Elections may hold up vital works

WITH councils across the Northern Rivers set to go into caretaker mode ahead of the September elections, a number of important projects could be delayed unless the Local Government Minister gives special permission.

Under a new regulation of the Local Government Act, councils must not undertake certain functions in the four weeks before the election.

This means that from August 10 councils must not:

Enter a contract equal to or greater than $150,000 or 1% of the council's revenue from rates (whichever is larger).

Determine a controversial development application (for which more than 25 objections have been lodged).

Appoint or reappoint a general manager.

But Ballina Shire Council's general manager, Paul Hickey, will this week recommend that councillors seek special permission from Local Government Minister Don Page to allow some of these functions so that four major projects can proceed.

"One of the main things we have been looking at is the tender for the construction of the new Ballina surf club," he said.

"In the caretaker period we would not normally be able to award that tender. But there are tight timeframes in place for this project, largely due to the Federal Government funding of $2.3 million.

"The tender value will be in the vicinity of $4 million."

Mr Hickey will also suggest the council ask for special permission to determine the application for the redevelopment of "Little Woolies" in River St, the redevelopment of the Thai restaurant in Lennox Head and to award the tender for the airport apron extension.

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