I refer to Mr Taylor Martin MLC’s article published in The Wyong Regional Chronicle on February 6, in which he calls on Central Coast Council to reverse its decision that would see 15 objections needed for a DA to be referred to Councillors.
Local Government is important for the very reason that it is local. In the majority of cases, Council consults with its community and provides an opportunity for local residents to express their views. Sometimes that is done via surveys and meetings, and sometimes via Councillors, as community representatives, unlike the Central Coast Regional Plan, determined by Macquarie St and imposed on locals, whether they like it or not. Planning Minister Roberts recently said he was so committed to overhauling Gosford that “If it means breaking eggs and kicking heads, so be it.” The current uncertainty about the location of the Regional Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) on Gosford Waterfront is an example of the NSW government’s crash-and-burn, media driven, approach to long-term planning issues.
The current dilemma over the site of the RPAC only exists because the current NSW Liberal Government discarded the adopted Our City Our Destiny Master Plan which has an iconic Regional Performing Arts Centre on the former school site. The former Gosford City Council had its planning right. Way back as far as the Gosford Waterfront Strategy (2006), it planned for community use of the primary school site. This use was confirmed after extensive community consultation during 2008/2009 when the community, Council and the then NSW (Labor) Government endorsed the Our City Our Destiny Master Plan in 2010. Only after a change of government in NSW, did the RPAC site switcheroo begin.
First, the NSW Government over-rode the locally endorsed Master Plan and LEP zoning to facilitate the sale of the school site which was on public land. Then, political promises to get Lucy Wicks MP elected (ATO/ jobs), followed by then political hopeful, Adam Crouch MP, who hopped on the bandwagon, proposing relocation of the proposed PAC, so that the government could build offices on the school site. I have been, and continue to be, a critic of Central Coast Council on some issues, including accessibility and parking in the CBD. However, on the issue of the site for the Regional Performing Arts Centre, Central Coast Council is being unfairly and unreasonably blamed for the chaos and uncertainty caused by the NSW Government’s betrayal of the wishes of local residents.
Email, Feb 19 Kevin Armstrong, Tumbi Umbi