Council holds a Bicheno forum to discuss boundary adjustment

AMALGAMATIONS: Bicheno and Coles Bay may soon be a part of Break O'Day.
AMALGAMATIONS: Bicheno and Coles Bay may soon be a part of Break O'Day.

The Break O’Day Council held a public forum at Bicheno last week to discuss potential municipality boundary adjustments.

The touted changes would see the council shift its boundary to incorporate Bicheno and Coles Bay.

Break O’Day mayor Mick Tucker said the forum was attended by about 40 members of the Bicheno community.

Cr Tucker said the “initial talks have been very favourable”.

“The initial talks are very favourable, very supportive, very much common sense,” he said.

“The people in Bicheno go to school at St Marys, they play sport in Break O’Day, a lot of them shop in Break O’Day- they naturally transit north as their destination.

“It just sort of solidifies what we believe is the actual story anyway.”

Accounting firm KPMG were commissioned by the council to create an analysis of the potential effects of the boundary adjustment. 

Instead of forced amalgamations, we think a step-by-step [process] is a better alternative.

Break O'Day mayor Mick Tucker

The report set Cherry Tree Hill as the potential new boundary, and found that the Break O’Day Council would increase its revenue by 25 per cent with the change. 

The increase would come off the back of a predicted $3 million increase in operating revenues. 

KPMG’s report comes after the state government invited council’s to consider voluntary municipality amalgamations. 

According to the report, the amalgamation is  “being considered to align with the concept of preserving ‘communities of interest’”.

Cr Tucker said the council wants to be in control of any potential amalgamation process.

“Instead of forced amalgamations, we think a step-by-step [process] is a better alternative,” he said.

“We want to be in control of our own destiny.”

Glamorgan Spring Bay mayor Michael Kent said almagamations were necessary, but that he was not in favour of the proposed changes. 

However, he said it was the local community who should decide what boundary adjustments are made.

“I’ve had discussions with the government in reference to doing an amalgamation with Sorell, Clarence and Tasman,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, the community decide if they want amalgamations or not.”