A message from the Mayor, Leigh Gray: Working with all levels of government to achieve our budget goals

From time to time and particularly during our budget planning process for 2022/23, we get questioned about what we can do and achieve in the next 12 months.

We have the responsibility to ensure that we upgrade all our current assets and maintain them in good condition, as well as provide the community with a wide range of services. We also need to plan for new investments in the Brighton Municipality so we can achieve our 2050 Vision to be a thriving place; a proud community; ensure a good life at every age for all our residents and provide a sustainable environment.

We balance all of these things, while we keep a balanced budget, spending no more than we can afford, just like we all do at home. We all know how difficult this is at times, especially with the huge increase in costs.

Council has approved a 10-year Financial Management Plan and a 10-year Asset Management Plan. This sets out our renewal and replacement program for our roads, footpaths, buildings and all other assets.

We are certainly aware that from time to time we need to change the plans to accommodate situations where repairs and upgrades are more urgently required. Our Asset Management team is constantly reviewing these documents when situations arise. As councillors, we put forward your enquiries for assessment and prioritisation, if required. Our Council tries to ensure our assets are at the optimal intervention point when we repair or upgrade. We try not to let assets get to a point of disrepair that involve big costs to fix. It’s far better to repair at that optimal time to save ongoing costs. If you let an asset deteriorate past this point, it can result in rapidly increasing repair costs, however repairing before this stage means we won’t be getting the best value out of our original investment. It’s a balancing act!

This brings me to the subject of new assets that we either acquire, in the form of road and public open space contributions for new developments undertaken, or through the purchase of new builds we undertake in the area. These cover all our parks, walking tracks and public buildings. Council now owns $216 million worth of assets that all cost money to maintain.

With our plans for the future, we always look for co-operative arrangements with other levels of government to move our new infrastructure developments forward. We have many plans for upgrades of parks and facilities for the community. We work on staging these new developments over several budgets and although we don’t get the final product for several years, it’s delivered in a very economically responsible way. However, from time to time, we join forces with our Federal or State counterparts and receive assistance on some projects that make it possible to produce a build in one go instead of in stages. Your council works hard – staff and councillors – to ensure that opportunities are not missed along the way.

We have a very cooperative approach to all major infrastructure projects. For example, during this Federal Election we saw both major parties commit $2.3 million to deliver the master plan for the Ted Jeffries Memorial Park in Seymour Street, Brighton. The $2.3 million commitment plus a $1.1 million contribution from Brighton Council will deliver some of the most important elements of the Ted Jeffries Memorial Park Masterplan. I look forward to seeing what more can
be achieved in cooperation with all levels of government in the near future.

I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank former Premier Peter Gutwein for his 20 years service to Tasmania. Mr Gutwein demonstrated the most outstanding leadership through the toughest of times and effectively navigated us all through the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to acknowledge and thank him for his positive and progressive stance on issues such as climate change and truth-telling/treaty during his time as Premier, setting an important precedent for future leaders.

Finally, on behalf of Brighton Council, I would like to congratulate Premier Jeremy Rockcliff on becoming Tasmania’s 47th Premier. We look forward
to working with Premier Rockcliff and feel confident that his experience in government and understanding of what it is to be part of a more regional community, will make our working relationship effective and productive.

Brighton Mayor
Leigh Gray

From the Mayor: Brighton Council embraces nurturing our natural environment

A message from the Mayor – Leigh Gray

As part of our 2050 Vision, we have committed to ensuring we do all we can to support initiatives that achieve our goal of a truly sustainable environment for our people, wildlife, plants and waterways.

I’m pleased to see great steps towards this in the last six months and we can pride ourselves on the partnerships Council is forging in the community to make this happen both at a grass roots level and with dedicated organisations who specialise in supporting communities and councils achieve their sustainability goals.

In this edition of the Brighton Community News, you’ll read about many of these initiatives but I would like to highlight just a few here that we should acknowledge and celebrate as great steps forward.

Towards the end of last year, we saw the creation of the 300th Landcare Tasmania group, brought together in time to celebrate National Tree Day. The Bridgewater based group marked its beginnings by planting trees and shrubs in the Bridgewater/Green Point foreshore area to create wildlife habitats.

Council has long had a very valued relationship with the Derwent Estuary Program and UTAS in caring for our wetland areas and the recent launch of new signage at the Old Beach Saltmarsh highlights the importance of this partnership in ensuring the area is cared for and protected into the future, illuminating why our saltmarsh environments are so important to the health of our environment overall. I strongly encourage you to take a walk along the Old Beach Foreshore walking track and immerse in the saltmarsh area and all there is to learn from the new installations.

This year Council has commenced working with the Derwent Catchment Project (DCP) to improve the way we manage our natural resources. A Natural Resource Management (NRM) strategy will be created by the DCP to help manage and improve our land, water and soil quality as well as habitats for plants and animals. A focus for us as a Council will be foreshore restoration through a weed management plan. The DCP will also advise and support awareness and education in the community and have already been active in this space working with the Old Beach Neighbourhood Watch group on Clean Up Australia Day to identify and clear a dense patch of boneseed on the Old Beach Foreshore.

I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of our community members who participated in Clean Up Australia Day or have a clean-up scheduled for later in the year. We were fortunate to have a group in Bridgewater cleaning up the foreshore there and the Old Beach Neighbourhood Watch group working on the Old Beach Foreshore area with the Derwent Catchment Project, learning a little about the effective removal of boneseed.

Council’s dedicated Climate Resilience Officer, Alison Johnson, continues to manage some exciting projects that really push us forward including ongoing ‘Greening Brighton’/ tree planting initiatives, solar energy installations and overseeing our WasteWise Schools Program in conjunction with Gwen Harper, from JustWaste Consulting. It’s truly gratifying to observe the effectiveness of our FOGO service and the great results being achieved at all levels with very low opt-out rates and absolutely minimal contamination.

Congratulations to all of our residents on embracing this important initiative to save thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill and keep our waste management costs down in an environment where costs are rising.

All of this work is testament to our commitment to ensuring we do the very best we can as a Council in climate adaptation and working towards being legitimately sustainable into the future. After all, we all know there is no ‘Planet B’.

Brighton Mayor
Leigh Gray

From the Mayor: Exciting changes to come

A message from the Mayor – Leigh Gray

We’ve been through a lot over the last 12 months.

Coming into 2022 things may be a little tough for a while in light of Tasmanian borders opening up and the inevitable spread of the COVID-19 virus. Council is well prepared for the year ahead and have all our arrangements in place to ensure work continues. Our management team has prepared a COVID response plan and we’re ready to tackle what the next few months brings as we manage the virus as carefully and safely as possible.

That being said we have a big, exciting year in front of us, with major projects expecting to start in this calendar year. The Bridgewater Bridge will begin construction in the second half of the year after the approval process has been completed. This is the biggest infrastructure project in Tasmania’s history and it is on our own doorstep. It promises to create significant employment opportunities for locals and we’ll share further details with you along the way.

The new Brighton High School is well into its planning stage and a start is expected in 2023. The Jordan River Learning Federation School Farm improvements are well underway and we’ll see the start and completion of some new parks at Bridgewater, Gagebrook, Brighton and Herdsmans Cove.

We have established a Jobs Hub for our region with our neighbouring Councils. This officially opens in February but is already kicking goals and creating employment and training opportunities for our residents.

I’ve been appointed Chair of the subregion of Councils that includes Brighton, Central Highlands, Derwent Valley and Southern Midlands. I’m excited about the cooperative nature of the group to further advance opportunities that benefit the region as a whole.

This group of sub regional Councils has engaged KPMG to provide a report highlighting issues and infrastructure requirements for our region into the future. KPMG will prepare an Economic Infrastructure Development Study to highlight the region’s growth profile, which will include the emerging regional growing pains and the infrastructure investment priorities we will need to respond to the foreseeable issues. We’ll receive the full report in February, providing our councils with information and insights into what we will need for the future as a region.

You will read in this edition how Brighton Council recently welcomed the Greater Hobart Transport Vision and the requests for support from the State Government. The proposal will greatly benefit commuters and residents in our area, giving them more choice, opportunities and potentially saving time and money. Very early discussions have already commenced with stakeholders to encourage the establishment of a Bridgewater and Old Beach ferry service with the expansion of the existing services on the River Derwent, and a 25 minute express service to Hobart.

We are fast approaching our budget time and although we have plans already in place for new assets and the upkeep of our existing infrastructure, we’re always open to suggestions from our residents. If you have any ideas on improvements we can make then please reach out and let us know.

Our Grants Program is also opening soon so if you have a project for a community organisation that meets the criteria, you can apply for a grant. Watch the Brighton Council Facebook page and website for when these open.

Wishing everyone a safe and steady year ahead.

Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray

Exciting times ahead for all at ‘Our Place’

N this my first report as Mayor, I would like to start by thanking our residents and ratepayers for allowing me to lead Brighton Municipality. I am extremely honoured to have been successful at the recent by-election to replace long-standing Mayor Tony Foster. I can assure you I will work hard, listen to your comments and concerns, and do my very best to repay the faith you have shown in me.

By LEIGH GRAY*

IN this my first report as Mayor, I would like to start by thanking our residents and ratepayers for allowing me to lead Brighton Municipality. I am extremely honoured to have been successful at the recent by-election to replace long-standing Mayor Tony Foster. I can assure you I will work hard, listen to your comments and concerns, and do my very best to repay the faith you have shown in me. 

I would also like to acknowledge the candidates who put their names forward for mayoral and councillor roles. It is not easy to do, and I thank them all for their efforts and continuing interest in our community. Please keep being involved, as without input from the community, we cannot fulfil our roles.

I must also congratulate Aaron De La Torre on his election as councillor. I am sure he will make an important contribution to our future deliberations.

Brighton is a great place to live, work and play. I am confident our Municipality can look forward to a very positive future. We see growth across the board in our population, development, infrastructure business and industry, and I know this will help us maintain our community’s positive direction.

Brighton’s new Mayor Leigh Gray
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A fond farewell to the community I’ve served

AFTER 28 years as Mayor and hundreds of columns in Brighton Community News, this will be my final one following my retirement on June 30.

By TONY FOSTER

AFTER 28 years as Mayor and hundreds of columns in Brighton Community News, this will be my final one following my retirement on June 30.

I write this with mixed feelings – satisfaction that our municipality has achieved so much over the past more than three decades I spent on Council, proud that through the efforts of Councillors and staff we have positioned Brighton as the best-performing Council in the State, pleasure in the thousands of friends I have made over my time here, but some sadness that I will no longer be involved with the day-to-day running of the Brighton Council and that I will not directly participate in the many future opportunities that lay before us.

But retirement as Mayor and Councillor does not mean I will no longer be interested in what happens in Brighton. I will continue to delight in the progress, growth and development of our municipality and the achievements of our community groups and people.

Retiring Mayor Tony Foster

When my wife Noeline and I moved to Brighton 40 years ago, the municipality was essentially rural and the Council dominated by those farming interests. Now Brighton is a much more urban place where ratepayers deserve and demand the same services and facilities as people living in other towns and cities throughout Tasmania. That we have delivered those services and facilities more efficiently while charging lower rates is a significant achievement of all those who have served and worked for Brighton Council over the years.

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Political promises must be delivered

By TONY FOSTER Brighton Mayor
SO, another State election is over and done, although almost a year earlier than anticipated, and multiple promises have been made in an attempt to win the community’s favour.

By TONY FOSTER, Mayor of Brighton

ANOTHER State election is over and done, although almost a year earlier than anticipated, and multiple promises have been made in an attempt to win the community’s favour.

At times I just wish local government had access to the money that the political parties throw around at election time. With our intimate knowledge of the local community’s needs, I’d guarantee that councils would be more effective in delivering the much-needed works and support that the public wants.

But the important point is, whatever has been promised by those gaining power, it must be delivered.

I read an interesting article recently that reported that of all the election promises made by the winning parties at election time, only 75 per cent were delivered. Others, particularly major capital works, may have been delivered but were delayed, postponed or stretched over many, many years and were promised multiple times at successive elections.

The Bridgewater Parkland project phase 1, during construction
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High school vision comes into clear focus

BRIGHTON Council has welcomed the announcement by Education and Training Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, that the consortium of Jaws Architects and Heffernan Button Voss Architects would undertake the design and that the first student intake would be in 2025.

By TONY FOSTER*

NEWS the State Government has appointed architects to design the new Brighton High School is welcomed and provides yet further confirmation that this long-awaited and much-needed development will be delivered.

Brighton Council hailed the announcement by Education and Training Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, that the consortium of Jaws Architects and Heffernan Button Voss Architects would undertake the design and that the first student intake would be in 2025.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster with Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff review the concept plans for the High School.

While some of the government’s critics claimed that the commencement date was a year later than originally promised, the fact remains that the appointment of architects and the commencement of the actual design work represents an important milestone in progressing the high school development.

The new high school is vital for the continued development of our municipality and the surrounding region and it, and the education of our young people, are far too important to be used as a political football in a clumsy effort to score points.

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Sports centre to create amazing focal point

Work on the new Brighton Regional Sports Centre is well advanced and driving through Pontville, you can see the building’s second storey taking shape with steelwork craned into place and framing now underway.

By TONY FOSTER

Mayor of Brighton

AS REPORTED in this issue of Brighton Community News, work on the new Brighton Regional Sports Centre is well advanced, with the project on track for completion by mid-May this year.

Driving through Pontville, you can see the building’s second storey taking shape with steelwork craned into place and framing now underway. Plasterers are on site, commencing working on the ground floor and the electricity upgrades will provide for the future needs of the entire site, well beyond the completion of this building.

Work on the new Brighton Regional Sports Centre is well advanced

Following the framing up the top floor the roof construction, the detailed fit-out will begin. Including the development of the function area, commercial kitchen and bar facilities.

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Optimism for Brighton’s 30-year forward vision

Brighton Municipality’s 2050 Vision will provide a strategy outline that will direct its progress over the next 30 years – Mayor, Tony Foster.

By TONY FOSTER

Mayor

A VERY happy New Year to everyone in our community. I certainly hope you were able to relax over the festive season and that 2021 will be a less challenging year for all of us.

The new year is now more than one month old and Council has already held its first meeting where we adopted our 2050 Vision – a strategy outline that will direct our progress over the next 30 years.

During this time, it’s estimated Brighton Municipality’s population will grow from its current 16,500 to 30,000 and more. So, we must have a shared view of the direction we want to take moving forward.

Last year, Brighton Council set out to engage with the community to create a bold and optimistic plan for the future of our municipality covering the next 30 years. The result is the 2050 Vision that lays out our shared hopes and goals as a community for the coming decades. It also acknowledges and responds to our current social, environmental and economic challenges. 

Importantly, it has a clear focus on the things that Brighton Council can shape and influence and focuses on the responsibilities Council has to ensure the Vision is delivered – as a provider of services, a regulator, a facilitator and advocate for the Municipality and its community. 

The 2050 Vision is a statement of our collective aspirations for the future. By imagining together how Brighton could be in 2050, we are creating a way to make it happen. 

The Vision was developed through broad community engagement and a consultation process across several months with hundreds of residents, businesses, visitors and other stakeholders. 

Brighton’s entire Council group with Mayor Tony Foster and Deputy Mayor Barbara Curran, holding the 2050 Vision launched at last month’s meeting.
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Foundations hold firm in a year of great challenge

BRIGHTON Municipality Mayor Tony Foster says it is time to reflect on what has been a challenging and unique year for the Council and the community.

By TONY FOSTER

Mayor of Brighton

IT is worth reflecting on what has been a challenging and unique year for our Council, community, state, country and indeed the world.

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic heralded massive changes in our lives and impacted everything – our home life, work, recreation and community activities.

From being relatively free to do almost anything we wanted to or were able to do, we were restricted to staying at home, working at home or remotely, children studying at home and not even being able to play with friends, services curtailed, sports and entertainment cancelled. Indeed, our whole way of life experienced unprecedented changes.

Brighton Municipality’s Bridgewater Bridge which along with the new Brighton High School, has its funding secured by the State and Federal Governments.

Fortunately for Tasmania, the pandemic was quickly brought under control and restrictions were slowly relaxed. At the time of writing, the situation here is almost back to some sort of normality and we are even welcoming visitors from most Australian states.

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