Coming to a park near you?

Screenshot_20180526-155940Council is seeking feedback on its draft plan for sporting field management. This is an important initiative. As our population is growing at a fast pace, existing fields will be placed under strain unless managed wisely. Due to the high cost of land in Willoughby, a new sports field could cost upwards of $50 M.

The green open space of Willoughby is highly valued by residents. We have 424 hectares of public open space of which 5% (22.6 h) is used for active sport o f one form or another. These grounds are used for a wide variety of formal and informal sport including team sports, group and personal activities. Some of the grounds have been given over to single user sports (golf courses, tennis courts, bowling clubs and the like). For future generations we need to review how grounds should be allocated.

In the West Ward we have the following formal sporting facilities:
 Chatswood Rotary War Memorial Athletics Field (athletics – leased)
 Chatswood Oval (cricket and rugby union – leased)
 Greville St Reserve (half size field – general purpose))
 O.H. Reid Reserve (general purpose)
 Chatswood Croquet Club (croquet – leased)
 Chatswood Tennis Club (lawn tennis – leased)
 Fullers Rd Reserve (tennis – leased)
 Chatswood Golf Course (golf – leased)
 Chatswood Bowling Club (bowls – private)
 Chatswood High School Oval
 Mowbray Public School Oval
 Chatswood West Tennis Club (tennis – private)

Sporting grounds by their nature can stress neighborhoods. Local issues include noise, traffic, parking, loss of privacy, lighting, hours of use and environmental impacts. A major response by Council to increasing demand is to convert grounds to synthetic surfaces with light. Currently, 16 of the 22 grounds have lights. More are planned.

Another major stressor is facilitating greater shared use of facilities. People wanting to exercise when team sports are being played. People wanting to walk dogs (on and off lead). New sports wanting spaces.

The sporting fields are expensive to maintain (nearly $1.5 M p.a), whilst Council does charge some users, they currently only recover 50% of the cost.
There is a current policy that generally fields not be used for organised sports on a Sunday (there are a few exceptions.

Another issue is the partial alienation of fields to sporting clubs by way of lease. This can dramatically reduce public access to the facilities (e.g. when rugby union is being played on Chatswood Oval a febbce is erected and you have to pay to enter the public space).

You can access the draft sporting fields plan on Councils website ( under the Have Your Say tab. If you have questions, you can phone Julie Whitfield at council on 9777 775q1 or by email ( or post to P.O Box 57, Chatswood, 2057


Pay Councilors less?

unnamedShould Councilors be paid less?

Traditionally a very large portion of a Councilor’s time was taken up with Development Applications (DAs). This has changed. Councilors are no longer involved with the determinatiin of DAs. Instead, Local Planning Panels comprised mainly of independent experts now determine large developments (Council staff are delegated to determine the smaller DAs).

The new  planning Panel comprises an independent chair, two other independent experts and a sole community member. They meet monthly. Per meeting the chair is paid $2,000+, independent experts $1,500+ and the community member $500+. This equates to around $44,000+ p.a.

Our 13 councillors on the other hand are paid at least $22,400 each p.a. equating to $291,000 p.a

It is difficult to quantify the time Councilors spent on DAs. It has been suggested that this could have been of the order of 50-75% of their time (maybe higher for some Councilors). If this was the situation, there is a case that Councilors be paid less. Maybe up to $220,000 p.a less. This would see the Councilor allowance drop to to around $5,600 p.a.

Such an allowance might not be atractive to potential Councilors. The way this could be addressed would be to reduce the number of Councilors.

Twenty odd years ago there were 15 councilors in five wards. Now there are 12 in four wards plus the Mayor. Instead, we could maybe keep the four wards but with a single Councilor plus four Councilors elected across the city plus a Mayor – 9 councilors. At say $10,000 per annum each this would cost $90,000 p.a – a saving of around $200,000 p.a. that could be directed toward local community services.

There is a related article worth a read in the North Shore Times, Tighter IHAP vetting required by Matt Taylor, 24 May 2018, p.20.








688-692 Pacific Highway

The Development Application (DA-2017/300) for this cite has been re-ignited.

Reports are that the application is similar to the last one that was withdrawn but is still non-compliant, especially in relation to height.

Local residents have suggested:

1  Immediately lodge a response to the proposal with Willoughby Council in the usual way ( outlining any concerns you have.  I suggest you visit Council to inspect the proposal at Willoughby Council Help and Services Centre Level 4, 31 Victor Street Chatswood
2.  Pursue any further joint action that you may with to make with others

Fullers Road- coming of the Metro!

A local resident posed the following question: With the expected much heavier traffic loads on Fullers Road from later this year, do we know whether council or RMS are looking at any improvements on Fullers Road? Such as making the ‘temporary’ road markings permanent. And extending the two right hand turns at the Pacific Highway to 24×7. 

Willoughby Council replied:

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) is the agency responsible for the closure of the Epping to Chatswood rail line. The temporary closure from 30 September 2018 for approximately 7 months is required to enable the construction of the Sydney Metro Northwest.

Fullers Road is a State Road under the responsibility of and maintained by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). Help Street is a local road under the care and control of Willoughby City Council.

It is understood that TfNSW and RMS have collaborated in the development of the Station Link initiative to support the provision of a bus based solution as the alternate transport solution during the temporary closure of the Epping to Chatswood rail line. Bus services are provided between Chatswood/ St Leonards to Beecroft, Epping and Eastwood via North Ryde Station, Macquarie University Station and Macquarie University Campus. Information has been released by TfNSW regarding the Station Link initiative and can be found via the link below.

Council has no proposals to change Fullers Road as part of the implementation of the temporary closure of the Epping to Chatswood rail line. Changes in Fullers Road between Pacific Highway and Millwood Avenue including changes in the operation of the tidal flow system in Fullers Road between Pacific Highway and View Street is a matter for TfNSW and RMS.

TfNSW has identified kerbside parking changes in Railway Street, Victoria Avenue, Brown Street, Chatswood and Herbert Street, Clarendon Street and Pacific Highway, St Leonards to support the operation of the Station Link initiative. Council is aware of the proposed changes and community consultation was completed by TfNSW on 26 April 2018. TfNSW is also proposing to increase the duration of No Stopping restrictions in Help Street between Pacific Highway and Railway Street on the south side only to 3 pm – 7 pm Monday to Friday. Council understands it is required to ensure sufficient road capacity in Help Street for outbound buses during the important afternoon peak service considering the need to provide a reliable bus service. Issues identified included variability in traffic ramp up in the weekday afternoon peak period and illegal parking at the start/ end of the No Stopping restrictions. Council is aware of the proposed changes and the proposal is currently out for community consultation until 17 May 2018. If implemented it will lead to a reduction of parking by 1 hour and a loss of potential revenue for 30 minutes each day for 11 car spaces. It is understood that TfNSW intend to forward the proposed street parking changes to Council for consideration by the Local Traffic Committee and approval by Council.

TfNSW and Council have been discussing a range of matters relating to the delivery of the Station Link initiative including impacts to revenue and will be formalising an agreement in due course.

Rail passengers wishing to travel to Parramatta from Chatswood or Epping can use the existing train services between Chatswood and Parramatta (T1 North Shore and Western lines) and Epping to Parramatta (T1 Northern and T1 Western lines). Station Link does not provide bus services to Parramatta. Council is not aware whether TfNSW is planning to provide additional bus services from Chatswood to Parramatta.

A copy of both Mr Orme’s and your communication will be forwarded to TfNSW for their consideration.

$400,000 for GM?


Willoughby GM – Debra Just

It is reported in the North Shore Times that Council’s General Manager, Ms Debra Just’s contract has been renewed with a pay increase from $340,000 to nearly $400,000 p.a.

Lane Cove’s GM earns  $285,000. Kuringgai’s GM earns $292,000. Clr. Saville opposed the renewal of the contract on the basis that the increase was more than the CPI and because the approval was given behind closed doors.

Clr Coppock argued that the Local Government Act requires the appointment of any Council staff must be and open and transparent process. Further it is reported that he believed the general manager did not deserve to continue in her role. He cited issues with openness and transparency under her watch. Clr. Coppock also feltthat the GMs management style was a bad for for Willoughby.

The GMs contract was due to expire in February 2019. Evidently the GM had requested a new contract. One can only surmise as to why.

Councillors voted 10 to 2 to renew the GM’s contract.