Presidents Report – AGM May 2024

It is a pleasure to present my annual report as president of the Palm Beach & Whale Beach Association (PBWBA) 2023/2024

It has been a very busy year for your Committee with a lot happening in our area.

The main aim of the PBWBA is to preserve the environment and enhance the natural beauty of the area in which we live and to protect its residential amenity.
We have been doing this for the past 106 years. This is a remarkable achievement for a community group.

However, this is becoming increasingly difficult due to the New South Wales State Government (NSWG) taking over planning powers from Councils and the Northern Beaches Council’s (NBC) failure to enforce the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).


The NSWG recently announced that it will take over some Planning functions from local councils.
NSWG has released its TOD plan with aims to overcome the shortage of housing due to increased population. The plan aims to add 150,000 dwellings of the the 344,000 total dwellings required by 2029 in NSW.

The plan allows six storey buildings within 400m of a town centre. The definition of a town centre is vague and is based around the number and variety of shops and if there is a full-lined supermarket.

The good news is that the status quo remains in Palm Beach and Whale Beach where the majority of the area is zoned C4 (environmental living). This will remain.
There are a few R2 (residential) zones in Palm Beach but none in Whale Beach.

The NSWG has announced that the initial phase of the program will begin at 18 Train/Metro stations on the North Shore, Western and Southern lines, eventually increasing to 37 sites

There is concern that Avalon and Newport may eventually be affected if they qualify as town centres. The definition of a town centre is still unclear. However these areas have some R3 zones which allow for multi storey buildings.

The NBC objected to the TOD plan after much debate by the Councillors. The NBC Planning department supported the plan with some modifications.

PBWBA lodged a submission regarding the TOD plan to NBC, Planning Department NSWG and the NSW Upper House Inquiry, which is about to commence.

The DA for the former fish and chip shop site is listed for a full hearing of the Land & Environment Court (LEC)in October.
The developer of the former General Store site has applied to go to the LEC.
Both these developments have numerous, serious non-compliant issues.

231 Whale Beach Rd (former Whale Beach Deli site).
The overall development was passed. The applicant applied to the LEC for an increased number of patrons in the restaurant. The outcome was disappointing as the LEC approved numbers from 80 to 150 patrons depending on the time of day and the time of the year. However there are restrictions on the noise levels and it can only be used as a function centre 12 times a year with 100 patrons. These conditions will be nearlyimpossible to police.

The Joey (Barrenjoey Boatshed) applied to NBC to extend the originally approved opening hours until 11pmseven days a week . This was rejected on the basis of noise and other issues. This dispute has reached the NSWG cabinet.
The cabinet has stated that local councils will be forced to review new “vibrancy guidelines” when assessing trading applications by remote venues in a bid by the NSWG to put an end to complaining residents derailing local nightlife.

It will apply to new applications applying to change or extend trading hours of food and drink venues beyond 7pm, but it will apply only when the business is not located within a residential zone or a specific entertainment precinct and is at least 500 m away from the nearest home.

There has been an increasing number of residential DAs submitted to Council with numerous breaches of the Pittwater LEP and DCP controls.
PBWBA lodges a submission when there are non-compliant issues which are not in the best interest of the community.
However, the council has been passing what we consider to be non-compliant DAs on the basis of merit. We find this very frustrating and it is particularly frustrating for the neighbours who seem to have little opportunity to express their views particularly when the dispute goes to the LEC.

There is a lack of compliance enforcement by the NBC in general but especially regarding the traffic management plans and activities on building sites. For example, at present it is very difficult to drive along Florida and Whale Beach Roads due to obstruction of the roads by building vehicles and mobile cranes.

NBC is required by the Government to revise its LEP. The LEP defines criteria and controls such as height, setback, bulk, landscaping etc. They need to be strengthened, particularly in the area of excavation. There should be restrictions on how much rock and earth can be excavated from the site. The LEP is enforceable by law.

The NBC has commenced this process and we, with the Pittwater Alliance Group, have met with NBC on a number of occasions to discuss this.
The problem is that the new LEP will apply to the whole of the Northern Beaches Council area. Previously Pittwater Council had its own LEP which was more specific to this area. One LEP does not fit all.


NBC is revising the 2002 Plan of Management (PoM) for Governor Phillip Park. The park is rundown and is in need of maintenance and weed control.  We met with the council representatives recently to discuss the plan.
We have sent out a notice to our members pointing out the deficiencies in the park and suggesting that they put in a submission to “Have Your Say “ on the NBC website.
The park is Crown Land but is administered by NBC.  However there seems to be no budget for maintenance of the park.

THE NSWG is reviewing the management of Crown Lands and PBWBA has lodged a submission.

The leak in the Palm Beach pool seems to have been rectified.
Both the Palm Beach and the Whale Beach pools need urgent upgrading, maintenance and renovation

The state of our roads and footpaths is unacceptable.
Recently we met with managers of the Council and they have agreed to extend the yellow lines at “the pinch” 163 Pacific Rd where parking is obstructing the view of oncoming traffic.

We also discussed other problem areas such as Surf Road, particularly the junction with Barrenjoey Rd, and Ocean Place. However they have not come up with any plans to address these two major black spots or any plans to address the many other unsafe and dangerous areas on our roads.

This is part of the coastal walkway from Manly to Palm Beach. It was funded by the NSWG and we have spent five years negotiating with the council regarding the plans and have had inspections with them on a number of occasions. There needs to be a whole of road plan approach with drainage installed, the road repaired and the walkway commenced.
NBC has informed us that they have run out of money and it will not proceed in a near future. This is unacceptable. We had an agreement with the council to proceed with this project.
However there is $3.5 million available to finish the Newport to Avalon section.

The NBC has released the draft delivery plan for years 2024 to 2028. There is a $5.8 million deficit for next year’s budget. This deficit will accumulate each year.
The total budget is $500 million. One of the NBC solutions is to increase our rates by 14%. There seems to be no effort to cut expenditure.
There is an opportunity to express your opinions on the draft delivery plan on “Have Your Say” on the Council website.

There is some good news here. Minister Sharp announced in February that there will be no short-term accommodation on the Barrenjoey Headland.
This follows a 22 year campaign by the PBWBA to preserve the headline for future generations. We have had two major rallies, the last in February 2023. I wish to thank everybody who participated in that campaign, particularly our past president Storm Jacklin.
The main Lighthouse Keepers Cottage will be considered for a potential museum.
The Smugglers Cottage (Station Beach) will remain as accommodation for the Ranger.
The two Fishermens’ Cottages (far end of Station Beach) will be demolished as they are riddled with asbestos and are beyond repair. We have requested that a plaque be placed on the site to acknowledge their past history.
The National Parks and Wildlife plan to set up a reference committee on which we will be represented.
This is a great result and will ensure that the headland is preserved for future generations. The buildings on the headland are the oldest buildings in Pittwater.

Thank you to my hard-working committee. They all have something special to contribute.  I could not do this job without their help.
In particular I’d like to thank my two vice presidents, Virginia Christensen and Frank Bush for their incredible hard work.

Virginia, once again, and Rosemary Bush who produce our excellent informative newsletters that come out each month.  It is a huge job, thank you both.

Our Secretary Robert Mackinnon who looks after our administration, our minutes and our subscriptions. He is in the process of rewriting the history of Palm Beach.

Our treasurer, Doug Maher, who meticulously keeps our books in order.

Gordon Lang for his input on Palm Beach.

John Warburton for his input on Whale Beach.

Susie Kennedy for organising the social functions

Palm Beach Surf Club.

Jason Marty from Intervision Design our communications consultant.

Andrew Johnston, our NBC community liaison officer.

And our 400 members.

All members are invited to our monthly committee meeting held on the second Monday of each month at 7:30 pm and our informal morning coffee meetings held on the last Monday of the month at 10.30am, both at the Pacific Club Palm Beach.

Associate Professor Richard West AM
President Palm Beach and Whale Beach Association