Council meeting update - 17 November 2020

Tuesday 17 November, 2020

Here is an overview of outcomes from tonight’s Ordinary Meeting of Tamworth Regional Council:

  • Councillors tonight received and noted the Tamworth Regional Council 2019-2020 Annual Report. The 160-page document, a requirement of the Local Government Act, highlights achievements in implementing Council’s Delivery Program, the effectiveness of activities undertaken and detailed financial statements. A message from Tamworth Regional Mayor Col Murray and Council’s General Manager Paul Bennett describes the 2019-2020 year as a “rollercoaster ride for all of us”. “Tamworth Regional Council soared to great heights in the first six months of the financial year, continuing to build on our strong record of delivering major new infrastructure…But in the second half of the financial year we have also experienced the lows and tackled the challenges of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.” The financial section of the annual report shows the accumulated losses to Council due to the impact of COVID-19 on the operation of services and facilities is $4 million for 2019-2020. The Annual Report will be published on Council’s website.
  • A proposal to install a 50kW solar photovoltaic system at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) will not go ahead after Councillors tonight agreed site constraints mean it is not financially viable. However, Council will continue to investigate the suitability of other sites. Council first looked at installing solar panels on the roof at the AELEC in 2018 but due to potential aesthetics impacts decided to investigate other options for the site. A report presented last night detailed three alternatives – a floating array on the recycles water storage dam, a ground mounted solar array and a roof mounted solar arrange of stable block B. However, none of the options met Council’s financial viability requirement to have the capacity to payback the cost of the installation in seven years or less. Council has already installed small scale behind the metre solar arrays at 7 of its 11 large energy consuming sites. Work on the remaining four is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. Council is committed to continue investigating solar installation at sites where it will be environmentally, socially and financially viable.
  • Councillors agreed to further support local businesses with a $20,000 investment in the new Stay Regional Shop Regional campaign which includes the introduction of a Tamworth Region Gift Card. A report tabled at the meeting explained the campaign aims to support local businesses through the launch of an exclusive gift card which can be used across multiple participating local businesses. Tamworth businessman Chris Watson approached Council seeking financial and in-kind support for Stay Regional Shop Regional and has set a target of sign up minimum of 75 businesses to take part in the campaign. Mr Watson will manage the ongoing operation and marketing of the program while Council’s funding will be used for the purpose of licensing the platform and purchasing of associated cards and marketing collateral. Council will also provide marketing support through a social media campaign. The Council report said similar retail platforms have been introduced to other regional centres including Narrabri, Bathurst and Dubbo and has been successful. Council’s involvement in the campaign will be linked to its Revive the Region initiative aiming to support the region’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of its aims is to support greater use of local suppliers to deliver operational and projects services. Stay Regional Shop Regional will be launched early in December.
  • A total of 17 charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations are sharing $61,000 through Council’s 2020-2021 Annual Donations Program. Councillors endorsed the allocations recommended by the Annual Donations Program Assessment Panel comprising Councillors Jim Maxwell, Helen Tickle and Juanita Wilson. In addition, $60 will be donated to each of the 71 schools and pre-schools in Council’s local government area to assist with buying academic prizes and library resources. Recurrent annual funding totalling $66,650 is also provided to a range of local charities and not-for-profit groups.
  • In line with the community’s vision for efficient use of resources to improve environmental sustainability, Council will take part in a CSIRO wastewater treatment system trial. Councillors agreed to allocate $140,000 from the Wastewater Reserve to fund the project and to seek funding assistance from the NSW Government. The CSIRO approached Council to be part of the emerging wastewater treatment technology trial. The CSIRO is researching the potential of an integrated Forward Osmosis – Reverse Osmosis wastewater treatment system. A pilot treatment plant will be installed at the Westdale Wastewater Treatment Plant in January next year and soon after a second pilot treatment plant will be established at a local abattoir. Results of the trial will be reported in May next year. Forward Osmosis-Reverse Osmosis treatment of wastewater has a number of potential benefits including reduced energy use, a reduction of reject wastewater compared to other processes and reductions of salt levels in the wastewater stream.

For more information, see the full reports at

Watch the video report here

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