Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne

Mayor, Dr M R Byrne

Mayor Michelle Byrne.jpg

Political Affiliation: Liberal Party of Australia

Flood thank you

I visited Wisemans Ferry during the height of the March floods, and met many people who had lost homes, property and livelihoods to the rising waters. Flooding also impacted community assets like parks, fields and roads and assessments and repairs are now underway to restore these as quickly as possible.

Castle Hill Showground became an evacuation point for livestock and domestic animals, and it was heartening that we could do something as tangible as opening up stables and sheds to help people in crisis.

I was encouraged at how quickly people rallied to help each other and at the resilience and positivity of flood victims. Council staff also responded quickly to emergency calls, and by providing information about flood impacted areas.

I have nothing but gratitude for our SES teams, emergency services volunteers and State agencies for the role they played and continue to play in this natural disaster. Their work is demanding and requires great personal strength and courage – thank you on behalf of our community for your ongoing commitment to helping people when they need it most.

Cleaning up, rebuilding homes and replacing damaged assets will take time, and Council has committed to waiving application fees where possible to ensure the process of rebuilding is fast tracked.

Aquatic Centre progressing

Construction is well underway for what must be the most exciting rebuild project in our Shire. The concrete slab for the gym area has been poured and structural steel work is underway. With a brand new Olympic-sized pool, water play area, warm water pool, a café and gymnasium – I can’t wait to bring my family to this wonderful new centre when it opens in early 2022.

Library upgrades

My youngest daughter and I attended a Hills Shire Library outreach story time while renovations were underway at Castle Hill Library. This was a wonderful initiative that was thoroughly enjoyed by many local families. The Castle Hill Library now has a new lift, fresh paint and carpet, and a remodelled customer service counter. I encourage everyone to drop in, check out the upgrades and pick up a good read and a coffee from Chapters Cafe. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful community assets that promote a love of literacy and foster a sense of community.

Cumberland State Forest

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services have been requested by The Minister for Energy and Environment to assess whether our much-loved Cumberland State Forest can be reclassified a National Park. Reclassifying Cumberland will strengthen its protection, and national parks play a significant role in not only research and conservation, but also providing people with a place where they can engage with their natural local environment. We recently put a planning proposal to rezone land within Cumberland State Forest on hold to allow time for full consideration of the national park proposal, and I look forward to a positive outcome.