Update + amalgamation meeting Wed 6 May at 7pm

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, so there’s a lot to catch up on.
Hunters Hill Trust response to the revised concept for Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’
The developer has appointed a new team and they came up with a radically different design, including a 25 storey tower. The revised development would provide 300 – 350 flats, compared to 180 in the original.
We’re grateful, as always, for the expert assessment and critique from the Hunters Hill Trust, copy attached.
Fit for the Future, our Survey, and the Meeting between the Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition (SHHMC) and representatives of Council
It was clear from the results of our survey (available here) of approximately 140 respondents, that many people who live or work in Gladesville feel that Hunters Hill Council has let us down with the planning instruments, the option contracts for the sale of land, the failure to list the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St for heritage protection, and the lack of visibility to the public while these events were unfolding.
We believe that there is a widespread feeling that Hunters Hill Council does not deserve loyalty from Gladesville, given that the Council would enter into contracts which commit us to the sale of public land to a developer who could bypass local planning controls and seek state government approval for the 25 storey tower. This appears to be the rescue plan to keep the municipality viable, and those who live, work, are educated in, or come to Gladesville for any other reason – are to pay the price – in the shadow of such inappropriate development.
Ross Williams and Phil Jenkyn are both former councillors (Ross a former Mayor, Phil a retired barrister) and both remain active in community affairs. We are grateful for their attention to the plight of Gladesville.
Ross and Phil met with representatives of Council in support of Gladesville’s interests, in support of what we believe to be good government at the Council level. It was thanks to Ross and Phil’s meeting that Council finally released redacted versions of the Option agreements which will allow the sale of the publicly owned land (including 10 Cowell Street) when the developer decides to take it (for the price we have not been told).
The notes of the meeting between SHHMC and HHC are attached. The redacted versions of the option contracts and the valuation commissioned by Council can be found at this link on Council’s website. More on these, below.
We were delighted that Ross and Phil so passionately share our view that Gladesville needs responsible development, and that good governance of Hunters Hill Municipality is critical to the defence of it’s continued independence. Ross, Phil, and Tony Coote of the Hunters Hill Trust joined Gladesville Community Group (Inc) Committee members Justin Parry-Okeden and Russell Young at the Council Meeting on 9th March to present on a number of motions on the agenda. Councillor Bird’s motions were aimed at improving public confidence in Council’s handling of a number of concerning issues (Motions and Resolutions 3.1 to 3.3, attached), and we also made presentations about a motion before Council regarding the setback controls for the GSV site (Motion and Resolution 4.3, attached). We were pleased to receive the support of Councillors for 3 of the 4 motions resolved in that meeting.
Questions arising from the documents which were released
Thanks largely to Justin Parry-Okeden’s efforts poring over the details of the valuation and the option contracts, we have a few questions for which we are seeking a response from the Mayor and General Manager (who negotiated the Option instruments with the developer, under delegated authority). These concise observations and questions are attached and are WELL WORTH READING.
We will forward any response received from Council, to this mailing list.
Council amalgamation event – consultation?
The Council are holding an event on Wednesday 6th May, at the Henley Community Centre on Crown St, Henley, commencing at 7pm. The event is described at this link on council’s website as being of “consultation”, but we note from the “Keep Councils Local” banner (attached) on the HHC website that the Council seems to have already determined its position. In any case, we’ll be there. Come on down to the Henley Community Centre on Wednesday night if you can make it. Be consulted, or at least be told what you want, directly.
Where to from here
With what we’ve come to learn about Hunters Hill Council’s actions, in the last 5-10 years, regarding;
1) the failure to list the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St for heritage protection despite the unchallenged expert recommendation to do so,
2) the negotiation of option instruments (without tender or public visibility of the process) for the sale of public land, and
3) the evolution of planning controls for the GSV site
– it is hardly surprising that many of us are sceptical about the value of retaining Hunters Hill Council as an independent municipality.
As shown by our survey results, many of us in Gladesville would like to see our suburb managed under one Council, and are open to exploring models of local council government which would deliver economies of scale and would not be expected to deliver worse planning outcomes that we have at present – whereby Hunters Hill Council is obliged to sell public land to a developer at their will – to facilitate a development that seeks to remove the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street and build a 25 storey tower on the site.
Through the support we’ve received from Ross Williams, Phil Jenkyn, Tony Coote (and the Committee and members of The Hunters Hill Trust), and other community groups like the Ryde Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society as well as smaller groups of community-minded people in local streets, we see some merit in protecting Hunters Hill as an independent municipality DESPITE, not because of, what the Council has done in recent years.
Whilst we acknowledge the support of a number of current Councillors sympathetic to Gladesville’s position, they have been a MINORITY voice too often, and we believe this Council has struggled to properly represent and defend the interests of its ratepayers in Gladesville, so far as planning and development is concerned. We believe that Hunters Hill Council has identified the sale of public land at the GSV site (and related development) as the financial rescue plan to ensure medium-term financial sustainability, and has been too supportive of the development to adequately balance the financial gain against community amenity. In short, we believe Gladesville is being sacrificed for the benefit of the rest of the municipality. However, because of density, the Gladesville / Boronia Park end of the municipality could easily become the vocal, disaffected majority.
For many decades Hunters Hill Municipality has benefitted from having passionate, community-oriented activists fight for heritage, conservation, bushland management, and other community-oriented causes. The Council can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.
As the ‘Fit for the Future’ debate ramps up, and when it’s time to make submissions directly to the State Government, we will be promoting public participation and helping people to be heard. Please follow the issues. Please keep an eye on Hunters Hill Council and make your mind up about whether this municipality should remain independent, about whether Gladesville should fight to be under one Local Council, and about the local government model that you think will best serve the interests of Gladesville.
We are looking to Hunters Hill Council to show its value to the Community in Gladesville by;
1) terminating the option agreements (per meeting notes with SHHMC),
2) protecting the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St in-situ with heritage listing and refusal to sell, and
3) refusing to sell Council-owned land into any development that will bypass local planning rules (using state government ‘gateway’ approvals).
Gladesville doesn’t need a 25 storey tower, or 350 flats on the Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’ site, and if that’s what Hunters Hill Council will allow for Gladesville then we’ll be asking whether we need Hunters Hill Council, too.
We thank the generous donors who have already contributed to the Group, and will always appreciate donations of any size to;
Bank:                    Commonwealth Bank
Account Name      Gladesville Community Group Incorporated
BSB                      062 166
Account number   1042 2131
From the team at Gladesville Community Group (inc).