$90mil­lion to fund Hornsby su­per projects

Monthly Chronicle - - News - Jenny Bar­lass

The state gov­ern­ment has fi­nally given $90mil­lion to Hornsby Shire Coun­cil so it can carry on with its plans to de­velop its two sig­na­ture block­buster pub­lic projects - the Westleigh and Hornsby Quarry sites.

But Hornsby is still left won­der­ing when it will get funds to plug its $9mil­lion an­nual short­fall in its bank bal­ance - with the Trea­sury say­ing Hornsby is ask­ing for too much money.

It's this short­fall which funds es­sen­tial ser­vices like li­braries, roads and foot­paths, waste col­lec­tion and parks main­te­nance. In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Monthly Chron­i­cle, Hornsby Shire Coun­cil Mayor Philip Rud­dock said that “$40mil­lion will go to­wards Westleigh and $50mil­lion for the Quarry,” he said. “This Gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance is most wel­come. Ob­vi­ously, this pay­ment is not enough to fully com­pen­sate the peo­ple of Hornsby Shire but it is a very good start.”

A ma­jor is­sue fac­ing Westleigh is its re­me­di­a­tion. It has most re­cently been used as an RFS train­ing ground where the fire re­tar­dant chem­i­cal per­flu­o­rooc­tane sul­fonate (PFOS) used in the foam used for fire train­ing left a toxic residue. But back in the 1940s to 1960s it was also a de­posit site for hu­man waste.

Once cleaned up, Hornsby Coun­cil in­tends to cre­ate five ovals as well as walk­ing and cy­cling trails.

“We’re at the stage with both projects now where we’re look­ing at the plan­ning of each and how re­me­di­a­tion of Westleigh could be best done.”

As for the an­nual $9mil­lion HSC faces af­ter the loss of the sub­urbs of Ep­ping and Car­ling­ford and their ratepayer and Sec­tion 94 con­tri­bu­tions to Par­ra­matta, Rud­dock added that “we are still in dis­cus­sions with the Pre­mier and the Trea­sury.

“The gov­ern­ment al­ways said that Hornsby would not be worse off af­ter the amal­ga­ma­tion so we are work­ing to se­cure funds that en­sure that out­come. At the mo­ment there are is­sues over how you cal­cu­late the rates paid to Par­ra­matta and Sec­tion 94 con­tri­bu­tions and the Trea­sury is sug­gest­ing our fig­ures are higher than they need to be.

“We still ex­pect more funds in the short­term fu­ture (from the gov­ern­ment). They need to meet our on­go­ing costs.”

Hornsby is also work­ing be­hind the scenes to avoid ex­pen­sive lit­i­ga­tion with Par­ra­matta Coun­cil over just how much it still owes Par­ra­matta Coun­cil in rates and Sec­tion 94 monies paid by de­vel­op­ers to coun­cil cof­fers.

Re­fer­ring to the fa­mous up­mar­ket her­itage ho­tel in the Blue Moun­tains, the Mayor added that he wants to see “a Lil­ian­fels of the north” linked to both Hornsby Quarry and Lis­gar Gar­dens to cre­ate a unique tourist des­ti­na­tion for the Shire, as well as cre­at­ing more jobs for lo­cals.

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