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AGRA President Report September

AGRA returned to face-to-face meetings during the past twelve months at The Galston Club. AGRA membership is currently at 106 members, and we have regular Facebook posts for the general community to keep them informed. AGRA has seen an eventful year with many local issues on the agenda. In addition, the committee has worked collaboratively with the community, bringing people together to discuss local matters with an inclusive and impartial voice.

I want to thank the Executive and committee for attending additional meetings and organising events, finances and membership. Lori Modde has resigned as Public Officer, and we would like to thank Lori for her input into the transition of AGRA to a modern community group, as her contribution was invaluable.

AGRA has hosted numerous meetings with guest speakers this year, including:
 Meet the candidate evening, which was popular with the membership to ask questions directly to the Hornsby Council candidates
 Susie Smith and Lana Frost – Sustainable officers HSC, discussing the initiatives undertaken by the council in this space and ideas for households.
 Councillors Warren Waddell regarding many matters relating to HSC, including:
• Galston Master Plan funding
• Community parking for public transport locations
• Dangerous trees, potholes, road verges, gutters, footpaths, vegetation & other local road issues, including Cobah Rd
• Off-leash dog park at Fagan Park update
• Scheduled to commence next financial year
• Public toilets at Aldi-always closed
• Rural lands study update

HSC draft On-Site Sewage Management System Policy
Four AGRA executives had a zoom meeting with HSC regarding the on-site sewage proposed changes; HSC paper has been developed after consultation.

 Provide more education to owners of OSSM systems on the appropriate operation and maintenance of their system. Provide new property owners with an information pack on managing their OSSM system.

 Increased inspections for high-risk wastewater systems within the proposed 7- year period

 Operators of high-risk OSSM systems that receive additional proactive inspections are only charged $44.00 per year in line with the fee charged to all owners of OSSM systems.

 Council to take an educational approach to manage a defective OSSM system before considering regulatory action.

 Prioritisation of wastewater system inspections located adjacent to the Hawkesbury River

Letters to Matt Kean MP office
AGRA has written to Matt Kean MP concerning local issues and several items that we have identified that are affecting our local community:
 New Line Road upgrade – The NSW Government has allocated $70 million to widen New Line Road upgrade from single lanes to dual carriageways between Purchase Road and Hastings Road as part of its Budget announcement.

 Berowra Waters Ferry and the return of the large ferry given the closure of Galston Gorge

 Galston Gorge closure – Traffic volume viewer shows 3,188 cars use the Galston Gorge daily (one way). Commuters have no choice but the use the already clogged Old Northern and New Line Roads, adding time and kilometres to their trip to Hornsby. 10.3km – 15mins via Galston Gorge and 21.2km – 34 mins (during non-peak times) via Cherrybrook. During peak hours, this trip can take over an hour. Locals have other unintended consequences such as Petrol prices and the additional travel time will impact the family budget and additional time spent travelling. Local businesses in Galston have reported a downturn in revenue, some as much as 20%. Berowra Waters Ferry has been known to break down and is closed one Tuesday per month, further restricting access for local residents.

Responses have been received back regarding the Berowra Ferry and Galston Gorge.

Other activities throughout the year included:
 Proudly Arcadian merchandise for sale and orders through AGRA

 Scarecrow competition – held successfully during the lockdowns is back for 2022

 Arcadia Community Dinner successfully held in August 2022, for the first time since 2019, due to COVID lockdowns

 Toilet paper, tissues, paper towels – Who Gives a Crap sales

 Defib community project called Community 2159 encompasses the Galston, Arcadia, Berrilee and Fiddletown communities with a mission to install community defibs throughout the 2159 postcode addressed AGRA and has rolled out several defibs in the local area

– By Sonja Cameron, President