Pedestrain Access and Mobility Plan for the Gladesville Town Centre – submissions due by Friday 13 December 2013

Hi Everyone,

Please find attached information on the Gladesville PAMP, being developed jointly by Ryde and Hunters Hill Councils.

This is a great opportunity for members of the community to provide feedback on the key issues and concerns for Pedestrians in the Gladesville Town Centre.

Please take a moment to read the attached information, and give feedback using any of the methods available.

Pamp consultation

Presentations to Council: Justin Parry-Okeden and Russell Young on 10 Cowell Street (9 Dec 2013)

Hi Everyone,

Please see below the presentations made last night, to Hunters Hill Council.

Presentation by Justin Parry-Okeden

In 2002 Hunters Hill Council conducted an extensive heritage restoration project on the building known as “10 Cowell St”.

The then General Manager (Barry Smith) and the Councillors at the time (including the now Mayor Richard Quinn) rejected any criticism of the project, and boasted about the success of this undertaking, and indeed held it up as an example of what can be achieved in heritage conservation.

I quote the then General Manager Barry Smith; “The completed building is a tribute to the Council staff and contractors who undertook the work and Council can now justifiably point to its own work as an example of what can be achieved in heritage and conservation building works. Any criticism of our performance in this project is unwarranted and misinformed.”

I must say, that not only I, but other members of the community are both amazed and extremely concerned that a council that has the same General Manager as well as one previous council member who now holds the position of mayor, now chooses to turn their back on the investment made by the rate payers of our community to preserve the cultural heritage for the future generations yet to come.

It would be a true travesty to see the previous dedication and hard work of all the professionals involved in the restoration project simply go to waste due to what can only be perceived as a change in priorities by the current administration.

I implore all Councillors to look inside themselves and reject the assertion that 10 Cowell Street is simply “an UNDERPERFORMING ASSET” – as described by the General Managers sweeping statement of all Cowell Street properties in the council minutes dated 13th May this year. Instead we must acknowledge its true value to the community as an important piece of our cultural heritage.

Presentation by Russell Young

Over the past few months we’ve learned that Council had received recommendations from credible experts to upgrade the Heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street, and exhibited the draft 2012 LEP on that basis, but failed to make the decision to accept or reject the recommendations prior to adoption of the 2012 LEP.

We have learned that the Council contractually committed itself to sell this property to a developer, so that a shopping centre may be extended across the property where the building sits.

Of most concern is the order of these two events, that the Council allowed itself to become contractually bound to sell the property to a developer before deciding whether or not the asset had Heritage value and should be protected – when it had received recommendation from multiple experts, that it deserved protection.

When the topic of council amalgamation was raised in March this year, Mayor Quinn was quoted in the Northern District Times as saying“Because of its historical, heritage value, Hunters Hill should remain independent”. I believe his comments were consistent with the expectation of those who have actively fought to ensure this independence in the past.

As Council goes into recess until the new-year, I ask that the Councillors reflect on whether what we have learned about the Management of Hunters Hill Council in recent years does deliver against that mandate, to protect history and heritage. Should we believe that Hunters Hill Council is in a weaker position or a stronger position to defend against the next call for amalgamation, given the events we’ve come to understand?

It is possible that, in years ahead, this period of time will be looked back upon as being definitive in determining the future of the municipality. The Council’s financial deficits of the last 5 years, and for the 10 years forward from last year’s T-Corp report on sustainability, caused T-Corp to call the Council’s long-term sustainability into question. We pay high rates, and the Council does not break-even.

The $5.6M backlog of infrastructure works to bring assets up to an acceptable standard does not help paint a picture of a Municipality in good shape.

The evolution of the 2010 DCP for the Gladesville Key Site could, at kindest, be described as highly confusing. The DCP was called a “flawed instrument” by the Hunters Hill Trust, and has been shown to be out of touch with community expectations.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to defend Hunters Hill as an independent municipality.

The failure to decide on the Heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street is an act of denying protection to an asset of Heritage value. Given the claim of the legitimacy of Hunters Hill as an independent municipality, based on protection of history and heritage, such a refusal must be well considered and defendable.

To have committed the asset to a legal situation in which it is available for sale at the will of a Developer who will extend the shopping centre across where it stands, without having satisfactorily resolved against expert opinion on the Heritage value of the property, falls short against the Council’s mandate.

I ask that our Councillors reflect on whether they expect the Council to retain the trust and confidence of the community, after what we’ve all learned about the treatment of 10 Cowell Street, and other adjacent issues. I ask that the Councillors consider what implications this will have on the ability to defend the Municipality from amalgamation in the future.

298 submitters, the request for a BETTER DCP, and Media coverage (GSV and Coulter St)

Hi Everyone,
Congratulations and well done – at last count 298 people or groups had made submissions to Hunters Hill Council about the proposed redevelopment of Gladesville Shopping Village (GSV) – ‘Quinn Towers’# as it’s being referred by some. That’s a fantastic achievement, to have 298 people take time out of busy schedules and find the time to make submissions about this development. Participating in the planning approval process by making a submission was the best way to channel the passion people feel about this development, so WELL DONE EVERYONE!

What’s next
The DA for GSV
Architectus will be reviewing these submissions as part of their assessment of the Development Application and will report to the Council. The Council will make its formal submission to the Joint Regional Planning Panel, incorporating the report from Architectus. We do not yet know the expected timing of these events, and the JRPP has not yet scheduled the meeting to determine this DA.
A BETTER Development Control Plan (DCP) 
Some people have been given the impression, from comments made by Council, that assessment of a DA for the GSV site is in the hands of State Government and out of the hands of Council. The full picture is that our Council can draft and adopt DCP’s for sites within the municipality, which set the ‘ground rules’ for Development. The ‘rules’ in the DCP’s are given legal backing in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act – so they’re very important when it comes to determining any given DA. So, although the Council is not the consent authority for this DA, the JRPP is, the Council have created a set of the rules against which it will be evaluated. There are other factors which will be taken into account, also, but the DCP should not be ignored, and Council’s ability to influence the outcome should not be underestimated.
We don’t know whether this particular DA will be approved or rejected, but if it is rejected we need to make sure no future DA can be submitted with modifications which address the specific reason(s) for rejections, but would still create most of the negative impacts to which so many of us have objected.
The importance of the DCP is the reason why the Open Letter, which is attached, was written and signed by Richard Li and Russell Young as a call to immediately restore the provisions of the first DCP of 2010 through adoption of an interim instrument, and conduct a proper process to draft a suitable DCP for the future. Deputy Mayor Meredith Sheil and Councillor Justine McLaughlin have replied in their individual capacities (not an official reply on behalf of Hunters Hill Council) and given broad support the call, and we thank them for their commitment. Their responses are also attached, along with a letter of explanation of the evolution of these DCP’s, written by Council management. Councillor Gary Bird is limited in what he can say, as legal advice prevents him from participating in certain activities, but he expressed his opinion strongly at the ‘traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety meeting’ at Gladesville RSL club, and we feel that we can count on his support for a BETTER DCP.
For those who wondered ‘how can this be possible’ and tried to evaluate this DA against the DCP, you may have found that the Council had a DCP of 2013 which was adopted after submission of the DA, and there was a DA which could be found on Council’s website, adopted in 2010. The 2010 DCP which could easily be found had some controls such as setbacks and landscaping requirements, which aimed to soften the impact of such a development on the streetscape. What we only discovered after writing to Council about improving the DCP, is that a second DCP was adopted in 2010, which favours the developer and removed some of these controls – thus allowing the situation (for example) where a 14m sheer wall (1 & /2 telegraph poles tall) could be built all the way to the footpath on the corner of Cowell and Flagstaff Streets, where the Timber Cottage currently stands. Below is a summary of key aspects of the two DCP’s of 2010.


Timber Cottage at 10 Cowell Street – Council’s decision not to Heritage List

Continuing on the (‘Yes, Prime Minister’) theme of actions by Hunters Hill Council management which make it hard for residents to understand what’s happening, many of you will have heard a member of our group, Justin, speak about the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St, at previous meetings. He has provided this updated timeline to help explain this history of the timber cottage not being Heritage listed, against the views of Paul Davies who was engaged by Council to undertake a review, as well as The Hunters Hill Trust, and other organisations and experts who are interested in the preservation of items of Heritage significance.

In short, the expert engaged by the Council to review and make recommendations on Heritage listing of assets in the municipality did recommend that 10 Cowell Street be upgraded to a Heritage Listing. In the draft LEP which the Council publicly exhibited, 10 Cowell St was included as an item of local heritage importance, and given heritage listing under Schedule 5. However, when it came time to adopt the LEP, the Council removed the listing on the property, making it easy for a developer to demolish it and extend a shopping centre right across the site. When questioned council said they hadn’t had enough time to review all of Paul Davies recommendations at that time, and that this property, along with others, would be reviewed subsequently. No review was undertaken since these events in 2012 prior to the lodgement of this DA, but it is in progress now and we expect the Council to find, contrary to the Davies report and The Hunters Hill Trust recommendations, that the property does not warrant listing. The Council has negotiated a deal, the details of which remain secret, which allow the developer to buy this property from the Council.

It is important to note that during the council meeting back on 11th June 2002, the council defended the restoration project then undertaken by the council on 10 Cowell St. In the Report of General Manager, the council’s General Manager at the time (Barry Smith) is quoted as saying “…Council can now justifiably point to its own work as an example of what can be achieved in heritage and conservation building works”.

Media Coverage of GSV Development Application and proposed Coulter St Development

We’re pleased that Robbie Patterson of the Northern District Times saw the GSV Development issue worthy of reporting and his last article, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, can be read on the link below.
Robbie also reported on residents’ concerns about possible plans for Ryde Council to co-develop the site of the Coulter Street carpark, with Gladesville RSL.