Monday, March 31, 2014

Progress on the New Planning Act

A press release from Luke Foley, shadow planning minister, says:
Shadow Minister for Planning Luke Foley has called on Planning Minister Brad Hazzard to break 127 days of silence on his Planning Bill and address the widespread uncertainty plaguing the state’s planning system.
Mr Foley said it had been 18 weeks since the amended Planning Bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly, yet the Minister is paralysed with indecision, unable to advise the Parliament and people of NSW what he will do.
Mr Hazzard told parliament in November last year: “We will come back to the House in the New Year and determine the matter.” (Legislative Assembly, 21 November 2013)
“It’s been more than four months since Brad Hazzard made his commitment - however the Minister is yet to take any action in the Parliament that deals with his own Planning Bill,” Mr Foley said.
“Having promised at the 2011 election to return planning powers to local communities Brad Hazzard’s bill did the opposite – providing new avenues for fast track development without community input.  The Minister should honour his election promise – to return planning powers to local communities.”
The NSW Labor Opposition significantly amended the O’Farrell Government’s Planning Bill in the Legislative Council – dumping the worst excesses of the bill that removed planning powers from local communities.
Labor’s amendments focussed on three core areas:
a) Restoring the rights of local communities to have their say in the planning process;
b) Implementing a planning regime that properly balances economic activity, environmental protections and community participation; and
c) Including affordable housing provisions in the bill
“We have entered the fourth year of this Government, and Brad Hazzard has been unable to deliver the Coalition’s major election promise of a new planning act for New South Wales,” Mr Foley said.
“It’s Brad Hazzard who is standing in the way of a new planning act for the state. A new Planning Act can be passed into law.
“It should be possible to end the planning wars.  If Mr Hazzard is simply unable to deliver the planning reform he promised, the Premier should find a new Planning Minister.”

Community Meeting on The Module development DA 545

About 135 people attended including two councilors and a senior planner from Hornsby Shire Council, but nobody from State Government.  The authorities present were fairly pessimistic about the prospects of halting the development, but stress the need for people to keep writing to councillors and state planners with their concerns.

We were told that the legal minimum size for
Single bed units is 50 sqm. DA 545 proposes 75 such units ranging in size from 50 to 60 sqm;
Two bed units is 70 sqm. DA 545 proposes 43 such units of 85 sqm;
Three bed units is 95 sqm. DA 545 proposes 18 such units ranging in size from 95 to 120 sqm.

Clearly this development is not intended for local residents wishing to downsize!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Objection to another BSC DA, DA 81/2014 Chapman Corner

The Beecroft-Cheltenham Civic Trust objects to the above proposal on many grounds:
Non-compliant height of development – some six storeys are proposed above ground compared to 5 storey maximum set out in the DCP.
Development mix is questioned – With a total of 92 units, the mix of 38 one bedroom units appears unduly high.
Heritage Assessment is inadequate – The large home at 81 Beecroft Road has not been adequately assessed.
Car access and headlights – local residents have alerted the Trust to the 150 units’ cars to be accessing Chapman Avenue from 2 adjacent driveways.
and so on.
The full BCCT response will be on the website.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ETTT Environmental Failures

Amongst many other issues reported to the Trust is the following:

One of our advisors has disputed the statement below with the EPA & will be discussing the issue with them tomorrow morning. There was no water mist in the video & there was no water cart next to the excavator. The closest one was 600 metres further south in the Crescent and the “experts” who were trying to operate it couldn't even get it to work. He has offered the EPA all the raw high res videos for them to have analysed. The EPA has a responsibility to seek evidence beyond the information provided by the perceived perpetrator (the ETTT).

“The ETTT Alliance have advised us that at this location there is a water cart next to the excavator with a spotter using a high pressure gurney to create a fine water mist in the air to minimise dust generation.  According to the ETTT Alliance the video footage shows a combination of water vapour and dust within the corridor.  This explains why the dust we observed on Monday didn’t seem to drift off the premises.”

Minister responds about noise with ETTT

Here is the Transport Minister's response to a local's letter:
I acknowledge that noise is a concern for residents living close to rail lines. As Mr de Vries may be aware, the ETTT was only approved after a rigorous environmental impact assessment process and is subject to strict conditions.
These conditions are available online at
The NSW Government is committed to delivering this important transport project. However, Mr de Vries' comments are noted and he may be assured the project team will make every effort to minimise the impact of the ETTT on the local community.
Transport for NSW is required to develop a strategy for mitigating operational noise and vibration from the ETTT. This strategy will incorporate feedback from the Environment Protection Authority, relevant councils and directly affecfied residents. lt will be verified by an independent noise and vibration expert and made public.
Mr de Vries may be familiar with the considerable environmental and safety benefits of freight rail. The ETTT is part of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor (NSFC) program which will eliminate more than 200,000 heavy vehicle road trips per year within 15 years. The NSFC will also reduce diesel use by almost 40 million litres and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100,000 tonnes each year.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me

HSC approves loss of White Stringy Bark Tree

An official from Hornsby Shire Council is informing local residents that the massive native White Stringy Bark which also happens to be endemic and endangered in Beecroft Cheltenham growing in the rear of 83 Beecroft Road, a 1880’s property called Mandalay, is to be felled under approval from Hornsby Council.
This tree has lived undamaged and un-harmed but much loved for well over a century. It is healthy, vital and a spectacular specimen of its sub-species or kind. It is the home to a myriad of native birds, possums and a huge population of native and exotic bees harvest pollen and forage for nectar in its flowers for months on end year in year out and they’ve done this for well over a century.

The BCCT responds that Council's decision is contrary to The Multi Housing DCP for the Beecroft Village re development. The DCP clearly indicates and Council has stated many times that all significant native trees are to be preserved in this multi housing precinct of Beecroft

NWRL Consultation

Interesting to hear that Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today welcomed a major national award which recognises the strong and focused community consultation on the NSW Government’s $8.3 billion North West Rail Link project. Most locals would agree there has been substantial community dictation by the project but apparently the communication has been all one way. Can you have one way consultation?
The judges found "The consultation was focused on building a relationship with the community based on confidence in the process and where community objectives prevailed over engineering solutions.”

The judges have obviously not been advised about the widespread community concern about the height of the tunnels, the unjustified conversion to metro, and the expected hiatus that will happen at Epping and Chatswood stations due to the inability of the NWRL trains to go on to the city.

Beecroft Shopping Village Developments

The 36 unit 5 storey residential block on the corner of Wongala Crescent and Chapman Avenue is now up for sale with approved DA.  Expressions of interest are to be in by 17 April.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


NorthConnex is the tolled motorway tunnel linking the M1 Pacfic Motorway at Wahroonga and the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills.

Community Information Sessions will be held:
Wednesday 26 March 7pm - 9pm Pennant Hills Golf Club off Copeland Road;
Thursday 27 Marc 7pm - 9pm Hornsby RSL;
Thursday 3 April 7pm - 9pm Pennant Hills Golf Club off Copeland Road; and
Saturday 5 April 2pm - 4pm Pennant Hills Community Centre Yarrara Road.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Public Meeting – Beecroft Shopping Village DA

Public Meeting – Beecroft Shopping Village Redevelopment
Why the Amended DA for the Module Site still fails to meet Council DCP requirements
Monday 31 March, Cheltenham Recreation Club, 7 for 7.30
Your Civic Trust is concerned that the current amended DA for this site still fails to meet all the requirements of the Council DCP (Development Control Plan). Unless there is significant resident backlash and pressure on Council to recommend rejection, the proposal is likely to be accepted by the JRPP (Joint Regional Planning Panel). Our community needs your action.

Monday, March 3, 2014

BCCT Objection to augmented DA 545/2013

The Trust strongly objects to this amended development application, which now includes the former Westpac Bank site. As well as those points presented in our Trust message of 9 July below, this objection focuses on the following key issues:
1. While the mix of the units satisfies the DCP, the Trust is strongly objects to the predominance of one bedroom units. The Trust argues that under sec 79c of the EPAA the public's interest is not being addressed with the proposed mix. It would appear the one bedroom mix is targeting student accommodation and not the local community. One bedroom units will have the potential to become dormitory units meeting current demand for students attending nearby Macquarie University. However this demand is likely to shift, when the North West Rail Link is constructed and the loss of direct train link to Macquarie University. The need to catch 2 trains will have an adverse impact on student accommodation demand north of Epping. By contrast, the residential demand for 2 & 3 bedroom units will significantly increase as the local population ages in the Beecroft area. As a result, an ageing local population will tend to use the local shopping more than any student population. The Trust notes the proposed current predominance of one bedroom units is thus not in the public's interest, and would flow to less than optimum ongoing patronage of the local shops and village facilities intended.
2. The second issue relates to the amount of retailing in the complex. The proposed mix of retail and residential is adding to a critical shortage of local retail capacity that will affect the long term viability of the proposed complex. The proposed supermarket is larger than the present one, yet there is relatively little additional area for smaller retailers, compared to the Module. The proposed development does not reflect a viable retailing mass. The Trust notes the surrounding residential catchment has a strong unsatisfied demand for health services. The existing health services have developed spasmodically in existing retail premises that are not designed for accessible use. Also, due to an acute shortage of appropriate retail space, demand for health services has been absorbed by converting surrounding residential houses to doctors’ and similar health professional’s rooms; that is not satisfactory as they don't comply with the latest HAWS requirements. This lack of retail/health professional space in the proposed development is not in the public’s interest, pursuant to sec 17 c of the EPAA.
The Trust particularly notes that the objects of the EPA Act must be followed. They include:
(a) to encourage:
(i) the proper management, development and conservation of natural and artificial resources, including agricultural land, natural areas, forests, minerals, water, cities, towns and villages for the purpose of promoting the social and economic welfare of the community and a better environment,
(ii) the promotion and co-ordination of the orderly and economic use and development of land,
Clearly the proposed development fails to encourage the proper management, development and conservation of towns and villages for the purpose of promoting the social and economic welfare of the community and a better environment. Nor does it promote and co-ordinate the orderly and economic use and development of the land. This Trust believes that what has been proposed does not satisfy these essential objects. This DA must be refused as it stands.
The Trust seeks to continue working closely with Council and developers to achieve progressive redevelopment of the Beecroft Precinct that will achieve the vision we all aspire to, and which the community merits. The Trust will write further within a few days to augment its above objection.