Monthly Report – July 2021

Report by Deputy Mayor Craig Campbell – July 2021:  Please find herewith some updates on various matters concerning West Ward.

  1. Lockdown Changes – the COVID lockdown has resulted in the following temporary changes:
  2. Lights are being left on until 8pm at the parks below:
    1. Mowbray Road Public School Oval
    1. Rotary Athletics Oval
  • The following facilities are closed until further notice:
  • Customer Service Centre at 31 Victor Street
    • Dougherty Centre
    • Willoughby Leisure Centre
    • Willoughby Libraries – Chatswood and all branches
    • MOSAIC
    • All sportsground pavilions
    • Art Space on The Concourse
    • Incinerator Art Space
    • Dougherty Centre café (Blend)
    • Chatswood Youth Centre
    • Willoughby Park Centre
    • Zenith Theatre
    • Joe Ciantar Music Rehearsal Studio
    • Unstaffed Community Facilities (West Chatswood, Naremburn, Castle Cove and Artarmon)
    • The Concourse – ticketholders for cancelled performances will be contacted regarding refunds.
  1. Long Term Financial Plan – An updated long term financial plan was adopted by Council at the July meeting, which takes the negative COVID effect into account.  The highlights of it are:
  2. The budget is balanced, and the 2020/21 financial year results will show a break-even.  This is impressive considering COVID accounted for a $14 million revenue drop.
  3. Council is financially sustainable going forward and will be able to meet service targets whilst delivering promised capital works projects.
  4. Rates will not change (other than the usual CPI adjustment)
  1. Infrastructure Levy Will Lapse as Planned – Also included in the long-term financial plan is the assumption that the infrastructure levy, approved by IPART for 7 years commencing in the 2015/16 financial year, will lapse in the 2022/23 year as planned.  Rates will go down at that point in real terms.  The infrastructure investments have been as planned and are funded at the intended level going forward.  The infrastructure refresh backlog has dropped from over $60 million in 2013 to $10 million in 2020, resulting in a backlog ratio of 1.3% (within OLG target of 2%).
  2. New Draft LEP – The new draft LEP was finalised by Council in December 2020 and submitted to the DPIE for Gateway, which is the next step in the process.  There has been no update since last month’s report; the matter is still with DPIE.  Once DPIE responds, it will come back for further action and public consultation.
  3. New DCP – the new draft DCP was finalised and endorsed by Council at the June meeting.  It does not need a Gateway determination.
  4. Moriarty Rd / Bowen St planning proposal –  The Final Report has been issued by the Independent Chair of the Public Hearing and this can be viewed on Council’s Website (it basically recommends development outside of current zoning, but at a much reduced scale to what the proponent had proposed).   The proponents have indicated they are now considering their future intentions and once known, officers will submit a report to Council.  They are still in this process; once done, it will come back to Council.  The timing is expected to be August or September.
  5. Laneways Upgrades in Chatswood CBD  – I previously reported  several projects underway to improve the amenities of laneways in the CBD, specifically Post Office Lane, Charlotte Lane, Mills Lane, and Spring Place:

These projects are in process and on track for completion by the end of December.

Here is a rending of the design for Spring Place:

  1. Dougherty Centre Upgrade –  I previously reported an active project to upgrade the Dougherty Community Centre, again using funding from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program Phase 2 Federal funding scheme. 

The plan is to update and reconfigure the Dougherty Community Centre internally to increase community and hireable space.   This will include a modernisation of the internal design and workspaces.  This will increase the capacity to allow for the co-location of the MOSAIC Multicultural Centre at the Dougherty Centre as well as increase its capacity to allow it to act as an emergency evacuation centre.

The works schedule is still on track for an end of December completion.  I will update with the final design in due course.

  • Local traffic / parking changes proposed The following initiatives have been progressed in West Ward that may be of interest:
  • Proposed changes to parking in Carr St, Chatswood West, were approved by Council in May.  They include:
  • Replace the existing 4P 6:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Saturday permit holders excepted Area 6 parking restrictions with unrestricted parking on the east of the road, between Centennial Avenue to the driveway of 78 Centennial Avenue.
    • Implement new 4P 6:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Friday permit holders excepted Area 6 parking restrictions on the east side of the road, from the driveway of 78 Centennial Avenue to the driveway of 9 Carr Street;
    • Replace the existing 4P 6:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Saturday permit holders excepted Area 6 parking restrictions with unrestricted parking on the east of the road, from the driveway of 9 Carr Street to De Villiers Avenue.
  • Improvements to the pedestrian & bicycle shared pathway at Bowen St (to Moriarty Rd), Chatswood, to improve safety from motorbikes cutting through this area to avoid traffic on the Highway.

Consultation was held in June on the proposal to install barriers with hazard warning  signs  at  the  entry  to  the  shared  path as well as new  pedestrian and  bicycle logos, ‘slow’ pavement markings, line marking and changes to the existing signs in the shared path.

  • Installation of a new wombat crossing at Kirk St & Archer St, Chatswood (near Mercy Catholic College) as part of the School Children Safety Wombat Crossing Program:
  • Installation of a new wombat crossing in place of the existing pedestrian (Zebra) crossing in Kirk Street.
    • Removal of the existing kerb ramps and replacement with a 3.6m wide continuous footpath
  • Installation of a new wombat crossing on Hatfield St, Lane Cove North (near Mowbray Public School) as part of the School  Children  Safety  Wombat Crossing Program:
  • Installation of a new wombat crossing in place of the existing pedestrian crossing on Hatfield Street.
    • Installation of new blister islands and widened kerb ramps and concrete path connections to suit the new arrangement
    • Installation of associated signs and line marking as part of the wombat crossing.
    • Extension by 5.5 metres to the existing full time “No Stopping” restrictions on the east side and 0.5 metres on the west side of Hatfield Street.
    • Loss of one parking space.
  1. Proposed Data Centre on Mowbray Road West – There has been no change to this as far as I am aware.  It is a project in the Lane Cove LGA which will affect residents in West Ward, however, so I like to flag it to keep everyone aware.  Here is a link to see the status of this project:  https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/41041

The nearby residents are concerned about adverse impacts during the construction phase.  Willoughby Council has objected to the size and scale, as well as raised similar concerns to the residents; however, our power to block it is limited.

  1. 99 Beaconsfield Rd & 22B Greville St. – the DA for a large redevelopment under the seniors housing SEPP was rejected by the Willoughby Planning Panel.  The proponent has appealed to the Land & Environment Court, where Council is defending the refusal.  A conciliation conference commenced at the end of May and continues, with no outcome so far.  If the conference fails, the matter will progress to a full court hearing.
  1. Concourse Cladding Replacement Project – The replacement of the cladding on the Concourse is underway and roughly 20% completed.
  1. Chatswood Education Precinct Renovation – Construction is underway at Chatswood High School, temporarily halted by a pair of powerful owls, who were successful in convincing the NSW Department of Education to adapt its plans in order to retain their nesting tree.
  1. Planning proposals in currently under consideration – I am aware that the following have changed status:
  • PP 2016/007/A  (65 Albert Avenue Chatswood, Mandarin Centre) – approved by SNPP, permitting a 70% non-residential, 30% residential  land use split on the site and the LEP amendment will now move to the final stages to be made.
  •  
  • PP 2017/003: 629-639 Pacific Highway Chatswood (tyre & brake shop between Gordon Ave & Nelson St, east side of the Highway) – this PP is on public exhibition from 5 July and 2 August 2021.  It is next door to the site below (PP2021/004).
  • PP 2021/004  (613, 621 – 627 Pacific Highway Chatswood, east side of Highway between Gordon Ave & Nelson St) – approved by Council at the July meeting to forward to DPIE.   Commercial / residential mixed use, zoning change to B4, complies with the CBD strategy.
  • PP 2020/007  (3 Ellis St Chatswood, west of railway line, behind Chatswood Oval) – refused by Council at the June meeting; rescinded at the July meeting and subsequently approved and forwarded to DPIE.  Commercial / residential mixed use in B4 zone; complies with the CBD strategy.
  • PP 2020/010  (849, 853, 859 Pacific Highway and 2 Wilson Street Chatswood, SE corner of Wilson St & Pacific Highway) – refused by Council at the June meeting due to inconsistency with CBD strategy.

Also, note that the SNPP delegations have changed so that the Council representatives are now the mayor and the most recent (but not currently serving) deputy mayor.  If there is no such former deputy mayor on council, there is a list of community representatives to fill in as alternates (a similar list to the Willoughby local planning panel).  This means that as the sitting deputy mayor, I no longer have a conflict on planning proposals before council.  The exception to this is the Chatswood Golf Course PP, where I am already a sitting member of the determination panel.

  1. Infrastructure Works in West Ward – Coming up, the following roads are scheduled for re-sheeting and heavy patching:
  2. Devilliers Ave between Carr St and Dardanelles Rd
  3. Centennial Ave between Whitton Rd and Edgar St
  4. Mowbray Rd between Greenlands & Beaconsfield Ave

Also number of heavy patching works at various locations are scheduled. Elimination of Footpaths trip hazards are on- going.

In terms of drainage, footpaths and kerb & gutters, number of projects will be implemented by incorporating road works.

Previously, between May and June 21, apart from road re- sheeting works, major drainage upgrades in Anglo St, Fullers Rd, Lone Pine Ave and also major new footpath in Fullers Rd under missing links program were carried out.

  1. Infrastructure Contribution Reform – There is currently a proposal before the NSW parliament to reform infrastructure contributions, shifting costs from developments to ratepayers.  The proposed reforms would result in a potential $100 million loss in revenues to Council over 20 years, which under the current system would have gone to support infrastructure resulting from development (under s 7.11 and 7.12).  The draft plans and financial modelling have not yet been publicly exhibited.  Also, the bill contains very broad powers for the minister to singlehandedly make sweeping changes to infrastructure contributions (including agreements already in place) without consultation.

The bill has passed the lower house and been referred to an upper house parliamentary committee.  Council received an invitation to make a submission on the matter on 5 July, with a deadline of 11 July (6 days later). 

We did so and objected strenuously to the proposed shifting of costs to ratepayers and the potential shortfalls in funds available for infrastructure investment in the future. 

Recommendations included:

  • That detailed modelling and assessments of the economic impact be undertaken and made public prior to the bill advancing
  • That costs of development not be shifted from developers to ratepayers
  • That the bill not progress until credible evidence can be show that no LGA will be worse off under the proposed scheme
  • That a requirement be included for infrastructure contributions to be paid at the construction certificate stage
  • That the minister not be empowered with sweeping powers to unilaterally make changes to infrastructure contributions without consultation.
  1. Additional items out of West Ward – There are also a couple of items of outside of West Ward that may be of interest:
  • Artarmon Pavilion – Council resolved at the July meeting to proceed as planned with the adaptive reuse of the former Artarmon Bowling Club building. 
  • Naremburn ward Councillor Stuart Coppock resigned, effective 30 June 2021.
  1. Follow-up Queries from May Meeting :
  • Budget for the Dougherty Centre upgrade:

$1.2 million, thereof $1 million funded by the federal grant; $200k from Council

  • Council policy rereplanting of trees, availability of root stock and indigenous plants:

Policy is a 3:1 replacement ratio; this is managed through bush care based at Warners Park, where the trees and indigenous plants are available

  • Status of Chatswood Park upgrade plans:

Works remaining to be completed by 31 Dec:

  • Installation of 3 shade structures using the old trusses from Chatswood Station
    • Landscape works on the old site of the Cedric Pike Pavilion
    • Signage

Works remaining to be completed in first quarter 2022: 

  • completion of the perimeter path

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