Lake Council Restricts Face to Face Service

Lake Macquarie City Council’s face-to-face customer service is closed from today (27 March 2020) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers can still access services through the usual phone, email and social media channels, and via lakemac.com.au.

But there will be no face-to-face service for the vast majority of customers,” said Jasmyne Munro, council’s Head of Customer Experience.

Face-to-face service will only be available to customers who cannot access other channels, and will be by appointment only.

Appointments will be held at the administration building 11am-1pm Wednesdays, coinciding with the Lake Mac Libraries Click and Collect service also operating from the site.

The Hunter Water and Lake Mac Print counters will also be closed from Friday morning,” Ms. Munro said.

Collection of Lake Mac Print orders will be by appointment only.”

Customers are encouraged to place orders online at lakemacprint.com.au.

Library Services

Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism Jacqui Hemsley said library members could reserve books, DVDs and other items online or via the new Lake Mac Libraries app, then pick up their order at designated times and locations.

Staff would process the orders, bundle the books and provide them along with reusable bags if required in a takeaway service designed to maintain social distancing and avoid people congregating.

Members will be notified when their item is ready to be collected, either at Charlestown, Swansea or Toronto library branches, or from Council’s Speers Point administration building.

Initially, pick-ups will run 11am-1pm on Wednesdays at Charlestown and Speers Point, and 11am-1pm Thursdays at Toronto and Swansea.

Strict measures will be in place at each location to maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and all borrowers will receive prior instructions regarding pick up.

For people unable to use the Click and Collect service, Lake Mac Libraries has launched Book Takeaway, where books and other items are home delivered to people on forced quarantine, or with mobility/accessibility issues.

Based on assessment and availability, items will be delivered on a fortnightly rotation.

All Click and Collect items will have a six-week loan period,” Ms Hemsley said.

We’ve also extended the due date of all current loans to at least 4 May.”

Go to library.lakemac.com.au for more information about Lake Mac Libraries services during the COVID-19 crisis, or to download the new app for Apple and Android devices.

Ameliorating Social Isolation

Council has also launched its #MeetTheStreet campaign, aimed at reducing social isolation despite the current restrictions on movement and interaction.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said a postcard was now available to download and print via lakemac.com.au/COVID-19/Community-support, an opportunity for people to reach out to neighbours and offer their help and support.

The postcard provides basic details and a check-box list of ways people may be prepared to assist, from posting mail or walking pets to simply having a friendly chat over the phone.

These are small but important measures to ensure we get through this thing together,” Cr Fraser said.

We will do what we can to help, and I encourage everyone to do the same in the days and weeks ahead.”

Development Applications

Despite the closure, Council will continue assessment of development applications and other certifications in a bid to reduce COVID-19’s long-term effects on the City’s growth.

Acting Manager Development Assessment and Certification Liz Lambert said regular services were still available, despite the challenging times.

We’re processing development applications, issuing building certificates and undertaking all our normal day-to-day tasks.

We’re also looking at innovative ways to continue face-to-face services, such as pre-lodgement meetings.

These may include online video calls without disrupting our work processes. In some cases, these new measures may even help streamline our systems.”

Find out more about Council’s development services at lakemac.com.au/development.