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Cr Gail Giles-Gidney, Mayor of Willoughby City

“I was elected as Willoughby City’s 50th Mayor in 2014, and I have been a Councillor since 2009. Willoughby City is where I have raised my family. My children have gone to preschool and school close by. I have made lifelong friends in the area. I love the natural bushland, and our wonderful sense of community. I also love the diversity Willoughby genuinely supports and this has really impacted on the way that my family and I view life. What a year 2016 has been for our local area. Council delivered on over 60 projects, including a significant upgrade to Willoughby Park, purchasing Artarmon Bowling Club, a new synthetic turf at Artarmon, and securing $9.5m in Federal funding for the future development of the Gore Hill community precinct. We have also finally seen the Concourse precinct completed, and for the second time delivered Vivid. So 2016 has been a great year! This time last year we had just celebrated 150 years as WCC. Nevertheless, with amalgamations on the horizon we were expecting this would be our last year. While I can understand the motivation of the State Government towards mergers, I was also disappointed as I felt we had so much more to achieve for our community. A large number of Councils were amalgamated in May 2016 but as our proposed merger partners North Sydney and Mosman have taken the process to court, our merger has been stalled. I continue to believe that we did the right thing in not going to court and spending our ratepayers money on legal action – but we still now await a court decision. We are continuing to invest in our community. In 2017 we will deliver on a new synthetic turf at Chatswood High School, Gore Hill will be well on the way to completion, we will start to see the results of our parking strategy and our CBD Masterplan should be adopted. We will focus on enhancing our unique shopping villages and supporting our families with services, sport and recreation where we can. We are also looking at ways to make life better for our aging residents and for those from culturally diverse backgrounds, and we once again will look to host Vivid in an expanded format. There is a lot to look forward to. I’d like to wish everyone all the best for 2017. We have a wonderful community and I hope that everyone makes the most of what we have to offer in the coming year.”