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Hawkesbury Council Campaign Bulletin - October 2021

The Local Government elections have now been delayed a second time, to the 4th of December. Accountability to you, the voting public is the cornerstone of our democracy.
The lockdowns have made it almost impossible for candidates to put forward their views and policies for your scrutiny. Worse, the Electoral Commissioner may still impose restrictions to prevent hand outs outside polling places or engage in face to face campaigning.

This will heavily distort the vote as worthy ideas or candidates are unable to reach you for your consideration.

Don't automatically fall back on the default 'brand' you'd vote for at a State or Federal election!

I've worked hard for you over the last five years.

I am standing for re-election to Hawkesbury Council as an independent. I'd be grateful for your vote.

Please, follow me on-line for updates, and feel free to reply to this email with any questions or issues you'd like to raise.

Nathan Zamprogno Signature Transparent
Councillor Nathan Zamprogno


Granny Flats and Dual Occupancies: It should be your choice

Granny Flats: You deserve more choice | Hawkesbury City Council

The way Hawkesbury Council currently treats dual occupancies and granny flats is insane.

I'm referring to putting a second dwelling on the same block, without subdivision or separate ownership.

It ought to be a part of our city's mix of housing choices, could be a measure to mitigate against subdivision and rezoning, and confers a range of social benefits.

Currently, all detached dual occupancies are forbidden everywhere because of "flood evacuation risks", regardless of whether you’re in Bilpin or Oakville - neither of which are at risk of floods.

But *attached* dual occupancies are just fine. In other words, simply joining the two dwellings together with a breezeway or covered path makes them OK, bizarrely. Same number of people. Same scale. Same block.

Many of our neighbouring Councils have permitted dual-occupancies for years.

But it gets worse.

Smaller structures, 'granny flats’ *are* permitted in areas zoned like Bligh Park, where blocks are usually under 800 square meters and there's precious little room for a second structure.

But in rural zonings where people have five acres (or more) – perhaps 25 times the size of a house block in Bligh Park, and where there's plenty of room for a modest second structure, the answer is no. You can’t. It’s not allowed.

This makes no sense at all, and this needs to change.

What do you think?

Further delays to the Grose River Bridge should make you cranky

The Redbank project, and associated wrangling over the promised Grose River Bridge crossing goes all the way back to 2008.

So if you're angry or confused about why it seems that this infrastructure keeps receding to the horizon, then I'm with you.

Why is it taking so long? And why, after a recent Council meeting, is it going to be delayed even more?

Here's what you need to know. This video lays out the timeline of this issue.

I have been on about this issue for this entire term of Council.

Democracy delayed is democracy denied

When will the NSW Local Government Elections be?
A quick update about why a delayed election, and the lockdown restrictions, are hurting our democracy.

My position concerning the new Hawkesbury River bridge

Hawkesbury Council's position concerning the new Hawkesbury River bridge

Recently Council considered the submission we would make to the consultation process on the route of the new Hawkesbury River crossing at North Richmond.

My position is guided by an awareness that this is not Council’s project. Like the Windsor Bridge project before it, we decide neither its location, appearance, budget or timeline.

However, Council does have a role to listen to residents and then represent their concerns faithfully. And other tiers of government, if they are wise, should listen. I’ve been contacted by dozens of residents and had long conversations both for and against the preferred ‘green route’.
There are still substantial unanswered questions before us, and many ways in which the proposed route could be improved. If we don’t ‘hustle’, the community won’t get what we deserve.
I am pleased that Councillors understood the need for a bipartisan approach on this.

Make no mistake - raising Warragamba Dam will make our community safer

Nathan interviewed by ABC - March 2021 floods
The Warragamba Dam raising proposal has taken a step forward with the release of the long awaited Environmental Impact Statement.

It only came out yesterday, and I'll have more to say about it soon, but the Executive Summary is a good starting point – it says for example that new modelling shows that the recent March floods would have been 3.5m lower if the dam had already been raised. I know plenty of homeowners who faced ruin in March and their houses would have been spared if the waters were that much lower.

Recently, the opponents of flood safety in the Hawkesbury fell upon upon a 'leaked' State Government report that stated something so obvious it's banal – that in the event of a major flood, the water has to go somewhere.

Their tortured argument says if Warragamba Dam is raised, providing a buffer against future floodwaters, then that water will need to be released progressively after the peak. This means river levels will remain elevated for a number of weeks as that release occurs - affecting water filtration and sewerage treatment plants downstream.

What they don't concede is that in the event of a major flood, if the dam has not been raised, those same floodwaters would hit the floodplain all at once, catastrophically. It would cause flooding to a far higher height than would otherwise be the case.

The 'Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities' document laid all this out in 2017:

In the event of a 1:100 year flood, 1000 houses would be inundated with a raised dam, instead of 5000 without. In an 1867-level flood, that's 5000 houses instead of 12,000. The severity or frequency of flooding will be reduced overall by 75%, the damage bill reduced tenfold. The flood height would be lowered by many meters.

Opposing flood mitigation measures condemns thousands of houses on the floodplain to inundation when the next big flood comes.

I've been advocating for better flood mitigation in the Hawkesbury for years (Stories: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10), and I need your support to continue that work on Council.

Some of my colleagues on Council have hedged on this question for years. "Let's wait for the EIS" they said. Well now it's here, so it's time they took a side.

Why you should be angry about reckless election-season posturing

Two motions came to Council recently, calling for us to abandon our relationship in two regional bodies, the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils and the Hawkesbury River County Council - the latter of which Hawkesbury has been a core member of for 73 years. I regard this as lazy, reckless vandalism and it's an awful example of election-season posturing.

Here's the problem: In the scheme of things, Hawkesbury is a small-ish Council. Huge in area, yes, but our revenue base is only one-third of that of our neighbours, like Penrith and Hills, and less than a fifth the size of Blacktown (source data). That means that there are times where it's better to band together with others to achieve good outcomes for our community.

Sometimes we do that to save money. Shared-service models are a proven way to achieve economies of scale in procurement, insurance or service delivery. In other words, bigger is better.

Sometimes, it's because there are some issues that don't stop at Council's borders, and good sense requires a regional approach, like ensuring the health of the Hawkesbury-Nepean river.

And sometimes, we do it to stand with other local governments and speak with a common voice. When bullies (usually other tiers of government) shift cost burdens to ratepayers, overlook the concerns particular to western Sydney, or issues are more appropriate for local governments to take the lead, then it's good to have friends.

All these reasons, among others, are why our Council has long maintained membership of HRCC and WSROC.

I am presently a Director of WSROC and the Chairman of HRCC, serving as one of two Council representatives to those bodies.

A Win For Colbee Park Users – A Masterplan... And $573K in Funding!

With members of the Oakville Raiders Baseball club and Hawkesbury Sports Council President Les Sheather

Overwhelmingly, the biggest problem Council has with developing masterplans for our parks is there is no money allocated to execute the plans once they're made. I have lamented that community consultation and masterplanning processes raise community expectations, only to dash them with no follow-through.

Take Colbee Park in McGraths Hill as an example. It is one of our most used, and most neglected sports fields. I should know, as a Soccer Dad. My son's club has been based at the park for a decade.

I've been engaged in a long campaign of engagement and advocacy to get some funding for improvements to the park, and I need your support to continue that work.

I need your help!

Do you agree with what I'm saying?
I need your help to elect a good government on December 4th.
Please email or call me on 0412 141 811.
I need volunteers who can give just a little of their time.
Talk to your friends and neighbours. And if you're a Facebook person, share my content.

I address many other matters on my website and Facebook page.

Be informed. Follow me for updates.

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