March is proving to be a turbulent month on the Northern Beaches. The landscape has been dominated by the State Election and our post boxes filled with leaflets from the candidates. The results of the Election will determine whether the Mayor, Michael Regan, will become the State MP for Wakehurst and cease to be Mayor (he might remain as a Councillor however) and whether our Ward Councillor, Rory Amon, becomes the MP for Pittwater. In addition, the CEO of Northern Beaches Council, Ray Brownlee has resigned and will leave his post at the end of March and return to his previous position as CEO of Randwick Council. The Director of Planning, Northern Beaches Council, Louise Kerr, will become the Acting CEO until a new CEO is appointed.
PBWBA STALL ON ELECTION DAY
PBWBA will have a stall at the entrance to the Polling Booth at Palm Beach Kindergarten on Saturday 25 March from 9 am to 1pm to publicise the Association and give members the opportunity to check their details on our Membership Rolls. Please come and say hello and feel free to bring any friends who might wish to become members. We will have the membership forms ready and waiting!
OUR PRIORITIES FOR 2023
We have set our priorities for this year (no shortage of things to tackle)
- Barrenjoey Headland
- Local Environment Plan/Development Control Plan/Conservation Zones
- Governor Phillip Park
- Development Applications and Overdevelopment
- Coastal Walkway/Improvements to Whale Beach Road and Florida Road
- Barrenjoey Road Footpath
- Surf Road/Barrenjoey Road Intersection
- Heritage Listings
- Barrenjoey Road Precinct
- Condition of roads and footpaths/encroachments
- Enforcement and Compliances
- Protection of heritage items
- Cranes and Building Site Monitoring
Don’t forget to tell us if there are things which concern YOU.
The purpose of the Council Conservation Zones Review, as defined by the Council, was:
To work with the Community to conserve, protect and enhance the Northern Beaches’ natural and built environment and to improve the quality of life for our community now and in the future through the application of appropriate building and development controls.
The review will form the basis of the new Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan which will cover the whole of the Northern Beaches. However, the effect of the proposals will mean significant changes to the zonings of properties in Palm Beach and Whale Beach and this caused considerable alarm resulting in 935 submissions from residents of the LGA being made under Have Your Say, the largest number being from our suburbs.
The Council Planning Department have now analysed the submissions and are making revisions to the Conservation Zones Review. They have issued a Consultation Report which is a summary of the key issues raised in these submissions and the Council’s response to each of these. The submissions are also on the Council website (redacted for personal details and inappropriate language) and you can access this on: yoursay.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au. There were also approximately 70 requests for a site inspection and if the methodology changes do not solve the issues identified then the applicants will be able to arrange a site visit.
In our submission to the first Public Exhibition of the Conservation Zones Review we recommended that the Foreshore Scenic Protection Zone (which already exists in Manly) should be extended to include Palm Beach and Whale Beach and this would be very important for us as it would provide more protection for homes situated in this zone which would extend from the mean high water mark to the nearest ridge line.
Our submission sets out our comments on the methodology of the Review. To read it please click on this link – PBWBA Conservation Zones Review Submission. We will be making further comments as appropriate.
The Council have outlined their procedural steps as follows:
February – March 2023
Finalise changes to methodology in conjunction with the Department of Planning and Environment and relevant agencies Website to be updated with copy of redacted submissions and interim consultation report Identification of sites requiring further investigation, including where changes to the methodology do not address concerns raised.
Finalise inspection details including the number of site visits required, locations and the matters to be addressed Engage additional consultants with the required expertise to undertake the inspections, together with relevant Council staff Undertake site visits Councillor briefing to be held following site inspections and identification of any unresolved issues Finalise Conservation Zones Methodology
Report to Council on the draft LEP and DCP before going on public exhibition for community feedback
ENVIRONMENTAL ART & DESIGN PRIZE 2023 AND CREATIVE OPEN 2023 AND PITTWATER ARTISTS’ TRAIL
The Council has now called for expressions of interest for Creative Open, an art, design and music festival to be held on the Northern Beaches from 27-30 July. This is a showcase for homegrown talent on the Northern Beaches and will feature exhibitions, performances and events, open studios, walks and talks, a maker’s market and public art. This is an opportunity to promote business and build relationships. Applications open 17 March to 21 April. The Environmental Art & Design Prize is open to artists and designers throughout Australia and is open from 17 March to 14 May. Finalists will be exhibited at Manly Art Gallery, Curl Curl Creative Space and Mona Vale Creative Space Gallery from 4-27 August. Apply: www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/arts-and-culture/creative-open
Pittwater Artists Trail is an alliance of artists who collectively open their studios to the public on two weekends each year creating a trail for art lovers. Visitors can engage with the artists, see how they work and what inspires them, buy beautiful, original art works and perhaps enrol in one of the courses offered by a number of artists on the Trail. Group Exhibition at Newport Community Centre, 11-13 The Boulevarde, Newport, Opening Night Friday 24 March 6-8pm and viewing Saturday 25 March to Sunday 26 March For more information about the Trail: www.pittwaterartiststrail.com or collect a brochure from Art Gallery on Palm Beach, 1/1095 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach (open Thursday – Sunday 10 am-3pm)
FAREWELL TO ROB STOKES
After 16 years as the State Member for Pittwater, Rob Stokes will be leaving State Parliament at the end of March as he has decided not to stand again for election. He gave his inaugural speech in 2007 and his valedictory speech in November 2022. In November he listed his main achievements for his Pittwater constituency as the saving and restoration of Currawong Beach, improving public transport with the institution of the ‘B’ Line and Keoride, restricting large multi-housing developments and the upgrading of Mona Vale Road. He has been a very popular MP and received a standing ovation from all sides at the end of his address to Parliament. He was awarded an MSc from Oxford University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Law from Macquarie University. In January 2017 he became Minister for Education, then Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, becoming Minister for Transport and Roads in October 2021 and standing down while Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport. He has been an energetic MP, valuing direct action yet recognising the tendency of government to be inhibited by bureaucracy and slow to act. We thank him for his distinguished contribution and for the many helpful consultations we have had with him over the years.
GOODBYE TO RAY BROWNLEE
As CEO of the large and newly merged Northern Beaches Council, Ray Brownlee has had a demanding job but he feels he is leaving the Council at a time when the Council has achieved success particularly in financial management, customer service based on open and transparent dealings with the community, and a commitment to environmental sustainability. Under his leadership the Council has won the AR Bluett Memorial Award which has been awarded since 1945 and is contested each year by Councils who would like to be seen as the most progressive in their state. It is a prestigious award open to all Councils regardless of their size or resources. Northern Beaches Council won the Metro category. He has been responsible for a large and complex Council with a workforce of 1800 employees. We particularly appreciate the institution of Community Liaison Officers who are in close touch with the community associations in their area as we have found the Officers, particularly Trish Chaney, extremely helpful and a useful bridge to the appropriate council officers. Members will remember Trish Chaney who has attended many of our Coffee Mornings. Councillors have praised his courteous dealings with colleagues and rate-payers and regret his leaving. By the popular demand of its ratepayers Ray Brownlee is returning to Randwick Council where he was General Manager for 14 years to head up the Council again. He has been a well respected and well liked Chief Executive at Northern Beaches Council and we thank him for his service to our community. We are now entering a period of uncertainty with many changes.
We are continuing with our opposition to the commercialisation of the heritage buildings on the Headland. When we last inspected the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages in 2019 we could see that there had been damage to the roof of one cottage but we were assured that the hole in the roof had been repaired and the internal damage would be made good. A recent inspection shows a mixture of patches to the roof but the internal damage has not been repaired and the exterior and surrounds of the cottages need maintenance. We are concerned about the care of these historic premises.
Barrenjoey Headland, as part of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is included in the Australian National Heritage List 2003 and therefore it appears that the Federal Minister for the Environment would need to approve any development of the buildings on the Headland. We have written to the Federal Minister, Tanya Plibersek, and Rob Stokes, Dr Sophie Scamps, James Griffin and Penny Sharp expressing our disquiet at the condition of the cottages and recommending that Barrenjoey Headland should have its own separate Plan of Management. The cottages have no electricity, running water, toilet or washing facilities and would require considerable funds to enable them to provide short-term accommodation. Even then it is unlikely that they would provide a realistic return without the addition of further accommodation on the Headland, further reducing public accessibility and damaging the natural environment. Minister Griffin has suggested a Stakeholder Reference Group be set up and we feel this is a positive step and should be done without delay and included in the Ku-ring-gai Chase POM.
We believe that NPWS should concentrate on its core function which is to manage and protect national parks and bush reserves and the wildlife within them and be properly funded to do so. The management of historic buildings like Barrenjoey Headland, Strickland House and Cadman’s Cottage would be more appropriately the responsibility of the Museums of History NSW who could consider alternative uses. The Museums of History NSW is a state cultural institution, established under the Museums of History NSW Act 2022, and is the new “home” for the history of NSW, bringing together the historic houses, museums and collections with the vast archives and records in the NSW State Archives Collection. It is committed to preserving and presenting NSW’s unique history and is therefore a fitting organisation to be responsible for the heritage buildings on the Headland. (The full text of this letter is attached.)
The volunteers who do the tours of the Lighthouse each Sunday 11am-3pm urgently need additional volunteers. If you are interested in helping or would like to discuss it with him please contact Rowan Walter on 0404 803 747 or email email@example.com.
GOVERNOR PHILLIP PARK
Governor Phillip Park has been a matter of considerable concern for some time. It is very neglected and requires considerable maintenance and the facilities upgraded. We recently had a meeting with Council officials in the Park to discuss urgent issues which we catalogued with photographs. The last Plan of Management was drafted in 2002 and a new Landscape Improvement Plan was proposed in 2020 but no progress has been made in spite of frequent requests. A grant for $133,100 has been received by the Council and we now await details of exactly where it will be spent. The grant has come from $378,072 allocated to Northern Beaches Council by The Crown Reserves Improvement Fund and will primarily be spent on controlling weeds. In addition to this grant we stressed the importance of having a budget for regular maintenance and spending all monies raised by the Park on its upkeep, particularly in view of its use by many visitors and film companies. Fees and charges need re-examination. Apart from the regular Home and Away filming, the Park was the setting for an R-rated rom-com directed by the American Will Gluck this month. The film has been underwritten by the Federal Government for $9.4m. plus an unspecified amount of State Government funding. If you were in the Park on Sunday 5 March as the trucks rolled in or on subsequent filming days this is the explanation for the numerous vehicles clogging the roads, verges and even on the beaches during that week.
We have now heard that the Council have listened and are proposing the following delivery plan:
- 2023/25 Masterplan/Plan of Management (operational)
- 2025/26 Detailed design ($100,000)
- 2026/27 Procurement/Construction ($750,000)
- 2027/28 Construction ($1.25m)
This will go to Council and, if passed, then for public exhibition.
In our frequent discussions with the Council about the Park we have emphasised that it is consistently highly rated as a State attraction, together with Barrenjoey Lighthouse, and should be a priority when funds are allocated. In the meantime the Council will arrange for a SWAT team to do a general tidy up, remove patches of bitou weed and take away the cages which are surrounding now well established trees to provide a little more shade. We understand that part of the new funding will be for the provision of additional amenities. We will be having further discussions with them.
BARRENJOEY HIGH SCHOOL
Volunteers are needed to support students at Barrenjoey High School who require assistance with their tests/examinations. A working with children check will be required but this is a simple process. Training will be provided. This is a great way to get involved and very rewarding but it need not take up a great deal of time as you can contribute on an occasional basis. If you are interested or have questions please get in touch with the Learning Support Team: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 9918 8811
NORTHERN BEACHES COUNCIL CUSTOMER SERVICE
NB Council is no longer using Snap and Send. If you have a problem or an issue you would like to report to Council please either access the website: https://northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au or Tel 1300 434 434
A reminder too to use the Customer Service Centre in Avalon (opposite Woolworths). There has been a move to shut this Centre as it has low activity compared with other centres in the LGA (Local Government Area) and a question of whether it is worth the expense so we are really faced with ‘use it or lose it’.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS EXHIBITION
“On the Edge” Species at Risk
18 March – 2 April
Lion Gate Lodge in the Royal Botanic Gardens is the location for an exhibition exploring nature in peril. It highlights Australian flora, fauna and habitats that are threatened by climate change, development, introduced species and other environmental issues.
The exhibition showcases a diversity of endangered and vulnerable Australian species and ecological communities. The artwork includes painting, drawing, print making, photography, ceramics, wood and textiles.
While there explore the Gardens and try the Food with Friends café which is open Wed-Sun 10.30am-2.30pm
Enquiries to 02 9231 8182
EARTH HOUR 2023
Don’t forget, as well as voting, to Take Time Out for Nature on 25 March and join millions of other people switching off – lights, appliances, anything that uses power. This is a symbolic act being taken by people all around the world to support our planet as the environment continues to degrade at an alarming pace. We are losing an estimated 200,000 trees in Australia every day. They are the lungs of our planet and we need them to help reverse the impacts of climate change. We live in a green suburb. We must hang on to our trees and vegetation.
TRAFFIC AND PARKING
Before the Christmas holiday season began we had a meeting with Phil Devon, Traffic Manager of Northern Beaches Council to alert him and his department of all the potential trouble spots in and around our area which required attention. These included installing VMS (variable messaging service) boards to show parking availability, new line marking to improve lines of sight on roads, refreshing of old lines, signage, painting lines on the road, abandoned cars and trailers etc. etc. Not all of them were completed and we have had another meeting with him this month.
This is follow-up information on other matters which we discussed and which are being considered:
- Bus zones with out of date signage or where variable signs could improve parking availability. The Council have done a complete audit of bus stops throughout the LGA (it has taken them three months but they have been surveying public transport at the same time)
- Seat or Shelter at Careel Bay bus stop – being considered
- Hoons – the Mayor offered to talk again with the Police Commander
- Pittwater Park – there is no date yet for parking sensors
- Governor Phillip Park – consideration being given to making this one way and new parking arrangements will be trialled
- Making Ocean Road from Ocean Place to Palm Beach Road a shared zone with 10 kph limit
- Florida Road – major work will start to repair the road subsidence (near No 85) in April. It requires new pipes and major work and will take 3 months at least. Detailed planning is taking place to minimise inevitable disruption to traffic, manage flow and arrange appropriate signage.
- Parking area at bottom of Stairway to Heaven being considered for vehicle parking only.
- Council are considering a Local Area Traffic Management Scheme for the central area of Palm Beach and Whale Beach. Details will be announced after Easter and there will be community consultation.
- Surf Road/Barrenjoey Road intersection. A new footpath programme will be brought forward in May. We continue to press for action at this very dangerous intersection.
- Damage to roads and verges by large trucks – Council will look at increased bonds as Fees & Charges are being re-examined in April
ARE YOU READY TO ROCK AND ROLL?
231 Whale Beach Road MOD2021/0983
The Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel at its meeting on 3 August 2022 determined to refuse the modification to the Development Consent already granted for demolition and construction of a mixed use development of shop top housing and retail premises with associated parking. The modification sought to change the capacity of the ground floor café. Following this the applicant has taken the case to the Land & Environment Court. A Hearing is scheduled for Monday 27 March at 9.30 am on site (beside the garage on Surf Road near the beach car park). Interested members of the public can attend.
1102 Barrenjoey Road (Fish & Chip Shop site) DA2022/0469
An original development was approved in 2014 by Pittwater Council for a three storey shop-top development. However, a new plan was lodged in 2022 for a larger 5-unit block with shops underneath and a basement car park. It received nearly 100 submissions opposing the building which breached height restrictions and dwarfed Barrenjoey House, a heritage building and a landmark in the area. Council recommended approval but, because of the large number of submissions, it went to the Northern Beaches Planning Panel who deferred further consideration to give the applicant the opportunity to submit to Council by 15 March 2023 the following:
a) Amended plans that reduce the overall height, bulk and scale including removal of the mansard roof to reduce the massing created by the proposed roof form. Consideration should be given to materiality, upper level setback in the form of roof to achieve an upper level which is more recessive and an overall compatible development with surrounding development
b) Amended plans to reduce the overly strong vertical influence of the balcony columns and their impact on bulk and scale
c) Amended plans to redesign the mechanical plant enclosure to minimise the height of the screening and the provision of rooftop landscape screen
If the rquested information is not received by the date above, the Panel may proceed to determine the application on the material before it. The Chair will have the discretion to extend the date if reasonable grounds are provided by the applicant.
The reasons, summarised, show that the proposed roof form creates a top heavy building due to the expanse of roof and this could be overcome by a redesign of the roof. It is also unnecessarily high to screen the roof plant which adds to the unacceptable bulk. The vertical columns overly dominate the appearance from the street and it would achieve a more acceptable appearance by finer and lighter columns.
Amended plans have not yet been uploaded on the State Government Portal. However, the Panel are reviewing amended plans to see whether they will accept them as an amendment to the DA. If and when the application is formally amended and goes on the portal it will be uploaded for consideration by the public. We now await the Minutes of the latest meeting of the Planning Panel.
FOOTPATH ON BARRENJOEY ROAD
A grant has been received to cover the cost of the installation of the footpath between Careel Head Road and Currawong Road at Careel Bay and the Council have appointed Kelbon Civil Contractors of St. Ives to do the work which was scheduled to start in February. However, because of recent heavy rains the Council have delayed work to ensure that the stormwater system has capacity for the rain run-off occurring on this stretch of road. Once the Design is confirmed a new date will be determined and residents along that stretch of road will be notified one week prior to the commencement of works.
PITTWATER TO COFFS HARBOUR YACHT RACE
The 100 foot supermaxi ‘Andoo Comanche’, line honours winner of the Sydney to Hobart Race 2022, is one of the entrants in the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race. A total of 20 boats have entered and the race will start off Barrenjoey Headland on Friday 31 March at 1300 hr. The current monohull race record, previously set by the 2022 line honours winner ‘Black Jack’ in a time of 17 hours 10 minutes 31 sec., will be the target for the Andoo Comanche crew. The owner of Andoo Comanche is John ‘Herman’ Winning Jr, CEO of Winnings Appliances and the ‘Andoo’ in the yacht name refers to the on line selling company which is part of the Winnings Group. In association with the charity Good360, Andoo and the Winnings Group have pledged to donate $500,000 worth of furniture, mattresses and appliances to the victims of the devastating floods in Queensland and New South Wales.
AVALON YOUTH HUB
NEXT COFFEE MORNING
Wednesday 29 March – 10.30 am at Club Palm Beach
This worked very well last time according to the feedback we had. We will not serve coffee as most people seemed to buy their cappuccinos or lattes at the bar. Arrive in time to order your coffee and don’t forget you can have drinks or lunch there afterwards
NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING
Monday 17 April – 7 pm at The Pacific ClubProf Richard West 0407 942 941