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More MidCoast Merging?

dougkFri, 24/03/2017 - 1:55pm

The proposal to merge MidCoast Council with MidCoast Water is on public exhibition until 12 April. Details of the proposal and explanations on how to make a submission can be found here: http://www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/Have-Your-Say/MidCoast-Council-and-MidCoa...

How will this merger affect North Arm Cove?

Probably not very much - given that we have neither sewer nor town water and are unlikely to be provided with those services in the foreseeable future. Possibly there will be some side effects.

There is an expected $3million in savings but, on previous experience, none of that will head our way. A new Council department will be created which will probably have little or no interest in us. Our significance to the Council as a whole will be proportionally diminished. The perceived savings - from amalgamating such things as call centres, compliance and management structures may make it even more difficult for us to get the responsiveness we need.

The Frequently Asked Questions  says "The executives of both MidCoast Water and MidCoast Council have provided a commitment to delivering the same level of service across the MidCoast region". Presumably that means we get the same level of service as we previously had (i.e. nil) - not that we in the Cove can expect to get the same as provided in Tea Gardens, Foster or Taree.

The Council document recommending the merger includes the statement:

MCW is currently facing financial sustainability challenges from the high level of debt it has incurred as a result of the significant water and sewerage infrastructure capital programme it has implemented since its formation together with the ongoing operating costs of this increased infrastructure.

It is likely any savings will go towards easing those "sustainability challenges" and reduce the burden which would otherwise fall on existing customers of MidCoast Water. Hopefully no additional burden will fall on general rate-payers.

A Council-wide approach to waste-water whether disposal is on-site, by pump-out or sewerage infrastructure could have benefits but it is unclear to what extent that has been considered in the proposed merger.

So it seems the proposed merger could have potential upsides as well as some risk for small communities such as ours.

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