Council on Currey Park

Posted from a Council email sent to a resident:

Hello,

As promised via twitter this is the response from the Acting Director:

The application was determined by Council last year, inclusive of the removal of trees.  It is noted that we are currently notifying residents.

With respect to the subject tree removals, an Arborist report was requested during the assessment of the application, and subsequently assessed by Council’s Landscape Officer and found to be acceptable. The approved development will involve the removal of two trees of high retention value, including a Forest Red  Gum and Water Gum. The proposed car park extension requires the infilling of an indented section of the existing car park. The subject two trees are located directly within the footprint of this extension (south side). It was not feasible to retain the two trees should Council consent to the proposed works as clearly informed in the assessment report. However, suitable replacement trees as well as general improvement and maintenance works will be carried out to the affected garden area within Currey Park as required by the approval.

Given the approved car park extension is generally limited within the an existing indented section along the southern elevation of the car park, it is not considered to materially reduce public enjoyment of Currey Park. The proposed additions to the southern side of the existing Albert Avenue Car Park will require minor modifications to the existing landscaping within Currey Park. In particular, the landscape moulding at the rear of the existing water feature needs to be modified, and the pump and equipment associated with the water feature are to be relocated. These works are considered minor, and are not considered to affect public enjoyment and Council’s on-going maintenance of the park. The applicant is required to closely consult and coordinate works within Currey with Council officers, and a public asset protection plan is required to be developed.

The approved car park extension is necessary to address the need for additional car parking with respect to Deferred Commencement Development Consent DA2013/557 issued by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (Sydney East) for the Re-development and refurbishment of the existing shopping complex (Westfield Shopping Centre Chatswood).

Council is the certifier for the CC, which is yet to be issued. There is also a permit application pending for limited construction access via Currey Park, which has been discussed with Council officers.

Let me know if you would like further information on this matter.

Regards

Dominic

I hope this assists. If you require any further information, please contact Mr Johnson on the email above.

Kind regards

Councillor Gail Giles-Gidney

Mayor

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One thought on “Council on Currey Park

  1. Hi Gail & Dominic,

    Thanks for your response re Currey Park.

    It is necessary for me to respond to Council’s email to set a few things straight.

    Firstly, the application may well have been determined by Council last year, but residents were certainly not consulted. I live closest than almost anyone to the affected area and was not informed anytime during 2014/15 of any plans. I placed this on record with Willoughby Council on Thursday August 6 2015.

    As far as I am aware nor did any of my fellow residents or neighbours receive any notification.
    In fact the first “notification” I received was via a belated letterbox drop on Wednesday this week (Aug 12) from Scentre Group (Westfield). The document was dated July 29 – delivered Aug 12!

    These factors demonstrate how haphazard and ineffective the supposed neighbourhood notification and/or community consultation has been. Little wonder no submissions re the DA were received by Council.

    With regard to the proposed felling and destruction of trees:-

    According to the Document (DA2014/273) provided to me by Council Thursday August 6 2015 there are a total of ten trees to be removed – with trees T18 – Forest Red Gum and T24 – Water Gum classified by Council and its Arborist as being of high retention value.

    These particular trees are irreplaceable. They are healthy, mature specimens of over 40 feet in height. Their canopy provides shade for park goers and their height and volume give some privacy from the concrete canyon of the carpark for residents. It is misleading for either Council or Westfield to claim that these trees will be replaced. 40+ feet high trees are not easily replaced! These trees are culturally, historically and intrinsically linked to the uniqueness of Currey Park. There is absolutely no question that the proposed removal of these trees is at the very high end of loss of amenity!

    Furthermore, to residents, neighbours and the public, the erection of a massive fence is divisive in the extreme. No one knows why, or what is going on. When they see their park divided and hear of plans to fell trees and add extra car spaces to the Westfield Carpark it is little wonder they get angry and feel they are losing a valuable recreation space. In the past few days I have been asked countless times…”what is going on?”

    PROPOSED CONSULTATION and ACTION on behalf of Save Currey Park Trees Action Group:-

    The Save Currey Park Trees Action Group request that Willoughby Council place a halt on the Currey Park part of the development in order to fully consult with the community including local businesses, the Devonshire Street Children’s Centre and neighbouring residents.

    The SCPTAG will be campaigning for this part of the development to be cancelled and the park to remain intact with no encroachment by Westfield. SCPTAG believes that public land should take priority over private development and urban parks like Currey Park should be protected and enhanced by local government authorities.

    SCPTAG also believes the notion that mature trees can be replaced is a false premise. Currey Park is an urban oasis offering respite to residents and visitors alike and a wildlife habitat in an already densely developed Chatswood.

    SCPTAG would encourage Willoughby Council to provide a full time-line of the order of events, including when Westfield approached the council, the business case for the scheme, the business case of benefits to Willoughby Council, neighbouring businesses and residents, when consultation started with the community and what methods were used, what were the results of the consultation.

    SCPTAG believes there is a case for Willoughby Council to be more transparent in this and all development applications and provide residents with a checklist relative to the one outlined. This check list will help residents understand development proposals and what stage the proposal is at. This checklist will be an asset to Willoughby residents as well as staff.

    Finally the SCPTAG welcomes any move by Willoughby Council that will result in this part of the scheme being terminated. SCPTAG will also encourage Willoughby Council to enhance Currey Park by way of increased landscaping. SCPTAG will work with Willoughby Council to ensure Currey Park remains a valued community asset.

    Kind Regards,

    Local resident

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