Bondi View

Bondi steps up fight against development


By Emily Contador-kelsal


Communities across Waverly have been battling against over development.

A planning proposal to rezone 105 Wellington St in Bondi from private tennis courts to a medium density residential  development has stirred opposition from residents, Waverley council and local MP Gabrielle Upton.

Wednesday, October 29 marked the end of public submissions on the proposal. From this point, Waverley council will now collect submissions and make a recommendation on whether to reject the planning proposal or proceed.

David Gravina from community group Rescue Bondi said the developers’ ability to override Council and seek their Spot Rezoning through the contentious PreGateway Review flies in the face of this Government’s election promise to return planning to local communities

“The community and Council are exasperated,” he said.

“They are exhausted from fighting this repeatedly over many years; and Council has been forced to once again put forward a planning Report – this is a waste of energy and resources.”

A Waverley Council Spokesperson said council had consistently expressed its objection to the loss of recreational space in the locality and will consider this issue again at the December Council meeting.

“As the relevant planning authority, Council needs to consider each proposal on its merits after considering the public submissions received on the proposal,” the spokesperson said.

“These submissions are currently being assessed by Council staff and will be outlined in a report to Council in December 2014.”
Mr Gravina said if the Department of Planning is serious about giving local councils and their communities a say in the planning decisions that affect their neighbourhoods, the community would expect a positive outcome, especially given the opposition of the Hon. Gabrielle Upton, Tennis Australia, and aware council planners.

“In fact no one is in support of this rezone other than the developers and their hired consultants,” he said.

“How can there be any justification in replacing finite, irreplaceable recreational space, in one of Australia’s most densely populated Council areas?”

“Who is Pru Goward’s Department of Planning really looking after here?”

A Department of Planning and Environment spokesperson said the Department’s role has been to determine whether the proposal to amend planning rules for the site has enough strategic merit to proceed to public exhibition.

“The Department agreed that the proposal should proceed to public exhibition to allow the community to have its say,” the spokesperson said.

Rescue Bondi’s concerns include the loss of recreational space from the most densely populated LGA, traffic, parking problems and the overdevelopment of Bondi.

“Adding more households to the 9th most densely populated suburb in Australia without first improving public transport is just poor planning,” said Mr Gravina.

“Traffic is already a big issue in the area. Bondi is already at gridlock on multiple weekends a year.”

Mr Gravina said Minister Goward insists the Department is following “due process” but he thinks this process is deeply flawed.

“The PreGateway Review is simply a means for the developer to bypass Council and Community,” he said.

“Why is it that the Minister Pru Goward and her Department are deciding this very local issue?”

“The local communities of Sydney are tired of developers getting looked after by the state government whether that be through dodgy deals in Newcastle or over-riding Council’s local planning decisions in Bondi and other suburbs.”

“We say it’s time to scrap the Pre-gateway Review process and get genuine about giving back planning to the community as the state government promised it would do at the last election.”

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