The Annual General Meeting of the Association was held on Tuesday 11 May 2021 at Club Palm Beach. It was well attended and included voting for election of nominated members to the PBWBA Committee.
The President, Dr. Richard West, gave his report for the last two years and it is set out in full below.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT YEARS 2019 – 2021
The PBWBA is celebrating 103 years of service to the community. Our main aim is to protect the unique environment in which we live.
It is a pleasure to present my report. This report covers the years 2019 to 2021. We cancelled the annual general meeting last year because of the pandemic. Despite the pandemic your association has been very busy and active. During the lockdowns the committee met by zoom and more recently we have recommenced face-to-face meetings.
We survived the first lock down with only one community acquired Covid case in Palm Beach.
We were then getting ready to celebrate Christmas when we were thrown into severe lockdown again with the arrival of the Avalon cluster. It was a very difficult time for everybody but the response by our community was exceptional. The Covid -19 virus was the American strain from Hotel Quarantine. NSW Health has not been able to identify the source.
The pandemic has changed the demographics in Palm Beach and Whale Beach. There has been an influx of persons permanently occupying their holiday houses, more people renting houses and also increasing numbers of day trippers. This has resulted in congestion on the roads and parking problems at the beaches and also in Avalon. We have met on several occasions with the NBC who have been very cooperative in finding solutions to the congestion and other problems associated with increased numbers in the area.
The NBC has handled the effects of the pandemic well.
Most of the local businesses took a tremendous hit. The Christmas New Year holiday period is their busiest time of the year. The good news is that the local economy appears to be recovering with a record number of food outlets and restaurants open. They seem to be enjoying good patronage from the locals and visitors.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES.
However we must not relax our vigilance and we must not get complacent.
The major accomplishment of the PBWBA in the last two years has been the completion of the walkways at Palm Beach. It is now possible to walk from Palm Beach Wharf in Pittwater Park at the wharf past Herminie’s Landing at Observation Point enjoying spectacular views of Lion Island.
The walkway from Governor Philip Park to Palm Beach was completed in February 2021. This has enhanced the area and made it safer for pedestrians. It is popular with persons pushing prams and walking the dogs. It has been very well designed and executed by the Northern Beaches Council (NBC). It is planned to extend the walkway on the southern side of the Palm Beach pavilion to the Wiltshire Park drain area. Kiddies Corner will stay as it is. It will remain a shared zone enabling families with young children to have easy access to the beach.
We are waiting on the final plans for the coastal walkway from Whale Beach to Palm Beach,
which is part of the Coastal Walkway from Manly to Palm Beach. The views from this section of the walkway are absolutely magnificent. It is hoped that this walkway will commence in the next financial year. Money has been allocated in next year’s budget.
COLONEL MARKS PAVILION
The Palm Beach pavilion was renamed the “COLONEL MARKS PAVILION”. This was an initiative of the Palm Beach Surf Club. There was a very well attended ceremony to mark the occasion.
GOVERNOR PHILLIP PARK.
Plans are being prepared for the landscaping and general upgrading of Governor Phillip Park but they have been delayed. The Park is beautiful but at present is a bit run down and needs to be maintained properly. The NBC receives a considerable income from fees for parking, the surf club, the Boathouse, the golf course, and Home and Away. These fees should be allocated to maintain Governor Phillip Park and not go into general revenue.
URBAN NIGHT SKY
The council has commenced a process of community consultation for using Governor Phillip Park and the Barrenjoey Headland as an Urban Night Sky venue. PBWBA has expressed our concerns that the park and particularly Barrenjoey Headland are not suitable venues for such night time activities. It will be necessary to modify the lighting in the park if this venture goes ahead This project is a commercial venture and the promoters should be paying the costs of any changes needed in the park and headland. The cost should not be passed on to the tenants or NBC.
We think an alternative site should be found by NBC and have suggested that they should consider the JJ. Melbourne Hills Memorial Reserve at Terrey Hills which is used regularly by the Northern Sydney Astronomical Society.
Barrenjoey Hedland remains a jewel in the crown to Pittwater. The number of persons climbing to the top is steadily increasing. Parks and Wildlife have yet to approve its use as an urban night sky a venue.
DOGS OFF LEASH
The NBC court case regarding the use of Station Beach for an off leash dog area was lost. The council is exploring alternative sites. A proposal was put to the NBC Meeting on 27 April 2021 to consider using a small section of North Palm Beach and South Mona Vale Beach as off leash areas from 4pm to 10 am daily. Community feedback is now being sought.
Barrenjoey Road is not fit for purpose. There are no footpaths from Careel Bay to the Palm Beach Village. It is quite unsafe for pedestrians. The road is narrow and dangerous and is often closed due to accidents and falling trees. NBC intends to install a footpath from the Careel Bay shops to Currawong Road but this has also been deferred to next year’s budget. A footpath needs to be installed all the way from Careel Bay to Palm Beach. In addition the road needs to be upgraded. The footpath is a major project and it will need the involvement of the State and Commonwealth Governments and the NB Council to fund the project.
Barrenjoey Road is the major road in and out of Palm Beach and Whale Beach and it is our top priority to get the road upgraded. However the response from the NBC and the State and Commonwealth Governments has been disappointing.
HISTORIC BUS SHELTER
The historic bus shelter on Barrenjoey Road opposite Surf Rd has been very well rebuilt in the historic style by the NBC.
AVALON PLACE PLAN.
The Avalon Place Plan is a Council-designed plan for the future of Avalon over the next 20 years. The Plan has been on display for public comment. It is essential that the village atmosphere be maintained. There was a very successful public meeting on Sunday 2nd May at the Avalon Bowling Club and more than 240 people attended to hear a selection of very interesting speakers.
The plan provides for cycleways down Old Barrenjoey Rd from the Primary School and along Avalon Parade. There was a unanimous view that cycleways did not belong in the plan. There is no public demand for these cycleways which will cut the village into four quarters, make life more difficult for pedestrians and remove scarce parking spaces and trees from Old Barrenjoey Road. It will do nothing to enhance the village while incurring considerable cost. There is an alternative bike plan put forward by the Avalon Preservation Association using little used lanes which we support.
There are good proposals in the Plan – repairing and resurfacing footpaths, new street furniture, a monthly market in Dunbar Park, opening the lanes for public use, better lighting, a new plaza behind the community centre and improved access to the beach. There are some important omissions – the Plan does not preserve the existing building height limits in the village and does not directly address the economy of the village.
AVALON CREATIVE CENTRE.
The centre has opened in the Avalon Golf Club House and submissions are now open to name it.
NBC LOCAL HOUSING STRATEGY
NBC has prepared a Local Housing Strategy (LHS) for the period 2016-2036 as part of the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) Regional Plan for Sydney, ‘A Metropolis of Three Cities’ and the ‘North District Plan’. The draft plan has been on public exhibition. The result of the consultation was reported to the last NBC meeting and the Local Housing Strategy was approved with amendments.
The NBC is required for the period 2016-2036 to plan for an increase in population of around 23,000 people requiring around 12.000 new homes. The NBC have an existing capacity (land already zoned) to provide for 11,743 dwellings including French’s Forest Planned Precinct and Ingleside. The plan is divided into 5 year segments. For the first 5 years NBC is required to deliver 3,400 dwellings by 2021. NBC is generally on track to deliver on this with almost 2,800 dwellings already completed by June 2020.
The Palm Beach & Whale Beach Association represents the residents and businesses of a particularly beautiful part of the Northern Beaches LGA and has put forward its views on the Draft Local Housing Strategy.
Generally the Draft Strategy is well-thought through, logical and sensible – in particular the philosophy of concentrating increases in density around transport and services nodes. This will mean increased housing density around B-Line Hubs. The radius for this increased density was one-kilometre but it has now been revised. Reducing the size of the strategic centres (Brookvale, Dee Why, Mona Vale, Manly Vale, Narrabeen) from a one-kilometre radius to an 800- metre radius would produce better walkable catchments. In addition, reducing the size of proposed housing diversity areas, dual occupancy, boarding houses and seniors housing around local centres (including Avalon and Newport) from a one-kilometre radius to a 400-metre radius would better reflect a walkable catchment area.
The existing three storey height limitation in Mona Vale and Avalon Beach Village remains.
Palm Beach and Whale Beach current zoning in the Local Environment Plan (LEP) is Environmental E4 or R5 single large block dwellings and secondary dwellings. It is essential to preserve the local character of the area that these zonings are maintained. It is unlikely that this will change. The status quo will remain.
Palm Beach/Whale Beach have 1,456 dwellings, housing 2048 people (2017) = 1.41 people per dwelling. By 2036, these numbers are expected to grow to 1,504 dwellings and 2160 people, an increase of 3.3% or 48 dwellings and 112 people. This is an increase of 5.5% in population from 2017 to 2036 and an increased density to 1.44 people per dwelling. The unemployment rate in the LGA in 2020 was 4.6% but it was higher among young people.
There is a shortfall of sporting facilities in the LGA – the existing ones are being used at an unsustainable rate. Under-utilised golf courses are under threat in the longer term.
One of the major problems in Palm Beach &Whale Beach is the lack of footpaths due to years of neglect by various councils. The best example of this problem is Surf Rd. It is almost impossible and certainly dangerous to walk down to the bus stop on Barrenjoey Rd. The PBWBA have put in numerous submissions with other examples of dangerous roads. However, the submissions have fallen on deaf ears.
CONGESTION AND PARKING
Congestion and parking are major problems. These need to be addressed by the NSW Government and the NBC.
The iconic L90 no longer goes from Palm Beach to the city. It now departs from Avalon.
Commuters from Palm Beach and Whale Beach will now have to take the 199 Bus which goes to Manly and then change to the B Line at Mona Vale to the city. However, you can use KEORIDE to take you to Mona Vale.
We have worked well with Pittwater Community Alliance, the overarching group for Pittwater. We have also very good relations with our sister community groups: The Avalon Preservation Association, Clareville and Bilgola Plateau Residents Association, Newport Community Association.
VALE JOHNNY (JACK) CARTER
Johnny was a legend in the area and taught many generations to swim. The naming of the ocean pool at Palm Beach as The Johnny (Jack) Carter Pool was a very fitting recognition of his service to the community.
NSW STATE GOVERNMENT’S SHORT TERM RENTAL ACCOMMODATION REGULATIONS
These regulations came into effect in November 2020
- Premises must be registered
- A Code of Conduct applies administered primarily by the Commissioner of Fair Trading
- Applies to all lettings under 21 days
- New fire regulations
A DA has been before the NBC for some time to redevelop 231 Whale Beach Road.
The site consists of the Whale Beach Deli and housing units. It is the only area in Whale Beach that allows for a commercial development. We believe that an amended DA should be approved so that the residents of Whale Beach can continue to enjoy the facilities of a restaurant and coffee shop.
I wish to acknowledge the hard work of Virginia Christensen, Vice President, and Rosemary Edgell – Bush in compiling our monthly newsletters.
It is of vital importance that we have good communication with our members. These newsletters are full of useful information.
We have recently sent out a survey to our members to obtain their views on priorities for the area.
NORTHERN BEACHES HOSPITAL
The Northern Beaches Hospital is fulfilling a role for the residents of the area. However, there are still major deficiencies in the services that need to be addressed.
1. There needs to be a fully functioning stroke unit on site.
2. The same treatment should be available for private and public patients suffering heart problems.
3. Major trauma cases should be treated on site and not have to be transferred to the Royal North Shore hospital.
4. Children should not have to be transferred to Westmead Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital Randwick for surgery with conditions such as appendicitis.
The private /public model Is unworkable. The Northern Beaches Hospital should be taken over by the New South Wales State Government.
The residents of the northern beaches are entitled to a public hospital in the area. A public hospital run by NSW Health is present in every other area in New South Wales. Why are the Northern Beaches being treated differently?
There is concern amongst residents regarding the Optus 5G and Telstra towers that are being installed near to their homes. There is medical evidence that the electromagnetic waves may have a detrimental effect on their health.
The Commonwealth Government is reluctant to act. We met with our member Jason Falinski to discuss the matter. The permitted levels of emissions need to be reduced in line with other countries.
Our treasurer Doug Maher has taken up the cause on behalf the PBWBA.
MORNING COFFEE MEETINGS
The morning coffee meetings have been very successful with very good interactions between the members.
In lieu of our Christmas cocktail party we had a Christmas morning coffee meeting which was well attended.
We were pleased to have Mayor Regan attend the function. Thanks to the Boathouse Group for their support of this function.
The next coffee morning will be Wednesday 23 June 10.30 am at Moby Dicks.
The speaker will be Northern Beaches Council Heritage Officer who will talk about the history of indigenous people in the local area.
Next meeting of the PBWBA Committee is Monday 21 June 7 pm at the Pacific Cub
All members are welcome to attend the meeting.
I would like to thank the following people and organisations for their continuing help:
- Club Palm Beach
- Palm Beach Surf Club
- The Boathouse Group
- Jason Marty of Intervision Design, Avalon
- Northern Beaches Council
- The Auditors
- The Committee
- Our Members
Richard West AM
Susie Kennedy retired from the Committee after long and devoted service to the Association.
The Committee has made her a Life Member which is an appropriate recognition of her work on our behalf. Storm Jacklin is the only other Life Member. Bruce James is our Honorary Architect.
Officers and Committee for the Palm Beach and Whale Beach Association
- President: Dr. Richard West
- Vice President: Virginia Christensen
- Vice President: John Warburton
- Treasurer: Doug Maher
- Secretary: Robert MacKinnon
- Ken Allen
- Emily Ashton
- Frank Bush
- Rosemary Edgell-Bush
- Mitch Geddes
- Andrew Goldsmith
- Leonor Gouldthorpe
- Gordon Lang
- Martin MacCallum
- Merinda Rose
The President congratulated Gordon Lang on being elected to the Committee