Residents have very little say over developments

Letters to the editor

[Forum] Central Coast Council requests that the community has input into a myriad of strategies and policies on exhibition, as if our concerns are automatically acted upon, or not overridden by State Government decisions such as the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036, or the many forthcoming digestible size structure plans.

Now we have Council accommodating closed door meetings with the Urban Development Institute Australia (UDIA).

The best a resident can do is to raise their concern with a ward councillor and if he or she wants to go further with a Motion in the chamber, you may be given three minutes to address the full council.

This is now where Central Coast residents find themselves, when an industry led group of developers with self-promoting interests and intentions has more say with our future than we do.

The UDIA’s own website states that they are “dedicated to the representation of Australia’s property industry, we engage positively with federal, state and local governments and their agencies (but not with the community) on issues critical to the industry – covering tax, population, infrastructure, land use planning and beyond”.

The residents are the largest investors or stakeholders on the Central Coast but have very little say with future planning directions, especially once the Local Planning Panel (LPP) has ultimate power over Council and the residents.

Council already has in place strategies or policies which allow developers to build next door without needing to alert the local neighbourhood.

Yet even though the Structure Plans have not been officially adopted, developments such as proposed for the major housing redevelopment at Doyalson, fly under the radar and once again without community consultation.

The proposal for the 45ha site will include the demolition and relocation of Doyalson RSL Club, a new intersection with lights on the highway, a new Raw Challenge facility, childcare, medical centre, fast food outlets, 140 low density residences and 220 manufactured home seniors village, motel/hotel, indoor sports centre, go cart centre track and paintball.

It is not catering for some of our local sporting groups, thus sounding more like a completely new city, and poor planning practices catering only for the whim of the developer, with no concern for existing residents or the massive lack of critical infrastructure.

Residents need look no further than just up the road for more poor planning proposals, with the Greater Lake Munmorah Structure Plan, as the region starts to resemble Parramatta Rd (in Sydney) whilst we wait for the potential for car sale yards and unhealthy food outlets.

Across the road, behind the screen of trees, lies the toxic 26 million tonnes of coal ash being stored in 50-year-old unlined dams, with a further 0.55 million tonnes being added per annum by the Vales Point power station, with no answer of remediation other than capping it with 650mm of dirt, some of which is mixed with asbestos.

The latest findings by the National Pollution Inventory shows astronomical air pollution emissions of fine particles into the local air, with the excuse that the stack filters were blocked and needing replacing, but why weren’t they replaced earlier?

How do we contemplate a whole new city, before we have any answers to arguably the most toxic region on the Central Coast?

Email, May 17
Gary Blaschke OAM
Lake Munmorah