Bondi View

Potential pitfalls for Waverley economic plan

Westfield in Bondi Junction. Source: westfieldpopup.com

by Stephanie Hua

 

Waverley Council’s Draft Economic Development Strategy (DWEDS) has faced criticism for being “rushed” and a possible route towards over development.

Greens councillor Dominic Wy Kanak told City Hub he was “cynical and puzzled” by some aspects of Waverley’s draft economic strategy.

“I am anxious that the Draft Waverley Economic Development Strategy not be rushed and just become a route to more building over development to satisfy the powerful construction development lobby in NSW,” he said.

The draft economic development strategy was released at the start of May and sets out a series of strategic directions and actions to help strengthen the Waverley economy by 2020. The four main pillars adopted by the strategy are to “renew, innovate, collaborate and enable”.

As of 2015, Waverley has a population of over 70,000 people, making it Sydney’s most densely populated local government area.

Council has held consultations with the Waverley Business Forum and with the Bondi and Districts Chamber of Commerce, but many smaller businesses in the Waverley area told City Hub they were unaware of the proposed strategy.

Clr Wy Kanak supports the economic development strategy, but said in its current form there were potential pitfalls.

“The process of DWEDS opens up all sorts of tangled relationships. From the domestic fallout of Free Trade Agreements to amalgamating local councils into larger centralised points of call more easily targeted for the influence of strategies from groups like the NSW Urban Taskforce and developer lobbyists,” he said.

“[The DWEDS] covers policy discussions where some past views say local councils should not interfere this deeply in the ‘market’ and blurs past planning thinking where economic residential property related flux valuations were not supposed to be a relevant consideration in assessing a Local Council development and building construction application.”

As stated in the draft, the vision of Waverley involves the “support of a sustainable economy by 2020”.

“The long-term approach focuses on supporting existing business, and attracting new business to increase economic diversity. This encourages greater job opportunities for the community, as well as maintains and enhances our quality of life,” it reads.

Another aspect of Waverley’s economic landscape is the Aboriginal Community Economic Development that Clr Wy Kanak brought to council. He gained unanimous support from Waverley councillors in favour for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council Network and has received positive feedback from the community.

“Representations I have heard from constituents are strongly in favour of opportunities that will creatively enhance Aboriginal Community Economic Development being a strong part of the final DWEDS,” he said.

Council began taking submissions from the community on April 23 and is set to close on May 22.

A revised strategy is set to be adopted by Council in mid-2015.

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