President’s Column

Here is Jim McCredie’s column from the Autumn 2014 edition of the West Ward News:

By Jim McCredie

The State Coalition Government gave an election promise not to amalgamate Councils against their will. However, the NSW Planning Department is generating top-down plans. Sydney has been divided into sub-regions that will become the de facto planning commissariats. Willoughby will become a northern appendage to a City and Eastern Sub-region, a small fish in a big pond.  Our new sub-region extends south to Port Botany and Enfield Logistics Centre, and west to Macquarie Park and Rhodes. Improvements to Willoughby will be difficult for our new Mayor and the Council to achieve. Indeed, it may be that money will be sucked out of Chatswood by extension of taxes such as the State Parking Levy.

Affordable housing and seniors’ housing: Housing affordability in Sydney is the world’s fourth worst, with median house prices about nine times median wages. The Regional Plan proposed that the draft Willoughby LEP Plan allow developers added gross floor area for providing affordable housing. Unfortunately, developers have avoided including affordable units, instead offering Councils “Voluntary Planning Agreements” i.e. money to be spent on other types of community projects.

Road and public transport connections: The NSW 20 year Master Plan for Transport includes the North West Rail Link, the Westconnex motorway, and the M1 to M2 road tunnels, but nothing to relieve Pacific Highway traffic through Chatswood. (Plans for additional rail capacity between Chatswood and Sydney are urgent, but not yet publicly released).

Grow the Economy:  Chatswood was planned to be the primary office-based hub of northern Sydney providing capacity for at least 8,000 new jobs by 2031, Instead, all development sites within the core, zoned by Council for necessary new office buildings, have been given spot approval for residential non-office uses by state authorities.

The Progress Associations in Willoughby, including Chatswood West Ward, have joined forces with the Better Planning Network to oppose the new planning legislation. Residents with concerns about Planning Minister Brad Hazzard’s State planning can contact betterplanningnetwork@gmail.com

Jim Mcredie, President

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