Brooklyn Community Associations recent meeting again generated vigorous discussion on Council amalgamations and the Brooklyn Masterplan.
Representatives from the Hornsby Action Group were welcomed to share experiences of Council’s community consultation process, reflections upon the rapidity of development across the shire as well as any advice or warnings in our BCA’s negotiations with Council over Brooklyn village’s master plan. Catherine Gordon and Rhonda Aliosi provided us of a stark reminder of the dangers in entrusting our quality of life into the hands of such an evidently pro-development local government. Their struggle to be heard had been echoed from communities across the shire as ratepayers everywhere questioned the sheer volume of development and population growth versus the provision of infrastructure and services.
For villagers living in Brooklyn (the tourism “Jewell in the Shires crown”) this is of tremendous implication. Brooklyn’s use as a doormat for river residents and their stored cars has left no parking for shire residents wishing a day outing or recreation in some of the few public access waterfront parks. The option of rail travel is hindered by a flight of railway stairs that has literally been the death of some that have attempted its climb.
Hornsby Action Group had (like us) witnessed council meetings where residents (often in tears) cried to be heard on loss of heritage, community services and quality of life. They too experienced council meetings where decisions seem to be fait accompli’s. They (like we) could be forgiven for suspecting caucusing. Like our community that had concerns as to whether council amalgamation would render them completely mute.
Nathan Tilbury address on promises of the benefits of amalgamation included the removal of excess “fat cat” bureaucrats and councillors and a move to contemporary geographic boundaries away from those drawn in the days of the horse and cart.
Nathan advised the meeting that urban designers Mcgregor Coxall had secured the contract for Brooklyn Master plan. The BCA will seek to ensure that the comprehensive and detailed design solutions they developed through community workshops will be viewed by these urban designers and the abovementioned issues are addressed.
In what has been described as a political stunt Minister Mitch Fiefield made a lightening visit to Brooklyn to discuss his tin cans and string NBN. This visit gave no positive news for resident stills living in 2016 without a decent stable telecommunications network and did little to gain favour with residents. This visit did serve to further suspicions it was an exercise entirely in PR during an election campaign. Fiefields ministerial colleague Christopher Pyne notoriously suggested that internet speeds need only be enough “to download movies” thus revealing his complete ignorance of the limitations of the ADSL in Upload speeds and lack of understanding in the need for fast internet to build a creative and innovative economy. Residents in Brooklyn (like the rest of Australia) wish to have the opportunity to telecommute, to teleconference, upload large files they have made and move to a promised future that includes remote diagnosis of health,growth of e-health and efficient provision of services.. If a fast reliable internet is the silk road of a modern world economy Malcolm Turnbull has left us limping on a dirt track.