ROSS WALKER, PRESIDENT
Last month I referred to more seniors housing developments proposed for Beecroft and Cheltenham. Recently one in Malton Road has ended up in the Land and Environment Court. Residents, supported by the Trust, have argued that the wheelchair accessibility to transport and shops does not comply with the relevant planning legislation. Challenging some of these questionable developments can be both time consuming and stressful. No wonder many people just give up.
I am concerned the council amalgamation process is still unresolved for Hornsby Council. Recently Hornsby Council has resorted to advertising the financial predicament it is facing. Local government is an extension of the state government, so I see it is incumbent upon the state government to resolve the current situation quickly. It is a situation the state government has created and must resolve, driven by the premise that no council will be worse off.
A problem developed at Cheltenham Oval with the construction of the new sports building as part of the Northwest Rapid Transport (NRT) project. The NRT project is required to replace the change rooms, toilets and canteen demolished as part of the project. However the position identified for the building also contained a number of heath-like native plants, being a vulnerable listed species of Epacris. Under state planning legislation, a recovery plan is required to relocate or propagate the Epacris. These recovery plans take time to prepare and implement.
It was flagged by Council with the NRT project managers but not followed up them. So, when the NRT managers wanted to commence earthworks on the sports building in May there was a mad panic about what to do. Council was instrumental in providing a pragmatic solution, suggesting the building footprint to be shifted slightly so most of the Epacris could be fenced off and protected in situ, and some replanting will still occur. It’s surprising what goes on behind the scenes.
Finally I would like to mention an ongoing issue Hornsby Council has with managing the location of brothels. Dealing with a brothel in Beecroft shopping centre, within 100 metres of a childcare centre, brought the issue to my attention. Again under state planning legislation a brothel requires development consent. But the loophole is that a brothel is defined as having two or more workers. So a sole operator does not require council consent and can operate anywhere. And the situation applies state wide! The Trust has approached our local State Member Damien Tudehope for assistance in rectifying this matter.
By the way, the Beecroft brothel had more than one worker and, after an expensive court process, Hornsby Council managed to close it down. Unnecessary costs our Council can ill afford.
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