For the Year 2022/2023
The main aim of our Association is to protect the unique environment in which we live.
If you look around the area, I think you will agree that our Association has done an excellent job in protecting the environment with low rise residential in Palm Beach and Whale Beach.
However, this is becoming more difficult in recent years, due to the constant changes in policy by the Northern Beaches Council (NBC) and the New South Wales government.
We are constantly having to defend our position.
I intend the following issues.
- Overdevelopment, which is the main problem
- Northern Beaches Council (NBC)
- Lack of infrastructure
- Governor Phillip Park
- Barrenjoey Headland
- Working with other community groups
Rezoning of Pittwater
At present, the whole of Palm Beach and Whale Beach is zoned as environmental which restricts the amount of development but allows some secondary dwellings and granny flats.
There is a proposal by the NBC and the New South Wales government to introduce new zoning. Conservation Zones, which are similar to the old environmental zones and residential zones are referred to as R2. R2 residential zones allow dual occupancy and the submission of a compliant DA without notification.
The rezoning is based on various criteria, however the application is very inconsistent and difficult to follow.
There are 1500 properties in Palm Beach and Whale Beach. Initially it was proposed to change about 200 properties to residential R2. Following community consultation and negotiations, the NBC has reduced this number to 60. However there are still areas of concern in Palm Beach and Whale Beach, where classic beach houses are in danger of being demolished.
We are making good progress, however we believe that the whole of Whale beach and Palm Beach should be a conservation zone. We have arranged further meetings with the NBC and are asking the council to justify the reclassifications.
This is a problem in the whole of Pittwater where there are 1700 properties to be zoned residential.
There are two types of development applications, residential and commercial.
The NBC is passing massive residential developments, which appear to have multiple non-compliant areas. They are passed on the “basis of merit”.
The Iluka Apartments:
The Land and Environment Court rejected this DA.
The Fish and Chip Shop site:
The planning department of NBC recommended passing this DA, however it was comprehensively rejected by the Planning Panel. It is of concern that the council recommended passing the DA despite numerous non-compliant areas.
231 Whale Beach road:
The old Deli site is before the land environment court regarding the size of the restaurant.
The future regarding Development Applications:
The Local environmental plans (LEP) and Development control plans(DCP) determine the criteria for the approval of a DA.
LEP regulator regulates high-level controls like zoning, maximum height and floor space/local ratio. The DCP normally provides more specific controls for detailed design aspects and is designed to only provide guidance.
We hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel. This is a very complex process and will take some time to complete. The controls need to be tightened and need to be stated in such a way that they must be complied with. If the controls are to have any affect, the controls must be in the LEP.
NBC is in the state of flux.
Ray Brownlee has resigned.
We had a good relationship with Ray and met with him frequently.
His main achievement was to set up the liaison community group very ably led by Trish Chaney
The interim CEO is Louise Kerr, who previously was the director of planning.
Micheal Regan has been elected as an Independent member for Warringah and has resigned his position as mayor but will be remaining on the council. There is an election for a new mayor on
Rory Amon has been elected the member for Pittwater and we congratulate him on his election. He is resigning from Council after the election of mayor.
A major problem is infrastructure, particularly footpaths and roads. The budget for footpaths and roads in the next financial year, is only 24 million in a total budget of 450 million. The council needs to get back to basics.
We have repeatedly pointed out to the council the danger in walking down to bus stops, particularly in Surf Road, Whale Beach Road and Ocean Place in Palm Beach. There is no footpath on Barrenjoey Road to the Palm Beach Village, which is very dangerous.
The major access roads into Palm Beach, Barrenjoey, Whale Beach, Florida, Surf and Bynya Roads are all not fit for purpose.
There is a major slip area at Dark Gully Reserve on Barrenjoey Road and it is proposed to close the road at night for a few weeks in August, to undertake maintenance. Likewise, Florida Road has a major slip area and is reduced to one lane. We have no indication when the road will be repaired. Whale Beach Beach Road needs a major upgrade.
Governor Phillip Park:
The park is rundown and overgrown with weeds. However there is some good news that a grant was received from the New South Wales government of $130,000 to deal with the weeds
The park needs maintenance and upgrading but we can find no money in the coming budget. It also needs a new management plan which is it going to take two years to prepare.
You’ll all be aware of the very successful rally. All the speakers were against any commercial development on the Headland, particularly Penny Sharp who is now the Minister for Heritage and the environment. I have contacted her office regarding plans for Barrenjoey Headland to be preserved. Barrenjoey Headland should only be for day trippers as there are 250,000 day trippers per year. There has been a general statement from the government that there will be no commercial development in the national parks.
Working with other community groups:
We work very well with our sister community groups – the Avalon Preservation Society, Newport Residents Association and Clareville and Bilgola Plateau Association and it is very important to show a united front.
The Pittwater Alliance Association represents all the community groups in Pittwater. The main concern at the moment is overdevelopment. We are meeting with Rory Amon on 19 May.
We have regular monthly coffee meetings which have been very successful and give us an opportunity to obtain the views of our members. Our members are also welcome at our monthly committee meetings which are held on the second Monday of each month at 7pm at the Pacific Club.
I thank everyone for their support.
Richard West AM