Submissions re Draft Voluntary Planning Agrrement

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To our supporters
Can you help? As part of the development approval process GLALC has submitted a Draft Voluntary Planning Agreement. You can view it here

Public submissions can be made and they close this Friday March 1st. They can be made online at the above address.

Apologies for this late request however it would be very helpful if you could make the effort to send in a submission re this Draft VPA. WMAG’s submission can be seen below

Individual efforts rather than multiple identical copies make the most difference. You may choose to make wording changes to ours and rearrange it and / or leave some out or include ideas of your own to individualise your submission. Also try getting friends and relatives to make a submission too. Even something very short making only a few good brief points is most worthwhile.

Hope you can help in the short time available.


WMAG Submission Re West Menai Draft VPA

1. WMAG calls for an extension of time for submissions on this Draft VPA because the proponent, an Aboriginal Land Council is under investigation by the supervising body, NSWALC, and monitored by the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. This is the THIRD investigation of the GLALC in less than 12 months and there have been reports of operational and financial irregularities and asset mismanagement. A significant financial and contractual document such as this should not be entered into with GLALC unless it can be certain to operate according to all relevant rules and laws and there is absolute confidence in its integrity and viability and ability to deliver under the terms of the Draft VPA for the full 20 or more years life of the project, and afterwards with respect to environmental and other management programs.

2. WMAG has serious doubts about the ability of GLALC to deliver on its promises for such a large project over such a long time and about the likelihood of the whole project being completed. If the project remains incomplete or is scaled back for whatever reason it could leave huge financial holes which State and Local Governments will have to fill for such things as necessary infrastructure and services in and to a relatively inaccessible area. It could also leave isolated pockets of development with obvious ramifications for residents in those pockets.

3. Page 10 Clause 5.2 (iii) vaguely refers to payments being made ‘from time to time’. This needs to be tightened up to ‘within 30 days of completion of every fifth ( or tenth) lot sale’ or similar. With lot sales likely to be a minimum $400,000 average at 50% amount into the Proceeds Account this represents approximately $1M per 5 lots or $2M per 10 lots.

4. Page 26 Clause 3.1 (a) ii refers to an amount of $100,000 per year averaged for biodiversity management works. This amount is laughably inadequate for any serious works to effectively manage the effects of a whole new suburb of people , infrastructure and business activities plus continuing trail bike and other RV impacts on a 520 Ha conservation Area. $100,000 now goes nowhere near the amounts of money necessary to do a proper job of this work. What references and what advice was provided and by whom to come up with this amount? Is it based on the best available information about costs to manage a site of this size and type?

5. There seem to be no assurances about the exact nature of the road infrastructure that is to be provided. The developer could conceivably choose to provide lower cost low level bridges with a less direct route than the mooted high level bridges.
Are all necessary works to be decided by the developer or by RMS or in collaboration between the two? Is there any certainty that the road infrastructure will be constructed to meet the future traffic needs of the route as determined by RMS?
There needs to be appropriate clauses in the VPA clarifying these matters.

6. There are no detailed costings for the project and its component parts. The whole document is open ended with regard to any detail on the financial viability of the project. The proponent must be required to provide income and expenditure breakdown details with relatively accurate figures for the project’s predicted sales estimates and income estimates. Details of estimates of expenditure on a year by year basis are necessary for such a development project. This must be especially so for this proposal where the State is entering into a binding agreement with the developer and relying on it for providing significant infrastructure underpinning the attempt to create a viable new suburb.

7. P 33 Clause 3.1 states ‘’the Registered Proprietor must not intentionally carry out any act….etc’, however there is no following action, response, fine or punishment given or described should the proprietor fail to abide by this directive. There should be some appropriate deterrent consequence to support this prohibition. It is not considered that the issue of a ‘written notice to the registered proprietor…’ as described in Clause 6 p 36 ‘Non-Compliance constitutes a significant deterrent as it itself contains no enforcing response.

8. P33 Clause 3.3 concerns the review process for the biodiversity management plan. The Director- General of the DPI is the overseer of the plan implementation. It does not seem appropriate for a minister concerned mainly with developments to be sole overseer of a natural area conservation plan. There should also be involvement by the Minister for Conservation or some other authority with recognised expertise in this area and this should be specifically noted in the agreement.

9. With respect to p34 Clause 3.5 (a) there is no definition of the term ‘conservation purposes’. An appropriate definition must be included.

10. P35 Clause 3.6 (e) permits the proprietor to subdivide the land without reservation. For a proposed conservation area this is inappropriate. Subdivision of natural areas can only promote fragmentation and loss of natural values of such lands. Subdivision should be removed as a reservation and permitted only after assessment of effects on the Conservation Area by the Department of Conservation (or other such body with appropriate expertise and commitment to conservation) and their approval.

West Menai Action Group

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Gandangara respond to submissions

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Well it has been some time since there has been any apparent activity with respect to the GLALC proposal for West Menai. Recently GLALC responded to the many submissions that they received from organisations and members of the public. You can view their responses here
by clicking on the 4th title in the list ie Response to Submissions.

Koala up a jacaranda tree in Hall Drive

The GLALC’s response means that the DPI processes with respect to this rezoning proposal are complete except for a third and final Community Reference Group meeting. Of course there are almost certainly further internal DPI deliberations plus consultations with the proponent to go but no further role for the community after this final meeting has been advised.

This means that any further opposition will need to be in public arenas or through elected representatives.
This means that each of us  who wishes to play a part in stopping this disastrous proposal needs to take some action. A first step would be to read some of the documentation at the DPI site ( see link above) to become more informed about the responses and the modified proposal from GLALC.
Then some letters need to be written to the local MPs, newspapers (Leader, Herald, etc).
To assist in this I have included below an excerpt from a recent WMAG press release :
It is apparent from the documents available on the DPI  website that the GLALC is making a strong pitch to the NSW Government with specific mention of its development goals and statements like  ‘this proposal will assist the NSW State Government to meet housing and job targets’ and  ‘ticks a lot of boxes for the Government to boost job creation and ease housing shortages ‘. Given recent press coverage of ministerial statements, GLALC are trying hard to sing the government’s song.
The proposal has been reduced by 15% in area which translates to 300 less homes and the employment land reduced from 76 Ha to 51.4 Ha. We are told that this has resulted in a 40% reduction in the traffic predicted to  be generated. This is hard to swallow when  employment land has been reduced by only 27% and the number of  houses by a mere 11%. Similarly we are told the number of employees will now be 4700 which is a whopping  reduction of between 54% and 69% from the previous estimate by GLALC consultant Urbis  of  10200 to 15200 employees. An earlier estimate was 30000 employees when retail areas were included. It is difficult not to think that much of the estimation supporting this proposal is very ‘rubbery’.
Aside from other very flexible figures the GLALC make the claim that the new 50 Ha ( 9.6%) increase in the conservation area is a ‘net gain for the environment’. Clearly GLALC has no real commitment to conservation when they view the clearing of 283Ha of bushland habitat as a gain for the environment.
The whole proposal still poses many unanswered questions such as the details of the Voluntary Planning Agreements to be entered into with respect to provision of important infrastructure – like the East West Road link – and ongoing services  – like the weed management proposed to be undertaken, biodiversity management plans and other conservation management services to be provided presumably forever.
WMAG remains opposed to this proposal and supportive of  GLALC members who also oppose it. WMAG considers that much of the response is glib and that the deficiencies including traffic impacts, bushfire risk and financial viability doubts still remain.
WMAG also notes that there is no consideration of the impact of this development on the area specifically as koala habitat which sightings  in the past and recently establish it to be. Recently the koala was listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), effective as of the 2nd May 2012.  The consequence of federal protection of the Koala under the EPBC Act means that any development or action that has, will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on important koala populations or their habitats may require federal environmental approval.
Whilst GLALC may be focussed on providing more homes for the growing human population it seems they remain committed to causing the loss of homes and shrinking populations of other Australians.

WMAG is pursuing the preservation of the land as Koala habitat and the support of the Defence Ministry considering their strong objections to the proposal. Letters to the local Federal MP (Craig Kelly) and to the Environment Minister (Tony Burke) and the Defence Minister (Stephen Smith) about the relevant issues can only help.

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Late notice- Important Council Meeting

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Hello Supporters

Tonight (Monday Feb 27) at 6.30pm at Sutherland Shire Council a special Environment and Planning meeting is to consider the staffs proposed submission on the Gandangara’s development proposal for West Menai.
If it is at all possible could you please attend this meeting to show your support for the approval of this submission in an unaltered form as it is strongly critical of this ill advised proposal.
Allan Green

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Sutherland Council submission

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This coming Monday night, Sutherland Shire Council are holding a Special Environment  and Planning meeting (6.30pm Council Chambers).

At this meeting Councillors will be asked to endorse a well-prepared submission in response to the West Menai (Heathcote Ridge) development proposal. The report is scathing in its comments about the West Menai proposal.

Submissions such as this, well documented and referenced from bodies such as Sutherland Shire Council, carry a lot of weight in the assessment process. It is important that this submission is not “watered down” by councillors who may be inclined to support the development.

It is time to make sure they hear the views of their community!

Please contact as many councillors as possible before the meeting and ask them to support the submission without reservation or amendment.

Councillors emails are (copy and paste the complete list into the “To” field of your email):;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

If you prefer to phone or SMS, contact details for Councillors can be found on Council’s website.

Report reference is : EAP136-12 Submission: Heathcote Ridge State Significant Site Proposal

If you would like to read the report you will find it by going to Council’s business paper website, then go to Environment and Planning Committee, then Special Environment and Planning Committee.

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Letters to our State MP

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Most of you are probably writing your submissions now or have already sent them off to the DPI. Remember they must be received by 29th February. However at a recent public meeting held by WMAG, State MP Melanie Gibbons said she would be guided in her response to the Gandangarra proposal by what her constituents said to her and she urged people to write to her by either letter or email. If you are concerned about any aspects of the proposal to clear and develop all the ridgetop land between Menai and Heathcote Road to create a suburb the size of Engadine or Miranda then please write your concerns to Ms Gibbons as soon as possible.
The address is
Ms Melanie Gibbons, MP
60 Walder Road

and email

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Re: Information posted below

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Despite my best efforts to format them, the tables of information have reverted to an unsatisfactory form. My apologies for this. I will see what can be done about this but in the meantime you may be able to extract most of the meaning from what is there with some perseverance. You can also go to the DPI website an reference the page no’s given but some of the percentages I have given, while obvious from the figures not given and instead other percentages have been calculated which give a different picture. Sort of ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’.

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Submission Writing Help -Traffic Predictions from Consultants Reports

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There are voluminous reports from consultants to support the State Significant Site application and rezoning of West Menai from Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council ( GLALC). These are accessible on the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) website under Major Projects -On Exhibition – West Menai. This link will take you straight to the reports

It is a major task to read all the material there however I have found some material that is rather alarming for Menai residents. In the traffic reports is information which I have put below.
Those of you who are writing a submission or who may want to send in some additional material to support an earlier submission could well use this information to support their objections to the impact on travelling time to work etc in a community dependent on cars for transport.


SOURCE: Heathcote Ridge, West Menai—State Significant Site Study Hyder Consulting Pty Ltd-ABN 76 104 485 289 Page 77

ROUTE Ref. Current Predicted Increase Predicted Increase
I.D. Volume Volume % Volume %

Alfords Pt Road M-3 48921 59200 21 80300 64

Woronora Bridge M-9 53557 63200 18 87400 63

Heathcote Rd
Nth of new link Rd M-6 16341 20600 26 43300 164

Bangor Bypass M-3 33163 41200 24 65800 98

New link Rd P-1 – - - 60700 -

New Illawarra Rd
Sth of ‘The Ridge’ M-1 19853 24000 21 23000 16

Heathcote Rd
Sth of new link Rd M-6A 16341 20600 26 20900 28

As you can see from the above table, traffic increases on local roads will increase dramatically from current volumes. Already there are significant peak hour delays on Bangor Bypass and Alfords Point Rd.and yet GLALC’s own consultants predict 98% and 64% increases on those roads. The new Link road to be constructed from Bangor Bypass to Heathcote Rd will carry 60,700 vehicle per day into the area. A large number of extra heavy vehicles, trucks and B doubles, is expected. Reference this quote:

‘The data in Table 5-3 indicates that on average car traffic is predicted to grow between 1.4% and 1.9%. Truck growth is predicted almost double than car.’
SOURCE: Heathcote Ridge, West Menai—State Significant Site Study Hyder Consulting Pty Ltd-ABN 76 104 485 289 Page 57

So truck growth will be around 3-4% per annum. This is a significant growth rate and for a community with no real alternative transport mode and in an area where larger than average distances must be travelled, extra traffic delays are a major impost as well as the extra noise and pollution generated by what is without doubt large traffic volumes.

In fact the current traffic flows illustrate this point

Per hour Per hour
ALFORDS POINT RD 2500 North/ 1800 South 1200 North/ 3000 South
BANGOR BYPASS 1300 East /1600 West 1600 East/ 1600 West
WORONORA BRIDGE 2300 East/ 1900 West 2300 East/ 2000 West

COMPARE WITH M5 3000 East 3600 West

SOURCE: Heathcote Ridge, West Menai—State Significant Site Study Hyder Consulting Pty Ltd-ABN 76 104 485 289 Page28-29

Alfords Point traffic flows are already approaching those of the M5 and the proposed development will increase traffic on this road alone by 64%

The consultants reports also reveal the not unsurprising fact that along with increasing traffic flows, intersection performances will fall. The proposed development will see 9 important intersections with an F rating on a scale of A to F. Three of these intersections are already rated F so their performance will clearly fall off the chart!


ID & Intersection Location Traffic Control Low Level of Service –
(LoS)Rating F
(scale A-F)I.e. FAIL

Existing Condition After Developm’t
I-29 Nuwarra Road / Wattle Grove Dve
/ Heathcote Rd Signals YES F YES F
I-28 Walder Rd/ Bardia Pde /
Heathcote Rd Signals NO YES F
I-25 McArthur Dr/ Heathcote Rd Roundabout NO YES F
I-23 St Georges Cres/ Heathcote Rd Give Way NO YES F
I-10 Alfords Point Rd/Old Illawarra Rd
/New Illawarra Rd Signals NO YES F
I-12 Allison Cres/ Menai Rd/ Carter Rd Roundabout NO YES F
I-20 River Rd/ Linden St Signals NO YES F
I-21 Leonay St/ Linden St Signals YES F YES F
I-22 The Grand Parade/ Linden St Signals YES F YES F

SOURCE: Heathcote Ridge, West Menai—State Significant Site Study Hyder Consulting Pty Ltd-ABN 76 104 485 289 Page 63

Regarding the earlier point about the area’s car dependency, there is this information from the reports

Table 3.3 – Transport Indicators, Sutherland LGA & Sydney SD, 2008-09
Indicator Sydney Sutherland
Population 4,269,000 212,000
Households 1,626,000 79,000
Trips per person 3.76 4.4
Total travel per person (km) 31.1 36.6
Model of travel:
- Car Driver 47 54
- Car passenger 21.3 23 1.7 more ie 8%
- Car combined 68.3 77 8.7 more ie12.7%
- Train 5.2 5
- Bus 5.8 2 66% less!!!!
- Walk 18.3 14
Vehicles per Household 1.51 1.75 16% more
Ave. trip length 8.3 8.3
VKT per person 17.8 22.4 26% more
Ave. work trips (mins) 34 33
Daily travel time (per person) 81 88 8.6% more

Source: BTS HTS, 201

Results show very low bus use, high car numbers, very high VKT (Vehicle Kilometres Travelled) and high travel time and now a plan to put in another even more isolated, car dependent community.

Submissions must be received by DPI before 4pm February 29th. Remember , just because you have put one submission in already you can send in another with new reasons which will be considered along with your existing one

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Help with your submission

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Submissions on the Gandangara’s “Heathcote Ridge” proposal at West Menai are due on Wednesday 29 February.

West Menai Action Group has put together an information sheet and pro forma submission that can be downloaded from the Links and Resources section of this website.

NPA Southern Sydney Branch has also provided a very useful summary of their own objections to the development. You might want to include some of these in your own submission.

For more information about making a submission contact WMAG

or see Department of Planning website


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Increasing public concern

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More and more residents are expressing concern about the impacts resulting from the proposed West Menai development.

West Menai Action Group and Sutherland Shire Environment Centre have organised a public information meeting for residents concerned about this proposed development of West Menai and the significant negative impacts that will result.

The meeting is at 7pm on Tuesday 7th February at Menai Community Centre. There will be several speakers. Further details will be advised.

Bring your neighbours and friends. We need as many concerned people as possible to attend.

We will also be holding stalls outside Menai Market Place over coming weeks. If you would like to help, or for more information, please get in touch.

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West Menai development proposal now on exhibition

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The proposal to rezone and develop bushland at West Menai is now on public exhibition from Wednesday 14th December 2011 until Wednesday 29th Feb 2012.

Public submissions can be lodged by posting to The Director, Strategic Assessment, Department of Planning and Infrastructure, GPO Box 39, SYDNEY NSW 2001 or online at

You may do this by dowloading our proforma objection (Some objections to GLALC Heathcote Ridge development) , and signing and dating it.

It is even more effective if you personalise our pro forma with some words and / or formatting of your own. Most effective of all is to write your own submission.

Furthermore as well as making a formal submission as above, you can have even greater impact by also sending an email or letter about your views to either or both

Member for Menai
Ms Melanie Gibbons, MP
60 Walder Road
Or to use the website go to

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure
Mr Brad Hazzard, MP
Level 33 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place

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