Moderator. The next case study we have is Warringah - 70 localities and a model LEP. We have Mary Armstrong from the Warringah Independent Network and the Belrose Rural Community Association.
Let me first explain the extent of Warringah. "From the bushland to the beach" – Warringah stretches along the coast from Harbord north to Narrabeen, inland to Roseville Bridge, covering large areas of bushland as well as urban development. It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean, Middle Harbour, parts of Garrigal National Park, and Ku-ring-gai Chase.
Then there is the nature of Warringah. Warringah’s geographical area is large and diverse, yet it has only three access points from the rest of Sydney: Spit Bridge, Roseville Bridge and Mona Vale Road. It has road transport only – no rail – and this, along with its difficult terrain of sandstone ridges and cliffs cut by creeks and arms of Sydney Harbour, has limited its development to date. In 2001 Warringah is being put under extreme development pressure to "make up for lost time".
You may have heard of the Warringah LEP 2000. This has been hailed as a model planning document. It resulted from a long period of community consultation. Perhaps its outstanding feature is its identification of 70 district localities, each described by a statement of Desired Future Character, which seeks to give a general picture of development criteria for each of the localities. Here is a review of present challenges we are facing:
- The pressure to allow medium density development, especially along the costal fringe, which includes the ridge lines overlooking the coast and then moving inland.
- The possibility of redevelopment of the "dormitory suburb".
- The availability of undeveloped areas, particularly in the rural area adjacent to national parks.
- Water catchment issues – run off feeds Middle Harbour, Narrabeen Lagoon, Dam-Pacific Ocean, and Pittwater-Broken Bay.
- The inadequacy of infrastructure – especially transport and sewerage.
- SEPP 5 provisions, which have made non-urban areas especially attractive to developers.
- State Government-DUAP pressures to increase housing density in the area.
- Ambivalent Council attitudes and voting patterns.
- Adapting to the realities of the LEP 2000.
What do we see as the role of the Belrose Rural Community Association [BRCA]?
- BRCA represents the interests of residents who live in areas of Belrose currently zoned non-urban. This land constitutes the interface between the urban localities and the undisturbed bush and national parks.
- We worked to enhance awareness and appreciation of this geographically large area as a special resource for all Warringah residents.
- Previous development has tended to be haphazard and ad hoc, for example in the "retirement villages"-SEPP 5 sector, and the establishment of a large Waste Management Centre above the headwaters of Middle Harbour. Our Association has been able to draw attention to the consequences of these decisions.
- Our members were closely involved in the formulation of LEP 2000, and now we are fighting to see that it is given a "fair go".
- We realise the significance of the recently completed Warringah Non-Urban Lands Study, and accept that over time there will be further development within the non-urban areas.
- These challenges and pressures have led us to liaise with other community groups and to press for community consultation and participation in decision-making.
- SEPP 5 proposals, particularly in non-urban areas, are a particular threat to orderly and appropriate development.
BRCA has been a very active organisation.
- It is a grass roots community organisation.
- Raises awareness of issues affecting non-urban areas in Warringah.
- Highlights consequences of previous ad hoc development decisions, especially with retirement villages [Warringah has one of the highest densities of retirement villages of any local council in Australia].
- Helps formulation of LEP 2000 and publicises its provisions.
- Recognises the inevitability of further development in non-urban areas, but insists it must occur only after community consultation and participation and observance of due process and the requirements of LEP 2000.
- Challenges Warringah Council on development issues when needed.
- Liaises with other community groups representing both urban and non-urban interest.
- Resists inappropriate SEPP 5 proposals, especially in non-urban areas.
- Operates with concern for the future of the whole of Warringah and its residents.
For further information:
Mary Armstrong (ph/fax : 9450 1742)
Donal Carr (ph : 9450 2086, fax : 9486 3373)