Community let down by former leaders

Letters to the editor

I spoke at the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) hearing to determine a development application for the erection of an ATO building on part of the former Gosford Primary School site.

I spoke strongly against the proposal because it’s not good for Gosford. What the hearing showed was the abysmal development outcome that may soon blight our waterfront. A prime 10 hectare iconic site suitable for integrated development has been fragmented and sold off by a cash-hungry NSW Government and the two adjoining developers who have lodged DAs can’t even co-operate to provide access from Gosford CBD to the waterfront or a shared driveway.

Some 10 years ago, Gosford Waterfront Strategy 2007 stated: “the Gosford school site constitutes a prime opportunity to develop an arts and cultural precinct … it has been assumed the sports fi eld adjacent to the primary school is to be retained as … event space and recreational asset.” So former Gosford councillors, what happened to your strategy since 2007? In 2010, after extensive community consultation (for which Gosford Council won an award), council adopted a City MasterPlan, “Our City Our Destiny”, which again showed an arts and entertainment precinct on the former school site including a performing arts centre.

That document was endorsed by 84 per cent of the community and Mr Tony Kelly, the then minister for planning. So, former councillors, what happened to your MasterPlan since 2010? Former councillors and former state member for Gosford, why did Gosford Council enter into a back-room deal with the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (CCRDC), supposedly a department within Planning NSW, but describing itself in its webpage as a real estate developer? Isn’t that a massive confl ict of interest? Why did neither council nor the NSW Government progress the plans they had endorsed? How did the CCRDC get to sell off two of three blocks on the former school site? Will the proceeds be used in Gosford, or be siphoned off? It’s quite clear that the Gosford community has been massively let down by its former councillors and leadership team. Explanations are needed before any former Gosford councillor re-enters public offi ce.

Email, Jun 10, 2016 Kevin Armstrong, West Gosford

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