New director of city services

COFFS Harbour’s integrated water cycle will be one of the first major challenges for Coffs Harbour City Council’s newly-appointed director of city services, Ben Lawson.

Mr Lawson, who took up his new post on Monday, said while Coffs Harbour did have a lot of new infrastructure, some of it, like the city’s reticulated water and sewerage system, was ageing, and local government needed to have a long-term focus.

A certified practicing engineer with a Bachelor of Engineering Civil (Hons.), Master of Engineering and an MBA, Mr Lawson previously worked with Tumut Shire Council for almost 10 years, half of this in the role of CEO of Snowy Works and Services, Tumut Shire Council’s business arm.

He has chaired the South West Group of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) for the past four years and also acted as its secretary.

He comes from a long line of engineers who stretch back to his great, great grandfather. His father was also an engineer with Tumut Shire Council.

Mr Lawson, his wife, Bobby-Jo, and small sons, Will and Noah, have settled at Korora.

He said while Tumut Shire was larger in area than Coffs Harbour City and included Australia’s highest town (Cabramurra in Kosciuszko National Park), Tumut was much smaller in population, with only 12,000 residents compared to Coffs Harbour’s 72,000 and was four hours’ drive from the nearest beach.

While Coffs Harbour is preoccupied with protection against floods and stormwater, Ben Lawon said bushfires were Tumut’s main emergency concern.

As the director of city services, Mr Lawson will be responsible for a wide range of branches within the council, including Coffs Harbour Water; Community Services; CityWorks (operational services like roads); Assets and Recreational Services.

“Coffs Harbour City Council has a very strong reputation for excellence in engineering and I’m looking forward to being a part of that,” Mr Lawson said.

“I’m particularly keen to work together with council staff and councillors to help bring projects to a successful conclusion and achieve the outcomes the community wants to see. Dealing with the public is an aspect of my job I really enjoy and I look forward to working with the local community as well.”

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