Too little, too late?


The government’s inability to deal with the ‘shonky’ buildings problems in NSW continues unabated. They are proposing to ‘red flag’ developers of shonky buildings. This would mean that they could not sell high-rise apartments off-the-plan. Problem. They do not say how they will identify a shonky developer. Wait for a building to fall down?

The only buildings that will be inspected are ones by ‘risky builders’. Catch 22, here we go again.

Unfortunately, after pressure from Labour and the Greens, the government ‘pulled’ their proposed legislation. However, it is expected to be reintroduced next year. Hopefully no more defective buildings fall apart in the interim.




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Impounding Review


The NSW state government is in the process of reviewing the Impounding Act, 1993.

The object of the Act is to empower authorised persons (such as Council rangers) to impound and deal with (dispose of) animals and articles left in public places.

The main types of objects currently subject to being impounded include:

  • Animals
  • Shopping trolleys
  • Motor vehicles
  • Boat trailers, and
  • Shared devices (such as share bikes, scooters and the like).


By and large, the current regulations relating to the impounding of animals in an urban area generally seem to be adequate.


Abandoned shopping trolleys continue to be problematic. Only large retail stores are required to fit devices that limit a ‘feral’ trolley to within a shopping centre. Even this does not fully restrict trolleys as the technology used sometimes fails and the shopping giants seem reluctant to fix them. The requirement that anyone reporting an abandoned is required to identify the owner of the trolley means many feral trolleys are not reported. More trolleys would be reported if all that was need was a call to a central number to report their location.


The process of impounding an ‘abandoned’ motor vehicle, whilst lengthy, seems to work reasonably well.


A regularly occurring problem is that of vehicles obstructing driveways. The process under section 16 of the Impounding Act is protracted, whereas there is an immediate need to remove or impound an obstructing vehicle. What is needed is a process similar to that used for the removal of vehicles’ from a Clear Way.

Impounding Act


An impounding officer may impound an article found in the officer’s area of operations if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the article has been abandoned or left unattended. Section 16 affects this if the article is a motor vehicle.

 Note. The Local Government Act 1993 gives a council power to order the removal of an object or matter that is causing or likely to cause an obstruction.

 A reading of the Local Government Act does not reveal any such powers for a Council to removean object causing obstruction.


  • An impounding officer must make all reasonable inquiries in an effort to find out the name and address of the owner of a motor vehicle before the officer impounds the vehicle.


A motor vehicle within the meaning of the Road Transport Act 2013, includes a caravan, boat trailer or other trailer (whether or not attached to a motor(ised) vehicle). In NSW a heavy vehicles (4.5 tonnes or more GVM) or long vehicles (7.5 metres or longer) must not stop on a length of road In a built up area for longer than one hour (buses excepted).

The majority of complaints against boat trailers seemed to relate to the length of time they spent parked in the same spot (hence the current legislation to move the trailer every 28 days and attempts by Councils to implement parking restriction for boat trailers).

Apart from occupancy, two other issues remain – the width and height of a vehicle parked in a built-up area. Excessive width can pose a traffic obstruction. Height can reduce residential amenity.  Thought should be given to address this issue.

From an equity perspective, it seems unreasonable that any ‘non-heavy’ registered vehicle should be treated any differently from another. All have paid registration fees.


Consideration could be given to banning other than battery powered devices. An operator should be more timely in collecting and redeploying a battery operated device that would be inoperable if not charged.

The deployment station for devices should be regulated by Councils.  Devices, outside of their deployment station, left uncollected for more than 24 hours should be able to be impounded.

Have your say

There are three ways you can provide your feedback:

Have your say by 20 March 2020.



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Westfield prang park


According to a AAMI study, Westfield carpark at Chatswood is the worst carpark in NSW for accidents. Shoppers prang into everything: shopping trolleys cop the worst, followed by walls, pillars and other things, very often when reversing … Christmas Eve is one of the busiest times of the year, and Chatswood’s Westfield car park had more prangs than any other parking lot in NSW.

Of the 24,000 claims lodged nationally for car-park dings and prangs, Chatswood ranked third, recording 104. It was narrowly defeated by Maroochydore with 105 incidents, but paled compared to the national winner: Chadstone in Victoria, which recorded 258 incidents. Castle Hill and Miranda were next worst in NSW.

Shopping centres are “bedlam” at this time of year. The results found there were 37 per cent more car-park crashes in December, totalling 2674 nationally, closely followed by January with 2185.

Almost one-third of all prangs occurred when a driver was reversing.  One-quarter of car-park collisions involved a stationary object such as a bollard, shopping trolley or pillar/ wall.

During the festive period when car parks are busy we find that once we pass the 5-minute mark we start to feel annoyed and impatient – and the longer it takes, the more frustrated we become as we are not meeting our goal. Shoppers under pressure are more likely to take risks and get emotional. “This can quickly escalate to driving erratically, which as we know is how accidents happen.

The fact that Westfield (CentreGroup) elected for a ‘pop-up’ valet car park in the Anderson St carpark certainly exacerbated shopper frustration. For much of the time these around 50 spots (offered at $10) remained vacant. The rest of the carpark was full.

This description matched the scene at Chatswood’s Westfield on Christmas Eve where shoppers argued over spots, honked impatiently and flashed lights at those struggling to put shopping away. The results were not a surprise to local shoppers struggling to find a parking spot on Christmas Eve.

Story: Julie Power, Sydney Morning Herald



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CBD strategy fiasco


Key parts of Willoughby Council’s much vaunted CBD Strategy seems to have come to a screeching halt (READ THE DETAILS). The strategy designed, amongst other things, to facilitate an increase of population around the Chatswood railway station was initiated in 2016 and adopted by Council in 2018. It was then forwarded to the State Government for approval, and there is sat (until recently). Evidently, the State government has put key aspects of the strategy on-hold and asked for more detail from Council.

The biggest outcry over the strategy came from residents bordering areas that the Council had identified for 90m residential buildings. This was to be by way of a ‘hard front’ –  90m on one side of the street. two stories directly opposite. This was in stark contrast to previous strategies that adopted a ‘bell’ or ‘lemon’ curve strategy with building heights rising incrementally away from low rise dwellings.

The State government has determined that site-specific Planning Proposals (rezoning) in the previously proposed 90m zones will not be considered. The CWWPA has argued long and hard against allowing such site-specific planning proposals (speculative rezong applications).

What happens next?.

Council planners responded to a recent request by CWWPA for clarification on the strategy as below:

Work will begin on a new LEP for Willoughby including Chatswood CBD next year (2020). The aim will be to build on the foundation provided by Council’s strategic planning work to create the new draft instrument and submit this for Council’s consideration by the end of the year. It is then expected that the draft LEP – and perhaps draft DCP – would go on exhibition in 2021.

The existing Chatswood CBD Strategy has received partial endorsement from the DPIE with some matters such as the feasibility of the commercial component of the proposed Mixed Use zone requiring further examination. This work is currently underway and will feed into the draft LEP next year.

It is interesting to note that the planners did not mention the prohibition on site-specific planning proposals.

CWWPA has asked Council for a copy of the full State government determination.


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126 Greville St


The Church of Scientology’s recent application to enclose their property has been approved by the Northern Sydney Planning Panel.

Originally Council Officers recommended refusal of the application but the panel asked them to reconsider what additional conditions could be imposed. Subsequently, Council officers recommended approval with additional conditions.

Two of the major concerns of neighbours was the alienation of access to the property (a conditional of the original consent) and noise from traffic into/out of the property by cars and gates. In the Panel’s opinion these were adequately dealt with by conditions.

One condition imposed was for a sign that reads:


Another condition stated:

Attendance by Church representatives at Chatswood West Ward Progress
Association meetings, at least twice per year, to promote availability of cards for
regular access to the grounds and access to the bush trails.


THAT the Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) approves Modification Application
DA-2014/430/F to Modify Condition 77 to enable closing/opening of Greville Street
gates and modify Condition 83 regarding public access to bushland trails at 126
Greville Street, CHATSWOOD NSW 2067 & 23 & 25 Millwood Avenue, CHATSWOOD
WEST NSW 2067, subject to conditions contained in Attachment 1.

Development application DA-2014/430 was granted consent by Joint Regional Planning
Panel (currently known as Sydney North Planning Panel) on 12 March 2015 for Alterations and adaptive re-use of an existing building previously used by the National Acoustic Laboratory (NAL) for the purposes of ecclesiastical management, theological studies, church activities and associated works.

Determination of the application was deferred on 13 November 2019 and Council and the applicant were allowed time to further negotiate.

On 19 November, Council and Church representatives met for further discussion.

On 3 December 2019 Council received
 Community Access Plan of Management,
 Community Access Signage and Works,
 Proposed Amended Conditions, and
 Updated Acoustic Assessment.

The Development Application is referred to SNPP for electronic determination. This
supplementary report provides an assessment of the latest information received by Council.

The modification application seeks to increase security onsite in response to a security
incident earlier this year. The proposal is to allow for closure of the Greville Street gates and for access strictly via intercom at all times.

The amended information submitted by the Church encourages Willoughby residents to visit the grounds and to obtain access to the bush trails. A number of signage is proposed to guide and invite people into the site.

For the clarity of the message, Council recommends an additional signage to be located
below the main entry signage (below the logo “Advanced Organisation & Saint Hill Anzo”) in letters no less than 100mm in height, stating: “VISITORS ARE WELCOME TO ENTER AND ENJOY OUR GROUNDS”.

However, the applicant would like the sign to be placed anywhere else but not in the vicinity of the main identification sign. Taking into account that a welcoming sign should be easily visible from public domain and prominent enough to capture attention, alternate locations proposed by the applicant were not regarded as acceptable from Council viewpoint.

A Community Access Plan of Management dated November 2019 was submitted, noting a
number of actions including:
 The hours of access for community visitors from 7am to 6pm 7 days a week.
 Generally any household that requests an access card and provides copy of
identification card is to be provided with a security access card.
 On-site security is to enable the wider community to gain access to the site and to
bushland trails.
 Unrestricted egress from the site will be provided through the provision of exit
buttons to security gates.
Attendance by Church representatives at Chatswood West Ward Progress
Association meetings, at least twice per year, to promote availability of cards for
regular access to the grounds and access to the bush trails.

The Acoustic Logic report (no. 20140690.8/2711A/R4/TT) was revised and re-submitted,
demonstrating that, subject to recommended conditions, the noise generated by the
development will comply with relevant acoustic guidelines. The acoustic report is supported by Council’s Environmental Health Officer. Recommendations in the Acoustic report are included into recommended conditions, including “Church management should review number of parishioners using car park to ensure that no more than 20 vehicles are expected to use the car park after 10pm. If more than 20 cars are expected to leave after 10pm, the vehicular gate on Greville Street shall remain open between 10pm and 10.30pm to ensure no queuing”.

Conditions of consent summarise the main points in the additional documentation and
ensure that the Community Access Plan of Management is fully observed.

The modification application DA-2014/430/E is substantially the same development for
which consent was originally granted and has been assessed in accordance with the
provisions of Section 4.55(2) & Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and
Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act 1979), Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012 (WLEP
2012), Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) and other relevant codes and


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Water harvesting


Clr. Saville had asked a question of Council. Here is the response she received:

  • 38 of 86 projects (2018-24) completed
  • harvested water has been under resourced and maintenance costs higher than expected
  • there are risks with harvested water that have to be managed
  • The Concourse tank has capacity of 5ML. IML required for base harvest and 1ML available for harevesting. Remaining space used for flood management. Stormwater not currently being reused due to risk of contamination


The Willoughby council water plan 2018-2024 is an operational document regularly updated to ensure the works programme is delivered. It sets four categories, the framework for the activities programme: Water Efficiency: water Harvesting: Waterway Health and Asset Management.  There are 86 projects listed, 38 completed.WCC has been liaising with other Councils to discuss best approaches to maintain water harvest sites. Generally water harvest has been under resourced, and the cost of maintenance is higher than expected.  WCC will focus on expanding activity at its centralised harvest sites, Artarmon Reserve, the Concourse and extend the harvest network by installing pipes to carry water to areas of demand. WCC had identified that the cost of laying pipe is less than the construction of new sites and avoids costly specialised asset maintenance.  The expansion projects are in different stages of design, construction through to completion.

ther stormwater harvest has been identified.  During installation of GPT at  Warners Park, a pump was included to facilitate future harvest of water. Delivery planned for 20/21.
WCC updated the Harvested Water Quality Risk Matrix in September 19. The matrix is based upon multiple sources primarily ‘Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Stormwater Harvesting and Re-use’ (2009) and ‘Guidelines for Environmental Management Use of Reclaimed Water’ (2003).  The matrix was shared with NSW Health in 2019.  The matrix serves to identify risks prior to construction and ongoing operational risks.  Council had developed an accompanying maintenance schedule to ensure control methods in place are continually reviewed to reduce risk.
The Concourse stormwater tank has a capacity of 5ML. 1ML is required as base volume in the tank, with a further 1ML available for water harvesting.  This leaves a remaining 3ML airspace available to reduce effects of flooding during storm to provide greater flood protection downstream.
The stormwater is not currently being reused due to risk of contamination. WCC undertook a preliminary audit with an engineering consultancy in Nov. 2019.  A projects and Capital works bid has been submitted for 20/21.
Council continues to liaise with other Councils.


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Housing strategy 2036

The strategy proposes that the future residential growth be concentrated in there Focus Areas:

  • Focus area 1 to be within existing medium and high density zones,
  • Focus area 2 to be within the proposed B4 Mixed Use zone which surround the B3 Commercial Core of the Central Business District
  • Focus area 3 within the local centres

This strategy continues with Council’s desire to protect the dormitory suburbs of Chatswood, Chatswood West, Roseville and Lane Cove North from over-development for residential use.

41 Wood St


The application for a large dual occupancy comprising 10 bedroom and less than the mandated parking space has been approved under Affordable Housing provisions (there was a signal AH unit).

The following condition requested by neighbours was included: The building form and massing is to comply with WDCP Part D.l.7 – Building Envelopes and Setbacks to include the deletion of of the walk-in-robes attached to the first floor Master Bedrooms within Unit 1 and Unit 2.

Chatswood RSL move


The RSL will soon be submitting a Concept Development Application (DA) to Willoughby City Council to redevelop the Club’s site with a new RSL Club on the lower levels and a commercial tower above.

Following the assessment of suitable properties, they have exchanged contracts with Guide Dogs Australia to purchase 2-4 Thomas Street, which is conveniently located directly opposite the Club.

This purchase will allow the Club to totally relocate and to continue to provide most of the existing amenities during the construction period to ensure the safety and convenience of all members and staff. While plans for the Club and office tower are progressed over the coming years, the Club intends to lease back the building to Guide Dogs Australia.


Northern beaches tunnel

The Premier has been advising residents along the proposed route of the proposed new expressway that the eastern side of Flat Rock Drive Reserve will be alienated for a Dive Site for the tunnel for 4-5 years. This is before the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project has been undertaken.


This approach by the government of ‘do first, plan later’ is consistent with the government’s intent to make it easier for large project to be approved in NSW.