Lights near bushland

floodlightsnearbushland.jpgCouncil’s Natural Heritage and Bushland Advisory Committee (NHBAC) is recommending that Council develop a Light Pollution Impact on Bushland Policy.

MOTION

NOTING the recent community discussions about light pollution at O H Reid Oval, and further NOTING that Willoughby City Council has no policy concerning light pollution impacts,

 

1 That NHBAC ADVISES Council

1.1 that there is a body of evidence which indicates that light pollution adversely impacts native bushland fauna;

and

1.2  that light pollution should be controlled to protect nearby bushland from these impacts;

and

2 That NHBAC RECOMMENDS that Council:

2.1 should develop and adopt a light pollution policy to guide planning, development and other decisions by Council which might affect bushland;

and, following adoption of the new policy

2.2  invites other Councils with boundaries in common with WCC to adopt similar policies (e.g. North Sydney Council’s Tunks Park area);

and

2.3 educates and informs property owners about the impacts of light pollution on bushland fauna, and ways in which light pollution impacts can be minimised.

 

 

 

 

 

Tennis courts

Tennis

Willoughby Council is in the process of reviewing its tennis court policy.

In 2018 Council commissioned a report that looked at all of the tennis courts in the city. This has not been released to the public. We have asked for a copy of the report.

There are a total of 51 tennis courts in the city owned by Council. Of these, six are in West Ward at 52 Fullers Rd. These are synthetic courts and are leased out. In addition, there are a number of privately owned courts at:

  • Chatswood Lawn Courts, 699a Pacific Highway – 2 lawn courts
  • Chatswood Tennis Club, 152 Fullers Rd – 10 synthetic grass courts (most with lights)
  • Mowbray Public School, Mowbray Rd West – 3 hardcourts with lights

This is a total of 18 courts in West Ward.

All up it appears that there are around 100 courts in Willoughby. On the basis that their are four Wards in Willoughby, West Ward seems to be under supplied with courts. We would expect around 25 courts on a pro-rate basis).

Of the 100 tennis courts half fare owned by Council (50% in public ownership). West Ward’s six publicly owned courts represent around just 10% of Council owned courts. So not only do we have less courts but far less Council owned courts.

No one is suggesting that we necessarily need more tennis courts in West Ward. However, this analysis continues to display that quite often West Ward has fallen short on Council resources.

Fast track housing

Terraces

State government legislation allowing developers to by-pass Council building regulations is likely to be re-introduced after July. Last year when the new Code was introduced, Councils resisted the policy eventually seeing it shelved for twelve months.

The new Code is designed to make it easier for developers to build terraces and other medium density housing in traditional areas by a process known as ‘Complying Development‘. This bypasses Council. Instead Private Certifiers paid by the developer decide if the development should be approved. The first you may know about a development next to you is when you are advised that work is about to commence. There is no requirement that you be consulted prior to approval being granted.

Fortunately, perhaps, the Code will only apply in areas already zoned for medium-density

Longer pub hours sought

Monkey Bar

The Monkey Bar in the heart of Chatswood has taken Willoughby Council to court after Council refused to allow the pub to trade until 4AM.

Residents in hundreds of units near the pub opposed the hours on the basis that noise was already an issue with rowdy patrons often creating a nuisance.

Local police also opposed the extension, saying the hotel could become a “target” for people drinking “large quantities” of alcohol.

 

School to move from Chatswood

Gore hillThe International Chinese School currently operating with 35 students at St Paul’s Anglican Church premises on Fullers Road is planning to relocate to the Gore Hill Cemetery site in St Leonards. This would allow an increase in numbers to 210.

The school has a unique approach. Students speak English for half the week and Mandarin for the other half.

When the school was approved in 2015 on Fullers Rd there was local concern that they would soon require larger premises.

12 per cent of residents in the Willoughby Council area can speak Mandarin, four times higher than the state average.

More “unplanned” proposals?

overdevelopmentSince 1979 development in NSW has been regulated by the NSW Planning Act. This uses Local Environment Plans (LEPs) and Development Control Plans (DCPs) to control and guide new development. These plans have been prepared by the local Council.

However, the Act does not stop developers lodging opportunistic development proposals that propose buildings that do not comply with an LEP or DCP. These are known as Planning Proposals or Spot Rezonings. More and more of such proposals are being approved by state government appointed planning panels.

Last year, the State Government initiated another planning process to sit between the state strategic plans and a Council’s LEP. This is known as Local Strategic Planning Statements (LSPS). On the surface of it, such a process makes some sense. However, it is the LEP only that has legislative ‘teeth’.

In a recent communique from the Department of Planning they advised once a LSPS has been adopted by a Council “all new planning proposals will be required to align with a Council’s LSPS“. This appears to allow the planning panels to by-pass a Council’s LEP. The term ‘align‘ is not defined. As LSPSs are high level strategic documents it would seem easy for a panel to declare that a Spot Rezoning is justified. So instead of a Council preparing an LEP this will now effectively be undertaken by a planning panel endorsing a non-complying application.

The Minister for Planning and his Head of Department have declined an invitation from the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations (FWPAs) to discuss the issue. It is hoped that the Federation will further raise the issue with the Mayor and the Premier.

Low cocaine use in Willoughby

cocaine

cocain1

It was refreshing to note recently that Willoughby has one of the lowest use of cocaine in Sydney. Along with many urban fringe areas, Willoughby was ranked in the lowest classification. Ryde, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill and Mosman have substantially higher use whilst North Sydney has the highest usage on the North Shore.

Images: Sydney Morning Herald 8 June 2019.

 

Chase – new shops, theatres

Chatswood Chase1

Chatswood Chase is proposing a major upgrade that would see two new levels of shops and movie theatres as well as longer trading hours (6AM to midnight, 7 days a week).

The proposed development  would make the Chase larger than Westfield.

 

Justification for the development relies partly on the belief that the Metro North will bring more people into Chatswood and the fact that more and more international tourists from China and Asia are visiting Chatswood.

Willoughby Council is concerned about the traffic implications.

Nearby Mercy College are also concerned about increased traffic flow passed their school gates.