Annual reflections from CEO André Schönfeldt

 

Council adopted its 2020-21 Annual Report in December. In the document, which presents like a scorecard on outcomes delivered between 1 July, 2020 and 30 June, 2021, our CEO André Schönfeldt shared the following reflections …

 

A look back at what has been achieved over the past 12 months fills me with pride and anticipation for the future here in our Shire. Here are some of the standout milestones …

 

ADVISORY GROUPS

In line with the adopted Community Facilities Plans with input from our Place-based Community Advisory Groups, we commenced construction of three new buildings and a skatepark including:

  1. Dardanup Centrals Volunteer Bushfire Brigade Building;
  2. Waterloo Volunteer Bushfire Brigade;
  3. Eaton Bowling Club & Senior Citizens Building; and
  4. Eaton Skate Park.

All are now competed and the official openings of the Brigades buildings occurred on 13 January 2022 and the Skatepark and Bowling Club intended to be officially opened in March this year.

I would like to acknowledge contributions to the Dardanup Centrals Volunteer Bushfire Brigade Building from the late Mr. Alexander Poad through the Dardanup Red Cross, along with stimulus funding received from the State Government for this new facility through DFES.

We also received almost $1 million in Federal Government Stimulus funding through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. With this funding we also completed the following projects:

  1. Collie River Heritage Trail – pathway, signage, seating;
  2. Pathways along
    • Peppermint Way,
    • Clarke Street/Crampton Road,
    • Murdoch Cres/Margaret Circle;
  3. Watson Reserve pathway improvements;
  4. Drainage improvements parking bay, Russell Road, Burekup;
  5. Gnomesville improvements – boardwalks, signage;
  6. Millar’s Creek Walkway, Millbridge lighting.

Our continuing program of public art transforming utilities boxes across the Shire achieved some bright new additions including the celebration of native flora and birdlife in Charlotte Street, Dardanup and Peninsula Lakes Park in Eaton.

 

INDUSTRY & ECONOMY

We experienced firsthand the impact on materials costs and labour availability of stimulus funding flowing into the local economy combined with big projects already underway such as next stages of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road when our ability to deliver some of our projects within expected timeframes was compromised. In particular, our Eaton Drive Duplication project experienced extended delays in completion. I would like to acknowledge the community’s patience with us as we worked through the challenges experienced on this project.

To address recognised skills shortages being experienced across the Bunbury Geographe Region, particularly in the construction, manufacturing and hospitality industries, the Shire of Dardanup has taken a lead role in developing a Designated Area Migration Agreement that was approved by the Federal Government in December 2021.

Acknowledging the tourism and hospitality industries have been particularly impacted by COVID containment measures, Council provided its support by sponsoring the new Lost and Found Festival and continued sponsorship with the Bull and Barrel Festival. Council also continued to support tourism promotion through contributions to Ferguson Valley Marketing Inc and Bunbury Geographe Tourism Partnership.

 

SUSTAINABILITY

The Shire has continued to participate at a regional level with its neighbouring local governments in identifying and developing alternative waste solutions.

Adoption of an Environmental Management Plan and Policy includes strategies for vegetation management that mitigate potential bushfire risks.

Significant grant contributions from the State Government’s Mitigation Activities Fund of over $200,000 has allowed us to improve community safety by undertaking various prescribed burns and fire mitigation activities to reduce fuel loads across the shire.

In addition, grants under the State Government’s All West Australians Reducing Emergencies program allowed the Shire to organise and host a statewide Emergency Management Conference plus address animal welfare in emergencies by updating our Local Emergency Management Arrangements to ensure our pets, animals and livestock are taken care of in the event of an emergency.

 

SPORT & RECREATION

Management of our Eaton Recreation Centre underwent a restructure allowing for an expansion of services alongside an exciting complete refurbishment of the 24-hour gymnasium. A Master Plan has been prepared for renovations to occur at the ERC which includes a longer term option of expanding the number of courts, gym and group fitness areas. The works are expected to commence in 21/22.

 

PLANNING FRAMEWORK

To streamline our Development Application processes and improve the planning framework, Council adopted a new Development Assessment Unit Policy and a Draft Local Planning Scheme No. 9. The Policy provides internal structure to processing applications and encourages quick decisions that provide for orderly and best practice planning. In the Markyt Community Scorecard Community Satisfaction Survey undertaken this year, the Shire of Dardanup placed third in this category across WA.

LPS No.9 has been forwarded to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for consideration and staff has been working with the EPA to consider the various clauses. It’s expected this will be progressed further in 2021/22.

In addition, Council adopted a Local Development Plan for Lot 2 Banksia Road, Dardanup (Cleanaway waste transfer site) to provide further guidance and clarity on future development of the site.

Council also continued to progress the Wanju and Waterloo Greater Bunbury Region Scheme Amendments which have now both been gazetted paving the way for the Shire to undertake the development of a Development Contribution Plan and amending the local planning scheme to facilitate development of the new City and Industrial Park.

 

A lot has been achieved but there is still a great deal of work to be done so I look forward to working with Council and our community over the next 12 months to ensure more of the priorities listed for attention are realised. I’d like to thank Shire Staff for continuing to deliver a high level of service to the community.

André Schönfeldt
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

You can read the full 2020-21 Annual Report on this page of our website.