Proposed Special Rate Variation

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Click here to register for our second Zoom webinar at 5.30pm Thursday 29 September. The meeting link will be sent to your email.

Click here to watch a recording of the first webinar and Q&A session, held on Wednesday 21 September.

Click here to go direct to the SRV feedback submission form. Submissions close Sunday 9 October.

We would like your feedback on Special Rate Variation options and our plans to deliver long-term financial sustainability and meet the priorities of our community.

What is a Special Rate Variation?

Councils can only increase their rates each year by up to a limit determined by the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). This is known as rate pegging, which is one of the key factors that can constrain a Council from being able to raise sufficient revenue with which to be able to provide ongoing and improved services to the community.

Councils are able to apply to the IPART for increases beyond the annual rate peg limit and this is known as a Special Rate Variation (SRV). A SRV application can be made for either a fixed term or permanent increase in rates. A SRV can also provide Council the opportunity to address a number of priority spend initiatives which otherwise would not be funded without a corresponding reduction in existing service levels.

Our plan to secure long term financial sustainability

Financial sustainability is our ability to:

  • Cover our existing expenses and their future increases
  • Cover new expenses that we know will be required into the future
  • React and cover the expenses from things that we think may occur, for example the resulting repair works and clean up that may be required after a major storm event. We refer to this as ‘financial flexibility’ and believe a sound level for this to be between $1m and $1.5m per annum.

Our financial situation

The impact of COVID-19, the rising cost of services and materials, and the increasing demand for services, have placed continued pressure on our limited income. The largest proportion of Council’s income comes from rates. The rate peg is usually between 1.5 – 2.5% p.a. (historically below the inflation rate) and this is simply not enough to secure a financially sustainable future for Council.

We also face the burden of a continuation of cost shifting from other levels of government. This is where another level of government shifts responsibilities to Councils with either little or no funding to support them.

Whilst this situation is not new, it has been compounding over many years, with the level of cost shifting to Woollahra Council currently sitting at approximately $3.97million per annum.

What have we done to improve our financial situation?

In the last 18 months we have:

  • reduced our staff numbers
  • commenced a range of service reviews to identify efficiencies and new ways of delivering services • identified savings by extending the life of our passenger vehicle fleet
  • refinanced a major loan for Council’s Kiaora Place, Double Bay development in the commercial centre
  • identified potential revenue from a number of areas including bus shelter advertising in non-heritage areas, and
  • undertaken a comprehensive review of our fees and charges.

Why we need long-term financial sustainability

Although Council has made significant improvements to its deficit, we are still not in a long-term financially sustainable position. We are unable to provide funding to adequately address priority projects that have been identified by the community. If Council was to apply for and be successful in gaining approval for an SRV, not only would it strengthen our long-term financial sustainability, it would also give us the ability to address a number of priority projects and areas over the next 10 years.

SRV options for feedback

Three options

In considering a Special Rate Variation application to IPART to improve our financial sustainability and provide us with additional funds for the delivery of priority projects over a 10 year period, we have developed three options for your feedback.

Option 1 is our current situation where rates would increase by the rate peg only. This option does not achieve financial sustainability, nor does it provide additional funds to address your priorities.

Option 2 and Option 3 include a Special Rate Variation, and both assist in achieving long-term financial sustainability to varying degrees, as well as providing additional funds to address some key priority initiatives.

Below is a summary of the three options and the following pages provide more detail about what would be achieved in each priority area and each option.


Financial Sustainability Achieved

Additional Priority Spending over 10 years
Option 1: No SRV$0
Option 2: SRV$48.9m
Option 3: SRV$73m


What is the impact on you?

The following tables show the impact on the proposed SRV options on the average residential and business rates over the three years of a SRV. After the initial three years, the annual rate peg is the only increase for the next seven years. The tables below show what the average rate will be after the full 10 years of priority projects delivery. We have separated out residential and business rates and used average rates to make the information as clear as possible.

Average residential rates (1)

Rate modelledCurrent 2022/23Year 1
2023/24
Year 2 2024/25Year 3 2025/26Cumulative increase over 3 years (3)Year 10
2032/33
Residential rates increase on average over 10 years
Option 1:
Rate Peg 2.5% only (2)
$1,480$1,517$1,555$1,594$114 or 7.71%$1,895$42/year
Option 2:
2023/24 10% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$1,480$1,665$1,790$1,835$355 or 23.99%$2,181$70/year (ie +$28/year increase on Option 1)
Option 3:
2023/24 15% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 9.0% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2025/26 3.5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$1,480$1,739$1,939$2,056$576 or 38.87%$2,444$96/year (ie + $54 increase on Option 1)


Average business rates (1)

Rate modelledCurrent 2022/23Year 1
2023/24
Year 2 2024/25Year 3 2025/26Cumulative increase over 3 years (3)Year 10
2032/33
Residential rates increase on average over 10 years
Option 1:
Rate Peg 2.5% only (2)
$4,250$4,357$4,466$4,577$327 or 7.70%$5,441$119/year
Option 2:
2023/24 10% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$4,250$4,782$5,140$5,269$1,019 or 23.98%$6,253$201/year (ie + $82 increase on Option 1)
Option 3:
2023/24 15% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 9.0% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2025/26 3.5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$4,250$4,994$5,569$5,903$1,653 or 38.90%$7,016$277/year (ie + $158 increase on Option 1)

(1) Average rates are calculated by dividing the total amount of rates Council is able to collect by the number of assessments we issue. The average rate is a standard comparison method used by Councils and the Office of Local Government.

(2) The Rate Peg is assumed to be 2.5%. This is scheduled to be clarified by IPART in September 2022 and if the rate peg is higher than the assumed 2.5% then the total increase will be the % SRV detailed above plus the rate peg.

(3) These future projections use existing residential property data and property values based on NSW Valuer General valuations which are updated every three years.

What is important to you?

We have listened to you and based on feedback received through our June 2021 Community Satisfaction survey, you identified the following priorities.

Protecting our Heritage. 81% felt that protecting heritage values and buildings are important or very important. $872k (current 2022/23 Budget) Implementing projects that will continue to protect our heritage., Active Transport 93% felt that renewing and maintaining footpaths/ pedestrian ramps are important or very important. $763k (current 2022/23 Budget) Upgrading footpaths and making active transport a safe, easy and healthy option. , Recreation & Trees 96% felt that parks and recreation areas are important or very important. $2.64m (current 2022/23 Budget) Improving parks and recreational areas., Community Infrastructure 81% felt that convenience of parking at local shopping villages is important or very important. $0 (current 2022/23 Budget) On new car park projects., Climate Change Adaptation Measures 85% felt that stormwater drainage is important or very important. $925k (current 2022/23 Budget) Mitigating the impacts on climate change on our stormwater network, Improvements to Service 90% felt that Council’s responsiveness is important or very important. $69k (current 2022/23 Budget) Providing more responsive online customer experiences.

Community feedback has helped us to develop a series of key priority project areas to focus on and this has formed the basis of our SRV application considerations. Below we have detailed each priority project area and what impact an Option 1,2 or 3 special rate variation would have on delivery progress.

Protecting our Heritage

The Woollahra LGA has a rich and diverse history that is represented in Victorian, Federation, Inter-War and post-1950 buildings, precincts and streetscapes. The three main heritage conservation areas of Paddington, Woollahra and Watsons Bay are the result of years of proactive and collaborative work undertaken by Council and a range of partners.

Recognising that there were gaps in some of our current heritage listings, a Heritage Gap Analysis was undertaken and finalised by Council in 2021. This analysis is now informing Council as to what future heritage studies are needed in order to continue to protect the unique heritage of our LGA. We are currently progressing a number of outstanding high priority projects identified by Councillors and Council staff including the Leslie Wilkinson Study; the Double Bay Study, the Edgecliff Study and others.

As part of our considerations for a SRV application, we have identified how we would allocate additional funding to deliver priority projects for both Option 2 and Option 3. With Option 2 providing funding for some priority projects and Option 3 providing funding for all priority projects. See table below.

Option 2: Projects to be completed under this option include the Modern Study, the Inter-War flat Building Study and the Arts and Crafts Study. We think it is essential to protect buildings with these characteristics because they are gradually disappearing due to the high pace of development occurring in the Eastern Suburbs. Arts and Crafts buildings are increasingly rare in Sydney and many Inter-War Flat buildings have no statutory protection. Similarly, significant buildings showing the evolution of modern architecture in the Woollahra LGA are under threat and not adequately recognised by statutory heritage protection.

Option 3: In addition to the priority projects included under Option 2, this option would enable us to address a significant gap in LGA-wide thematic studies, such as significant architecture (various eras and styles); commercial, community and recreational buildings; and items providing evidence of an areas’ historic development. This work would also consider cultural landscapes, including parks, gardens, reserves and beaches.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$1.4m
Option 3
$3.7m
Inter-War Flat Buildings Heritage Study
Study of local architecture and design influenced by the Arts and Crafts period
Significant Architects Heritage Study
Study of local built examples influenced by the Modernist period


58 – 88-90 Oxford St Woollahra Heritage Assessment

Items providing evidence of the area’s historic development

Commercial, community and recreational buildings

Land-water interface buildings and maritime archaeology

Cultural landscapes (including parks, gardens, reserves, beaches, etc.)



Review and assess heritage items nominated in previous heritage studies



Items listed on other statutory and non-statutory heritage registers



Items associated with significant local identities, especially women



Develop a heritage interpretation strategy for archaeological findings and built heritage (on land and in the water)






Climate Change Adaptation Measures

With a changing climate, the Woollahra LGA is expected to experience more frequent and more severe rain events. Our existing network of subsurface pipes and surface drainage infrastructure will come under significant pressure to cope with the volume of stormwater as rainfall increases.

Council has prepared a series of Floodplain Risk Management Studies and Plans for the various catchments within our LGA. The primary purpose of these plans is to quantify the nature and extent of existing and potential flooding problem and provide a range of options that could be implemented to expand the capacity and effectiveness of our stormwater network. A SRV will enable us to implement some of the high priority initiatives identified in our Plans.

In addition to projects aimed at expanding the capacity of the stormwater network, it is proposed to fund an increased level of drainage and pipe repair works across the LGA to ensure that the network is functioning at optimum efficiency.

Option 2: This option will allow us to deliver flood mitigation projects in Rose Bay, Paddington, Double Bay and Darling Point as well as undertake an expanded program of drainage maintenance works.

Option 3: In addition to the works to be undertaken under option 2, this option will also provide for an additional flood mitigation project in Paddington, plus a more significant program of stormwater pipe refurbishment.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$13.9m
Option 3
$17.3m
Cecil Street, Rushcutters Bay catchment (Paddington Flood Plan)
Dudley Road, Rose Bay North catchment (Rose Bay Flood Plan)
Edgecliff Road, Double Bay catchment (Woollahra Flood Plan)
Glenmore Road, Rushcutters Bay catchment (Paddington Flood Plan)
Ocean Avenue, Darling Point catchment (Double Bay Flood Plan
Increased drainage repairs, cleaning of pipes & GPTs and CCTV inspections of pipes

Pipe Refurbishment Program, various catchments

Underwood Street, Rushcutters Bay catchment (Paddington Flood Plan)



Recreation & Trees

Public open spaces enhance the character of the LGA; they support healthy and active lifestyles and bring communities together.

The role and value of open space has never been more important, as demonstrated throughout the pandemic. Greater emphasis is being placed on Woollahra’s public open spaces to provide and support a diverse range of areas for recreation, sport and social activity, as well as establishing physical links that support social connections.

Council is focused on enhancing the quality and usability of existing open spaces and a recent series of plans and strategies is providing strategic direction and recommendations on how best to develop and manage a quality open space. These plans and strategies include Plans of Management (for parks & reserves), the draft Recreation Strategy and the draft Play Space Strategy.

We want to promote greater usability of our parks and reserves and provide greater levels of maintenance.

A defining character of the Woollahra LGA is our exceptional urban forest, most notably our magnificent trees. Our street trees provide invaluable benefit to our quality of life but they do require significant and increasing resources for maintenance. Our majestic Fig trees in particular, require increasing expenditure for pruning to address issues of overshadowing and fruit drop.

As part of our considerations for a SRV application, we have identified how we would allocate additional funding to deliver priority projects for both Option 2 and Option 3. With Option 2 providing funding for some priority projects and Option 3 providing funding for all priority projects. See table below.

Option 2: Under this option, we could:

  • Continue the development of Plans of Management and related Masterplans for our reserves and open spaces and implement a range of works as identified in those completed plans, with projects like new and upgraded playgrounds and new recreation facilities. This work is valued at $2.5m.
  • Increase our open space maintenance staff (by a team of 5), to allow us to provide greater and more frequent levels of maintenance to our open space network, resulting in better maintained parks and reserves. This initiative is valued at $5.5m
  • Undertake more proactive maintenance of our 550 Fig Trees valued at $2.3m.

Option 3:

In addition to the works outlined under option 2, this option will allow for a significant expansion of our program of capital expenditure, focusing in particular on high priority actions identified in our Plans of Management, Masterplans, Recreation Strategy and Play Space Strategy. This work would be valued at $14.4m.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$10.3m
Option 3
$22.2m

Development and adoption of all Community Land POMs and limited Capital Works


Increase our open space maintenance staff by one more team
Undertake more proactive maintenance of our 550 Fig Trees

Implement a more comprehensive range of works to come from the parks POMs, with projects like new and upgraded playgrounds and new recreation facilities




Active Transport

A key priority for Council is prioritising easy, safe and accessible walking and cycling options across the LGA, and promoting the area as the most convenient, comfortable and safe choice for short trips in Woollahra. Council supports walking and cycling as the mode of choice for journeys to our schools, including our commercial centres, our schools, natural attractions (including parks, the harbour and the ocean) and public transport interchanges. To achieve this, Council needs to invest in safe, accessible and attractive pedestrian paths, crossings, cycleways, bicycle parking and supporting infrastructure.

As part of our considerations for a SRV application, we have identified how we would allocate additional funding to deliver priority projects for both Option 2 and Option 3. With Option 2 providing funding for some priority projects and Option 3 providing funding for all priority projects. See table below.

Option 2: Under this option, Council will be able to construct a cycleway on O’Sullivan Road, Rose Bay to provide a link between the Rose Bay Ferry Wharf and Bondi Beach. This is valued at approximately $4m. This option will also allow us to improve the walking environment of our LGA through increased funding for maintenance and repair of footpaths, to the value of $3.3m, noting that this is in addition to the money we already spend on footpath maintenance.

Option 3: Funding under this option will allow us to construct the O’Sullivan Road Rose Bay cycleway as detailed in Option 2, as well as high priority walking projects as identified in Councils’ draft Active Transport Plan, valued at $3.7m. This option also provides for a substantial increase over Option 2 in the level and value of proactive footpath repair and maintenance work to be undertaken across the LGA, to the value of $6.1m.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$7.3m
Option 3
$13.8m

O'Sullivan Road, Bellevue Hill Cycleway Project between New South Head Road and Old South Head Road




Footpath repair and maintenance program, partial
High priority walking project as identified in the draft Active Transport Plan




Footpath repair and maintenance program, extensive


Community infrastructure

Concept OnlyWe recognise the value in providing community connections, facilities and places to deliver services within commercial centres as a way to support our community. In line with this, for many years, Council has planned for the replacement of the car park in Wilberforce Avenue, Rose Bay. A Development Application for this new project will be lodged soon. The project includes the construction of a new community centre, amenities and a multi-level car park that will address the current shortage of parking in the area. This development will provide for greater community connections, services and fully accessible amenities through a community centre and will support local businesses in the area by providing increased parking for visitors to the commercial centre.


Options 2 & 3: Council is looking to borrow funds of approximately $28m to complete this project, as it is unlikely that adequate government grants will be able to finance it. In light of this, annual financing costs ($11.635m over 10 years) have been included in both Options 2 and 3 of the SRV, as it is Council’s intention to undertake this project as soon as possible and to do so, we will require additional funds with which to service the loan.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$11.6m
Option 3
$11.6m
Car park in the Wilberforce Avenue, Rose Bay project


Digital improvements to service

We want to deliver consistently great service to our residents regardless of how they choose to interact with us. We want to make it easier and faster for residents to engage with us. Advancement in technology offers better ways of achieving this.

Options 2 & 3: Both Options 2 and 3 of the SRV will enable Council to make significant improvements to integrated customer services through automated online capabilities to allow easier and more convenient transactions. This will enable our residents to access information, bookings, permits, approvals and payments. The investment will also improve our library services, our website and online and face-to face engagement.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$11.6m
Option 3
$11.6m
Digital technology to support better customer service


How to have your say

We encourage you to share your feedback via the short form below before Sunday 9 October 2022.

Alternatively, you can write to us by:

Pop-ups:

Council staff will be holding pop-up information sessions throughout Woollahra's five wards, where you can ask questions, receive information and share your feedback.

  • Edgecliff: 4pm-6pm, Wednesday 14 September outside Edgecliff Station
  • Bellevue Hill: 8am-10am Saturday 17 September, Bellevue Rd shops (near 27A Bellevue Road)
  • Paddington: 11am-1pm Saturday 17 September, 394 Oxford Street
  • Double Bay: 9am-11am Monday 19 September, Kiaora Lane
  • Rose Bay: 9am-11am Tuesday 20 September, Dover Road (near Wilberforce car park entrance)
  • Rose Bay: 10am-12pm Wednesday 28 September, Lyne Park.

Information webinar:

Join us for a Zoom webinar from 5.30pm, Wednesday 21 September or 5.30pm, Thursday 29 September. Woollahra Council's General Manager, Craig Swift-McNair, and Director of Corporate Performance, Sue Meekin will speak in depth about the proposed SRV and what it means for Council and the community.

Register here to have the meeting link sent to your email.

The process from here

Following the 6 week community engagement period, Council will meet again in October to consider community feedback and determine whether or not to proceed with a SRV application to IPART, which is due in February 2023. If an application is lodged and approved the SRV would commence on 1 July 2023.

Click here to register for our second Zoom webinar at 5.30pm Thursday 29 September. The meeting link will be sent to your email.

Click here to watch a recording of the first webinar and Q&A session, held on Wednesday 21 September.

Click here to go direct to the SRV feedback submission form. Submissions close Sunday 9 October.

We would like your feedback on Special Rate Variation options and our plans to deliver long-term financial sustainability and meet the priorities of our community.

What is a Special Rate Variation?

Councils can only increase their rates each year by up to a limit determined by the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). This is known as rate pegging, which is one of the key factors that can constrain a Council from being able to raise sufficient revenue with which to be able to provide ongoing and improved services to the community.

Councils are able to apply to the IPART for increases beyond the annual rate peg limit and this is known as a Special Rate Variation (SRV). A SRV application can be made for either a fixed term or permanent increase in rates. A SRV can also provide Council the opportunity to address a number of priority spend initiatives which otherwise would not be funded without a corresponding reduction in existing service levels.

Our plan to secure long term financial sustainability

Financial sustainability is our ability to:

  • Cover our existing expenses and their future increases
  • Cover new expenses that we know will be required into the future
  • React and cover the expenses from things that we think may occur, for example the resulting repair works and clean up that may be required after a major storm event. We refer to this as ‘financial flexibility’ and believe a sound level for this to be between $1m and $1.5m per annum.

Our financial situation

The impact of COVID-19, the rising cost of services and materials, and the increasing demand for services, have placed continued pressure on our limited income. The largest proportion of Council’s income comes from rates. The rate peg is usually between 1.5 – 2.5% p.a. (historically below the inflation rate) and this is simply not enough to secure a financially sustainable future for Council.

We also face the burden of a continuation of cost shifting from other levels of government. This is where another level of government shifts responsibilities to Councils with either little or no funding to support them.

Whilst this situation is not new, it has been compounding over many years, with the level of cost shifting to Woollahra Council currently sitting at approximately $3.97million per annum.

What have we done to improve our financial situation?

In the last 18 months we have:

  • reduced our staff numbers
  • commenced a range of service reviews to identify efficiencies and new ways of delivering services • identified savings by extending the life of our passenger vehicle fleet
  • refinanced a major loan for Council’s Kiaora Place, Double Bay development in the commercial centre
  • identified potential revenue from a number of areas including bus shelter advertising in non-heritage areas, and
  • undertaken a comprehensive review of our fees and charges.

Why we need long-term financial sustainability

Although Council has made significant improvements to its deficit, we are still not in a long-term financially sustainable position. We are unable to provide funding to adequately address priority projects that have been identified by the community. If Council was to apply for and be successful in gaining approval for an SRV, not only would it strengthen our long-term financial sustainability, it would also give us the ability to address a number of priority projects and areas over the next 10 years.

SRV options for feedback

Three options

In considering a Special Rate Variation application to IPART to improve our financial sustainability and provide us with additional funds for the delivery of priority projects over a 10 year period, we have developed three options for your feedback.

Option 1 is our current situation where rates would increase by the rate peg only. This option does not achieve financial sustainability, nor does it provide additional funds to address your priorities.

Option 2 and Option 3 include a Special Rate Variation, and both assist in achieving long-term financial sustainability to varying degrees, as well as providing additional funds to address some key priority initiatives.

Below is a summary of the three options and the following pages provide more detail about what would be achieved in each priority area and each option.


Financial Sustainability Achieved

Additional Priority Spending over 10 years
Option 1: No SRV$0
Option 2: SRV$48.9m
Option 3: SRV$73m


What is the impact on you?

The following tables show the impact on the proposed SRV options on the average residential and business rates over the three years of a SRV. After the initial three years, the annual rate peg is the only increase for the next seven years. The tables below show what the average rate will be after the full 10 years of priority projects delivery. We have separated out residential and business rates and used average rates to make the information as clear as possible.

Average residential rates (1)

Rate modelledCurrent 2022/23Year 1
2023/24
Year 2 2024/25Year 3 2025/26Cumulative increase over 3 years (3)Year 10
2032/33
Residential rates increase on average over 10 years
Option 1:
Rate Peg 2.5% only (2)
$1,480$1,517$1,555$1,594$114 or 7.71%$1,895$42/year
Option 2:
2023/24 10% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$1,480$1,665$1,790$1,835$355 or 23.99%$2,181$70/year (ie +$28/year increase on Option 1)
Option 3:
2023/24 15% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 9.0% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2025/26 3.5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$1,480$1,739$1,939$2,056$576 or 38.87%$2,444$96/year (ie + $54 increase on Option 1)


Average business rates (1)

Rate modelledCurrent 2022/23Year 1
2023/24
Year 2 2024/25Year 3 2025/26Cumulative increase over 3 years (3)Year 10
2032/33
Residential rates increase on average over 10 years
Option 1:
Rate Peg 2.5% only (2)
$4,250$4,357$4,466$4,577$327 or 7.70%$5,441$119/year
Option 2:
2023/24 10% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$4,250$4,782$5,140$5,269$1,019 or 23.98%$6,253$201/year (ie + $82 increase on Option 1)
Option 3:
2023/24 15% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2024/25 9.0% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
2025/26 3.5% SRV + Rate Peg 2.5%
$4,250$4,994$5,569$5,903$1,653 or 38.90%$7,016$277/year (ie + $158 increase on Option 1)

(1) Average rates are calculated by dividing the total amount of rates Council is able to collect by the number of assessments we issue. The average rate is a standard comparison method used by Councils and the Office of Local Government.

(2) The Rate Peg is assumed to be 2.5%. This is scheduled to be clarified by IPART in September 2022 and if the rate peg is higher than the assumed 2.5% then the total increase will be the % SRV detailed above plus the rate peg.

(3) These future projections use existing residential property data and property values based on NSW Valuer General valuations which are updated every three years.

What is important to you?

We have listened to you and based on feedback received through our June 2021 Community Satisfaction survey, you identified the following priorities.

Protecting our Heritage. 81% felt that protecting heritage values and buildings are important or very important. $872k (current 2022/23 Budget) Implementing projects that will continue to protect our heritage., Active Transport 93% felt that renewing and maintaining footpaths/ pedestrian ramps are important or very important. $763k (current 2022/23 Budget) Upgrading footpaths and making active transport a safe, easy and healthy option. , Recreation & Trees 96% felt that parks and recreation areas are important or very important. $2.64m (current 2022/23 Budget) Improving parks and recreational areas., Community Infrastructure 81% felt that convenience of parking at local shopping villages is important or very important. $0 (current 2022/23 Budget) On new car park projects., Climate Change Adaptation Measures 85% felt that stormwater drainage is important or very important. $925k (current 2022/23 Budget) Mitigating the impacts on climate change on our stormwater network, Improvements to Service 90% felt that Council’s responsiveness is important or very important. $69k (current 2022/23 Budget) Providing more responsive online customer experiences.

Community feedback has helped us to develop a series of key priority project areas to focus on and this has formed the basis of our SRV application considerations. Below we have detailed each priority project area and what impact an Option 1,2 or 3 special rate variation would have on delivery progress.

Protecting our Heritage

The Woollahra LGA has a rich and diverse history that is represented in Victorian, Federation, Inter-War and post-1950 buildings, precincts and streetscapes. The three main heritage conservation areas of Paddington, Woollahra and Watsons Bay are the result of years of proactive and collaborative work undertaken by Council and a range of partners.

Recognising that there were gaps in some of our current heritage listings, a Heritage Gap Analysis was undertaken and finalised by Council in 2021. This analysis is now informing Council as to what future heritage studies are needed in order to continue to protect the unique heritage of our LGA. We are currently progressing a number of outstanding high priority projects identified by Councillors and Council staff including the Leslie Wilkinson Study; the Double Bay Study, the Edgecliff Study and others.

As part of our considerations for a SRV application, we have identified how we would allocate additional funding to deliver priority projects for both Option 2 and Option 3. With Option 2 providing funding for some priority projects and Option 3 providing funding for all priority projects. See table below.

Option 2: Projects to be completed under this option include the Modern Study, the Inter-War flat Building Study and the Arts and Crafts Study. We think it is essential to protect buildings with these characteristics because they are gradually disappearing due to the high pace of development occurring in the Eastern Suburbs. Arts and Crafts buildings are increasingly rare in Sydney and many Inter-War Flat buildings have no statutory protection. Similarly, significant buildings showing the evolution of modern architecture in the Woollahra LGA are under threat and not adequately recognised by statutory heritage protection.

Option 3: In addition to the priority projects included under Option 2, this option would enable us to address a significant gap in LGA-wide thematic studies, such as significant architecture (various eras and styles); commercial, community and recreational buildings; and items providing evidence of an areas’ historic development. This work would also consider cultural landscapes, including parks, gardens, reserves and beaches.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$1.4m
Option 3
$3.7m
Inter-War Flat Buildings Heritage Study
Study of local architecture and design influenced by the Arts and Crafts period
Significant Architects Heritage Study
Study of local built examples influenced by the Modernist period


58 – 88-90 Oxford St Woollahra Heritage Assessment

Items providing evidence of the area’s historic development

Commercial, community and recreational buildings

Land-water interface buildings and maritime archaeology

Cultural landscapes (including parks, gardens, reserves, beaches, etc.)



Review and assess heritage items nominated in previous heritage studies



Items listed on other statutory and non-statutory heritage registers



Items associated with significant local identities, especially women



Develop a heritage interpretation strategy for archaeological findings and built heritage (on land and in the water)






Climate Change Adaptation Measures

With a changing climate, the Woollahra LGA is expected to experience more frequent and more severe rain events. Our existing network of subsurface pipes and surface drainage infrastructure will come under significant pressure to cope with the volume of stormwater as rainfall increases.

Council has prepared a series of Floodplain Risk Management Studies and Plans for the various catchments within our LGA. The primary purpose of these plans is to quantify the nature and extent of existing and potential flooding problem and provide a range of options that could be implemented to expand the capacity and effectiveness of our stormwater network. A SRV will enable us to implement some of the high priority initiatives identified in our Plans.

In addition to projects aimed at expanding the capacity of the stormwater network, it is proposed to fund an increased level of drainage and pipe repair works across the LGA to ensure that the network is functioning at optimum efficiency.

Option 2: This option will allow us to deliver flood mitigation projects in Rose Bay, Paddington, Double Bay and Darling Point as well as undertake an expanded program of drainage maintenance works.

Option 3: In addition to the works to be undertaken under option 2, this option will also provide for an additional flood mitigation project in Paddington, plus a more significant program of stormwater pipe refurbishment.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$13.9m
Option 3
$17.3m
Cecil Street, Rushcutters Bay catchment (Paddington Flood Plan)
Dudley Road, Rose Bay North catchment (Rose Bay Flood Plan)
Edgecliff Road, Double Bay catchment (Woollahra Flood Plan)
Glenmore Road, Rushcutters Bay catchment (Paddington Flood Plan)
Ocean Avenue, Darling Point catchment (Double Bay Flood Plan
Increased drainage repairs, cleaning of pipes & GPTs and CCTV inspections of pipes

Pipe Refurbishment Program, various catchments

Underwood Street, Rushcutters Bay catchment (Paddington Flood Plan)



Recreation & Trees

Public open spaces enhance the character of the LGA; they support healthy and active lifestyles and bring communities together.

The role and value of open space has never been more important, as demonstrated throughout the pandemic. Greater emphasis is being placed on Woollahra’s public open spaces to provide and support a diverse range of areas for recreation, sport and social activity, as well as establishing physical links that support social connections.

Council is focused on enhancing the quality and usability of existing open spaces and a recent series of plans and strategies is providing strategic direction and recommendations on how best to develop and manage a quality open space. These plans and strategies include Plans of Management (for parks & reserves), the draft Recreation Strategy and the draft Play Space Strategy.

We want to promote greater usability of our parks and reserves and provide greater levels of maintenance.

A defining character of the Woollahra LGA is our exceptional urban forest, most notably our magnificent trees. Our street trees provide invaluable benefit to our quality of life but they do require significant and increasing resources for maintenance. Our majestic Fig trees in particular, require increasing expenditure for pruning to address issues of overshadowing and fruit drop.

As part of our considerations for a SRV application, we have identified how we would allocate additional funding to deliver priority projects for both Option 2 and Option 3. With Option 2 providing funding for some priority projects and Option 3 providing funding for all priority projects. See table below.

Option 2: Under this option, we could:

  • Continue the development of Plans of Management and related Masterplans for our reserves and open spaces and implement a range of works as identified in those completed plans, with projects like new and upgraded playgrounds and new recreation facilities. This work is valued at $2.5m.
  • Increase our open space maintenance staff (by a team of 5), to allow us to provide greater and more frequent levels of maintenance to our open space network, resulting in better maintained parks and reserves. This initiative is valued at $5.5m
  • Undertake more proactive maintenance of our 550 Fig Trees valued at $2.3m.

Option 3:

In addition to the works outlined under option 2, this option will allow for a significant expansion of our program of capital expenditure, focusing in particular on high priority actions identified in our Plans of Management, Masterplans, Recreation Strategy and Play Space Strategy. This work would be valued at $14.4m.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$10.3m
Option 3
$22.2m

Development and adoption of all Community Land POMs and limited Capital Works


Increase our open space maintenance staff by one more team
Undertake more proactive maintenance of our 550 Fig Trees

Implement a more comprehensive range of works to come from the parks POMs, with projects like new and upgraded playgrounds and new recreation facilities




Active Transport

A key priority for Council is prioritising easy, safe and accessible walking and cycling options across the LGA, and promoting the area as the most convenient, comfortable and safe choice for short trips in Woollahra. Council supports walking and cycling as the mode of choice for journeys to our schools, including our commercial centres, our schools, natural attractions (including parks, the harbour and the ocean) and public transport interchanges. To achieve this, Council needs to invest in safe, accessible and attractive pedestrian paths, crossings, cycleways, bicycle parking and supporting infrastructure.

As part of our considerations for a SRV application, we have identified how we would allocate additional funding to deliver priority projects for both Option 2 and Option 3. With Option 2 providing funding for some priority projects and Option 3 providing funding for all priority projects. See table below.

Option 2: Under this option, Council will be able to construct a cycleway on O’Sullivan Road, Rose Bay to provide a link between the Rose Bay Ferry Wharf and Bondi Beach. This is valued at approximately $4m. This option will also allow us to improve the walking environment of our LGA through increased funding for maintenance and repair of footpaths, to the value of $3.3m, noting that this is in addition to the money we already spend on footpath maintenance.

Option 3: Funding under this option will allow us to construct the O’Sullivan Road Rose Bay cycleway as detailed in Option 2, as well as high priority walking projects as identified in Councils’ draft Active Transport Plan, valued at $3.7m. This option also provides for a substantial increase over Option 2 in the level and value of proactive footpath repair and maintenance work to be undertaken across the LGA, to the value of $6.1m.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$7.3m
Option 3
$13.8m

O'Sullivan Road, Bellevue Hill Cycleway Project between New South Head Road and Old South Head Road




Footpath repair and maintenance program, partial
High priority walking project as identified in the draft Active Transport Plan




Footpath repair and maintenance program, extensive


Community infrastructure

Concept OnlyWe recognise the value in providing community connections, facilities and places to deliver services within commercial centres as a way to support our community. In line with this, for many years, Council has planned for the replacement of the car park in Wilberforce Avenue, Rose Bay. A Development Application for this new project will be lodged soon. The project includes the construction of a new community centre, amenities and a multi-level car park that will address the current shortage of parking in the area. This development will provide for greater community connections, services and fully accessible amenities through a community centre and will support local businesses in the area by providing increased parking for visitors to the commercial centre.


Options 2 & 3: Council is looking to borrow funds of approximately $28m to complete this project, as it is unlikely that adequate government grants will be able to finance it. In light of this, annual financing costs ($11.635m over 10 years) have been included in both Options 2 and 3 of the SRV, as it is Council’s intention to undertake this project as soon as possible and to do so, we will require additional funds with which to service the loan.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$11.6m
Option 3
$11.6m
Car park in the Wilberforce Avenue, Rose Bay project


Digital improvements to service

We want to deliver consistently great service to our residents regardless of how they choose to interact with us. We want to make it easier and faster for residents to engage with us. Advancement in technology offers better ways of achieving this.

Options 2 & 3: Both Options 2 and 3 of the SRV will enable Council to make significant improvements to integrated customer services through automated online capabilities to allow easier and more convenient transactions. This will enable our residents to access information, bookings, permits, approvals and payments. The investment will also improve our library services, our website and online and face-to face engagement.

OutcomesOption 1
$0
Option 2
$11.6m
Option 3
$11.6m
Digital technology to support better customer service


How to have your say

We encourage you to share your feedback via the short form below before Sunday 9 October 2022.

Alternatively, you can write to us by:

Pop-ups:

Council staff will be holding pop-up information sessions throughout Woollahra's five wards, where you can ask questions, receive information and share your feedback.

  • Edgecliff: 4pm-6pm, Wednesday 14 September outside Edgecliff Station
  • Bellevue Hill: 8am-10am Saturday 17 September, Bellevue Rd shops (near 27A Bellevue Road)
  • Paddington: 11am-1pm Saturday 17 September, 394 Oxford Street
  • Double Bay: 9am-11am Monday 19 September, Kiaora Lane
  • Rose Bay: 9am-11am Tuesday 20 September, Dover Road (near Wilberforce car park entrance)
  • Rose Bay: 10am-12pm Wednesday 28 September, Lyne Park.

Information webinar:

Join us for a Zoom webinar from 5.30pm, Wednesday 21 September or 5.30pm, Thursday 29 September. Woollahra Council's General Manager, Craig Swift-McNair, and Director of Corporate Performance, Sue Meekin will speak in depth about the proposed SRV and what it means for Council and the community.

Register here to have the meeting link sent to your email.

The process from here

Following the 6 week community engagement period, Council will meet again in October to consider community feedback and determine whether or not to proceed with a SRV application to IPART, which is due in February 2023. If an application is lodged and approved the SRV would commence on 1 July 2023.

Page last updated: 23 Sep 2022, 04:40 PM