Government agencies who ask communities for their opinion on infrastructure projects and then ignore them are scared of losing control, a federal inquiry into the development of cities has been told.
The power that central agencies have in deciding what infrastructure gets built should be reduced and data-sharing technology used to get citizens’ input, instead of “stakeholder consultation” that was often ignored, software group SAP Australia and the Regional Australia Institute said.
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For many years, litigants from 9 Talus Street, Naremburn have been battling Willoughby Council to reopen the Talus Street Reserve for Public Recreation.
The reserve is Crown Land that had been dedicated for Public Recreation but in recent years Council had leased the Reserve and it has been used as a privately run tennis facility.
In the latest Orders handed down by the Equity Division of the Supreme Court of NSW, Willoughby Council has been directed to “take all practical steps to cause the Reserve to be and remain available for public recreation, including to ensure that access to tennis courts on the Reserve is open to all members of the public and is not dependent on membership of any club”
Is that the end of this matter. Can we proceed to heal the rift between the local residents and Council? The decision that Willoughby Council now faces is how does it interpret and meet the order.
The orders also anticipate that the tennis courts might remain within the Reserve. However, it is unclear what ‘opens to all members of the public‘ means. For instance, not all members of the public might have the where-with-all to pay to use the courts. So will access to the courts be free? The orders also anticipate that the courts may be leased by directing that “any net profit derived by the Talus Trustee in leasing or licencing the Reserve is applied to the reserved purpose of public recreation of the Reserve“. Does all the area have to be made available to the public? Can all or some of the courts still be leased to a private organisation? Is a ‘time-sharing’ approach applicable? Time will tell!
There may be wider implications of the court decision. How many other portions of Crown Land reserved for public recreation within NSW (and Willoughby) have been alienated to private interests? There are caravan parks, golf courses and probably a plethora of other private occupations on Crown Land. Will it take local residents near these facilities to take legal action to unearth the facts or will Willoughby Council proactively review their Crown Reserves and take the appropriate action?
Invitation to show community support against demolition of historic house at 9 Centennial Av via North Shore Times photo (1)
Update: 22 February, 2018. Due to swift community action, the demolition of the two storey mansion has been stopped for now. Whilst the property was not heritage listed there have been various heritage assessments that recommended it be listed. After recently purchasing the property, the new owners submitted a Complying Development Notice to Willoughby Council to demolish the house. However, he did not wait the required two weeks before starting demolition.
Acting on community outrage, the Council was able to get an Interim Heritage Order (IHO) placed on the property. Because the owner had breach conditions and the property has the order on it, Council was able to take action to get the owner to secure and weather proof the property. This took a few days but Council kept on the case to it was achieved.
The IHO will be valid for one year(?). In the interim, there will be further heritage assessment and the matter will be determined as whether to list the property as a local heritage item. Even if this occurs, the owner can still apply to demolish the property.
Please stand ready to respond when requested on this matter in the future.
The NSW Department of Education’s innovative Aurora College has taken up a temporary home at Mowbray Public School. There are twenty-four housed in four classrooms.
Aurora College (The Virtual Secondary School) is a new and unique secondary option for students in government schools in NSW.
Classes commenced in January 2015 with over 160 students from all across NSW.
Students stay connected locally while developing their passion for subjects and courses that link to their career plans and broaden their post school options.
Students connect with their peers and their teachers through lessons delivered virtually, through technology and personally during residential schools held twice each year.
Aurora College provide a personalised experience and has a strong science and mathematics focus. Mentoring opportunities and master classes are key features of the learning experience.
Teachers who are part of our school are able to remain connected with their local school and community while expanding their teaching and career options through this unique experience.
The College expects to remain at Mowbray for one year.
Soon there will be no point contacting your local Councillor when you have a concern with a Development Application. From 1 March, DAs will be determined by a special panel, NOT Councilors.
This has been a long time coming.
The majority of residents have said that they want developers to ‘stick to the rules’. However, when it came to Councillor decisions, the Councillors often threw the rule book out and imposed their own view of what should be approved or acceded to the demands of potential voters at the next election.
Naturally, the developers cried foul to the State Government.
Local Planning Panels are the outcome