Newsletter – August 23



Northern Beaches Council CEO Scott Phillips

Scott Phillips is the new CEO and started in his role on 24 July 2023 with a 5 year contract. He is an Urban Planner with 30 years’ experience in local government and comes to us from his previous position as Chief Executive of Local Government NSW. PBWBA had its first meeting with him on Friday 25 August. He was generous with his time and we were able to discuss all our major concerns with him which are:

  • Coastal Walkway from Whale Beach to Palm Beach for which no money is available
  • Council Budget with little allocation for Palm Beach and Whale Beach
  • No funds for infrastructure such as roads and footpaths
  • Barrenjoey Road not fit for purpose, need for a footpath from Avalon to Palm Beach
  • Dangerous drain collapse at Whale Beach
  • Surf Road intersection
  • Over development and non-complying DAs
  • Delays to new LEP, Conservation Zones and Character Statements
  • Governor Phillip Park – lack of maintenance, Plan of Management
  • Barrenjoey Headland
  • Traffic and Parking problems, particularly at holiday time
  • Delays in processing Precinct Application


While Sue Heins was elected Mayor in March this year, there will be another Mayoral election in September this year, keeping to the original schedule of mayoral elections.

Pittwater Ward Councillor

Karina Page replaces Rory Amon as the Pittwater Liberal Councillor after he was elected Pittwater State MP in March 2023.

New Software System

A new Enterprise Resource Planning system, a software system to manage all Council operations, needs to be installed this year as support for the current system will be switched off in 2024. The cost for this will be approximately $20m. to be spread over four years. This will be partly financed by borrowing $4.6m. from the Mona Vale Cemetery Reserve Fund and this is to be returned to the Reserve Fund, inclusive of the interest the reserve would have otherwise earned, by 30 June 2029. This is an accounting practice commonly adopted by cash-strapped councils.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

Council has recently partnered with Heart of the Nation to introduce 15 AEDs at transport hubs across the LGA. Financing for this has been provided through the ClubGRANTS program. A list of the current AED locations is available via this following link: wellbeing/defibrillators/council-locations-list
PBWBA have suggested one be installed on the northernmost amenities block of Governor Phillip Park in addition to the one located near Palm Beach Wharf.

Avalon Customer Contact Centre

At its meeting on 22 August 2023, Council approved the closure of the Avalon Customer Contact Centre in November 2023. We had approached the Council to make better use of this Customer Centre but usage remains low compared with other Centres and it will now be repurposed.



Following considerable work by Northern Beaches Council and local community groups, including PBWBA, we now await decisions by the NSW Department of Planning and the Environment on the new methodology to be used. It is hoped that this will be agreed by the end of August 2023 but it is consequently inevitable that a new LEP will not be in place until late in 2024 at the earliest.
Conservation zones are designed to preserve as much as possible of the natural landscape in areas of particular environmental value. If implemented, they would apply to large parts of Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Avalon and Newport, as well as areas such as Church Point and the western foreshores. In these zones, development would be restricted to single residences, tree canopy would be given greater importance and scale and height of developments would be restricted, much like the Environmental Zones previously used but with stronger and clearer controls. Detailed criteria are used to determine whether an area should be zoned as a Conservation Zone including access, bushfire risk, geotechnical risk, tree cover and wild life corridors. We have been arguing that the whole of Palm Beach and Whale Beach should be a Conservation Zone, except for the small Business Zones that already exist. The Council’s approach has been to examine each block of land to determine if it qualifies for this zoning.
Since the concept of Conservation Zoning has not been used in New South Wales previously it requires the agreement of the State Department of Planning and the Environment (DPE). Northern Beaches’ approach is being monitored by a number of other Councils who would like to use a similar approach to preserve the character of their areas.
Consultants were engaged to assist with the preparation of a Local Character Study for the whole LGA. Based on the study, 28 local character areas were identified and draft statements subsequently prepared and discussed with local community groups. Following their feedback, the draft statements will be refined before being exhibited.


The NSW Government is no longer committed to complete the western section of the Mona Vale Road upgrade. The Minns government is reviewing all infrastructure projects and this includes work on the Mona Vale Road West upgrade for which funds had already been allocated. In response to a question from Rory Amon, State MP for Pittwater, the NSW Minister for Roads, John Graham, confirmed that design work would continue but the work itself was under review. There have been many accidents, some fatal, on Mona Vale Road and there was a head-on collision two weeks ago resulting in serious injuries and closure of the road for six hours.


The Draft Tree Canopy Plan includes available mapping and data on canopy cover, recent changes by percentage, suburb breakdown and urban heat island effect. If you would like further information on the Northern Beaches Council Final Draft Tree Canopy Plan you can access it here.



Since so many cranes are appearing in our area, sometimes staying for an extended period, we asked the Council to outline the approval period for construction site cranes. This is their reply.
“Permits are generally applied for, and issued, for periods up to 12 months. Notice is required to be provided to Council, at least two weeks prior to expiration, if a permit extension is requested. Requests for periods greater than 12 months are considered. A copy of the application form, including conditions, necessary additional permits and required documentation, is available via the link here

Variations permitted in Development Applications

NB Council publishes a quarterly list of 4.6 variations which have been permitted in recent Development Applications. The most recent report (April – June 2023) can be accessed here.
Council’s development 4.6 variation register webpage will be updated with the latest report shortly (following the Council meeting adoption).

Development Applications

231 Whale Beach Road Modification 2021/0983
Following the Planning Panel refusal to increase the number of patrons allowed in the proposed café/restaurant there is now an appeal to the Land & Environment Court. The hearing of the class 1 appeal has been scheduled for 11 and 12 October 2023. Joint conferencing reports of the relevant court experts are due on 19 September 2023.
We have expressed concern to the Council about the condition of the existing building and the safety implications and are told that the condition of the building is the responsibility of the owner.

1102 Barrenjoey Road DA 2022/0469 (Fish & Chip Shop)
An appeal was made to the Land & Environment Court on 10 August 2023 following refusal by the Local Planning Panel. Council will engage consultants to defend the Panel’s decision.

19 Morella Road DA 2022/2234
The number of submissions on this DA means that it will go before the Local Planning Panel. This is scheduled for 6 September 2023. Further submissions can be made to Council. The assessment report has not yet been finalised and accordingly information on the report recommendations is not yet available.

1112-1116 Barrenjoey Road (General Store)
Demolition of the shops under the 2010 previously approved DA has taken place. There has been no modification to this development but should one be submitted it will require public exhibition in the normal way and a notification sign will be placed at the site frontage. If there is substantial change a new DA would be required. Public comment can then be made.

PBWBA emphasises again that if you have any concern or comment about a development application you should make a submission. 10 submissions will ensure that the application receives the particular scrutiny of the Local Planning Panel. We will make a submission on applications which are of particular concern but it only counts as one submission. Your submission can be very important, even if it is very short, if the meaning is clear.


Wyvern Private Hospital
A new 84-bed private hospital is being constructed on a 4 hectare site at 33A Myoora Road, Terrey Hills at a cost of $98m. It is being built by the Hacer Group and backed by Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust. When completed in 2024 it will be operated by Wyvern Health, founded by spinal surgeon Dr. William Sears. With the growing number of older people in the area, Dr. Sears felt there was a need for an additional hospital which would offer exceptional care similar to that previously provided by Dalcross Hospital in Killara, now closed. Wyvern Private Hospital will include medical and surgical services with 7 operating theatres, a cardiac catheterisation laboratory, 56 surgical beds, 20 rehabilitation beds, 8 ICU beds plus radiology, pathology, hydrotherapy and pharmacy on site.

Wyvern Hospital (Artist’s impression)


The Midget Farrelly Recognition Organising committee is planning to install a rock cut relief commemorating the achievement of the late world surfing champion Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly in Palm Beach. The project is funded by the Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee, his friends and community members and supported by his family.
The artwork aims to celebrate an icon in Australian surfing history – the inaugural male world surfing champion – promote a distinct sense of local identity and engender a sense of community pride. The Association gives its in principle support for having a Midget Farrelly memorial somewhere along Ocean Road, Palm Beach, subject to Council feedback.
Council has invited comment via ‘Have Your Say’ using the following link –
Have Your Say – Midget Farrelly Public Art Work Submissions closed Thursday 24 August


At the next meeting of the Avalon Beach Historical Society at 8 pm on Tuesday, 12 September, in the Recreation Hall in Dunbar Park, there will be a celebration of its ‘ruby anniversary’ – it will be 40 years since its first meeting in the Avalon Beach RSL. The President, Geoff Searl, is presenting an evening illustrating the history of the area with a wonderful collection of photos including some from Observation Tower on top of the RAN Torpedo Testing station at Taylor’s Point when, in October 1983, the last torpedo was fired from the station. If you are interested in the history of our local area, do go along. You can join on the night.


The draft Library Strategy which is now on exhibition identifies the importance of community partnerships and there is no planned change to the support provided by Council to the Avalon Community Library Association. Library services will continue as normal and please note that the Library will be reopening on Sundays, starting 23 October 2023 from 2pm to 5 pm and Storytime will now be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.30 am.


A suitable contractor has now been identified by the Council to undertake the remediation work necessary following subsidence in Florida Road. Once an acceptable quotation has been received, we hope that work will begin without delay.
Funding has been allocated for the 2023-24 financial year to install a Local Traffic Management Scheme (LTMS). Design work is currently underway and this will be followed by community consultation.
Maintenance work is proceeding above Dark Gully following subsidence of the road there.
PBWBA has requested that an additional JOLT electric vehicle charging station be located in Governor Phillip Park in addition to the one to be located at Pittwater Park. The Transport Network team will be considering this and will progress recommendations in consultation with Ausgrid and Transport for NSW.


Council has at last received connection approval from Sydney Water to install a shower at the northern end of Whale Beach (near access stairs, 265A Whale Beach Road). A Works Order will now be issued by Council and we hope there will be no delay in completing the work.

The storm water outlet at the centre of the beach is in a dangerous condition. We have been pressing the Council to undertake repairs as soon as possible.
Temporary repairs are complete to the north and south end beach turning circles. We await the final repairs.


Are you prepared for a bush fire in our area. Do you have a survival plan? Do you know how to do these?

Come along to our community fire trailer (on the corner of Mackay and Ebor Rds) on Sunday September 10 starting at noon to hear from a representative of Fire + Rescue, see our own fire trailer and talk to both our own volunteers and the Avalon Fire + Rescue team.

Come and enjoy a sausage sandwich supported by LJ Hookers and Bonfire Bread.


Frequent Palm Beach Wharf users have recently noticed an unusual, bright orange “growth” on the pylons and alerted Council to investigate fearing it may be toxic.
Council’s coastal environment team (in consultation with NSW Fisheries) has reviewed the growth and advised it is an orange colonial ascidian.
Colonial ascidians can become abundant in Spring, and are often found around structures (such as marine pilings). They tend to disappear over summer.
NSW Fisheries will be taking a sample to confirm identity (native or introduced) as part of its biosecurity monitoring.


At the Council meeting on 22 August Councillors considered reports on the environmental impacts of the proposed trials which concluded that they were unlikely to significantly affect the environment. However, in order to implement the trial on Palm Beach (North) a new Plan of Management will have to be prepared for Governor Phillip Park which would cover the reserve that is the subject of the proposed trial as there is doubt about the validity of the current POM drafted in 2014 but not signed off. In addition, the Council would have to become the Crown Land manager or obtain a licence over the relevant Crown Land in order to approve the trial. The Council will now proceed with the drafting of the Governor Phillip Park Plan of Management with funding identified in the Parks and Recreation operational budget and take the steps to enable them to approve the trial.



There have been some questions regarding the necessity for fencing installed around a section of McKay Reserve. In response to our query, the Council explanation is that fencing was installed after the last large fire to help protect undergrowth and support rejuvenation. They also feel that it helps to protect powerful owls which have nesting sites in the area.


Signage is currently being reviewed. Redundant signs will be removed. Updated dogs-on- leash signs are being prepared.


Weed control has been stepped up. White bags seen on site were weed bags awaiting collection.


With this beautiful weather why not walk up to the top of Barrenjoey Headland and enjoy a Lighthouse tour any Sunday afternoon. The views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the ocean are unforgettable.
Tours generally run every Sunday – except for Sunday 27 August 2023, Sunday 24 December 2023, Sunday 31 December 2023 and Sunday 31 March 2023.
Additional school holiday tour dates: Friday 29 September 2023 | Friday 12 January 2024 | Friday 19 April 2024
Tour times:
11-11.30 am | 12-12.30 pm | 1-1.30 pm | 2-2.30 pm | 3-3.30 pm
There is no wheelchair access
Grade: Medium. There is a 1.1km walk up to the Lighthouse with some steep sections. Price: Adult $10 per person. Concession $8 per person. Children $5 per person.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adults need to book and pay.
Meeting point at the Lighthouse. Give yourself at least 40 mins to walk from the Governor Phillip carpark to the Lighthouse before your tour departs.
Bookings required. Phone 1300 072 757 Link: Barrenjoey Lighthouse tours


Rob Stokes has been appointed Chair of Faith Housing Alliance, the peak body representing community housing providers, organisers and individuals. “The lack of stable and safe social and affordable housing in NSW and across Australia has been at crisis level for some time but now with rent inflation affecting both cities and regional areas, rebounding migration and soaring basic living expenses, hundreds of thousands of households are at risk” said Mr. Stokes. “Community Housing Providers with a faith mission are already making a significant impact with four members of the Alliance – Amelie Housing, Anglicare Sydney, BaptistCare NSW and ACT, and Uniting NSW and ACT – delivering 65% of the housing under the NSW Social and Affordable Housing Fund”. (You can find out more about the Faith Housing Alliance at
Rob Stokes was also announced as a member of the Albanese Government’s Urban Policy Forum in May 2023. The Forum is part of the 2023/24 Federal Budget with the government stating it will be the first comprehensive National Urban Policy in over a decade. More information is available on:


Wed Aug 30th – Guest speaker from Northern Beaches Council, Peter Robinson (Executive Manager Development Assessment)
“DAs 101 everything you’ve wanted to know about Development Applications”.
Thu Sep 28th – Regular meeting
Fri Oct 27th – Guest Speaker, the Local History Librarian from Northern Beaches Council.
Mon Nov 27th – Final for year


Sunday December 10th at Dunes in Governor Phillip Park 6pm – 8.30pm.
Further details to come.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your comments, concerns or questions. We hope to see you at one of our informal coffee meetings.

Prof Richard West AM
0407 942 941