Reign on the beaches: Michael Regan, Northern Beaches Mayor
Michael Regan is the popular mayor for Northern Beaches Council. An independent, he represents Your Northern Beaches Independent Team, who hold six of the 15 seats on the council.
Prior to that, Regan served as mayor of the award-winning Warringah Council from Sept 2008 to May 2016, when the council was dissolved and merged into the amalgamated entity that now serves the entire Northern Beaches.
2099 magazine reached out to Mayor Regan to talk about his long reign and plans for the future.
How has management of the Northern Beaches district progressed since the 2017 amalgamations brought together Warringah, Pittwater and Manly?
We strive to exceed expectations in what is a very highly regulated environment that very few people actually understand, let alone appreciate. I want us to be an employer of choice and be world’s best of any organisation.
With coastal erosion a major threat to waterfront communities - how are Northern Beaches Council dealing with future erosion?
“Essentially, it is very complex,” Regan considers. “The waterways are State Govt assets. Council has the beach (sand), and then there is a mix of public and private assets like roads and houses. But the sand returns to Collaroy and other places over time.
“Along Collaroy, groups of houses are getting together to build a seawall. It requires groups of them to build at once together. Otherwise if there are gaps, it just undermines the walls and makes things significantly worse. Council will contribute 10% to the cost of the wall and the State will contribute 10%. The rest will be paid for by the owners.
“Future erosion is an issue that requires all levels of government to address. Sea levels rising, along with more frequent and severe storms, is (and will) continue to impact our coastline, and big expensive decisions will be forced sooner rather than later… We all have a role to play.”
Talk us through some of the major works programs in progress across the Northern Beaches region and the their benefits?
“Obviously building and connecting the missing links of the Manly to Palm Beach Walk will be a great world-class asset for generations to come – especially with Sculptures By The Sea being added,” Regan replies. “In Dee Why, the town centre has had some interesting improvements with more to come.
“Brookvale Vision and Structure Plan sound boring, but promise a long-term vision to help employment stay local, and hopefully create significant affordable housing.
“The new Dee Why to Chatswood Turn-Up-And-Go bus service will eventually rival the B1, and when the Harbour Tunnel is complete, will give us new direct connections to North Sydney and St Leonards. “My favourites: one is micro-factories that take our soft plastics and turn them into 3D filament or clothes, and convert hard plastics into products like tables and/or tiles. And the one that I can’t really talk about yet will help reshape our nation and heal our relationships with Aboriginal people. That is very special…
What's Mayor Regan’s favourite beach on the Northern Beaches, and does he undertake other water activities, such as boating, surfing, kayaking?
“I have always loved hanging at Dee Why Beach and taking my kids (now teens) there,” Regan reveals. “Everything you need is there, including the food outlets across the road. But the big grass area is such a bonus. The events we have down there on a regular basis, the playgrounds and the pool, it’s just such a versatile beach. Something for everyone all the time.
Do you have a favourite restaurant or retail trader in Dee Why that you would recommend?
“Livoti’s Italian deli and restaurant (on Francis St) hands down is a must!” Regan declares. “I also love the little Oaks Avenue Patisserie for coffee and cakes. Honestly though, there are so many gems in Dee Why, as anyone who lives here knows, but those two are right at the top
“Also: Oliver’s Twist Espresso (on Howard Ave); my hairdresser, LM Hair (2 doors up); Mary’s café next door; Wings and Tins; the Dodgy Indian restaurant - want me to stop?!
“More restaurants: Olive and Peel; The Thai and I; Stella Blu; Jah Bar: and a whole heap I have not tried yet. Dee Why honestly does not disappoint, and there is more to come. Even the RSL is changing – love Battery House and Dee Why Hotel.
Anything that Mayor Regan would like to add?
“Yes,” he confirms. “A sincere thank you everyone for their efforts during Covid and in particular the most recent lockdown over Christmas. Our efforts together have made a huge difference. So many people missed Christmas Day in isolation, so a special shout out to them.
“We know we live in the best part of the best part of the world. The way we came together, got tested, isolated and ultimately locked-down was humbling and very special. The world’s eyes were on us and were very envious of how we dealt with it.
“However, it has come at a cost to many businesses and people’s livelihoods. So please, do what you can to support them and a very big thank you to each and every one of you.”
Mayor Michael Regan
Office of the Mayor
Telephone: 02 8495 6459
Photos via Georgie Pengelly