What do you think about the current level and range of services and facilities provided by the Council?

over 6 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

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  • eyevest over 10 years ago
    too much attantion paid for egoistic purposes
    Do we want a Council to charge us for attention seeking purposes by providing extra funding for services and facilities that should be supported by other means.
    Hide reply (1)
    • gregm1999 over 10 years ago
      have to agree, its about time the council got real about cost savings, how about instead of hitting rate payers they council cut back on expenses such as overseas trips etc...
      also this is one of the highest rate councils, surely they can find other areas to cut back on expenditure
  • doggone over 10 years ago
    I think ratepayers need to be realistic about what can continue to be delivered when you look at the financial projections. Pay up or decrease facilities but not services.
  • bwright over 10 years ago
    The current level of service is fine - The Katoomba Cultural Centre was a project that unfortunately was not well thought through and should not have been considered for construction when the burden / impact that it will have on the resources of Council were not fully understood. It also only provides a facility for a small section of the community.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Ohummm over 10 years ago
      The Katoomba Cultural Centre is a great project as over 80%+ people who live in the Mountains will benifit from having this Centre. The major population of the mountains are in the "ARTS" in someway or other. We all need to be surrounded by art and culture. The Mountains artists need somewhere to display their artworks. The streets really should be full of sculptures and other artistic expressions (music etc). The Cultural Centre will give somewhere for the artists to exhibit. So I believe this will benifit the whole of Mountains community and Katoomba itself.
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
        There are enough unemployed ferals, sorry artists and musicians, in Katoomba as it is.

        The cultural centre is only an excuse to build a new Coles/Kmart so that Woolworths/BigW can take back the current Coles/Kmart which they own.
      • blaxlandres over 10 years ago
        Who are these 80%+ people who will benefit from this Centre?
        I simply cannot see residents of Glenbrook, Blaxland etc (ie Lower Mountains) using it.It will be the tourists who will come to it. The mountains is a very large area with residents who come from many different walks of life, it is not just full of artists etc. I know an awful lot of teachers who live in this region.
  • Alchemist over 10 years ago
    The current range of services are adequate. However council has never managed (nor with extra monies will it) to provide adequate level of services.
    One large hole which remains "unplugged" is the employee expenditure. This black hole has it's vortex revolving around the executive level where annual pay increases have been silently voted in without sufficient justification or qualification.
  • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
    I can't wondering how much of a burden tourism is to ratepayers. In other tourists areas such as Shoalhaven or the Central Coast, tourists tend to stay longer and spend more money - rent cottages, buy groceries and other supplies etc - whereas, from what I can see many Blue Mountains tourists are day-trippers. They come up on tour buses, use the facilities and leave with the only beneficiaries being the bus operators and one or two businesses.

    I think consideration should be given to more user pays systems for tourists.

    I would like
    Hide Replies (4)
    • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
      And I think both the state and federal governments should shoulder most of the costs for Blue Mountains tourist facilities due to its worldwide reputation and the number of overseas tourists that come here.
      Hide reply (1)
      • lawson18 over 10 years ago
        You are 100% correct. Katoomba is the 3rd most popular destination in Sydney after the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. There should be a levy paid by all of the 1 day tour operators who use the facilities paid by rate payers. I live in Lawson and don't benefit from any of the 'Tourist' facilities.
    • Winmaleeite over 10 years ago
      Yes, I do think we have to absorb an unfair amount of tourism expenses. This is particularly pertinent in the less glamorous lower mid-mountains, where we really see any of Council money.

      Would agree that a user pay system for tourists would be fairer
      Hide reply (1)
      • lawson18 over 10 years ago
        User pay or User charges, that could be the answer. I don't use the Library, but if I did, I'd be happy to pay. User pay for tourist operators - great idea!
  • Winmaleeite over 10 years ago
    Having lived in the mountains for 20 years, most of which has been in the suburb of Winmalee, my main concern is whether Council $$$ are distributed fairly across the municipality.

    I'm not unsympathetic with the plight of trying to provide adequate/increased services with diminishing Council $$$, particularly as State government never misses an opportunity to delegate responsibilities downwards to Councils. However, there is a perception in my part of the world that Council bypasses this area in favour of the more "glamorous" upper mountains.

    With the exception of a skate park in recent years, Winmalee/Yellow Rock area, with its large population, is impoverished for facilities - and I don't count the Coles supermarket complex as a Council initiative.

    Over a decade ago Council started curbing and guttering my street. They stopped half way and are still unable to give me an idea of when this job will be completed. In the meantime, we suffer from poor drainage and kerb erosion as a consequence.

    I am happy to pay some increased rate, IF the existing pool of money is appropriately managed and we in the lower end of the mountains get our fair share. Otherwise, forget it.

    I can't help but notice that we pay much higher rates than just about anywhere else in NSW, so perhaps it's time to get some tourist kickback.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • blaxlandres over 10 years ago
      Our street in East Blaxland has no kerbing and guttering. They tore up our side in preparation long ago, before we moved here 12 years ago, and our neighbours across the road ran out and told them not to do their side after they saw the mess. The kerbing and guttering were never done. We constantly have erosion and large rocks breaking off. I have complained to COuncil and they came out and coated the surface with spray on gravel which has worn off and does not fill potholes!
    • janewils over 10 years ago
      Council seem to put too much time and money, as time is money, to unimportant issues. There is a current proposal to put a bicycle track down a local dirt road in Yellow Rock as one of the 'advantages' is it will be good for the health and fitness of the public. It's laughable, people cycle down there anyway, and I'm sure by having it tarmacked isn't going to attract others to ride. This is a prime example of a waste of ratepayers money. If they do decide to cut services in favour of a rate rise, they will no doubt cut the garbage collection to once a fortnight instead of weekly, as Penrith council have. That will just encourage more dumping. They should be cutting out the Blaxland tip cost as this would surely put an end to dumping in the bush, and stop paying staff to come up with any more of these ridiculous proposals.
    • lawson18 over 10 years ago
      Totally agree. I have family who live in the Hurstville area, have 900sqm of land and pay $100 less in Council rates than I do in Lawson. My home is worth about $290,000 and theirs is $640,000. They have footpaths, kerb and guttering etc. Ridge Street Lawson does not.
  • davidbow over 10 years ago
    I think that the Council could save considerable money by getting rid of all council employed manual workers and having all such work done by contractors.
    There is no incentive for council employed manual workers to do a fair days work for a fair days wage
    Contract awarding and quality control of work done should be handled by professional Council Officers.
    I live down a small cul-de-sac and a-while back, I asked for some work to be done on the road to prevent flooding from the road on to my property. The truck with Council Workers came down, went to the end of the road where they then played cards for an hour or so. They then drove the truck back, slopped down the asphalt where required in a few minutes, in a very careless and untidy manner way.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • cladinshadows over 10 years ago
      I belive you should complain to the council about their workers, their sloppy work and poor work ethics.

      On to your first point, their is a belief that contracting out will produce cost savings, either becasue the private sector is thorugh to be inherebtly more effiecnt than the public sector, however this is a myth due to assocaited costs with drafting out the plans and contracts, the tendering process, monitoring contract performance. Furthermore contracting out increases the opportunities for corrupt behaviour such as bribary and collusive tendering which will mean we are worse off. Then theere is no long term maintaince plans with the council and the council is depended on all expertise of contracted personnel which may not be in business in the next 10 years. Lastly, if such work is contracted out there is no public accountability, which in your example needs to be brough to attention of the Council's GM.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Alchemist over 10 years ago
        Removed by moderator.
  • Ohummm over 10 years ago
    The range of services is great, the facilities great.

    Adam Seale take a pay cut......

    However, the number of staff to get the job done is over kill which includes the amount the council staff get payed, it is to high for the outcome.

    Often not much gets done;
    Take the Ranger for instance; in regards to getting people to put fences put up to keep their dogs in. Years go by, are the Rangers doing their job???? They get payed by the ratepayers.

    Trees trimmed along the sides of the non-major roads.

    The ratepayers pay far too much for little rewards.
    Except the rural fire service and SES who do a fantastic job always, they need more support.
  • Alan Lane over 10 years ago
    Complaints about the inadequacy of Council services are missing the point, which is that Council's income is severely limited by the cap. Unless Council can raise a lot more money, services will need to be cut and maintenance on things like parks even further reduced.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
      "Complaints about the inadequacy of Council services"

      Well, if we could better use of the existing rate money then we might be a tad more sympathetic.

      Taj Mahals like the Katoomba 'Cultural Centre' and its reported ongoing maintenance costs is one example.

      Closer to home, the pickup of green waste in my street is now three weeks late as of today and no sign of the trucks anywhere in Lawson last week.

      It's this visible slackness and lack of quality of services provided that gives the Council it's bad image.

      And if you don't believe how money is wasted just walk around Lawson township and see how already the new work has become degraded in such a short time.
    • rogerskaren over 10 years ago
      Council did raise a lot of money (over 20 million dollars) and then promptly lost the lot in Lehman Brothers!
  • mt tomah over 10 years ago

    I am a resident of Mt Tomah and am amazed at the high rates and lack of services. These are higher than I pay for a property in Sydney, yet I get much more amenity around my property down there, including magnificently maintained beaches/parks/cultural/community facilities.

    I understand that these additional rates are contributing to the greater good, but we over the "other side" at Mt Tomah see very little of our community investment, especially not in the areas listed by Council in their recent letter:
    - footpaths, kerbs and gutters (NONE)
    - sport and recreation (NONE)
    - drainage and pipelines (NONE)
    - town centres (NONE)
    - operational and community buildings (NONE)

    Council also claim the amount will support the RFS. The Mt Tomah RFS is critically underfunded and relies on the generosity of local residents, despite the location of the nearby culturally and ecologically-valuable Botanic Gardens. Like others, I am happy to pay more for the RFS but not amenities 45-60 minutes away I will never use.

    I propose that the rates raised from Mt Tomah and nearby residents is 100% put directly into the Mt Tomah Volunteer RFS.

  • WOODTAIL over 10 years ago
    Will we all think the council is fine when it applies for a 10% RATE HIKE?

    The Katoomba Cultural Centre : input by Council at $6.5 million and the estimate of up to $1 million running costs each year. .Oh yes and there is more . Lawson then Springwood and at what cost.......so far the bill for the Springwood Town Centre Project stands at a staggering cost of $350.000 and still counting and we are just starting.
    All this on the agenda and the council is asking for a RATE HIKE.
  • Concerned ratepayer over 10 years ago
    On the whole I am not against a rate rise so long as there are positive results.
    My concern however is that senior council staff fail to make sure that normal maintenance,i.e. kerb and gutter cleaning, verge grass cutting etc. especially down side roads from the main highway are carried out properly. More scutiny is required.
  • jayman over 10 years ago
    I am a pensioner and also look after my 88 year old war widow mother. The rate hike is not only unfair, especially to people like us, it is undeserved, because, the council is responsible for losing millions in the American sub-prime market scam, which demonstrates not only its lack of duty of care, for rate payers' funds, but also its gross fiscal incompetence.

    And what of the council's promises and their good faith? I asked for a smaller bin, in the promise that my charges for garbage disposal would be reduced, the charges were not reduced.

    If this council wants to maintain their privileged position, remember, you are our employees, by our votes we give and declare our trust, until the next election.

    I would suggest the council reduces the waste in over employment and contract out duties, and look to ways of reducing electricity costs, via solar etc programmes, saving our rate dollars and costs.

    In fact, I say, stop all unnecessary programmes and start looking at the mountains being electricity supply independant. We hardly afford all the costs of living today, without the addition of all these costs.

    Remember, lots of pensioners live in the mountains and most of us have reasonable memories, and WE ALL VOTE!

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    • lawson18 over 10 years ago
      100% agree, I think we should also write to The Minister for Local Government, Mrs Barbara Perry MP. Her email is 'office@perry.minister.nsw.gov.au'. Because she is the person responsible for approving this Special Variation.
      Hide reply (1)
      • lawson18 over 10 years ago
        I have sent 2 emails to Barbara Perry on 30th April. NO REPLY. Typical of this state government. Lets crash her mailbox, today is the last day!!No to the variation!!
  • propinvestor over 10 years ago
    I am interested in why the council thinks it needs to increase rates. My comments as follows -

    1. I am a property investor and live in another state. The rates I pay BMCC are 210% the rates I pay my suburban council in another state, and yet the services received are less. To give you actual costs - my property in BMCC is worth $340k (current real estate agent valuation) - rates $1200 for a 648sqm property. My home is worth $750k (current real estate agent valuation) - 750sqm and pay $860.

    2. Council cites road maintenance as a cost and kerbing. Very interesting considering - a. my property has no kerbing and b. last time I visited , the road between Katoomba and Leura down to Gladstone Rd has potholes and large cracks and peeled tar that it is almost dangerous to drive on.

    3. Stop spending money on useless "artistic" projects. The cultural centre is the biggest waste of public monies I have seen. Please remember - it is PUBLIC not your money!

    4. Sweat the assets you currently have. On a recent trip to the US I could not park anywhere in a national park without paying an entry fee and then a $25-35 parking fee. Why not model this and see what can be done for the likes of the "Three Sisters" etc.

    I find it almost comical that my home council has just written to me and stated that the state government has just imposed a jump of 233% in landfill levy from $9 to $30 yet, my council is only increasing their bin fee by 8% and points to $2M savings they have achieved over the past year as the reason for not passing on the whole cost. On the same day I receive the BMCC letter that gives the GFC excuse to the whole matter - rates of inflaction, increase in costs etc.

    I also find it strange that given Mr. Rudd was handing out money so freely to overcome the GFC that the council could not have put forward business cases to have infrastructure investment as part of this.

    Why not do what most other suburban councils do - employ parking officers and raise revenue from parking fines ? Have more metered parking in major towns (Katoomba for example).

    Looks to me that this council has no business sense at all when it comes to generation of revenue, and looks to ratepayers to foot the bills.
  • julie.s over 10 years ago
    The proposed increase is too expensive - period. We already pay much more than other NSW rate payers. Where does the money go? Council have been spending money frivolously on projects that are not wanted by the community and then want to increase rates to fund the fundamentals, such as footpaths and recreation areas. It's just not on.
  • MikeParker over 10 years ago
    I am against the proposed rate increase. However, I am generally happy with the level and range of services provided by the council.

    I do have concerns when there are suggestions to raise money by parking meters, parking fines and the like. To me this is a quality of life issue and all parking should be free, even for tourists. I am not opposed to parking time restrictions, just not fines for the sake of raising money.

    I don’t see tourists as a source that should be taxed. Tourists should be an economic benefit to the community and should be encouraged.

    If tourists are a cost to council then this is an issue which needs to be looked at but my understanding is that the information centres and Echo Point parking meters are profitable and cover the extra cost of the tourist infrastructure and maintenance.

    I have concerns regarding council trying to run profitable enterprises just as I have a concern with council playing with our money. The council's focus should be on the delivery of services.
  • MikeJones over 10 years ago
    12 years ago we asked council to address the issue of three rusting car wrecks on the block next door, they did bugger all, now there are 9 vehicles, 8 of them unregistered rust piles.
    we should be getting a discount on our rates, not being asked to pay more.
    i doubt any sydney council would stand for allowing a residential block being used as a wrecking yard, but here in a heritage area its ok as far as council is concerned.
    The residential amenity we purchased has been transformed into a decato industrial estate, and council wont do a thing to fix it, and for this we should pay more ?
    from our perspective the only thing the council actually Does is waste money
  • FoBP&MP over 10 years ago
    BMCC is forced to limit services as a cost-saving measure. Middle of day closure at Blackheath Pool was a cost-saving experiment that is clearly a false-economy, as it prevents patronage!

    It causes confusion amongst patrons. Middle of day closure places Blackheath Pool at a lower level of service delivery than other BM outdoor pools. Blackhesth Pool is an unheated pool, so in the cooler months the warmest, middle part of day is best for swimming! These are the kinds of comments made to us. Blackheath & District Chamber of Commerce & Community supports this call for continuous opening on the grounds that “the split-shift during school terms has a clear negative impact on local businesses & tourism operators.”

    The Pool should open continuously throughout the day.

    In parallel with continuous opening we feel it’s critical to build patronage – particularly getting kids back to the Pool, building a solid client-base, as they’re the patrons of the future. So in the coming season we propose a range of promotional strategies to increase kids patronage.

    Blackheath Pool has a unique character as a principally recreational facility, distinctively different from other mountains pools, but provided for all mountains residents, and as a ‘destination’ for tourists. This concept anchors our call for a promotional push re-branding of the Pool as “...our mountains beach”.
  • Tim119 over 10 years ago
    Tourism should start paying for the services provided.
  • Jack over 10 years ago
    Given that we can't even get something as basic as a footpath so that our kids & elderly have safe access to local shopa & train station, to ask us to pay MORE rates is an insult. Each week council brags about cultural centres & art & 'airy-fairy' projects, when all the LOCALS want is what most suburban residents take for granted, safe pedestrian travel, rather than having to dive for the blackberry bushes & the boggy drain on the side of the street that, by the way, is on the council works list to, one day be mowed! At least then we will be able to see the mud we will have to step in when cars are speeding up & down our narrow winding street. Spare a thought for the mums with the strollers, they aren't built with 4WD & the kid down the street with a vision impairment who is unable to find any independence because the journey from his house to the highway is more dangerous than crossing the highway itself!! Come on BMCC GET REAL. You can have your rate rise if I can have the faciilities I've been paying for over the last 16 years & that you have failed to provide. Where did all the thousands of dollars go for 'rehabilitation' provided to BMCC by the RTA for the Hazelbrook underpass? Not up my street!
  • Blaxlandite over 10 years ago
    As a Blaxlandite living in the lower mountains the services provided by Council can only be called POOR. Apart from a garbage service there really is little the lower mountain ratepayer receives for his hefty rates each year. It is a fact that the lower mountains subsidises the rest of the mountains, and the bulk of the money is spent in the upper mountains. How about a fair go for those in the lower mountains - that is the areas from Faulconbridge to Lapstone. I pay at present $1,539.00 in rates and that will increase to $1,687.00 with the anticipated increase.
  • BigMack over 10 years ago
    I feel that the council needs to re-evaluate what it regards as essential services and what are non essential. I feel that in some area's too many services are provided, particularly in recreation, although there are still gaps when looking at certain demorgaphics and the recreational services provided.
  • Keithm over 10 years ago
    Like almost all others in this forum, I am comprehensively opposed to the proposed rates increase. My reasons are largely covered by other contributors.

    Most importantly though, all concerned parties should note that this forum does not carry any weight and as such your comments and concerns are unlikely to be considered to any degree by council. On one page on the council website appears the following fine print:

    "This (www.bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au) website is independent of Council. You can browse the information or 'Sign-Up' to provide comments on any aspect of the Draft Plans via the ‘Forum’ section of the webpage. Please note that COMMENTS MADE THROUGH THIS WEBSITE ARE ANONYMOUS AND AS SUCH CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS A FORMAL PUBLIC SUBMISSION on the draft plans."

    So if you want you voice to be heard you need to lodge a formal submission by downloading the form here:


    and sending it back to the council by email by 5.00pm today. Methinks this may just be another bit of jiggery-pokery by council to engineer a way in which residents’ express concerns can legally be ignored.

    NOT impressed!

    Send in your submissions the “official” way today by 5.00pm and make sure your voice is heard!