Sporties refusal may ‘sterilise’ our future, says Chamber

Peninsula Chamber President Matthew Wales talks to Jackie PearsonPeninsula Chamber President Matthew Wales talks to Jackie Pearson. Archive footage

The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce believes the refusal on August 23 of the development application for the Sporties land on the corner of North Burge Rd and Brick Wharf Rd, has potentially “sterilised” future redevelopment within the whole of Woy Woy.

“The implications for this situation are that the same principles will now apply to all developments in the future that are affected by the Probable Maximum Flood and that will be further compounded by any adoption by Central Coast Council of sea level rise,” said Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales. “Our concern now is that this decision will affect any development in Woy Woy within a one in a one hundred year flood and that includes half the Woy Woy CBD. “This decision has the potential to sterilise development over half the Woy Woy CBD,” he said. The community submissions by residents and community groups who addressed the Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel opposed high-density development taking over the area.

Mr Ross McMurtrie, who addressed the Planning Panel on behalf of the Save Woy Woy Waterfront community group, said: “There is no other development like this on the Woy Woy Waterfront. “It would set an undesirable precedent,” Mr McMurtrie said. Local resident Mr James Waugh said he was concerned about the way the Central Coast Council staff report, which recommended refusal of the Sporties redevelopment, had mentioned high-density residential development in Woy Woy. “A number of comments [in the Central Coast Council staff report] imply that high-density residential development would not only be acceptable but desirable,” he said.

Arguments that high-density would be acceptable on roads like North Burge and Brick Wharf based on the areas being close to the Woy Woy town centre were misleading, he said. Although geographically close, Mr Waugh said the neighbourhood around Sporties was a “different world”, to the town centre. “The residents don’t want high density anywhere, they don’t want 100-plus people being shoehorned into the waterfront,” he said and urged the Panel to base its decision on the existing character of Woy Woy “which is essentially a low-density sleepy seaside town”. He said the current community felt it was “somehow being stabbed in the back” by any suggestion that high-density residential development was a desirable outcome for Woy Woy. Another resident, Ms Ruth Herman also highlighted that the Council staff’s report had deemed the transition between neighbouring development and the senior’s housing proposal was acceptable.

“I also strongly disagree with the report that the development does not impose an unacceptable bulk and scale,” Ms Herman said. “The nearest development with similar bulk and scale is 1km away,” she said. Ms Herman said she believed any future review of the Development Control Plan for Woy Woy, in relation to development objectives for scenic quality “should include retaining and supporting of significant elements not already noted for medium density”. Ms Margaret Sullivan, who moved to Brick Wharf Rd four years ago said the current levels of development on the Peninsula were already causing challenges for traffic management and parking.

“I chose to live up here because of the low density and the feel of the area,” she said. She said she believed the volume of traffic along Brick Wharf Rd had increased three to four times in the last four years.

SOURCE: Meeting notes, 23 Aug 2018 Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel Interview, 23 Aug 2018 Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Reporter: Jackie Pearson