Rail bridge advertising

TransportfNSW has proposed digital advertising signs on both sides of the Albert Ave rail bridge.

Consistent with the previous directions of members, the CWWPA Committeee approved that we lodge an objection as follows:

Digital signage Albert Ave, Chatswood rail bridge.
The Chatswood West Ward Progress Association (CWWPA) objects to the proposed installation on two primary grounds:

1. SAFETY. There is a heavily used pedestrian crossing immediately to the west of the bridge. The road dips beneath the bridge. This means that motorists travelling east on Albert Avenue would likely be distracted by the proposed signage, averting their gaze away from the pedestrian area. This will result in an increased possibility of a pedestrian/vehicle conflict.

2.HERITAGE VALUES: Immediately adjoining the proposed signage on the eastern side, The Garden of Remembrance is a heritage listed shrine. At the time of construction of the bridge the Dept. of Transport/RailNSW spent a lot of time and money in providing a sympathetic development.. The proposed signage affronts these principles.

The CWWPA is a community-based organisation . Our area of interest is the entire West Ward of Willoughby Council. The proposed sign is within this rea. The Association actively engages over 18,000 people within the Ward view delivered newsletter,monthly updates and current web-site postings plus social media.  The Association is not against the installation of signage within the Chatswood CBD but it must be to an agreed standard, safe and non-confrontational.

Expansion of CBD

According to the North Shore Times:

The Chatswood CBD is set to continue its spread into surrounding streets with plans released for a 27 storey tower almost 800m south of the town centre.

A planning proposal has been lodged for an 81-unit building that would stand up to 90m tall at 629-639 Pacific Hwy – 70m above the existing 20m height limit.

Concept designs for the planning proposal show the “preferred” design option would have two storeys of shops and commercial offices below 25 storeys of apartments.

The tower would be 800m south of the CBD.

The tower would be 800m south of the CBD.

The proposal, lodged by Develotek Property Group, would be built on the existing site of PayLess Tyre and Breaks site opposite Nissan Chatswood and would surround low and medium density buildings.

Plans state the proposal is in line with Willoughby Council’s Chatswood CBD Planning and Urban Design Strategy which encourages increased building heights in several areas outside the existing CBD boundary including along the Pacific Hwy.

“The proposed building form will visually mark the southern extension to the Chatswood CBD,” the plans stated.

“(It) would also allow viable redevelopment of the land – attractive to both investors and owner occupiers, particular those households seeking to downsize.”

A concept plan of the development

A concept plan of the development

In early feedback, Willoughby Council said consideration of overshadowing and privacy may occur during public consultation, expected later this year.

Source: North Shore Times

Golf club tree loss

Ban new development in Sydney’s Wildlife Corridors – stop massive tree loss.

Wildlife Corridors were created to allow Fauna to move freely between Habitats.

The proposed 106 Apartment Seniors Development at Chatswood Golf Club will have a significant impact on the local wildlife habitat in the wildlife corridors linking four native bushland reserves – Mowbray Park Reserve, Coolaroo Reserve, Ferndale Park Reserve and Lane Cove National Park.

To obtain a Site Compatibility Certificate (SCC) the developer documented that 28 trees would need to be removed for construction. However the Development Application (DA) that was lodged on 22 May 2020 now proposes a catastrophic loss of 255 trees. This unacceptable proposal would remove remnant bushland and sandstone outcrops identified in the Willoughby City Council Natural Heritage Register. It also contravenes the aims and objectives of SEPP No. 19 Bushland in Urban Areas.

Many Threatened and Endangered Native species owe their survival to these Wildlife Corridors and need this habitat for feeding and protection.

Please stop any further inappropriate development in these Wildlife Corridors, particularly the one in West Chatswood & across Sydney. 

CEOs overpaid?

There have been calls for a review of Council CEOs pay packets after it was revealed that a number of Sydney Council CEOs are paid more than the Premier or the prime Minister.

The NSW Premier is paid $408,000. The Prime Minister is paid $549,000.

Willoughby CEO Debra Just is paid over $390,000.


New super panel

The state government is appointing 100 technical experts to consider and make recommendations on the appropriateness of state significant development proposals. It is hoped that this will assist the planning minister to make better decision then he has in the past.

It will be interesting to note of this newest initiate will make any real difference. There have numerous unsuccessful attempts to address this issue in the past.

Less is more?

The state government has reminded Councils that now is the time to consider their best structure going forward.

Under section 16 of the Local Government Act 1993, a council must obtain the approval of its electors at a constitutional referendum to do each of the following:

  • divide a council area into wards or abolish wards
  • change the number of councillors
  • change the method of electing the mayor
  • change the method of election for councillors where the council’s area is divided into wards.

Chatswood schools


■ Detailed design consultation is continuing with staff and
students at both schools.
■ Installation of demountables on the High School cricket
nets, sports court, staff car park and near the Bush
Campus will continue throughout Term 4 2020 and the
summer holidays.
■ Construction of the new Building R will start in late
2020 following receipt of the complying development
■ Construction of the main works will not start until
the outcome of the State Significant Development
application is known.

Developer influence over Council?

After learning that developers paid for a number of technical studies relating to Council’s CBD Strategy CWWPA asked Council a number of questions. See their responses below:

Who made the decision to accept money from developers on matters where they will likely submit applications for approval by Council? What process was used to assure the highest levels if transparency? How was this transparency enacted and publicly communicated?

Answer: The approach taken was in response to DPIE concerns with the CBD Strategy contained in a letter to Council dated 9 August 2019 and the return of 8 Planning Proposals involving four proponents. No money was accepted from developers.

Officers from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), Transport for NSW and Council agreed on the scope of investigations to address DPIE’s concerns with parts of the CDB Strategy.

DPIE, TFNSW and Council guided and reviewed the consultants’ work ensuring that it satisfactorily addressed DPIE’s concerns. DPIE’s support and oversight was required to enable the CBD Strategy to progress to finalising the outstanding matters.

·Why wasn’t the fact that Council had accepted funding from developer’s likely to submit development proposals within the CBD disclosed in the initial report that went to Council given that transparency is a core Willoughby community value as expressed in Council’s CIty strategy outcome: “5.1 – be honest, transparent and accountable in all that we do”?

Answer: It is considered that the Council has been consistent with the City Strategy Outcome “5.1 – Be honest, transparent and accountable in all that we do”. No funding was accepted from developers. Instead, work was carried out by the proponents at no cost to Council.

The initial report to Council where endorsement was sought and given was on 26 June 2017, which predated the DPIE concerns and the subsequent approach taken.  

The 14 September 2020 Council report, and in particular Attachment 1 ‘Budget/Financial’, detailed the work required and stated that “with agreement from the DPIE, funding of additional work was not at Council’s expense and all work scrutinised by both Council and DPIE prior to any decision making.”

How can the community be assured that these developers will not have an influence on decisions in the areas they funded?

Answer: There has always been concern to ensure that the review work carried out would be credible and satisfactory to the Council, community and the State Government.

ARUP were engaged by the proponents to prepare documentation addressing transport issues and to meet the requirements of DPIE and TfNSW.

Council Officers and Transport for NSW supervised the work and the proponents paid for the work.

The peer review on transport was undertaken by Transport for NSW.

GMU were engaged by the proponents to prepare documentation addressing urban design issues in those parts of the CBD adjoining Heritage Conservation Areas and to meet the requirements of DPIE.

Council Officers supervised and proponents paid for the work.

The Peer Review on urban design was undertaken by the DPIE Urban Design Team.

Weir Phillips Heritage and Planning were engaged by the proponents to prepare documentation addressing heritage issues and to meet the requirements of DPIE.

Council Officers supervised and the proponents paid for the work.

The Peer Review on heritage was undertaken by the DPIE Urban Design Team.

Did council, without any influence from external sources, select and instruct the consultants independently and at the end hand the bill over and the developers paid the bill no question asked?

Who were the Developers involved and how much did each pay?

Are the consultant involved part of an industry association which has an appropriate ethics code covering such situations?

Did the developers have any influence over the management of the consultants?

 Answer: The proponents selected and engaged the consultants, who are each recognized companies in their respective fields.

As agreed with DPIE, payments for the GMU study on urban design issues, the ARUP study on transport issues and the Weir Phillips study on heritage issues were made by the proponents directly to the respective consultancies. Council staff are not aware of the cost of the studies, nor the proportions paid by the individual proponents.

No proponent benefitted from the adoption of the studies, and in fact two proponents of Planning Proposals across three sites had their development potential reduced. 

Proponents involved are:

·      DPG Project 23 Pty Ltd (Develotek)

·      Ellis Street Development Pty Limited (Central Element)

·      H and J Vakili Pty Ltd

·      Goldfields Chatswood No. 1 Pty Ltd

ARUP, GMU and Weir Phillips contain members of the Planning Institute of Australia. Architects from GMU and Weir Phillips are registered under the relevant legislation.

Further information on the consultants is available here:




It is Council’s understanding the reports were prepared on an independent basis. This was further checked via peer reviews and in meeting the requirements of DPIE.

I hope this information assists with your enquiry and by all means let me know if you have further questions or require any clarification.