When delivering projects Gary was recognised by his staff, peers, the executive management and Councillors that the information provided would be professional, considered and balanced.
Gary's work is based upon his qualifications, experience, decency and honesty that result in producing work of the highest integrity.
Gary has investigated and provided recommendations to resolve a variety of environmental legal matters that came before Gosford City Council. One of the most complex matters that came before Council was an alleged breach of development consent for the reconstruction of Mangrove Mountain Golf Course using waste material.
The reason for its complexity is that it involved researching 15 years of history examining over 5,000 pages of documents from both Council and multiple state government agencies.
Gary was able to cross-reference and evaluate the requirements of the consent, the work being undertaken upon the land and the implications of multiple Environment Protection Licenses. After 2 years of investigation and negotiation the matter went to mediation in the Land and Environment Court.
Local Government Law
Gary chaired the Cross Directorate Working Party for the introduction of the Integrated Planning and Reporting Legislation into Gosford City Council.
As the Chairperson of this working group he ensured that all members actively participated. Tasks and milestones were assigned to ensure that agreed actions were achieved.
The workgroup saw the development and adoption of the Community Strategic Plan, Resource Strategy, Delivery Program and the Operational Plan within budget and on time.
Policy & Strategies
Gary had the opportunity to develop or provide leadership for a range of policies and strategies. An illustration of the range of policies includes Biodiversity Management, Environmental, Erosion & Sediment Control, Landscape & Vegetation Management and Rainforest policies.
An illustration of the diversity of strategies includes Gosford's 2025 Community Strategic Plan, Biodiversity Management, the Coastal and Estuary Management Plans, and the Coastal Open Space System Strategy.
All policies and strategies were built upon scientific facts and developed with input from staff and the wider the community. Gary holds the philosophy by having input from both staff and the community the documents reflect the goals and aspirations of those who provide input and become owned by the participants.
By both staff and the community having ownership enables the documents to be implemented by staff and monitored by the community.
Gary led the team that developed and introduced the first Integrated Management System (IMS) into Gosford City Council.
This system combined the Environmental Management System under ISO 14001 Frameword with the Work Health and Safety legislation of NSW.
When the IMS was audited, by Work Cover they evaluated the system as 'Worlds Best Practice'.
Public consultation is providing a process to enable the public to provide input on matters of key importance to the community. The purpose of undertaking of public consultation is to improve efficiency and transparency in the decision making process.
Throughout Gary's 25 years in local government he has participated in consultation ranging from partnerships to informing.
Gary has witnessed first hand the benefits of effective consultation were the local authority has a better understanding of the communities aspirations which has led to appropriate resource allocation. He has observed ineffective consultation which has resulted in decisions being questioned.
What ever level of public consutation is undertaken from partnerships to informing it is imperative that a clear understanding of the potential outcomes is understood by all participants. By defining the boundaries of the consultation bridges of trust can be established to allow effective and transparent communication.
Gary as a private consultant has prepared and submitted development applications ranging from simple residential dwellings involving the preparation of a Statement of Environmental Effects. He has prepared and submitted complex applications which have been classified as designated development requiring the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements.
Gary as a local government employee has assessed the full range of applications that came before Council. Due to his knowledge and understanding of the planning process Gary has been called upon to assess major applications that have come before the Council. An illustration of the range of major applications includes extractive industries, marinas, shopping centres, large subdivisions, schools and medical centres.
During Gary's role as Director he participated in one of the most controversial public meetings that has ever come before Gosford City Council. The meeting required the consideration of a Notice of Motion requesting Council consider the compulsory acquisition of several parcels of land.
Over 200 community representatives attended the meeting. Community interest was high as the land holds strong links to Aboriginal heritage and contains the habitat of a number of threatened species. The emotions of the community members in attendance and the Councillors escalated to a very high level as Councillors debated alternative positions with feeling and passion.
As alternative positions by the Councillors were being presented interjections occurred from multiple members of the community.
In this highly charged and politically sensitive debate Gary was called upon by a number of Councillors on multiple occasions from opposing positions to present facts and advice.
Plans of Management
Gary has developed a number of management plans. An illustration of the development and adoption of a complex plan is the Somersby Industrial Park Plan of Management. This plan required the bringing together of divergent and competing interests.
The competing interests were between the landowners, developers, environmentalists and elders of the local Aboriginal community. The divergent views were compounded by the diversity of input from multiple State Government Authorities each seeking different objectives.
The final plan needed to protect and conserve aboriginal heritage, sensitive environmental areas and maintain economic viability of the industrial park.