Lake Macquarie is on the road to recovery, post COVID-19, courtesy of council’s capital works program.
The organisation spent almost $100 million across the city in the 2019-20 financial year, keeping the wheels turning on economic activity as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
The $99.3 million spend outlined in council’s 2019-20 Annual Report released today (Monday 7 December) included $41.1 million on roads, traffic and transport improvements; $19.2 million upgrading community facilities; and $17.4 million improving assets and preparing for future growth.
Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser said the achievements over the past financial year made her confident the city could look beyond COVID-19 “with energy and optimism”.
“It is wonderful to see the range of completed projects delivered and services provided in the 2019-20 financial year – and also since the end of June,” Cr Fraser said.
“Completion of the $4.7 million Munibung Road extension was a particularly momentous achievement.
“It has unlocked the Cardiff industrial area to Boolaroo and will help drive progress of the North West Catalyst Area that provides so much potential for our future.”
Lake Macquarie City CEO Morven Cameron said comprehensive health and safety measures taken at the outbreak of COVID-19 meant most council services and projects were able to continue.
“The steps we took ensured we were able to continue delivering the services vital to sustain and grow our community,” she explained.
“They also enabled us to protect the livelihoods of more than 1100 council staff.
“A large proportion of our workforce lives locally, we source supplies locally wherever we can and, since COVID-19, we have focused our efforts to support local businesses and organisations wherever possible.
“This has provided a significant boost to the local economy during one of its most challenging times in decades.”
The continuity of business helped council maintain a sound financial position throughout the financial year, ending in an $11.5 million operating deficit – $2.1 million better than originally projected.
“This reflects a strong performance in relation to our long-term financial plan, and is mainly due to lower than expected losses on disposal of assets, and lower than expected costs of remediating landfill sites,” Ms Cameron said.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, council achieved 82 per cent of actions outlined for the financial year under its Operational Plan.
From a total of 263 planned actions, 20 were not achieved due to the impacts of COVID-19, while another 27 were underway but incomplete by 30 June.
More than 73 hectares of land was rezoned for conservation, with restoration works completed in 19 separate natural areas.
Crews completed 100 per cent of council’s roadworks program for the year, with almost 38km of roads across the city either resealed or rehabilitated, 3.2km of new footpaths built and 2.3km of new shared pathway installed, including key sections of the Speers Point-Glendale commuter route.
Four playground upgrades were also completed at Swansea, Martinsville, Warners Bay and Rankin Park.
Council’s assets were valued at $3.85 billion at the end of the financial year, including 1369km of roads, 665km of footpaths and cycleways, 117 sporting facilities, 123 playgrounds and $139 million worth of parks and reserves.
The 2019-20 Annual Report can be viewed at lakemac.com.au.