Lake Macquarie City Council's integrated planning manager, Sharon Pope, wins industry commendation

COMMENDED: Integrated planning manager Sharon Pope has been praised for making tough decisions for the city's future. Picture: Supplied

COMMENDED: Integrated planning manager Sharon Pope has been praised for making tough decisions for the city's future. Picture: Supplied

A LAKE Macquarie City Council officer who has overseen some of the council’s most difficult planning decisions – including those involving sea-level rise policy in the city - has received an industry award.

Council’s integrated planning manager, Sharon Pope, has been awarded a Commendation in the Planner of the Year category at the 2017 Planning Institute Australia (PIA) Awards for Excellence.

The commendation recognises Ms Pope’s contribution to local and regional communities over a 30-year career and her leadership within the profession.

Ms Pope was nominated for the award by the Hunter Regional Committee of the Planning Institute of Australia.

The organisation praised her willingness to take on challenging planning issues, such as climate-change adaptation, and work with communities on collaborative solutions. 

Council’s pioneering approach to managing future sea-level rise was previously recognised as a Hard Won Victory at the 2017 PIA National Awards for Planning Excellence.

“Under Sharon’s leadership as manager integrated planning for the past 12 years, Lake Macquarie City Council has not shied away from difficult planning decisions,” acting city strategy director, Kate Cramp, said.

“Whether it is higher-density living, adopting disruptive technology or planning for climate change and sea-level rise, Sharon has provided steady leadership and professional expertise.”

Ms Pope said she was honoured to receive the commendation.

“The best reward for any planner is seeing projects that will benefit the community come to fruition through a process of consultation and collaborative planning, but it is gratifying to also receive recognition from your peers,” she said.

“I feel privileged to work for a council and community that are willing to embrace innovative thinking in the way we plan for the city’s future.”