Bondi View

Waverley Mayor pushes to tackle overdevelopment

Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos. Photo: Alec Smart.

By PATRICK MCKENZIE

Waverley Council Mayor Paula Masselos has backed an investigation into establishing a community planning organisation to help tackle overdevelopment in the area.

At February’s council meeting, councillors unanimously supported a Mayoral Minute to recognise the “significant and growing community concern about the extent of overdevelopment in the Waverley local government area” and to acknowledge that it “continues unabated”. 

If approved, the community planning advocate would be independent of the council’s planning department and results of the consultation would be fed back into the council’s social impact assessment statements for new developments.

“Overdevelopment is changing the nature of our built environment and destroying much of the heritage values that makes Waverley unique,” Cr Masselos said.

“The planning system in NSW is a complex framework of legislation, policy and practice and can be a minefield to navigate.”

The extensive Mayoral Minute noted that a number of developed sites have caused damage to surrounding buildings, that some school classes have reached capacity, and that there has been an increase in organised resident groups objecting to large amounts of development applications. 

Overdevelopment remains a major concern in the area, according to Waverley mayor

Overdevelopment has been an ongoing concern in Waverley Council and its surroundings, with Liberal and Labor councillors speaking out against plans to build two 10-storey apartment towers in Bondi Junction in November last year.

At the time, developer Elia Leis told The Sydney Morning Herald that the buildings would “certainly add to the supply of housing stock in the area”. 

Lindi Glass, a spokeswoman for community group Save West Bondi Junction, also told the masthead that the apartments would offer harbour views but would not improve housing affordability in the area.

Cr Masselos said that overdevelopment, affordable housing and population growth were major concerns ahead of the December local elections, and remain so today. 

“We want to demystify the planning process and help people understand the ins and outs of planning, from our Local Environmental Plans and our Development Control Plans to the development application process and voluntary planning agreements,” Cr Masselos said.

“We want to do everything possible as a council to ensure that our area grows in a way that is sustainable and healthy.”

The case for an advocate would be investigated over the coming weeks, and reported back to Council in the middle of the year.

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