debt recovery move away from the existing uncapped approach of strict liability to incorporate a cap where the property owner can demonstrate they were attentive to having the leak repaired when it became or should have become evident.

 

The proposed approach is as follows:

 

Undetected Water Leak Policy

 

Council will consider varying water consumption as well as related sewer and trade waste usage charges where:

 

·    The water service is constructed of material approved by Council including

copper pipe

polyethylene (PE) pipe for pressure applications and

 

·    A defect in the service has occurred which is not readily visible or apparent and Council is satisfied that there has been immediate and effective action to make repairs and

 

·    A copy of the invoice from a licensed plumber for the repairs has been provided to Council

 

The variation to an account will reduce the charges to an amount which is the lesser of the actual metered amount or twice the average water usage for the property as determined using three (3) previous equivalent billing periods not affected by the unseen leak.

 

The proposed policy still contains a financial incentive for property owners to be attentive to the indications of a water line break being potentially a doubling of their normal charge.  Further the policy will only apply where Council staff are satisfied that the water line break was not readily visible or apparent and there was immediate and effective action to repair it.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

There has been discussion with Council’s Manager Water & Sewerage and with the Rates Officer and Assistant Rates Officer.

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

There are no implications for the environment.

 

Social

 

The existing approach of strict liability is unlikely to be sustainable and particularly in relation to ratepayers who receive some form of income support.

 

Economic

 

There are no significant economic implications.

 

Risk

 

The loss of revenue is the major risk.  However the instances of unseen water pipe breakage are limited to about 6 – 12 per annum.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

There will be a negative impact on revenue to the water fund and to a lesser extent the sewer fund.  Based on past instances, the revenue impact will not be significant.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

There is no impact on working funds.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

There is no impact on service levels or staff.  If anything the policy will reduce the amount of time which staff have to commit to defending the “strict liability” approach in the face of complaints from disgruntled ratepayers.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                        14 August 2013

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.10   SF1865            140813        Adin Street Reserve, Scotts Head - Proposed 21 Year Lease - Additional Submissions

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:   Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

A summary is not required.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the information concerning the support of Mr Christopher Preston and Mr Dennis Houghton to the proposed 21 year lease of part of the Adin Street Reserve to the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust be received.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

The options are discussed in the other report in the business paper.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Council has received the attached two submissions within the advertised exhibition period.

 

Both submissions are from owners of semi-permanent caravans at the Caravan Park.  They also indicate they represent the interests of other semi-permanent caravan owners.

 

They advise they support the issue of a lease to the Trust.

 

Council has also been recently advised that the Trust has been renamed to the “NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust”.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

The General Manager has answered the query in Mr Houghton’s letter and has spoken to Mr Preston.

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Refer to main report in the business paper.

 

Social

 

Refer to the main report in the business paper.

 

Economic

 

Refer to the main report in the business paper.

 

Risk

 

Refer to the main report in the business paper.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Refer to the main report in the business paper.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

Refer to the main report in the business paper.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

Refer to the main report in the business paper.

 

Attachments:

1View

19528/2013 - Chris Preston - in support of lease

0 Pages

2View

19530/2013 -  Dennis Houghton - in support of lease

0 Pages

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 14 August 2013

Adin Street Reserve, Scotts Head - Proposed 21 Year Lease - Additional Submissions

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 14 August 2013

Adin Street Reserve, Scotts Head - Proposed 21 Year Lease - Additional Submissions

 

From:Dennis Houghton[SMTP:dhoughton1@bigpond.com]

To:Michael Coulter[SMTP:Michael.Coulter@nambucca.nsw.gov.au]

Received-Date:20130808

Received-Time:10:20:00 PM

Sent-Date:20130808

Sent-Time:10:19:54 PM

Subject:Adin Street Reserve Lease

 

Dear Sir

 

This submission is to support the issue of the 21year lease of the Adin St Reserve to the North Coast Accomodation Trust. I am providing this submission representing the semi-permanent vans in the Scotts Head Caravan Park. My role with this group is co-cordinator with Chris Preston. We have only known about the proposed lease for three days and hence our response process has been difficult. However I have emailed our group and all responses have been positive. Some members have contacted you separately.

 

The advertisement contains a reference to"caravan and camping sites" ( first sentence ). We have assumed this includes our vans as per the attached map and the Masterplan. Can this be confirmed please?

 

We understand that once the infrastructure is complete, processes will be put in place re site allocation, van standards etc. We expect these decisions/consultations will come at a later date from the administering authority. 

 

Regards

Dennis Houghton 

 

 

Dennis and Dianne Houghton

6649 2699, 0432 188 412

HYPERLINK "mailto:dhoughton1@bigpond.com"dhoughton1@bigpond.com

 

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Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                        14 August 2013

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.11   SF844              140813        Bowraville Off River Water Storage - Amendments to Part 5 Approval

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:   Richard Spain, Manager Water and Sewerage; Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

Haslin Constructions have raised a number of issues in relation to environmental management that they believe are impacting on their work progress and provide little/no benefit to the environment or the project. 

 

The matters relate to pit burning and dust monitoring and were briefly discussed at Council’s Steering Committee Meeting on 7 August 2013.

 

The requirements are included in the EIS which form part of the conditions of the Part 5 approval for the dam construction and therefore require Council approval to amend.

 

A formal request to amend the pit burning requirement has been submitted by Haslin and is attached for Council’s information

 

It is recommended that Council approve the proposed amendments to allow surface burning and an alternative dust monitoring procedure.

 

NOTE: This matter requires a “Planning Decision” referred to in Section 375A of the Local Government Act 1993 requiring the General Manager to record the names of each Councillor supporting and opposing the decision.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council approve the proposed amendments to the EIS requirements to permit surface burning and a change to the dust monitoring methodology.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Retain the requirements of the EIS as documented.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

GHD have advised that the EIS pit burning requirement came about through consideration of the DECCW’s Air Quality Guidance Note Agricultural Stubble Burning and from the DECCW Regulation of open burning in NSW, an environmental guideline for NSC, fire management authorities and landowners.

There is general agreement from these documents that the management of smoke emissions from vegetation burning is best achieved through high temperature pit burning in preference to at-ground or stockpiled fires.

 

Haslin Constructions are now well advanced on clearing operations for the dam inundation area.  Most of the millable timber has been removed from site and removal of the remaining vegetation is economically unviable.  They have carried out some pit burning to date but argue that as is a slower process the burning is now behind schedule and they do not want to be subject to fire restrictions that come in place during the fire season.  They also argue that pit burning is not in keeping with local practices, a point that has been made to them by the RFS.

 

Besides the machinery and fuel required to construct the pits there are also costs and environmental impacts associated with transporting the green waste to the pits for burning.

 

The EIS also stipulated a requirement for real time dust monitoring, however the air quality report included an alternative of using dust deposition gauges.  This is the methodology proposed by Haslin.

 

Note that the adoption of the proposed amendments to the EIS requirements in no way lessen the contractors obligations with regard to ensuring that the impacts of smoke and dust on the surrounding environment are mitigated.

 

Ash from the fires will be required to be buried to ensure that it does not impact on water quality when the dam is being filled.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Director Engineering Services

NSW Public Works

GHD

Haslin Constructions Pty Ltd

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

The proposed amendments are considered to have minimal environment impact. There is a risk that additional smoke will be generated by ground burning operations however the responsibility to manage the impact remains with the contractor.  There are significant buffer distances to adjoining dwellings.

 

Social

 

The proposed amendments will have no social impact.

 

Economic

 

The proposed amendments will have no economic impact.

 

Risk

 

There is considered to be minimal risk associated with the proposed amendments. The contractor will retain the responsibility for mitigating the impact of smoke and dust caused as a result of construction activities.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

A decision to amend the dust monitoring and pit burning requirements will have no impact on current our future budgets

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

No additional funds required.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

There are no implications related to levels of service and resourcing.

 

Attachments:

1View

19526/2013 - Request to vary pit-burning and dust monitoring requirements

0 Pages

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 14 August 2013

Bowraville Off River Water Storage - Amendments to Part 5 Approval

 



Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                        14 August 2013

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.12   LF6107            140813        Provision of legal access to 11 and 11A Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:   Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

Two houses were constructed in Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads prior to 1950 being lot 21 and lot 22 of DP 560231 (no’s 11 and 11A) with road access proposed to be from Alpha Street but which is an unformed road and impracticable to construct.

 

Since the construction of both houses their practical access has been across public (Crown) reserve 56790.  However this access has occurred without any formal legal recognition by way of a dedicated road, easement or licence.

 

At a cost of approximately $15,000 plus staff time, it is proposed that Council establish legal access to both properties over the public reserve 56790.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1.       That Council as Trust Manager agree to relinquish the section of public reserve 56790 which is required for the provision of access to No’s 11 and 11A Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads.

 

2.       That Council acquire by compulsory process the proposed access across public reserve 56790 pursuant to the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.

 

3.         That council exclude minerals from the proposed acquisition.

 

4.         That Council advise that the proposed acquisition is not for the purpose of resale.

 

5.       That Council seek approval for the proposed acquisition from the Minister for Local Government and the Governor.

 

6.       Upon acquisition of the section of public reserve required for access to No’s 11 and 11A Bemago Street, it be dedicated as public road.

 

7.       That common seal of Council be affixed to all documents associated with the proposed acquisition, if necessary.

 

8.       There be a further report to Council on the circumstances relating to the construction of a shed and other improvements at the rear of 11A Bemago Street on the Alpha Street road reservation.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Unfortunately there does not seem to be any other less expensive options.  Given that a development application has been lodged in relation to 11 Bemago Street, Council is not in a position to ignore the problem.

 

In terms of liability for the cost of acquiring the access, approximately 73 years ago the Council, for whatever reason, permitted the construction of No’s 11 and 11A Bemago Street without legal access.  It is likely that it was intended to construct Alpha Street but not enough consideration had been given to a design and the levels which were required.  Acquiring the practical access will be far cheaper than constructing this section of Alpha Street.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Two houses were constructed in Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads prior to 1950 being lot 21 and lot 22 of DP 560231 (no’s 11 and 11A) with road access proposed to be from Alpha Street but which is an unformed road and impracticable to construct.  One of the houses, at No. 11 Bemago Street, was the holiday house of Dr Bernard Hindmarsh, the Macksville doctor and Captain in the Australian Army who was killed when the hospital ship, the Centaur was sunk off North Stradbroke Island by a Japanese submarine in World War 2.  The construction of the house was completed in April 1941.

 

Since the construction of both houses their practical access has been across Crown Reserve 56790.  However this access has occurred without any formal legal recognition by way of a dedicated road, easement or licence.

 

A plan showing the land and its access arrangements is attached.

 

In early 2012 the then owner of 11 Bemago Street, Mr Ian Hindmarsh met with Council staff to ascertain whether he could be provided with written approval from Council for the continued use of the current practical access across the Reserve.  Mr Hindmarsh indicated it was his intention to sell the property and he wanted to resolve the access question.  He maintained that his father Dr Bernie Hindmarsh, had the house built in 1940/41 accepting in good faith the Council’s issue of a building permit as allowance to access the lot over the reserve.

 

Council wrote to the NSW Crown Lands on 20th April 2012 seeking advice to the simplest means of providing legal access to both 11 & 11A Bemago Street.

 

Crown Lands replied on 26 June 2012 and their letter is attached.  Crown Lands believe the most appropriate way and conclusive means of resolving the situation is for council to acquire from the Crown that portion of land required to enable alternative legal and practical access to be established. This would then form part of Councils legal road network.

 

Council staff obtained a valuation of the land which would need to be acquired from Herron Todd White.  The area is approximately 440m2 and the valuation for its acquisition for the purpose of access was $13,000 (inclusive of any GST).

 

Subsequently Mr Hindmarsh sold the property and the new owner, Mr Richard Milner has lodged a development application for extensions and alterations to the dwelling.  Council needs to resolve the issue of legal access before issuing development approval.

 

Upon investigation of the matter it was also discovered that part of a shed and other improvements at the rear of No. 11A had been constructed on Alpha Street.  At this stage, the circumstances of how the shed and improvements came to be constructed on the road have not been investigated.  The liability for the costs in relation to correcting this can only be determined when the circumstances are known.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Brad Crispin Group Leader Property Services and Natural Resources Crown lands

Manager Business Development

Mr Richard Milner, owner of No. 11 Bemago Street,

Herron Todd White

Council’s Surveyor

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

There are no implications for the environment.

 

Social

 

The social implications are limited to the owners of two properties.

 

Economic

 

There are no significant economic implications.

 

Risk

 

There is a risk that Crown Lands may seek more by way of compensation than the $13,000 identified by Valuers, Herron Todd White.  It is proposed to consult with Crown Lands about the valuation and the acquisition of the land.  Ultimately there is a process to resolve the valuation if agreement cannot be reached through the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Besides the identified compensation of $13,000, Council will also be liable for lodgement, request and gazettal costs of approximately $2,000.  A budget variation will be required to meet these costs.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

There is likely to be an impact on working funds of approximately $15,000.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

These types of land matters require the commitment of a considerable amount of staff time in investigation, reporting, and the legal processes required for the compulsory acquisition of land.  It does indicate the importance of always ensuring that dwellings be required to have legal access to a constructed public road.  Such mistakes do not disappear and the cost to rectify them is substantial.

 

Attachments:

1View

19613/2013 - Plan of access to 11 Bemago Street and 11A Bemago Street

0 Pages

2View

16243/2012 - Crown Lands advice

0 Pages

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 14 August 2013

Provision of legal access to 11 and 11A Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 14 August 2013

Provision of legal access to 11 and 11A Bemago Street, Nambucca Heads