Currey Park Fiasco

The sad story regarding the removal of trees and disruption to local amenity for residents near Currey Park continues. Westfield have now made another application to remove more trees and disrupt the park more (and for longer).

Please consider letting Council know what you think about this matter. Refer details below:

STOP THE AXING OF MORE TREES IN OUR LOCAL PARK                         

We are asking all neighbours to please assist in preventing the further destruction of trees in Chatswood’s Currey Park.

The park has already suffered the loss of green space and more than 10 trees, including magnificent and irreplaceable 40 foot Gum Trees.

Disappointingly, Westfield has been granted permission by Willoughby Council to access community land and to use the park as a private construction zone for modifications to their Car Park, including the addition of extra car spaces.

Now Westfield (through their parent company Scentre Group) have lodged a modification of their development application, seeking permission to axe even more mature trees.

These trees are located in the walkway area leading from Devonshire Street to the Park – right next to the Day Care Centre. This will bring the number of trees destroyed in the park to over 25.

 This current application modification from Westfield – which we are requesting Council not to approve – would permit these trees to be felled in order to allow construction vehicles and heavy machinery (trucks, crane, forklifts, cement trucks, etc) access to and from the park for a period of 4 to 6 months.

Say NO to further long term damage to this valuable green space and home to birds and native wildlife.

Please take a few minutes to lodge an objection to the proposed development application.

To object you can simply send an email to email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au quoting DA-2014/273/B with your comments

OR

visit www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au and click on Development Enquiry.

Select Development Applications, click next

And in the box that opens enter Albert Avenue (in the street name and street type areas) and Chatswood (in the suburb box)

Click Search and under Application Number click on DA-2014/273/B (Car Park Albert Avenue Chatswood).

This will open the Application Details page where you can click Email a Submission at bottom of page and send your comments.

Enter DA-2014/273/B in the subject area.

If you prefer, you can write to Willoughby Council at PO Box 57 CHATSWOOD NSW 2057 quoting DA-2014/273/B

Submissions close October 14.

Thank You for helping prevent further loss and damage to our valuable public parkland by saying NO to Westfield’s latest development application modification.

From: Save Currey Park Trees Community Group – 0419 257 240

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5 thoughts on “Currey Park Fiasco

  1. On behalf of members of the Association and nearby residents of Currey Park, we wish to voice our strong opposition to approval of this DA.

    It appears that the sole purpose of the DA is to allow Scentre (Westfield) access to public Community Land and the removal of tress on the land as well as other works for an extended period of time for a private construction zone. This comes on top of earlier tree removals and work by Scentre in the immediate vicinity.

    It is the Association’s belief that work that the work Scentre wishes to undertake on expanding the carpark building can be accomplished from within the building. As such the DA should be rejected.

    In addition, there are a number of other issues associated with these works that Council needs to consider.

    1. The DA notification makes no reference to Currey Park (the site is referred to as Albert Avenue. This is misleading and Council needs to act to ensure such attempts to bypass public scrutiny are thwarted.

    2. Due to this proposal and how the prior DA, and even going back to the reclassification of public land in the vicinity from Community Land to Operational Land, has been handled the entire process gives the impression that Council is ‘bending over backwards’ to provide Westfield with the lowest cost approach rather than the lowest harm approach.

    The way this matter has been handled by Council finds the community and local residents losing faith with Council’s Charter to protect their interests.

    As a minimum the DA should be referred to Council and a Site Inspection undertaken to give the community opportunity to express their conctrns and Council the opportunity to salvage its reputation.

    Regards

    Terry Fogarty
    Secretary
    Chatswood West Ward Progress Association
    0477 299 763

  2. Posted for a local resident

    I thought Alan (Jones) may well be interested in a situation currently developing with Willoughby Council and Westfield that is causing much anger and angst with residents.

    I am forwarding you correspondence I very recently sent to Willoughby Councillors along with some attachments as probably the best way to advise you of the situation.

    In a nutshell, Currey Park is situated a couple of hundred metres from Chatswood CBD and is one of only 2 parks providing green space and respite from the hustle and bustle and high-rise of an ever growing, high density suburb.

    Currey Park is located off Victor Street, immediately behind Westfield’s Albert Avenue car park comprising 2,880 parking spaces.

    Back in June 2010 a narrow strip of land, measuring 34 metres long x 6 metres wide, was re-classified from Community to Operational Land.
    At the time no-one was aware, nor understood, the potential repercussions of this decision.

    Fast forward to August 2015 and some neighbouring residents to Currey Park became aware that Westfield (under the parent company Scentre Group) were planning car park modifications, including the addition of an extra 15 spaces.
    This was conveyed via a belated letterbox drop from Scentre Group – delivered August 12, dated July 29.
    Within days more than 10 trees, including irreplaceable 40 foot high Gums were axed. Two of these trees were classified of ‘high retention value’ by Councils Aborist. Neighbours and park goers were confronted with hundreds of metres of fencing, Keep Out signs, chains and locks.

    It has since become apparent that not only the construction of additional spaces, but also the majority of the modifications within the car park, are to occur from work and construction zones on Community Land within Currey Park.
    These include alterations to entrance lanes and new boom gates, infills, installation of circular aisles, etc.
    This will result in the installation of a crane, cement pours and frequent heavy truck movement within the park over a 4-6 month period, essentially making the park unusable and off limits to the public during this period.

    It is a disgrace that Willoughby Council has granted Westfield with Temporary Access Over Community Land.
    Especially since Westfield has violated the conditions and criteria laid down by Council in their very own ‘Temporary Access’ document ratified by Council 4 June 2012.
    The main conditions breached – and about to be breached again should this modification be approved – are Policy Clause 3:- “Temporary access will not be permitted where there would be potential impact on substantial trees and vegetation” and multi sections of Policy Clause 5 including:- “ existing trees and their health” and “effect of access on visual amenity of the land”.

    The attached documents will expand on the above, but it has become more and more apparent as time goes by that community consultation, disclosure and transparency by both Willoughby Council and Westfield, has left much to be desired.
    Approaches and protestations by neighbours, Chatswood residents and the Community have been virtually ignored throughout this sad and sorry state of affairs.

    Westfield currently have an amendment to their original DA before Council – that seeking permission to axe a further 15 or so mature trees either side of the pathway leading into the park to allow heavy vehicles access to and from the park.
    This amendment is in the form of a modified Arborist’s Report and we feel that constant public pressure may have something to do with this being opened to public submission (closing this Wednesday – October 14).

    Perhaps it is possible that a bad situation can be prevented from becoming even worse!

    But I wouldn’t bet on it!

    On behalf of many concerned residents I hope you may be able to bring this disgraceful situation to the attention of a much wider audience.
    It is possibly a very good example and indicative of the acquiescence of local government to the pressures of big business (in this case Westfield actually lease and manage the car park from Willoughby Council) at the expense and to the neglect of their local constituents.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime should you require further information.

  3. Posted for an objector

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I wish to strongly oppose approval of DA-2014/273/B for the folowing reasons:- (bold type)

    Already Currey Park has suffered long-term loss of amenity and visual degradation through the axing of valued trees, including two 40 foot Gums of high retention value – a Water Gum and a Red Gum.

    This latest modification (to the Aborists Report) is will lead to the loss of a further 15 trees and associated vegetation.

    This contravenes Clauses 3 and 5 (multi violations of criteria) of Councils Policy Statement re Temporary Access to Community Land, including potential impact on substantial trees and vegetation and effect on visual amenity.

    The axing of these 15 trees on either side of the walkway from Devonshire Street will result in the loss of shade and screening from the harshness of the car park and loss of an integral part of the visual amenity of Currey Park.

    Their axing is purely to allow Scentre Group’s (Westfield) access to Community Land and use of that land as a private construction zone for works within the car park for an extended period – now estimated to be at least until February 2016 (Westfield’s revised documented timeline).

    This will allow for the operation of heavy vehicles and equipment including crane, cement trucks, bobcats, forklifts, etc on public land.

    With extensive works, including up to 20 truck movements a day (Westfield’s figures) during cement pours, as well as continuing dusty, noisy works it will render the park unusable for this prolonged period.

    This devastating impact on public land and to the public was never mentioned in any earlier form of the Development Application.

    I believe that Temporary Access to Community Land should never have been granted by Council.
    Already the criteria for access has been violated.

    With Westfield’s revised timelines does this also mean that this Temporary Access will be automically rubber stamped when Westfield request an extension past the current period of December 2015 if this modification to the DA is approved?

    I also wish to oppose this modification on the grounds that the removal of trees and the operation of the construction zones on public land within the park will cause distress and disturbance to children attending Devonshire Street Day Care Centre.
    The location of both the trees to be axed and the work zones are only metres – in fact feet – from their Centre and their playground.

    This loss of tree cover and amenity, as well as the consequential impacts of construction, will also be severely felt by neighbouring residents.

    Willoughby Council and Scentre Group both know they should not be allowing this process to proceed.
    It is WRONG!
    This is meant to be a park, a place of peace, not a building site.

    Council’s charter provides for it to be a manager and protector of scarce public assets and green space for it’s constituents – not allowing them to be trashed and trampled for private gain!

    This modification should NOT be approved.

    Yours Sincerely

  4. Westfield transported materials along the Devonshire St pathway. Apart from the illegality, plants were damaged.Coincidentally, a workman was there very early this morning trimming trees. See attached photos of both the damage and the workman.

    It it not clear whether asbestos was transported along the pathway. If this was the case, so much for not using the pathway to keep the children at the childcare centre next door safe.

    Council, we appreciate that attention and motivation has been diverted due to the proposed Council amalgamations but until, and unless, residents receive a moratorium on our rates and taxes, please do your job and keep better control of Westfield.

    Furthermore, for 5 months an area of Currey Park has been fenced off, and within that was a further fenced off area called the “tree protection zone”. During the 5 months, there was little work done both areas. Last week, Westfield started work proper in Currey Park. And on Saturday afternoon (note,afternoon), two workmen took the inner fencing down and there is now no longer a tree protection zone. The area is now being used by Westfield to store temporary fencing, grid reinforcements and other materials.

    If Westfield cannot keep to its commitments and within regulations, then all work should stop until a satisfactory alternative is found.

    From the beginning in 2014, when residents were not notified of the DA to modify the carpark, there appears to be very little Council control over the process. Please rectify this now.

  5. 2 of the 5 trees required to be planted by the DA approval conditions were removed by Council workers on Thursday, 17 Nov 2016. One was dead, the second was lying on its side, presumably dying.

    Assuming Council will replace the trees, as it is required to do, the trees should be of a greater maturity and capable of growing to at least 12m in height – another DA approval condition which has been ignored. The 5 trees planted were barely 1.5m tall.

    We are also waiting for Council’s response regarding a plant screening to modify the impact of the privacy wall that was demolished without neighbourhood consultation

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