Kiama’s Mayor, Mark Honey, says it is increasingly evident that Kiama is facing a future that frightens him.
“We’ve basically been identified as a recreation area for south western Sydney, whether we like it or not,” he says.
“My concern is that we don’t have the infrastructure or the capacity to cope with this role.
“If it is going to happen we need help with the infrastructure, and the money to develop the facilities like public amenities and better traffic flows.
“There needs to be recognition that if we are going to look after all these people we are going to have to be paid to do it.”
The State Government’s newly released 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW is just one way this new future is being defined.
The Vision divides the whole of regional NSW into 37 Functional Economic Regions, then classifies them as either Metro Satellites, Growth Centres, Coastal, Inland or Remote.
The Economic Vision classifies the Kiama LGA as a Metro Satellite, along with Gosford, Queanbeyan, Maitland, Lithgow, Tweed Heads and the Southern Highlands, and says ‘Kiama will see particularly strong population growth’.
Council was not consulted on the classification, and General Manager Kerry McMurray feels we fit more comfortably with the Coastal classification.
“We are not Metro, and we are not a Satellite,” he says. “The definition in the Vision that better fits us is Coastal, where we would be along side places like Nambucca Heads.”
Council is to write to the State Government and the Local Member to:
- object to Kiama’s categorisation in the Economic Vision Report as a Metro Satellite
- state Council’s concerns that there was no consultation regarding this categorisation
- request that the Kiama area be re-categorised
as a Coastal functional economic region
- seek confirmation that
the green space existing between the Gerringong and Gerroa boundaries be retained.
Neither Wollongong or Shellharbour are classed as regional, and the Shoalhaven is identified as a Growth Centre.
The day after the August council meeting, where this motion was passed, the Mayor and General Manager attended a Round Table discussion with the NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, the mayors of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven, and relevant business chambers.
The aim of the meeting was for the Treasurer to hear their concerns directly.
The Kiama contingent chose not to use the forum to speak about the Economic Vision classification. Instead, they used it as an opportunity to raise concerns about the need for funding to cope with increased visitor numbers, library funding cuts (see page 7 for good news), the cost for councils in applying for government funding, and Bombo Quarry.
“We have the opportunity of a generation to be able to progress the filling of Bombo Quarry with virgin sandstone from the big projects in Sydney,” says Mr McMurray.
“We don’t want that opportunity to be missed because State Government agencies don’t get organised.”
The sandstone will be available from the boring of tunnels under Sydney Harbour, but transporting it down here will require significant coordination of the timeslots on the train lines.
“The last estimate I saw was for it to take 5 to 6 years to fill with 20 million tonne of rock.
“If it is going to happen, work has to start on organising it now.”