Blacktown Council chamber chatter

*Blacktown Council will consider funding a UWS research project into the management strategies of lace lerp (pictured).

Penrith and Hawkesbury Councils are also considering to help fund the project.

Blacktown Council has previously invested in research to identify and study infected eucalypts in the endangered Cumberland Plain Woodlands.

Councillor Stephen Bali called for a report assessing the UWS project, its benefits for Blacktown City and possible funding arrangements.

He told the council the research is expected to cost $30,000 over three years, which would mean $10,000 from Blacktown if the two other councils also came on board.

’’It’s in the interests of this council to protect the endangered Cumberland Plain Woodlands that’s still there,’’ Councillor Allan Pendleton said.

*Blacktown Council will reintroduce the 50 per cent pensioner rebate on rates from July 1.

The topic has been frequently debated since it was axed by the Liberal-run council last year.

’’The council has a responsibility to ratepayers to reign in costs,’’ Councillor Mark Holmes said.

‘‘I don’t feel it’s correct for the rest of ratepayers to pay when only a certain few benefit.’’

Independent Russ Dickens had a change of heart last week and supported Labor’s notice of motion to reintroduce the rebate.

’’’What we’re doing is showing respect to pensioners and that we’re not a part of this cruel and callous approach based on economic rationalism,’’ Councillor Tony Bleasdale said.

*There will be a review of Blacktown Council’s stormwater treatment policy after child care centres and small home based businesses in new developments became exempt.

It comes after a Mount Druitt operator told the council how she had to put approved plans to expand her centre on hold after it was estimated it would cost up to $100,000 to pay for the equipment and treat and filter water only for it to go back down the drain.

’’It’s a 100,000 added cost during times of increasing cost pressures on child care centres,’’ Councillor Stephen Bali said.

The report will look cost implications on new developments and whether the cost on developers has resulted in improving water quality in the city wide stormwater drainage system.

*Councillors spent an hour debating small reserves at last week’s meeting.

Another 32 reserves under 0.15 hectares were earmarked for possible sale and rezoning.

The completed review means 85 sites are now recommended to be progressed for planning proposal.

Labor councillors described the report as diabolical and argued councillors should have visited the reserves in their wards before the council made its decision.

‘‘You don’t own these assets, the community does,’’ Councillor Edmond Atalla said.

‘‘You can’t at the stroke of the pen sell off parks without consulting the community.’’

Their motion from the previous meeting that no further action be taken was overturned.

*Emotions ran high at a Badgerys Creek airport public forum in Blacktown on Tuesday night.

More than 150 people were at Bowman Hall to hear from a panel of speakers for and against the proposed airport at the council-run forum.

The biggest boos of the night were for Blacktown MP and state opposition leader John Robertson, who declared his support for the airport.

‘‘One thing we do know is that more information is required because what you heard from the anti-airport speakers tonight was a fantasy scare campaign,’’ he told the hostile crowd.

‘‘I want to see  better jobs in western Sydney, which what you won’t hear from your friends. Like it or not, we need to be innovative.’’

Question topics to the panel included high speed rail, extending the curfew at Mascot, infrastructure, flight paths and jobs.

Go to stmarysstar.com.au to read the full story.

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