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This was the Development Assessment & Committee Meeting. The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

568 Illawarra Road Marrickville – 7 units as affordable housing for 10 years, then will revert back to market value.  Affordable housing gives 20% off market rental rates. This is the third time this DA has been before Council & each time Council staff have recommended that it be refused.  This time Council gave 17 points as to why they recommended refusal. For brevity I have edited the points.

  1. Insufficient information submitted with the development application.
  2. The development is contrary to the requirements, particularly in regards to the floor space ratio.
  3. The development does not satisfy the open space & landscape objectives.
  4. Insufficient information submitted with the application & the required sampling of the site that is required to be carried out.
  5. The architectural form of the proposed development fails to complement the architectural style of the dwelling houses surrounding the site.
  6. Inadequate boundary setbacks are provided.
  7. The development is contrary to the site coverage requirements.
  8. The development is contrary to the privacy controls.
  9. The proposed development does not comply with the waste management provisions, in particular the location of the waste storage areas.
  10. The presentation of the open ground floor car park is visually obtrusive & is considered to compromise the safety & security of tenants.
  11. The architectural design does not address Illawarra Road as required.
  12. The subject site is identified as being flood affected. The development proposes a poor drainage design & as such is contrary to the Stormwater requirements.
  13. The height, bulk, scale & intensity of the development is considered excessive resulting in significant & unacceptable impacts on the streetscape of Wharf Street & Illawarra Road constituting an overdevelopment of the site.
  14. The private open space provided for each dwelling does not comply with the requirements.
  15. The proposed design does not satisfy Context & Setting; Scale; Built Form; Density; Amenity; Safety & Security & Aesthetics. .. the design does not appropriately relate to its context & setting & the new building does not provide adequate security for future occupants or adequate open space.
  16. The proposed development is considered to provide poor amenity for future occupants.
  17. In view of the above & the public submissions received, approval of the application would not be in the public interest.”

I was out of the room for Clr Tsardoulias’s opening speech supporting this DA.  Voting to approve. Clr Thanos: Asked about the acid sulphate in the soil. Staff said this was a “must clause” & Council must assess the soil.  Clr Peters: During the site inspection there was clear instructions for a contamination report. I can’t believe that 2.5 years has passed & still no report. This is a flawed proposal with 15 reasons for non-approval. Clr Tsardoulias’s amendment is generic & misses 15 reasons for refusal.  Voting for refusal.

Clr Phillips: If I were a member of the public in the Gallery I would be wondering why certain Councillors are trying to support this. There are loads of issues, information is missing & the remediation plans have not been submitted. Voting for refusal.

Mayor Byrne: Read from Staff’s report page 169-Conclusion: Point 5 the following – “It is noted that there are fundamental flaws with the proposed development which have not been addressed…. the performance criteria that allows for suitable amenity for residents & building design have not been met…. each unit has poor access to open space in terms of balconies. The provided landscape area adjacent to the northern building elevation at ground level is not conducive to use. The applicant has failed to address the majority of the concerns raised. The application has been the subject of considerable Council time & resources in an attempt to work with the applicant to resolve issues. Unfortunately, this has been unsuccessful, & there are fatal flaws with the proposal.” Voting for refusal.

Trees from exhibition at Customs House

Clr Thanos: Happy to entertain some sort of approval. Not willing to consider this approvable until Council has the information & remediation plan for acid sulphate.  Clr O’Sullivan: The reason I supported it is if we can get it right we can have 7 units for 10 years that is less than market rent. Units now with poor design & badly built go for $500,000. This is the last stab we will have on affordable housing because the new people in power will not follow this for long. The single reason we have pursued this is because it gives an opportunity for people to live in a good area. Voting to approve.

Clr Hanna: Some Councillors are interested to approve it. Instead of $400 it will be $320. If we want to support this DA we will be supporting affordable housing, not for any other reason.  Voting to approve.  Clr Macri: We do want to get it right to get affordable housing. I grew up playing football here & that tin shed has been there a long time. It’s now a new graffiti wall. I understand the process is making some Councillors feel uncomfortable. I’d like to see the applicant bring the reports in.

Clr Kontellis: It’s not about discomfort, it’s about doing things that are right. This is contrary to what we do around this table & to hide behind affordable housing is wrong – we all want affordable housing. We have 15 reasons to refuse this DA.  Clr Phillips: One point in the amendment says the building is acceptable. There are loads of reasons why it is not acceptable. What does this message send to other applicants? With this DA we say it’s affordable housing for 10 years so they don’t have to play by the rules. The rules are there so people have good amenity & proper safety procedures. We are throwing these out because its affordable housing as if people who live in affordable housing don’t need the same standards as everyone else.

Clr Wright: Asked Staff whether the development was complying with affordable housing steps. Staff: No – on the floor/space ratio.

Vote to approve DA: Clrs Tsardoulias, Iskandar, Wright, O’Sullivan, Thanos, Hanna & Macri.  Against: Clr’s Olive, Peters, Kontellis, Phillips & Mayor Byrne. Carried. This DA was approved.

Part 2 of Report from the Gallery will be posted soon.

Beautiful old Fig tree in Marrickville Golf Course

On 25 January 2010 Marrickville Council put up a Notification of Removal on their website saying they will be removing a Camphor Laurel (Cinnamonum camphora) street tree outside 2-12 Metropolitan Road Enmore.

On 26 January 2010 I went to have a look at this tree & after a search, found the stump in-between 2-parked cars.

Some residents said the tree had been chopped down a few days ago.  This is one more instance of Council’s inconsistent tree removal processes.  I have written about this issue before. This is a pointless notification when the tree was already gone for a few days.  This process engenders distrust because it is only a pretend attempt to engage the community.

The reason Marrickville Council gave for the tree’s removal was “Conditioned for removal as part of an approved Development Application DA200900354.01.”

This is cryptic language that doesn’t inform of the real reason for the tree’s removal & makes it impossible for the community to make an assessment whether the removal is reasonable.  As I understand it, the Notification of Removal notices are posted principally for the benefit of the community.  If this is the case, I can see no reason why they shouldn’t be written in plain language.  Jargon excludes people.

By inspecting the site (which is the old school being revamped), I can only suppose that the tree was removed to allow driveway access at the front of the property.  If this is correct, it is such a shame to lose a tree described by local residents as “gorgeous,” when there is access of equal width & equal utility at the rear of the property. All the properties in the neighbourhood have rear access only.

I could not find the reason for the tree’s removal because the DA cannot be found on Council’s website nor elsewhere on the net.

Council says the tree will be replaced with “4 x Super advanced amenity tree specimens.” They do not indicate which species of tree or say when they will be planted. Dr Kim D. Coder, Professor of Community Forestry & Arboriculture at Warnell School of Forest Resources said amenity trees can be summarized as having 3 qualities; “charming, satisfaction & utility.” I would say that the Camphor laurel also had these qualities.

The Camphor laurel had a girth of 2.5 metres & therefore would have sequestrated a significant amount of Co2 annually.  I hope that the “4 x Super advanced amenity tree specimens” are of the kind that also grow large trunks.

Not only do I wish Marrickville Council had a standardized process regarding tree removal & honoured it, but I wish that they would also fight to protect & keep our street trees when there is a DA, especially when there are alternatives available.  This tree was a huge loss to the community.

Stump of the Camphor laurel chopped down outside 2-12 Metropolitan Road Enmore

This was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Clrs Iskandar & Macri were absent.  The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine  There were a number of DAs on the agenda.  I have decided to write about only 2 because of the issues surrounding them.

568 Illwarra Road Marrickville – seeking to build 3-storey 7-unit block with off street parking for 6 vehicles. Council staff recommended refusal because of over-development, height, bulk, scale with “fatal flaws in the proposal.” The report listed 16 reasons for refusal including, “considered to provide poor amenity for future occupants.”  The developer spoke to the Councillors saying he will now offer the units to Metropolitan Housing as affordable housing for a period of 10 years. He wanted the matter deferred to give him time to discuss issues with Council.

Steele Park signage about the swales & water garden design. The WaterPlay Park at Steel Park will open on Sunday 7th November 2010.

Clr Wright moved to defer with a condition that all material required from the applicant must be given to Council within 21 days, saying affordable housing was too important to reject. Clr Phillips was against deferring as there were multiple deficient criteria. Clr Olive was against deferring saying he was not against affordable housing, but as there was an exhaustive list of issues that were wrong, the DA would need a significant overhaul. He foreshadowed a motion to revert back to the report’s proposal to refuse the application.

Clr Thanos said there was also an issue of site contamination & the absence of further information from the developer legally bound Council to refuse the DA.  Clr Hanna supported deferring, saying the DA provided affordable housing though this didn’t mean he would approve the DA. Mayor Byrne did not support deferral saying she was very concerned that the development was considered to provide poor amenity to future occupants & that internal amenity was important.

Clr O’Sullivan supported deferring saying the key issue was affordable housing at 20% below the market cost for 10 years & said it would most likely be rented by nurses, aged care workers, bus workers & the like. She said the applicant should be allowed to work on contamination, solar access, flood level, waste disposal & design issues. She said she would be happy to see a group of people being given the chance to enjoy the community.

Clr Kontellis said she didn’t support deferral because she thought this was setting the applicant up for failure. She said she did not want to create ghettos & poor standard of housing & the current plans will provide substandard accommodation, particularly amenity.  Clr Phillips said the applicant had met with Council about affordable housing requirements, yet hadn’t adjusted the application. He said he didn’t think it was good to defer when the DA was lacking in standards & non-compliant on a number of issues.  He was also concerned that this development would set a standard for the future & fill Marrickville with substandard housing.

Voting in favour of deferral – Clrs Wright, Tsardoulias, O’Sullivan & Thanos.  Against – Phillips, Byrnes, Peters, Olive & Kontellis with Clr Peters as Chair giving the casting vote.  Motion for deferral failed.

Trees at Mackey Park

Clr Olive spoke to the motion, which was to revert to the report’s recommendation to refuse the DA saying this is a 2A residential area. Clr Thanos said the current application is unsuitable & should not be allowed to go through. Clr Hanna said he didn’t support refusal as the applicant may change the DA & not include the whole block as affordable housing.

Clr Tsardoulias said this was unacceptable & that the Labor team moved for deferral so the applicant can work with staff & this was a win/win situation.  Clr Thanos then read from the legislation that said Councils cannot consent to development on contaminated land that has not been remediated. He said Council staff say the site is contaminated, yet the applicant hasn’t submitted the required information & therefore should be refused.

Clr Phillips said the Greens were not against affordable housing, but it was not correct to approve substandard housing just because it is affordable. He said people have a right not to live in substandard housing.

Carried with Clrs Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan & Hanna voting against.

80 Victoria Road & 12 Leister Street Marrickville – This is a DA to readapt Bethesda House & Stead House into residential flats & erect 3 other buildings to make 45 dwellings. The DA is in an area classified as of ‘regional significance’ & will go before the JRPP.  Council is recommending refusal.  The DA is seen as excessive in height, bulk & scale, will not complement existing streetscape & compromises heritage items & their settings. It also “significantly exceeds maximum floor space ratio.” The residents of all 19 houses on Leister Street signed a petition against the DA.

2 residents addressed Council supporting Council’s recommendation of refusal. They said everyone in Leister Street was against the development. They spoke about the following issues – parking is a huge problem & this DA effectively turns Leister Street into a giant driveway, 16 dwellings on Leister Street & now they want to put in 45 new units, most dense DA they have seen, community was concerned about the increase in traffic to the units & the increase in traffic to Metro & the pool. They asked Councillors to vote against the DA.

The fate of the trees surrounding Marrickville Metro are with the Department of Planning now

Clr Thanos said that residential units are prohibited in this area & Councillors should vote against it.  Clr O’Sullivan said this is an allowable application because it will conserve Bethesda House & Stead House, both heritage buildings.  She thought the intensity of the dwellings will detract from Stead House, squash & crowd it & that intense overdevelopment will destroy these buildings. Clr Phillips said all DAs should be coming through Council & that so far, all DAs in our LGA decided by the JRPP have been approved. Clr Olive said he hoped the DA would be refused by the JRPP.  Motion to recommend refusal carried.

Clr Phillips moved an urgent item without notice that Council buildings not be used for JRPP meetings.  Clr Olive said there is confusion in the community because the state government has created an overlap in the functioning of Council & the JRPP & Clr Phillips’s motion will reduce this confusion.  Clr Wright thought it was “mindless symbolism.” She said residents contact Councillors who help them navigate the JRPP process & that Councillors have an impact on JRPP decisions. She thought residents understood the difference in the two processes.

Clr Thanos was concerned about residents from a non-English speaking background who don’t understand the difference between the JRPP & Council. He said he supported the motion to find another location.  Clr Hanna didn’t support the motion saying people may have to travel to the city making it harder to attend.  Carried with Clrs Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan & Hanna voting against.

Here ends the Report for this week.


Community group Metro Watch are having a public meeting –

  • this Thursday 12th August 2010
  • 7pm
  • Herbert Greedy Hall 79 Petersham Road Marrickville.

The plans for the massive expansion of Marrickville Metro are now on public exhibition & will be presented. There will be a range of guest speakers – Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskandar, Federal Greens Candidate for Grayndler Sam Byrne, some Marrickville Councillors, some local business owners & the Metro Watch secretary.


  • this Saturday 14th August 2010
  • 11.15am
  • Gather at the BBQ spot Enmore Park at the corner of Black Street & Victoria Road Marrickville

After a 15-minute update, the group will walk together 100 metres to Marrickville Metro to attend a community consultation session held by the AMP project team & Elton Consulting.

This is a seriously big Fig with a girth of many metres. It stands near the front entrance of Marrickville Metro on Victoria Road & it is one of more than 100 mature trees that will be removed should the expansion of Marrickville Metro go ahead

Resident action group Metro Watch say they have communicated with over 1,000 local residents.  Almost everyone was under the misconception that Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre was undergoing ’revitalization’ & that revitalization meant a cosmetic face-lift of Marrickville Metro.

AMP Capital is planning everything but a cosmetic facelift.  More than 4 million extra shoppers & a 65-68% increase in traffic is not a cosmetic facelift. Nor is the removal of more than 100 trees, (how much over 100 trees is not known as yet), many of them big, beautiful substantial trees.

The community has this perception because the term ‘revitalization’ is used in all of AMP’s community newsletters.   Oh the power of words.

Please come to both these community meetings. Children are welcome.

The deadline for submissions to the Department of Planning is Friday 27th August 2010.  I will be writing more about this development & will write a draft submission that I can e-mail to you for you to change as you like.

We do not stand a chance against this corporate giant unless the community joins with Marrickville Council, Marrickville Councillors & local shop owners in our shopping strips that are saying a loud “NO!” to this development.  We also need to help the people who live in the 11,430 homes within 1km from Marrickville Metro.  They will be the worst affected, but traffic problems tend to spiral outward, especially now that the new IKEA in Tempe is just around the corner and more massive high-rise housing development is planned.

To read past posts about the proposed development –

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start. This photo was taken from a 2nd floor balcony so the size of the building will look bigger when you are standing on the ground.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel meets this Thursday 12th August 2010 at 5.30pm at Marrickville Town Hall to decide on the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site corner of Illawarra Road & Byrnes Street Marrickville. Everyone is welcome.

If you would like to address the Panel, you need contact Ms Carol Pereira-Crouch before 4pm tomorrow Tuesday 10th August 2010 on 938 32105 or

The developers of the 5,6 & 9 storey development on the old Marrickville RSL site must be super confident because they are already advertising the units for sale & doing letter box drops.  Does this mean they think the process is a farce?  Imagine just how far we would get if we tried to sell a 2nd storey on top of our house before our DA was approved?

You can view the units for sale by clicking on the following link –

To read the issues about this development –

September 2009 –

July 2009 ––-20th-july-2010-part-2/

June 2009 ––-8th-june-2010/

April 2009 –

Last night was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Absent: Clr O’Sullivan on leave. The Deputy Mayor of Larnaca, Cyprus was acknowledged as a special guest in the Gallery.  As usual, the following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

2A-4 West Street Lewisham – 9 two-storey townhouses. A local resident spoke against the DA saying it was more destruction of significant Lewisham history with another substantial house being demolished & local residents were concerned with the amount of new housing in the area. He asked that a comprehensive Dilapidation Report be done on his property. Clr Marcri confirmed that a Dilapidation Report would be prepared. The DA was passed unanimously.

40 Albermale Street Newtown – 2-storey house with a 2-storey garage. This is the 3rd time before Council.  The neighbour is concerned about loss of sun, loss of light, changes to the line of houses & streetscape. He said the house is a gross overdevelopment for the size of the land & of the 8 grounds for refusal, only 6 have been partially addressed. He also said that cracks appear in his walls from month to month due to the small foundations & therefore was worried about deep excavation 1 metre from his house. The speaker for the DA said they had compromised by doing deeper excavation, lowering the roofline, reduced the room above the garage by 9 sq metres & they will cut a hole in the roof to allow sunlight to go into the neighbour’s property.

Clr Tsardoulias supported the DA saying he was not concerned with overshadowing. Clrs Olive & Phillips said that the open space was less than required & thought this DA set a bad precedent for the area.  The DA was lost with Clrs Hanna, Macri, Tsardoulias, Iskandar & Wright voting for it to be passed.  Clr Olive then moved for refusal on Council outlined grounds which was carried with the same Councillors voting against.

174 Denison Road & 36 Piggot Street Dulwich Hill – Subdivide this land

View of the DA site from the high end of Hoskins Park

into 2 lots. A DA for this site was last before Council in May 2010 for twelve 3-storey townhouses. This saw a return of the Save Hoskins Park community group who were united in opposition of the amended DA. 3 residents spoke against the DA saying it was an unsympathetic over-development that would ruin an intact area of 1920s houses, create parking problems, overshadowing & that scant consideration was given to Marrickville Council’s own development requirements & policies.  They said 150 objections were sent to Council with a petition of 800 signatures & their Face Book site had 230 friends demonstrating the community was against this DA. They also said it didn’t make sense to sell off the heritage & streetscape for short-term gain.

Clr Thanos said the development was wrong & would ruin the look & feel of the area.  Clr Tsardoulias supported Clr Thanos & asked Council to look at classifying 134-136 Piggot Street as heritage houses.  Clr Kontelis wanted safeguards to stop development that is “greedy & disrespectful” to protect our cultural heritage.  The DA was refused.  I wrote about this development here – &–-4th-may-2010/

Operating hours of the Annette Kellerman Pool – Opening at 5.30am Mon-Sat. A resident spoke against the extended hours saying they will

Once a tree

set a precedent for increased hours for Marrickville Metro & asked that hours be unchanged & reassessed in 12 months.  Another resident spoke about increased traffic, parking, noise that will impact on residents by affecting their sleep & therefore their health. He asked why did Council think earlier than 8am was not okay for Sundays, but 5am was okay for the rest of the week.

Clrs Thanos, Macri, Iskandar & Wright supported a 5.30am opening. Clr Macri said Council will not be running the pool, therefore they won’t have control over what goes on. (I was shocked to learn that Council will not be operating the pool. 17 plus million of ratepayers’ money to build it, yet the profits go elsewhere?)  He put up an amendment that there be an incentive to the operator to keep noise down by having a 12 month report on noise.  He also said it was important to give residents recourse to come back to Council. Clr Peters was concerned that there was a gym & noise from music could affect neighbours & wanted a 12 month trial. The amendment from Clr Macri was lost with support from Clrs Tsardoulias & Peters.

Cyprus Club – 58-76 Stanmore Road Stanmore – 4 storey, open piazza, 11 room guest accommodation, 25 place child care centre & 46 one bed & 10 two bed units.  The Architect said they had lowered the building by 200mm & reduced the numbers of units by 4. He also said they had consulted with the community.   A resident spoke saying the resubmitted plan made token & cosmetic changes, that they were asked to follow the topography & they haven’t done this & will set a precedent for the area.  He said community consultation was bad, they met with the developer, took the information back to the residents & when they tried to meet with the developer again, he remained unable to be contacted.

There was a long debate with Clrs Byrne, Philips, Peters concerned with height, size, bulk & overshadowing problems & not working with the topography.  Clr Peters was concerned that environmental strategies were  not included in the design & that the size is above Council’s own floorspace standards.  Clr Thanos, Macri, Tsardoulias, Iskandar, Kontellis & Hanna spoke in support of the development.  Issues discussed were the requirement of 2 hours direct sunlight for neighbours, that the roof height was only 8 cm over the requirement, the community has been there a long time, they are setting up independent living for elderly people & it is important to support the Cyprus Club.  Clr Kontellis supported the DA, but said she would like the developer to “consider incorporating her colleagues’ valid points.” The DA was passed with Clrs Olive, Peters, Phillips & Byrne voting against.

525 Illawarra Road Marickville South – 4 storey Residential Aged Care facility for 120 beds & a 2-storey Child Care Centre with off-street parking for 86 vehicles.  This DA will go before the Joint Regional Planning Panel on Thursday 12th August 2010 at Marrickville Town Hall at 5.30pm.  (Also decided at this sitting of the JRPP will be 359 Illawarra Road Marrickville, the old Marrickville RSL site.) The public are welcome to attend & speak before the panel.

This area of land is to be an Residential Aged Care Facility & a Child Care Centre

The Public Meeting organised by Marrickville Metro Community Watchdog  (MMCW) happened last night at St Peter’s Town Hall. It was incredibly well organized for a first action of a new community group & their written information is terrific.

We were taken through a series of powerpoint slides that showed what was going to happen with the proposed expansion. This was the first time I have seen images & site plans.  The new Marrickville Metro is going to be enormous.

AMP is submitting 2 proposals: One that will incorporate the area across from Smidmore Road & one without. Basically it will be like Broadway in Marrickville. Terrific if shopping malls are your thing, but awful for all the business along King Street, Enmore Road & Marrickville Road to name a few.  I doubt all those wonderful little unique shops will survive & we will lose much of the creativity that makes the Inner West great.

MMCW organised a good range of speakers to go through the issues, Joe Khoury from Marrickville Chamber of Commerce, 4 residents directly affected, Marrickville Councillors Hanna, Macri, Peters, Olive & Mayor Iskandar.  Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt also spoke.  I spoke about the 83 trees that are at risk of being lost. It will be more now I have seen the actual size of the proposed development.

Some of the issues raised were:

  • The building is estimated to be between 19 -21 metres high. 2 storeys with 2 other levels of parking.
  • 65-68% increase in traffic & street parking problems from an extra 4 million shoppers a year.
  • More than 2,000 residences are within 600 metres of Metro.
  • 11,430 residences in a 1km radius will be greatly affected by traffic & parking issues. Local parking has already been earmarked for the Enmore pool.

The proposed DA will be put up for exhibition on 28th July 2010. From then the community has 30 days to get submissions in, though Marrickville Council is writing to the Minister to ask that a further 30 days be allowed.  This is not a given so the community needs to campaign inside the first 30 days.

The DA comes under Part 3A meaning the state Minister of Planning will decide whether to approve the development. Recently, the proposed 13 storey re-development of the Balmain Tigers was defeated due to massive opposition from the local community proving that if the community gets together, the state government will listen.

I will write a draft submission that I am happy to send to you. You can it change as you like. 200 submissions from the community will be insufficient to stop the expansion from happening. We need to send 1,000 at least to ensure our message is heard.  Every shop owner along our shopping strips needs to send a submission as well.  Petitions are great, but in my opinion, nowhere near as powerful as a submission.

MMCW are looking for people to help with this campaign. e-mail –

I am posting this separately from the full Report from the Gallery because of the Public Meeting about the Marrickville Metro expansion tonight. The following is my understanding of the discussion & all mistakes are mine.

The Public Meeting is to be held at tonight Wednesday 21st July 2010 at 7pm at St Peters Town Hall, 39 Unwins Bridge Road Sydenham.

Click on the following link for more details –

Request for extension of time for community submissions concerning the DA for Marrickville Metro expansion – 2 residents spoke asking that instead of the usual 30 days given for submissions, that this be extended to at least 60 days. They said AMP has had masses of time to get themselves organized & that most of the nearby residents are not aware of the planned expansion.  They said there is not much information about the expansion on the Marrickville Metro website, that supposed door-knocking & letter drops by Elton Consulting to the residents has not been successful in that most don’t know what is happening. They also spoke about current problems of traffic, 4am deliveries & maintenance, staff parking in the streets & noise.

Clr Hanna put up the motion to have the consultation period extended to 60 days.  He spoke about being blocked for 15 minutes while a Woolworths truck was doing deliveries. He said none of the residents know what is happening & there are a lot of complaints about Metro as it is currently. He said to make it double the size & buy the street is going to create major problems & asked where the 700 new staff are expected to park.

This is a seriously big Fig with a girth of many metres. It stands near the front entrance of Marrickville Metro on Victoria Road.

Clr Phillips put up an amendment that Council is to write to the Minister to hand the assessment of the DA back to Marrickville Council. He said the expanded Metro would be a disaster, that it would hurt our shopping strips & cause problems with parking.  He said AMP want a privatized space where there is no infrastructure & the process allows a limited scope for consultation.

Clr Thanos supported the 60 day consultation period. He said the planning process has been the most disgraceful process he has come across & it looks like a deal has been made with the state government with AMP as the beneficiary.  Mayor Iskandar said Council was preparing everything to oppose the expansion & the shopping strips will suffer, but the law is as it is. He said we will fight the process together, but shouldn’t raise false hopes.

Clr Marcri said parking does not exist for local shopping strips so people drive on to Metro & the shopping strips cannot compete with this.  He also said the local streets near Metro have been earmarked as parking for the new Enmore pool & that if Metro expands, there will be a huge gridlock further out & residents will suffer. Clr Byrne said if the Metro DA is passed, the state government Department of Planning will not be following fundamental planning processes as Council has been told they cannot change the zoning in this area.  Carried unanimously.

What I did notice was that no-one mentioned the many, many trees that will need to be removed if the expansion goes ahead.

The community now will have 60 days to put submissions in regarding the Marrickville Metro expansion & they will do this with the knowledge that all Councillors oppose the expansion.  Hallelujah!   Hope to see you there tonight.

This week’s Council meeting was the Land Use, Assets & Corporate Committee Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting. I have not included items that did not attract full debate. Any mistakes are mine.

1. Local Traffic Committee Advisory Meeting:

Old RSL site Illawarra Road Marrickville. The Traffic Committee recommended the DA “be supported in its present form, given that there are no significant adverse impacts on traffic or parking.” The DA proposes 180 residential units with 171 parking spaces

Now empty Marrickville RSL building on Illawarra Road looking down Byrnes Road

for residents, visitors & shoppers. The developer amended the DA removing the supermarket, using smaller trucks & moving the loading bay to Byrnes Street.

A resident who spoke against the report said she has collected 1,114 signatures against the DA from the local community who are concerned with the bulk, height & scale of the development & believe it will bring significant traffic onto already congested Illawarra Road.  She said Council was underestimating traffic movement in & out of the development & living next to railway stations did not mean people didn’t own cars. She spoke about the current parking difficulties saying many patrons of the previous RSL either walked or came by courtesy bus or taxis.

Clr O’Sullivan put up an alternative motion: that the Councillors note that the Traffic Committee believes there will be no problems with parking, but the Councillors advise the JRPP Secretariat of residents’ concerns regarding the validity of traffic projections contained in the applicants traffic study & request that any consent conditions have minimal or no impact on surrounding streets.

Clr O’Sullivan expressed concern about traffic saying Councillors are dependent on our Officers as Secretariat of JRPP to determine a sensitive, future-orientated response to the DA & talking about traffic is different from experiencing it.

Clr Thanos opposed the amended motion saying that it didn’t achieve anything because Council staff had assessed the traffic impact & believed there will be no traffic impacts & the motion was misleading to Council staff, residents & JRPP.  He asked whether the motion was asking staff to change their minds & felt the JRPP will ignore a motion like this.   He spoke about providing housing around transport nodes saying no one owns parking spaces on public streets & the number of cars people choose to own is their decision.

Fire Wheel flowers

Clr Olive said he agreed with a lot of what Clr Thanos said, but he also thought there were valid points in the amended motion & would be supporting it.  He said even though staff have made recommendations, this doesn’t mean we can’t make things better.  He spoke about looking at traffic minimalisation by placement of driveways, entrances, sizes of entrances as examples & thought the report was coming from the position of looking at the previous DA.  He said Councillors should be expressing the community’s concerns so the JRPP can look at the issue closely.

Clr Phillips supported the amended motion saying it highlights the problem of the JRPP being the decision maker instead of Councils & it’s important for Councillors to voice their concerns.  He was not convinced there will be no impact on traffic & reminded that there will be further development in this area.

Clr Peters reminded everyone that the JRPP just approved a development at the Newtown RSL site that is to be a 66-room hotel, RSL Club, retail with only 17 parking spaces.

Clr O’Sullivan said that her motion was minimalist in that it only takes into account the traffic &, though she agreed with much of what Clr Thanos said, she said Councillors were representing the community’s interest for both the short & long term. She said the JRPP took heed of community concerns regarding the Tempe Depot development.  Carried with Clr Thanos against.

– Mobility Parking spaces – One was approved in Terminus St Petersham & another rejected in Lymerston St Tempe because there was a space within 10 metres of the property.  Clr Thanos said that every time someone wants a parking space, they claim disability. He said if it were important to the resident, they would have come to speak at the meeting.  The Director recommended that the refusals be referred back to the Traffic Committee following proper procedure to prevent any appeal. Carried with Clrs Thanos & Peters against.

2. Report on Marrickville Transport Planning & Advisory Committee 20 May 2010 – Clr Tsardoulias said he had questions regarding the position of stops on the Light Rail.  Clr Byrne said she was disappointed Railcorp is not providing a public toilet in the ‘unpaid’ area of Newtown Railway Station & hoped they would drop the access fee regarding airport access as this will increase use of public transport to the airport.  Clr Thanos said he thought the access fee would not be dropped, mentioning that Airport Services use Council’s parking spaces at Tempe for their own employees. Carried.

3. Council Infrastructure for investment for Healthy, Safe & Happy Children’s Home/School Journeys – Council surveyed schools & families regarding the pedestrian routes used to travel to school seeking to learn about obstacles/problems that made this difficult or unsafe with the aim to create child-friendly routes.

Clr Byrne was unhappy that Tempe High School, Tempe Primary School & St Peters Public School were not included in the survey.  Clr Olive agreed with the direction of the report, but wanted it noted that Council was not proposing an increase in the budget for this.  He said people were expressing excitement about what they thought would happen, but in reality Council won’t be able to do much in the next 10 years.  He gave the cost of a traffic light at $120,000 as an example. He said he was not against increasing the budget for this.  Motion carried.

4. Floodplain Management Advisory Committee Meeting report April 2010 – recommending the report be adopted, especially the Eastern Channel Flood Study.   Clr O’Sullivan mentioned the substantial risk of flooding in Marrickville & St Peters industrial areas.  Clr Phillips mentioned climate change & extreme rain events citing Kogarah coast & Mackey Park deemed at risk.  He said the science around climate change is changing rapidly with scientists thinking there will be a sea rise of 1-2 metres this century so did not want to see this study predicated on a ½ metre sea rise.

Clr Olive asked how much it was going to cost & whether Council would be approaching the state & federal governments for money.  The Director said he did not know at this stage.  Carried unanimously.

5. Membership of Wollongong City Council of Westpool & United Independent Pools – public liability, professional indemnity, personal accident, motor vehicle, property & travel insurance.

Clr Phillips expressed concern admitting a Council into an insurance scheme that doesn’t have a good track record.  A staff member advised extensive due diligence was undertaken by 3 Pools leading up to Wollongong Council requesting to join & all 3 Pools were concerned about Wollongong Council’s application, especially around professional indemnity insurance. The only exposure Marrickville Council will have concerns motor vehicles & property. Clr Phillips was happy with this. Carried unanimously.

6. Council investments at 30 April 2010, Changes to Code of Meeting Practice, Update on status of petitions & Status update, Councillor Conferences, Outstanding Reports, Action Arising from Notice of Motions & Mayoral Minutes were dealt with together.

Gum flowers

Clr Peters asked about the workshops & expert external input regarding Marrickville Council’s Urban Forest Program & whether it was still Council’s intention to provide this to Councillors.  The Director said Councillors would have a conference at the end of June & a draft is ready to put to Council. Clr Phillips said she recalled a motion by Clr O’Sullivan last February that Councillors would be given education workshops & external input regarding  tree management & now we will be getting the plan without the workshops.  The Director said Council can do this.  All items carried.

I remember discussion previously was to provide Councillors with training workshop about the issues surrounding greening the LGA. The emphasis was on getting external experts to provide an alternative view to removing 1,000 trees per year for the next 5 years that was recommended in February 2010.  It appears to me that the Trees Strategy Issues  Paper is being brought back to the Councillors with a new name: The Urban Forest Plan & training for Councillors on this issue is no longer suggested  by staff.

7. Rescission motion by Clr Macri regarding previous decision to put 2 restricted parking spaces on Marrickville Rd Marrickville. Clr Marcri said Councillors did not follow usual procedure, there was no support from the community for the motion & the numbers were against any changes.  He said the issue should have gone through the proper channels back to the Traffic Committee.

Clr Hanna said businesses in Marrickville Road had difficulty keeping staff because of parking fines. He mentioned that some councilors thought the $10 fee for parking in the Frampton St car park was too cheap, whereas Leichhardt Council provides it free. Clr Phillips said the café owner asked for 2 parking spaces, the process was transparent & if there are complaints from the community he would be happy to revisit the issue.  Clr Macri said it was about democracy, that the survey was heavily against any parking restriction, it should have been advertised & taken to the Traffic Committee.  Clrs Macri, Hanna, Tsardoulias & O’Sullivan voted to rescind.  The rescission motion was lost & the meeting concluded.

Next was the Services Committee Meeting.

8. Branch Operational Costs –  Clr Thanos declared a particular interest in libraries saying Council should saving money now to get a new library with many services up & running soon. To do this he believed some libraries in the LGA would need to be closed. Clr Phillips said he wouldn’t support closing libraries, but said there could be a new library at the Marrickville Hospital site when it was developed.  Clr Byrnes was against closing libraries saying they provide many more services to the community than simply book loans. Clr Hanna didn’t support closing libraries yet, but said he would once a new library was built.  Carried.

9.  Review of Major Community Events & Community Cultural Events Programs

gorgeous bark

Motion moved to defer item until Mayor Iskandar returns from his Sister Cities visits  because he has had significant input & should be able to contribute. Clr Thanos supported deferral & said he will be voting against all events in preference for having money for a new library. Clr Olive said he was unhappy that the Cooks River Festival has gone to Canterbury Council & would be arguing for Council’s retention & involvement in this festival.  He said both the Council & the Cooks River Committee’s involvement have been instrumental in good things happening at the Cooks River. Clrs Tsardoulias, Peters, Kontellis against motion to defer. Carried.

Here ends Report from the Gallery for this week.

A weird thing happened to me last night in the Gallery of Marrickville Council.  I lost all motivation.  The audio was again dreadful.  It was very difficult trying to listen to the Councillors through the sound which alternated between frying eggs & sitting next to a bubbling aquarium.  The heat was stifling.  Clr Olive was alert to this & wore a t-shirt.

I wonder whether the Councillors also have trouble hearing each other & think if they do, it would make the long hours they spent in meetings very difficult.  It’s stressful to hear a constant sizzling noise in the background while the voices of the speakers are on low sound.  I think Council should bite the bullet & invest in a new audio system.

Last night was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting, which is not my favourite meeting.  Sometimes it is interesting when it concerns high-rise, destruction of heritage buildings, Backpackers, the removal of mature trees or the like, but after the first item I found I couldn’t stay.  The lure of the Sultan’s Table in Enmore was too great so we slipped out into the fresh air.

These trees on private property opposite the bridge at West Street Lewisham are a local landmark. I love them & hope they stay for many more years

We did stay for the first item, a DA at 51 Thornley Street Marrickville South. They were applying to build a dual occupancy with one of the dwellings in the back garden. What was of interest to me was the DA sought to remove 2 mature trees on the property. Both trees were protected by Marrickville Council’s tree preservation order.  A consulting Arborist made a report.  While the Arborist agreed the trees could be removed & replacement trees be planted along with general landscaping, it is my understanding this was not accepted by Council. The trees will stay & the Fig will have one branch pruned.  The DA was passed which would have pleased the owners as they first submitted a DA in August 2008.

Councillor Tsardoulias was back in his seat, so he seems to have recovered, which is good.  Clrs Byrnes, Wright & Iskandar were absent.  Here ends the shortest Report from the Gallery I have ever written.  Once again, any mistakes are mine.



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