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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Shellharbour council merger appeal ‘has us in limbo’

Wollongong and Shellharbour residents will be left in council mergerlimbo until wellinto the new year, with the latest legal fight against the NSW government’s plan not due before thecourt until later this year.
Nanjing Night Net

The Mercury can confirm Shellharbour City Council’s appeal of the NSW Land and Environment Court’s decision,to throw out its initial challenge,won’t be heard until November 23.

The first directions hearing –which falls after the November12 Wollongong byelection –also muddies the waterssomewhat for Wollongong lord mayor and byelection hopeful Gordon Bradbery.

Should Cr Bradbery be successful at thebyelection, the Independent would likely have to juggle the roles of Member for Wollongong and the city’s lord mayor until a merger outcome is reached.

Cr Bradbery’s five-year term at the helm of Wollongong councilfinished at the end of August.

“I’ve been given the opportunity, through circumstances beyond my control, to continue on,” he said.

“I’ll have to review my whole situation after the byelection, inasmuch that I will have to look at the implications in terms of fulfilling both roles.”

Cr Bradbery told the Mercury it was his understanding he could see out his current mayoral term –which continues until the merger outcome is finalised –irrespective of the byelection result.

He could also considerresigning the mayoralty early.

Asked if the drawn-out merger legal challenge process complicated his candidacy for the seat of Wollongong, Cr Bradbery said it did “in lots ofways”.

“Either way …the point of the exercise, as far as I’m concerned, is not that I need a job but I’m here to serve the community,” he said.

“I’d have to make a decision in the best interests of the people of Wollongong and also those who elect me to the seat of Wollongong.”

More generally, the lord mayor said the ongoinguncertainty had left his council’s operationsin limbo.

“We need a continual process of putting new things intrain and everything is on hold,” he said.

“We’re just in a maintenance mode and as far as planning for the future we’ve got some real big limitations.”

Shellharbour’s appeal will be dealt with in the NSW Court of Appeal. Ahearing date willbe set whenboth parties agree to proceed.

It isunderstooda February or March hearing is likely, due to theChristmas-New Year holiday period.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.