Where Councillors, Candidates and Officials Stand

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Bruce Notley-Smith - Liberal Member for Coogee

"I have opposed over-development since the day I was elected to Council over 10 years ago. If I’m elected to parliament, I have given the firm commitment to scrap Part 3A of the Planning Act. I've got a long history on this one; most recently I opposed the development of the Coogee Bay Hotel from day one.

In regard to the Inglis site, proposals for 9 storeys are out of the question. The Struggletown precinct must be protected and not allowed to become lost amongst a sea of tower blocks. Because of the failure of 16 years of Labor to provide public transport infrastructure in our area, the streets cannot absorb the extra traffic that will be created. Irrespective of the zoning – 2C could be just as bad – the bottom line is that any future development of the site must be in-line with the existing character of the area, the local infrastructure must be able to accommodate it, and we must ensure any future development complements the area. There must be plentiful open space, protection of heritage items, the park and the schools. Nobody can stop the redevelopment of the site; don’t believe anyone who tells you they can - but we can ensure its development doesn’t ruin it for everyone else."

http://brucenotleysmith.com.au/

Coogee Liberal Candidate Bruce Notley-Smith said no new development should be approved in the south east before a light rail network is complete. "Unless you have the transport infrastructure in place there should be no increase in density," he said.

- Southern Courier, March 22 2011, War of words over Part 3A major projects law (page 14)

For those unaware of what 3A is all about:

In effect, Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 ('the Act') dramatically reduces the involvement of the community in the original decision making process and seeks to reduce any risk of concerned individuals or groups delaying or preventing significant development, by limiting the grounds on which, or the circumstances in which, they can seek merits or judicial review. Instead, the Minister for Planning and Director General, Department of Planning maintain the power to make all key decisions regarding significant development, with advice from 'expert panels', limited input from other key agencies and little opportunity for effective criticism where the bureaucracy 'gets it wrong'.

- http://www.edo.org.au/edonsw/site/part3a_article.php


Randwick Mayor Murray Matson

Murray Matson has written a Mayoral Minute which has been endorsed by Council:

http://businesspapers.randwick.nsw.gov.au/Open/2010/PL_07122010_AGN_AT_SUP.PDF

This does not alter the proposed rezoning to 2D outlined in the Randwick Education and Health Specialised Centre Study Paper or the Inglis application.

What it does do, amongst other things, is to put a limit of 15m rather than 24m on building heights. However, it also notes, "with concessions in carefully chosen locations for affordable housing incentives". Given that the Study paper mentions affordable housing in numerous places, we are unsure as to how this will be applied by Council and therefore not convinced that it is an adequate measure to reduce building heights. It appears the developers for the Inglis Stables site are not convinced either, as they have proposed 25m buildings.

We are not at all convinced (we are unaware of any precedent) that a Mayoral Minute would override the NSW laws and acts regarding 2D zoning in the event that developers take matters to the Land and Environment court.

Matson states, "The only changes that my Mayoral Minutes have made is to what the Council has put up on exhibition for the community to discuss. At the end of the discussion process Councillors may or may not resolve to include changes to the zoning for the discussion paper in the coming Comprehensive LEP that the state requires us to exhibit for the entire Council area." - http://www.streetcorner.com.au

Despite the limited power of the Mayoral Minutes, Matson states in the Southern Courier (March 22, page 8), "I am concerned that some misinformation, including a petition, about the Discussion Paper [Randwick Education and Health Specialised Centre Study] is being spread within the community."  Matson goes on to state that maximum heights will be capped at 15m with concessions if affordable housing is provided.

The building height information being spread through the community and on this website is correct. The Study does propose 24m heights, and the Randwick City Council is requesting responses to the Study, not the Mayoral Minute. Further, there is no guarantee that the Mayoral Minute will be a sufficient measure to stop taller buildings being built if the zoning changes go ahead, especially given his concession on affordable housing (which seems to be the justification for a lot of this).

It should be noted that the current development plans for the Inglis site (as at 23/3/11) published at http://www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/Places_for_people/Building_and_development/Planning_strategies_and_controls/Local_Environment_Plan/index.aspx DO have 25m high 9 storey buildings planned, despite the Mayoral Minute, and the developers openly stated in a public meeting on March 9 2011 that they would "test" council limits and they were confident that the Independant design review panel would support thier proposal.

Matson also states in the Southern Courier (March 22, page 8), "Areas fronting High Street and a small section of Barker Street frontage could be zoned to allow education and health and research development and multi-unit housing. Most other residential zones in the area will not change."

However, the Study (Part B) proposes re-zoning and increased maximum building heights in land stretching from High St to, in places, further than one block away and including other surrounding streets, includes the Racecourse, and covers the entire length of the street and surrounds. The Inglis Site along with other street frontage on Barker St makes it a very large development area and the classification of it being a small section of Barker St seems to understate the scale of development proposed.

Further, the Inglis Site developers are proposing between 800-900 new dwellings and state in their documentation that a 2D zoning is "to allow the comprehensive redevelopment of land for primarily residential and open space purposes".

The question of who is spreading mis-information in the community is one that definitely needs to be asked!

The question also must be asked, why would anyone who wants community involvement and comments on a study or plan, downplay the importance or scale of that plan?

Having said that, the Mayor is to be commended for engaging in public debate in the following posts on StreetCorner.com.au:

Randwick Council must give residents more time for high rise land grab discussion paper

Randwick: Making sense of proposals for Racecourse, Inglis Newmarket and Health & Education Centre