Residents should decide on community modules

Letters to the editor

[Forum] Hal Colebatch is absolutely correct, as I have pointed out myself, that ward boundaries are completely inappropriate as planning modules (Coast Community News Forum edition 237), because of the lack of community interest within the arbitrary divisions that have been drawn up for no other than electoral convenience.

His suggestion that Council should invite Central Coast residents to make their own suggestions as to how community modules might be delineated is a brilliant one.

As he forecasts, this will generate a variety of precinct proposals that can serve as a basis for supportable character assessments, subscribed to by each community group.

It should, then, be no problem for planning professionals to reconcile overlaps and gaps and come up with realistic units that we can all accept.

Unfortunately, given the way in which Council has already, when it suits, cavalierly overridden character statements to permit completely unsuitable developments, it probably wouldn’t be wise to put too much stock in the value of even the best of such statements.

However, the more each community group is committed to a statement for which it is significantly responsible, the less likely it will be that councillors will run the political risk of offending public opinion and, perhaps, suffering at the ballot box when the time of reckoning comes.

Of course, it is easy to see why councillors would like wards to be planning units, because this will result in a messy and confused outcome with which nobody is happy and, hence, minimise the prospects of opposition when it is convenient to ignore planning principles that they have endorsed.

The only difficulty is to find a way of forcing Council to accept this sensible approach.

Email, Apr 9

Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy