Woolworths in Chatswood

woolworthsFinally, after many years waiting, Woolworths has finally found a foothold in Chatswood.

Until now, Coles has had the upper hand in supermarkets in Chatswood with stores at the Chase and at Westfields.

For years, Woolworths have been trying to find a suitable site for a store. They have bought land (the old Holden Service Centre) in East Chatswood. However, that site is not zoned for a supermarket.

Typically, a large supermarket requires around 10,000 sm. Unfortunately, the Supermarket store to open at the Chatswood Interchange is a mere 2,000sm.

Some competition is better than nothing.


Interchange shops – at last!


After many years of delay, retail and food services will start opening above Chatswood Railway Station later this year.

After the Railway Station was finished, the commercial area of the project stayed close. There were rumours that the quality of finish and defects in the building work was such that the then owner refused to accept handover of the building. Companies went bust and the building stayed vacant, for years.

It is now proposed to open the main councourse in June (this year). There will be one supermarket (see elsewhere) and 29 retails stores opening this year. In total there are 65 stores in the project

Demolition of Legacy House

legacyIt is proposed to demolish Legacy House (cnr. Johnson & Archer St). In place of the quaint single storey house it is proposed to build a nine-storey ‘affordable-housing’ building. At 9-storey the building is considered by local residents to be a high-density building in a predominantly low-density area. It is proposed that the building would house low to very low income earners.

Whilst the bulk and scale of the building is out of character with the surrounding area, such a building is permissible under State Government Planning Rules.

More than 150 residents protested recently about the development proposal.

The Legacy group who previously owned the property sold it last year.


Gordon Club extended hours

Gordon ClubThe Gordon Club is seeking an extension of operating hours to 3AM, 7 days per week. The extension is for the main Club and the Alfresco Gaming Area. It is proposed to construct an acoustic wall and other associated works.

Currently the club trades to 1AM, seven days per week.

It is interesting to note that just as restrictions on alcohol trading in the City of Sydney come into play that a Chatswood Club is seeking trading approval to 3AM. Will we see similar levels of cowardly behavior in Chatswood Streets in the future? We also wonder if the Club might start busing people from the city to Chatswood after premises close in the city.

In the past, the Club’s outdoor areas have been problematic with numerous calls to Willoughby Council by residents kept awake by the noise.



Crown Land Changes

Crown Land

The following questions(s) were posed by Clr. Lynne Saville. There is an analysis of the responses received in the COMMENT below.

Will the Council management of Crown Lands within the Willoughby LGA be affected in any way with the passing of the Crown Lands Amendment (Multiple Land Use) bill 2013 on 20th November?

Can you please outline any changes particularly with regards to the legal validity of secondary tenures over Crown reserves in Willoughby that may result from the Bill?

Were any crown lands in Willoughby in jeopardy prior to the passing of the bill?

Does the bill provide more certainty for Council’s role in the management of crown lands
within this LGA?

The following advice has been received from Council’s solicitor in relation to the above:

Question 1: Can you please outline any changes particularly with regards to the legal validity of secondary tenures over Crown reserves in Willoughby that may result from the Bill?

Secondary tenures which might previously have been the subject of doubt will no longer be subject to challenge if they meet the requirements of Section 34AA (2).

Reasoning: The Act now ensures the legal validity of second use interests that may otherwise have become invalid in the wake of the NSW Court of Appeal decision in Minister Administering the Crown Lands Ac t 1989 v NSW Aboriginal Land Council (2012) NSWCA 358 (“The Goomallee Claim”)

Question 2: Were any Crown Lands in Willoughby in jeopardy prior to the passing of the Bill?

Any secondary interest granted over land subject to a reserve trust may have been in jeopardy prior to the passing of the Bill.

Reasoning: the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal in Minister Administering the Crown Lands Act 1989 v NSW Aboriginal Land Council (2012) NSWCA 358 had the potential to render many second use tenures invalid. The effect of the decision was that any secondary use, not for the purpose of the reserve, or in furtherance of or incidental to the purpose of the
reserve, may have become invalid. Any lease, licence, permit, easement or right of way
(secondary interests) granted over a Crown Reserve in Willoughby that was not for the
purpose of the reserve was in jeopardy of invalidation.

Question 3: Does the bill provide more certainty for Council’s role in the management of Crown Lands within this LGA?

The Bill does provide more certainty for Council’s role in the management of its Crown Lands. In particular the Act provides clear guidance as to the factors relevant to the grant of second use tenures.

Reasoning: Section 34AA provides a clear test as to when the Minister may grant a second use tenure and sets out the factors relevant to the determination of whether that second use or occupation is valid.

Conclusion: the amendments made to the Crown Lands Act 1989 by the Crown Lands Amendment (Multiple Land Use) Bill 2013 will assist Council in determining whether it has power to grant second use tenures of Crown Reserves and will protect exiting second use tenures which meet the requirements of Section 34AA.

Ausgrid Gridlock

ausgridThe story below was submitted by one of our readers:

The West Ward community has become aware of an Ausgrid (14 Nelson Street) plan that will see our local street parking come under more pressure as well as deteriorating traffic congestion.
Ausgrid are changing their vehicle policy over the coming months, meaning Ausgrid employees must return work trucks to the depot between Nelson Street and Mowbray Road every day. For the last 20 years employees have been taking their trucks home.

Thus Ausgrid staff will now have to park their personal cars in nearby residential streets (Nelson Street and Orchard Road) while they are at work for Ausgrid . This means workers will arrive from 6am and leave around 4-5pm, contributing to West Ward traffic congestion.

As well, local West Ward residents will also endure up to 400 Ausgrid truck movements every day on the surrounding roads when the trucks are picked up and dropped off every morning and afternoon.

Times are a changing?

small businessConsideration is being given to making voting compulsory for businesses in Central Business Districts (CBDs). Theoretically, this could apply to the Chatswood and St Leonards CBDs. At the moment it is optional for business owners to register to vote. If the proposals are adopted, there would be a flood of businesses registering to vote at Local Government elections.

In Victoria where business voting is mandatory, a business owner is entitled to two votes and the landlord of their building gets two votes (so much for the one person one vote ‘rule’).

It is difficult to predict the outcome of such a proposal. If there were a lot of businesses in the area it is feasible that a ‘business voting block’ could elect their own member to Council. However, if this occurred that Councillor would only be one voice in thirteen.

Willoughby’s The Concourse was partially funded by an increase in business rates. It would be interesting to see if a single ‘business Councillor’ could have had impact on such a decision.


Heat island effect

Clr. Lynne Saville opines:

HeatIslandFollowing my attend attendance  at the LG Association Climate Risk: From Risk to Resilience forum on 18th March, I am interested in progressing the practical implementation of strategies locally  to reduce the heat island effect predicted in Willoughby.

There are examples of strategies overseas and in Australia including  use of lighter materials (not black) for roads and paths, green walls on buildings and street tree planting accompanies with education programs to assist the community to understand how keep cool on hot days

I believe we need to develop a clear policy and strategy to address heat island effect in Willoughby.

During the recent heat wave/ high temperature days in Melbourne, paramedics were called out to attend cardiac arrests every 11 minutes.   NSW Health has been  collecting data re Emergency Department attendances on hot days. NSW Health collects the stats and evidence and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage the data and evidence to predict heat island effect

Jenny Scott from Kuringai council has developed an excellent program using community development  principles to develop a framework for action to deal with bush fire risk in that locality. The same frameworks could be used for building community resilience and strategies to reduce heat island affect as well as fire risk, relevant for WCC particularly in west war

Shop Top Housing (Pacific Highway)

544 Pacific

DA-2014/103 for 544 Pacific Highway proposes demolition of an existing commercial building (gas centre, Payless carpets?) and construction of a new mixed-use development comprising three level basement car park, bulky goods retail at ground level and six (6) levels of shop top housing comprising 35 apartments and associated landscaping.

It isn’t clear, but this development might be one storey higher than other approved developments in the area.

From past experience, it is likely that residents in Bowen St will be affected to varying degrees.


West Ward South – Traffic

The southern portion of West Ward (Mowbray Rd side) is experiencing increasing traffic problems believed to be associated with the installation of the Beaconsfield lights and massive developments on the Lane Cove side of Mowbray Rd. Residents have been calling for something to be done.

In response to that call, Willoughby Council has retained PeopleTrans (traffic engineers) to review the current situation and to make any necessary recommendations for change. In addition to traffic on Mowbray Rd the investigation is also looking at the various ‘rat-runs’ through the area from Greenlands Rd to Pacific Highway.

It was noted that Mowbray school is about to be redeveloped. This will have an impact on Mowbray Rd that will need to be addressed.

Willoughby and Lane Cove Councils will jointly consider any proposed changes.

Apart from the general increase in traffic in the area, concern was expressed about some of the recent traffic calming devices installed on Mowbrary Rd. There was strong representation to provide a Right-Turn capability at the Beaconsfield lights There was also concern regarding the location of bus zones.

After the report goes to Willoughby Council, residents will be letter-boxed. This will be the opportunity for residents to formally respond to any change proposals.