On 20 October 2016 the Pennant Hills District Civic Trust hosted a public meeting with guest speaker Dr Deborah Dearing, Northern Districts Commissioner from the Greater Sydney Commission. Following the public session was the AGM, honouring Phil Swalwell and Ron Hicks with honourary life membership, and electing a new Civic Trust committee.
Deborah Dearing has over 30 years of Australian and international experience; she is a recognised leader in improving the quality of design of cities and communities. What came across in her talk about the role of the Commission in “redesigning Sydney” is the importance of human interactions that build connection and community as a priority over and above the form of buildings. However the design of buildings, streets and infrastructure will clearly enhance or discourage those human interactions and we have an opportunity in Pennant Hills to get it right.
The Greater Sydney Commission is responsible for “A Plan for Growing Sydney” and describes its goal as to make Sydney and all its suburbs “more productive, sustainable and liveable”. Deborah presented some confronting statistics on Sydney’s projected population growth and need for additional housing and associated infrastructure and amenity over the next 20 years.
The challenge is not just to build more apartments and townhouses but to design “quality places” for human interaction and quality of life. Public green space, sports facilities, community gardens, outdoor dining, public transport and cycle paths were things we should be pushing for in the Pennant Hills Masterplan to improve and make it even better and more liveable.
Following Deborah’s presentation, a panel asked questions provoking a lively discussion. The panel included our two State representatives Damien Tudehope and Matt Kean; James Farrington and Fletcher Rayner from Hornsby Council planning group, and four community voices. Martin Pluss referred to the results of the Civic Trust survey on PH community views on what the priorities of the Pennant Hills Masterplan should be. There was clear alignment between the local views in the survey and the concepts expressed by Deborah about how to enhance the quality of life of a community. Cllr Robert Browne promised that the Council’s survey to kick off the Masterplan would be conducted in Nov/Dec 2016.
Andrew Wilson referred to the support that the Civic Trust had received over the year from the State members and Council, particularly in our push for cycle paths. Watch this space.
The PHD Civic Trust is a not for profit volunteer community organization to preserve and enhance the residential amenity of Pennant Hills and West Pennant Hills. A new committee was elected at the AGM with some new faces. The Trust has changed to delivering less editions of its 4,000 hand-delivered paper Newsletters, more use of this Monthly Chronicle column and more interaction with members via email. So please join us today for $20 to stay in touch with what is going on in your local community. Please visit: www.pennanthillscivictrust.com.
Andrew Wilson, President, Pennant Hills District Civic Trust