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For six years as one of your representatives on Hawkesbury Council I have sought to keep you informed about the issues that concern and affect you .

I'm the only one of the twelve Councillors that seeks to keep you updated in this way, and I consider it one of my core responsibilities to engage you and keep you up-to-date.

I hope you appreciate this update covering events over the last few months. If you don't already follow me on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, please consider following me for more regular news – You're missing out!

Nathan Zamprogno Signature Transparent
Councillor Nathan Zamprogno

Latest News

The October 2022 floods – timelapse video


Here is a compilation of time-lapse footage of nine different locations around the Hawkesbury district, showing the effects of the October floods that struck us recently.

Each location has had up to a week's events compressed into under thirty seconds, comprising ~64,000 frames run together.

Shown in order are:
• Wiseman's Ferry Road looking towards Cattai Public School
• Yarramundi Bridge near the confluence of the Grose River
Sackville Ferry
• Webbs Creek Ferry (west side)
• Windsor Bridge• North Richmond Bridge
• Wisemans Ferry (north and east)
• Webbs Creek (east)

I took images from Live Traffic NSW's cameras at key locations and mapped them to flood-height information from the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory and the Bureau of Meteorology.In some locations, gaps caused by low light or missing images are removed.

I think this is an original and fascinating way of seeing the effects of what turned out to be a mild-to-moderate flood on different parts of the district. Of interest is the 'double dip' in several locations and the increasing effect of tides as you get further downstream.

Update on the Grose River Bridge project – the Wilcox Home saved (for now)

One of the most significant items considered recently was the revised Voluntary Planning Agreement associated with the Grose River Bridge project.

Many would know of the controversy caused by the baffling insistence of the developers that the road linking Grose Vale Road and Springwood Road plough through the home of the Wilcox family, despite the presence of empty land on either side.

The motion before Council was to approve the VPA, condemning the home to demolition. I moved an amendment that called for more work to explore a road alignment that saves the house. I am pleased that this passed by 7 votes to 5.

I've said a lot about this issue. Below are some relevant videos:

Who voted which way, is in the first video linked below.
Update on the Grose River Bridge project – the Wilcox Home saved – for now
13 September 2022

This is the best single video if you're short on time.
My remarks to the Council chamber as I seek to amend the VPA to reconsider the route.

Article / Video
Pulse Radio interview banner
14th September 2022

Interview with Pulse FM following the Council vote (15min).

The debacle that is the Grose River Bridge project
19 July 2022

The debacle that is the Grose River Bridge project - Remarks to Council as the VPA was placed onto exhibition.

Article / Video
August 2021

Why is there still no bridge over the Grose River?

Article / Video

Should we lower Warragamba Dam instead of raising it?

Should we lower Warragamba Dam instead of raising it?
(Video direct link)

Hawkesbury Council has passed a motion that calls on the State Government to change legislation regulating the operation of Warragamba Dam to permit the Dam to be lowered in times of likely high-rainfall which will provide a degree of flood mitigation ability.

I supported the motion, but I want to be very clear that lowering the operating level of the dam is not a substitute for raising the dam wall, which remains by far the best way to properly mitigate floods. Lowering the dam level might have taken 20-60cm off the level of the July flood. Raising the dam would have taken off 3.5 metres, based on modelling performed after the smaller March 2021 flood.

As I say in my remarks, climate change will deal us times of greater variability of weather in coming years. Longer periods of flood and longer periods of drought. The reductions being sought by some would have let the whole dam run dry prior to the end of the last drought in February 2020. That would be just as irresponsible. I see a lot of people advancing positions in the teeth of scientific evidence they're wrong, and that's no way for us to get to the best solution. I got a lot from the recent community meeting convened by the Hawkesbury Community Alliance where we heard from Professor Stuart Khan.

St Albans, Lower Portland, Lower Macdonald and Colo deserve better

St Albans, Lower Portland, Lower Macdonald and Colo deserve better of Hawkesbury Council
(Video direct link)

Every part of the Hawkesbury is important and deserving of effective representation and services. But the Hawkesbury is a big place, and residents of more remote areas sometimes feel like they aren't being heard. I get to all parts of our beautiful district as often as I can.

On the weekend I joined the Mayor and six other Councillors on a 196km road trip to visit the communities of St Albans, Lower Macdonald, Lower Portland and Colo, to listen to locals and to hear their concerns. We learned a lot, took many notes, and we will be returning to those communities regularly.

This video details our trip to those communities and what we learned.

I mention a recent A Current Affair story drawing attention to the lack of telecommunication services in the Macdonald Valley. That story can be seen here.

From the town of Windsor to the House of Windsor – Will the Australian republican debate be rekindled?

From the town of Windsor to the House of Windsor–will the Australian republican debate be rekindled?
(Video direct link)

On the same day the nation mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth, republican protesters in Sydney and Melbourne burned the Australian flag, chanted “I’m glad the b*tch is dead”, and marched behind banners demanding "Abolish the Monarchy".

This is not who we are. In fact, amidst an outpouring of gratitude for the Queen's life of service, support for Australia remaining a Constitutional Monarchy has surged.

I attended a moving memorial service for Her Majesty at St Matthews Anglican Church Windsor NSW with three of my fellow Councillors. The Queen visited the Hawkesbury, and this church in April 1970. I spoke with several locals who remember the day.

The overwhelming respect accorded to the late Queen and our new King makes me think there will be no Australian republic soon, perhaps ever. As our major town bears the same name as the royal house, here are my thoughts.

Talking with Hawkesbury Business Owner Darren Pead about Windsor Mall

Talking with Hawkesbury Business Owner Darren Pead about Windsor Mall
(Video direct link)

Darren Pead is committed to the economic health of the Hawkesbury, running Guy Stuff, Lollies 'N Stuff and Delicious Desserts – all in Windsor Mall.

He’s also passionate about how we present and promote our town centres, balancing renewal with enhancement of our wonderful heritage.
Council has spent the last three years developing a strategy for renewal in our town centres as part of our participation in the $18.75M Western Parkland City Liveability Program.

Council has now resolved twice to intervene in the planning process to guide how Windsor Mall will be upgraded while valuing our heritage. My concern was that the plans drawn up were less 'heritage' and more 'Westfield', and fell short of the community's expectations.

My colleague Councillor Djuric has brought two notices of motion to ensure the preservation of the rotunda and now the gas lamps in Windsor mall and I was happy to support both.

Darren and I sat down recently to talk about the possibilities of emulating 'best practice' in Heritage preservation guided by examples overseas. More information in the video and link below.

The Australian Local Government Assembly - What Hawkesbury can learn from a bigger picture, especially as it relates to natural disasters

The Australian Local Government Assembly - What Hawkesbury can learn from a bigger picture, especially as it relates to natural disasters
(Video direct link)

Just before the floods overtook us all, I attended the Australian Local Government Assembly (ALGA) down in Canberra, an annual conference that pulls together the 537 local governments around Australia.

Our focus is the bigger picture of local government as it relates to the nation as a whole – a perspective that I believe my colleagues often misunderstand because they express little interest in the subject.

Presciently, a lot of what we heard about was about the increasing cost of natural disasters, and the disproportionate burden placed on Councils in the repair and cleanup.

The video above is my report about what I learned – I pushed through a reform to Council which demanded Councillors give an account to you after they are sent to conferences to prove they were paying attention (the Labor and Liberal Councillors have disappointingly since rescinded that accountability measure). If you follow the "Read More" link below I summarise some of the facts and figures presented to us at the conference.

Getting results. Bardenarang Creek and how the community rallied to help in the flood cleanup

May 2022 -
Bringing attention
to the issue (video)
June 2022 -
Help arrives from
Disaster Relief Australia! (video)
The sorry state of historic Bardenarang Creek, Pitt Town
How the community rallied to clean up Pitt Town creeks after the floods
After the March floods, I raised the terrible condition of Bardenarang Creek at Pitt Town. Friendship Bridge there marks a significant historical site – the place of first meeting between Europeans and Aboriginals in the district in 1791.

Plastic sheeting and debris filled the creek and it was well beyond locals or Council to fix unless there was a significant collaboration of manpower and pooled resources.

It was heartening to see that after locals raised their concerns, help arrived in the form of Disaster Relief Australia, who collaborated with Hawkesbury City Council and the Pitt Town Progress Association to resource a four-day blitz on a substantial part of the creek. DRA are a Veteran-led volunteer organisation who help communities in distress at times like these.

Sadly, it was tragic to see all their good work undone, as the July floods came.

I'm a keen student of what makes strong communities, and I admire our ability to dust ourselves off one more time and keep going. Our job in government is to provide all the help we can.

A long-delayed road sealing program gets underway - but there's much more to do to fix our shocking roads.

Long-delayed road sealing program gets underway
(Video direct link)

Recently residents of Vineyard and Oakville witnessed the welcome sight of the dirt sections of Old Stock Route Road and Brennans Dam Road being sealed. Finally!

These works are being funded in part from $250,000 allocation from the Commonwealth Community Infrastructure program, and topped up with Council funds resulting in a $560,000 spend. I had been agitating for this since my election in 2016.

I understand the #1 issue for drivers in the Hawkesbury are the terrible condition of our roads. Council has dedicated unprecedented funding to try and get on top of the backlog caused by 6 months of record rain, and we will present a clearer picture about what the schedule and funding are for many road projects after we receive a report at our October meeting of Council; the subject of a recent Mayoral Minute.

The family home flooded because they live next door to development

The family home flooded because they live next door to development
(Video direct link)

James and Nadine lived in Harkness Road at Oakville, squarely in the area we call Vineyard Stage 1, a location of intensive subdivision caused by the North West Growth Sector.

The developers over the road had already razed the houses that had stood there since the 1970s, and their excavation works turned the hilltop opposite into a shallow, muddy basin. But that basin now had a spout, and the spout was pointed squarely at James and Nadine's home, which sat at the bottom of a sloping driveway.

When the rains came in March 2022, that water filled the basin, which had been constructed with no sedimentation control, and poured out of its lowest point – the spout opposite their home. A muddy slurry ran through their home to a depth of some inches. James and Nadine's property were ruined, and they estimate the damage into the tens of thousands of dollars. This is not good enough, and I'm unhappy about the way Council is failing to keep developers accountable. Read the whole story...
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Get in touch with me at any time on 0427 122 419 or at nathan@councillorzamprogno.info