Special Event

BPNThe Better Planning Network is holding a special event on Origin night this week. Hopefully there will be a summary of what was said.


A REMINDER:  Special event at Parliament, Wednesday, 1 June at 6pm.

In 2011, the Coalition government came into power on the promise of returning planning to local communities. However since then the government has steadfastly introduced changes that fast-track development and dilute community engagement. In addition, the government has established the Greater Sydney Commission and more recently made changes to local government.

In response, we invite you to join us at the next BPN Planning Event, when we hear Sarah Hill, the new CEO at the Greater Sydney Commission’s, explain their role and how community engagement will be managed.  We have also invited a panel of eminent experts to join Ms Hill for a panel discussion, with the opportunity for questions from the audience.

In addition, the Minister and executive staff from the Department of Planning have been invited to attend the event, so they can hear the conversation.

As part of the event, Ms Hill will also discuss the commission’s work underway – including the preparation of six draft District Plans for the Greater Sydney region (previously Regional Plans). The plans are required to be exhibited by late January, 2017 with a subsequent review of Sydney’s Metropolitan plan in 2017. Once finalised, the plans are intended to inform changes to local planning controls.

We’ll also provide an update about the government’s plans to change the EP & A Act which legislation is intended to be introduced into the spring parliament. This includes a number of aspects from the Planning Bill 2013 and other amendments, however is not proposed to change the definition for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD).

Tickets to BPN‘s special event are free, however as seating is limited, reservations are essential. As seats are filling up fast, reserve your ticket ASAP using the eventbrite link above.

As the legislative changes also impact rural and regional areas, members and affiliate groups outside the Sydney basin are also invited to attend. We look forward to seeing you.

Upgrade of Greville St Reserve


Have your say

The Greville Street Reserve (near the Church of Scientology) due for a makeover. Council is calling for your views, comments and suggestions.

You can undertake the quick survey at www.haveoursaywilloughby.com.au or sent an email (attention Meredith Paterson via: email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au

Closing date for suggestions is 8am Monday 20th June 2016.

If you have any questions, ring Council on 9777 1000




Illuminated signs -Boundary Road

There is a DA application that the Department of Planning has put forward as part of ‘Major Projects’ that closes this Monday to turn the two large advertising signs under the Boundary St Railway Bridge digital.

It looks like only RMS has made a submission yet and that neither Willoughby or Ku-ring-gai Council have made one yet (I have emailed our West Ward and Middle Harbour Councillors this afternoon).

The RMS submission, which opposes the sign on one side, also looks like it was made by someone who was at their desk and doesn’t know intimately how that whole section of road operates at present like we locals do, and consider all the safety issues with this intersection and how dangerous it would be to create an additional distraction right at this already complicated traffic location.

I know there is lots happening but it would be good if our Progress Associations or individual members could put in submissions, even if just a quick sentence re the related safety issues to ensure that there is proper representation on the issue. I am concerned to ensure that because it is on the boundary of two council areas and the boundary of two progress associations and made at a time when people are focussed on the amalgamations that  it does not get missed by all. If you consider that there are safety issues can you please put in a submission on behalf of the Progress Associations and/or as individuals by the closing date on Monday.

It is quick and easy to make an electronic submission at the following link (the Railbridge DA is second down on the list) or go to Dept of Planning website and ‘major projects’ and put in ‘Willoughy’:


To give you a summary of some of the issues, here is a copy of my submission:

Digital signs can be very distracting and it is very dangerous to have digital signs distracting drivers within a major intersection. These applications to replace the existing signage with digital signage should be refused because they pose a serious road safety issue for the following reasons:

  1. The section of Boundary Street from the Pacific Highway to Archer Street is very busy and currently operates like one big intersection for much of the day, and should be treated as such for consideration of this DA application.
  2. This is already quite a dangerous section of road because:
  • there is already much confusion and distraction with traffic entering this section from Hill Street and Archer Street, and because of the volume of traffic quite a few cars fly out of Hill street unexpectedly and in traffic gaps that are too narrow to accommodate them;
  • there are cars changing lanes right where the digital signage is proposed in both directions as  the numbers of lanes increase in both directions within metres of the proposed digital signage;
  • this is the major thoroughfare from the Northern Beaches through to the Ryde area and Western Sydney, and many drivers who come through are new to the area and don’t know which way to go and need to make last minute decisions which lane they need to be in.
  1. In this section of Boundary Street the drivers changing lanes, those turning into Boundary St and those already in Boundary St need to be fully focussed on the road, other drivers, and what else is happening ahead of them in this large 3 in 1 intersection (which combines 3 intersections which are each busy intersections in their own right); and
  2. The existing non-digital signage which has been put in place since the Bridge was replaced is already a enough of a distraction.
  3. There are also cars coming in and out of the petrol station driveway and in the driveway to the units on the South and the North Side of Boundary St between the highway and the Bridge, and drivers don’t usually expect cars to be turning in and out of these driveways.

For these safety reasons the application to convert both signs to digital signage should be refused.

In considering road safety data for this application, Boundary St is the boundary between two Council areas, so you need to acquire the data for both Kuringgai and Willoughby because some accidents are recorded by police as being in one Council area and some in the other, and without both sets of data any figures you use will be materially understated. (This was the case when accident rates at the Boundary St/Spearman St intersection were being considered, and it was not showing up as being a dangerous intersection because data was being attributed to two different council areas. When data was considered together it was realised there were issues)”



Amalgamation Court Case


From Council:

Land and Environment Court joins

Willoughby Council into Mosman and North Sydney legal proceedings

The Land and Environment Court yesterday (Thursday 26 May) joined Willoughby Council into Mosman Council and North Sydney Councils’ legal proceedings against the State Government regarding proposed Council mergers.

Willoughby Council’s lawyers appeared on behalf of Council in the Land & Environment Court to present Council’s resolution that they did not wish to be joined to the proceedings of either Mosman or North Sydney.

His Honour Justice Moore indicated he would join Willoughby Council as a party, giving Council the right to file a submitting appearance and take no active part in the proceedings.

Council will now serve a submitting appearance save as to costs. This allows Council to be joined to the proceedings as an observer while being largely protected from costs.

This follows a Willoughby Council meeting on Monday 23 May where Council resolved not to join proceedings led by Mosman and North Sydney Councils, after considering two pieces of correspondence:

  • a Notice of Motion in proceedings no. 40395 of 2016, Mosman Council v Minister for Local Government (the Mosman proceedings). The Mosman proceedings attached a Notice of Motion seeking to join Willoughby; and
  • A letter from Matthews Folbigg dated 20 May 2016, North Sydney Council v Minister for Local Government (the North Sydney proceedings). This letter suggested that the Council should be a party to the proceedings.

– Ends –

On the right track?

WilloughbyCouncilLogoThe financial report by Council below on the surface sounds good. However, it behooves that some of the information be closely scrutinised.

It is good to note that Council’s apparent new focus on a long awaited Project Management focus is paying dividends.

However, we should ask if it is in the community’s interest to reduce spending on projects as indicated below. Council is there to provide community resources.

By its nature, Council is not in the business of making profits (surplus). If they were we should see some of our rates refunded.

So, whilst this report is generally positive it does beg some questions.

Willoughby well on track

Third quarter report indicates surplus finances and project milestones met

Willoughby Council’s third quarter report (1 Jan – 31 Mar 2016) of its 2015/16 Operational Plan and Financial Performance provides for a further surplus movement of $2.239M, confirming Council’s current strong operating and financial position (estimated annual operating position of a $4.928M surplus).

This positive result is linked to a reduction in anticipated expenditure of a net $1.881M, linked to savings in anticipated employee costs of $612K, and materials and contracts of $1.458M. An increase in income of $358K from additional funds largely from hoarding fees and interest on investments, also contributes to the positive result.

The report, presented at last night’s Council meeting (Monday 23 May 2016), also projects council’s Unrestricted Working Funds for day to day operations to be at $3.431M net of anticipated carryovers, at the end of the Financial Year. This is an improvement of $1.549M on 2014/2015.

Other highlights of the report include the on-track status of Council’s Priority Improvement Program, with 98 per cent of all budgeted projects for the financial year either complete (69 per cent) or in progress (29 per cent) at 31 March 2016. Of all budgeted projects (not just those commenced or completed), 97 per cent have met their respective milestones.

An update on The Concourse Financial Review reveals the actual nine month result exceeds an external consultant’s estimate by a surplus of $180K. This positive results stems mainly from Paid Parking.

“The third quarter report confirms Willoughby Council is in a solid financial and operating position and provides a positive outlook for the future of our community. Council’s recent focus on working smarter and project management is paying off. This is part of Council’s commitment to continue delivering for our community, while we navigate a potential time of change,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney.

– Ends –