Annual General Meeting 2012

Another year has passed, and this one – fortunately – has had more opportunity to develop projects for the future, building on the work of those who came before us. We have been fortunate in not having to contend with a major ‘out of character’ development as in the previous year. Instead, it has been a ‘transition year’ in effect, developing new projects which will, we hope, delight the community over the years to come.

First, thank you to all the committee members and those who have assisted with all our community events and fund raising. We rely on you all, and without this collaborative and cooperative effort, we would not move forward. Out standard events, such as Australia Day, Trash and Treasure, the monthly meetings, the website, management of the tennis court and Talking Turkey’s production and delivery, rely on the leadership of the great organisers and the rest of us who can do their bidding in supporting this work. Australia Day was wet this year, so numbers were down and we were forced inside, but the sound management of Roger Hayward and Fay Gunther (on food) ensured that all participated, were fed and happy, while Trash and Treasure on Easter Saturday raised over $4500 under the always
able stewardship of Fay Gunther with the support of many too numerous to mention. In both events we received support from Gosford City Council while Tony Hudson continued to donate eggs and Graeme Blundell was our ever lively MC for Australia Day celebrations.

Apart from the Committee, we get support from many people but I would like to mention some in particular: Michael Rasic and Tom Jackson who handle so much of the maintenance around the Hall, Colleen with the longstanding raffles, and Keron and the team at the Wagstaffe Store. To all of them and to those whom I do not name, thank you.

This year, we have worked on a number of projects that the incoming committee will continue. These include: the extension to Turo Park, artistic poles at the Hall, discussions on a walking track to Half Tide Rocks, and the tennis court development. All of this work builds on efforts from past (and present) Committee members and the community, shows developing community standards and approaches, and is guided by the institutional memory held by such members as Fay Gunther and Robyn Warburton.

Other projects have included the installation of the smart new bubbler with dog drinking bowl, at the Hall, and the care and nurture of the second replacement tree at the Square, including saving it from Ausgrid wires, and planting around it by Bill, Ray and others. But sadly that tree has been poisoned, it appears, by a non community minded person or persons, so the incoming Committee will work out where we go from here, as it helps none of us if we give up after all the effort already expended. And sadly, the poisoning of the tree has highlighted that no matter how beautiful the area, there are some who spoil it for others. Consequently, our experienced Treasurer Graeme Anderson has been working to develop a ‘fridge magnet’ (to be distributed to residents of our area, courtesy of the Association), which will list emergency contact numbers and the number to use to report crimes.

Our Hall is the focal point for our activities: our meetings, the arts shows, performances put on by other groups, the regular yoga, pilates, bridge, Knit2 chat too, fitness, and community group meetings. In an average month about 700 people attend the Hall, ranging from groups of 6 to 120, and this calendar year has seen the further development of the Friday night ‘Wharf at Wagstaffe’, bringing in up to 150 people each month. Maintaining the facility requires a lot of dedication, effort, and funds too, as $81,000 has been spent over the last 6 years on various improvements such as the sound system, the floor beneath our feet, and air conditioners. It requires also
respect for the building by those who hire it, and good management skills to balance competing needs, which we have in the form of Roger Hayward.

But as you all know, we work outside the Hall as well. The George McDonald boat ramp was officially named at a well attended function in November in the presence of George and his wife Judy by Deborah O’Neill, our local federal MP. Christmas in July was celebrated by 75 enthusiastic participants, the June and October art/craft fairs were enjoyed by many and raised funds for the projector, the talking turkey deliverers continued to ‘strut their stuff’. We also lobbied for change in the design of the Empire Bay refreshment room DA and made some progress, as no occupation certificate will be provided until bush regeneration has been done, although other issues
remain. We have reactivated our older plans – derailed by the Hardy’s Bay development saga – of providing bollards along the Hall front adjacent to the bus stop so that a safe pedestrian pathway is provided, and discussion continues with Council on this. We have continued work for a ferry stop at Ettalong on the return journey from Palm Beach, and this lobbying continues.

In fact, lobbying is a never ending process, and in this we work with other organisations also. I am pleased to say that more recently we have made more direct contact with the Pretty Beach P&C Association, working with them on drainage near the school affecting children and parents walking to school, on the planned extensions to Turo Park, and the development of the tennis court area. After discussion with the P&C and Council, the latter organised the first public consultation on what to do with the extended passive park area. Future public meetings will be held once Council advises the basic costs of infrastructure and its maintenance requirements, as
Council has made very clear that the community organisations will need to fund the infrastructure. So we will be liaising with the P&C and other groups on dates for future meetings, and then hope to develop our community plans for the extension, based on community views and the input of all organisations. This may take some time, with phased development over a number of years, but we hope that the next financial year will see the acceptance of an agreed plan and possible start on some of the infrastructure.

This financial year will see the extension of facilities at the tennis court area. With great support from Angus Kell and discussions with others, a submission was made to our local State Member, the Hon Chris Hartcher MP, for a community building partnership grant. After a series of follow-up discussions, we were successful in obtaining $28,000 for planned developments incorporating an enlarged children’s play and seating area. However, as this grant was less than planned, follow-up discussions are taking place which will incorporate suggested other changes to the location of a shade cloth and improved pathways. We will be required to report back
on this to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, but trust that by this time next year, the project will be completed and tennis court patronage will rise further.

Two other major projects are underway, one of which we hope to complete more quickly than the other. Some time ago, Anne Jackson suggested that we erect some artistic poles, and work is now taking place to bring this to fruition. Council agreement has been sought, and meanwhile, there have been many and continuing negotiations with Ausgrid to obtain some of the old hardwood telegraph poles for use. And after some rocky difficulties in this process, we now have some poles, and under the artistic and experienced direction of Terry Baker and Jean Scott, we hope that community efforts will result in adding more beauty and interest to this area. Meanwhile, a project that will take longer, but for which we have set money aside, is a proposed formalisation of the walking track to Half Tide Rocks.
Again, many people and organisations are involved in this process, negotiations are ongoing, and we do not expect any quick outcome. But as you all know, we get there in the end and rely on many people’s good sense and collaboration in our work.

Cooperative and stimulating discussion is what you get in this community, and never more so than in the WTKCA Committee, which has laboured long and hard this year to bring about the traditional events and to develop new projects. In this we rely on all your expertise, your talents, and your initiative. Our invitation for more people to assist us in this task was rewarded with responses from Alex Sharp (to assist Graeme in his Treasurer role), with Jeanette Martin and Margaret Crane (taking over from Robyn Warburton in editing Talking Turkey), and in many of you joining us in the work during Australia Day and Trash and Treasure, and in many other things besides. We invite more of you to continue this collaborative work this coming year, particularly as many of us need backstops when we go away,
or suffer illness, so there are many unsung heroines and heroes here.

So thank you to everyone for your help and comment during this year, and to your ongoing participation in our community. And I would like to thank – in no particular order – all members of the executive for their hard work – Gay, Robyn, Fay, Graeme, Bill, Richard, Roger, Ian, and more recently Alex – and to note that we rely on a complex mix of skills to bring about positive change in this community, particularly as sometimes I am in far flung places! Thank you. Next year we will have the joy of bringing a number of projects to fruition, and continuing work on others, and I am sure that the incoming Committee will work with you to make this an even better place to live.

Peta Colebatch, President. 14 May 2012