It was interesting to hear from two senior bureaucrats at the JRPP hearing last Thursday (September 15) that the justification for the NSW government building a finance office on Gosford Waterfront, was to fulfil an election commitment to create 300 jobs.
Readers will no doubt recall similar statements from Ms Lucy Wicks MP in respect of creating 600 jobs by building an ATO offi ce adjacent to the former School of Arts. The former school site is the most visually prominent site at the gateway to Gosford and the largest and most signifi cant site available in Gosford for community activities. One document describes the waterfront as “the jewel in Gosford’s crown.” The former Gosford City Council (GCC) adopted three strategic planning documents: Vision 2015 in 2006, Gosford Waterfront Strategy in 2007 and the Gosford City Master Plan Our City Our Destiny in 2010. All of these documents called for community use and an arts entertainment precinct/performing arts centre on the former school site as a priority. The NSW Government of the day agreed. Regrettably, GCC failed to incorporate any of these proposals in its LEP 2014, despite having done so in previous draft LEPs.
This neglect and abrogation of civic responsibility allowed rezoning of Gosford Waterfront to be taken out of the hands of its locally elected representatives by a 24hr NSW SEPP, initiated by the CCRDC. The former GCC no longer exists, nor effectively does the CCRDC. Minister for Planning, Mr Rob Stokes, has failed to intervene to resolve a clearly controversial and signifi cant planning matter. Effectively, the potential of the Gosford Waterfront is now being determined by government appointed bureaucrats, not by our locally elected representatives. The aspirations and preferences of over 80 per cent of Gosford residents have been ignored despite being clearly expressed during the challenge consultations. Sound strategic and urban planning principles have been subjugated to ill thought out promises made by unelected candidates hopeful of election to political office. How utterly sad, both for us, our kids and grandkids.
Email, Sep 19, 2016 Kevin Armstrong, West Gosford