Mayor Stephen Agius inherits New City Plan | St George & Sutherland Shire Leader

Mayor Stephen Agius inherits New City Plan at Kogarah | St George & Sutherland Shire LeaderARTICLE – October 1, 2015:
St George & Sutherland Shire Leader

Mayor Stephen Agius inherits New City Plan
By Maria Galinovic.
(Link to the Leader’s online copy of the article)

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Back as a team: New Kogarah mayor Stephen Agius and deputy mayor Annie Tang.

STEPHEN Agius’ term as the mayor of Kogarah is likely to be marked by several major challenges.

Cr Agius, elected on Monday night with Annie Tang as deputy, will deal with the result of the state government’s Fit For the Future initiative and with the next step of the council’s New City Plan, a proposed LEP change designed to meet future housing needs which has sparked much public anger.

And then there is the usual work of the council to oversee.

In all circumstances Cr Agius said he will ‘‘continue working with the community to get the best outcomes for Kogarah’’.

He expected there could be some changes to the contentious New City Plan if and when councillors had a chance to discuss it.

At present the plan is in limbo after most councillors declared a pecuniary interest and thus were unable to vote on it.

Cr Agius said pecuniary interests included everything from earning income from development to owning a home in the proposed rezoned areas — or knowing someone who does.

He said the council was waiting on the government to clear up this matter before the plan could proceed.

There is a Bill before the NSW Parliament which should separate the serious developers from homeowners caught up in the rezoning.

Cr Agius said the New City Plan was presented to councillors by the council’s planners and then passed on to the public for comment.

“We didn’t want to make any changes before the community saw it — we wanted to give them an opportunity to say what they think,” he said.

“Councillors will need to discuss the plan and there may have to be changes.

“Everything will be considered unless the government takes it out of our hands.”

The council was also waiting for the government to bring down its findings on which councils were Fit For The Future and which should be amalgamated.

“Our first option has always been to stand alone,” Cr Agius said.

“Our second option is to join with a St George council, preferably Hurstville.”

The government is expected to deliver its recommendations within the next two weeks.

On the everyday work of council side, Cr Agius is hoping to see park and playground upgrades with Carss Bush Park being one of the first projects.

Footpaths — Montgomery Street among them — should also get an overhaul.

Cr Agius, a Liberal, runs a chiropractic business in Kogarah and Parramatta.

A local all his life, he lives with wife Susana and two young children at Connells Point.

He is in his seventh year on Kogarah Council and into his second term as mayor.

Crs Agius and Cr Tang were a mayor and deputy team in 2013.

Cr Tang continued to be a deputy in 2014 when Michael Platt from the ALP was elected mayor.

She has been on the council for 16 years and this is her seventh stint as deputy mayor.

Mother of three grown children and a former restaurateur, Cr Tang now does marketing for the family business.

What would you like to see Cr Agius achieve in his term as mayor?

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