Plans to re-zone part of Berowra could see Units built in several
5-storey blocks in an area of Berowra that is classified as
PUBLIC MEETING 2014
By an ovewhelming show of hands it was clear that the Berowra Pool is still high among the needs of Berowra.
Buildings of five storeys along the Pacific Highway from the corner of Berowra Waters Road to the Landscpe Suppliers (and beyond) was unanimously rejected - although there was majority support for an upgrade to the commercial precinct from Berowra Waters road to the Landscpe Suppliers.
In regard to the perennial
problem of Bush Fires, the Meeting heard that the best way forward
was for each person to prepare a plan and to act as early as possible,
while keeping an ear to the radio for advice from the Bush Fire
Also, an extra exit road
to eliminate the choke point on Berowra Waters Road was discussed,
and Deputy Mayor Nathan Tilbury agreed to pursue possible avenues
with whomsoever necessary. But that it was accepted as a difficult
The Meeting was informed that should residents not wish to act individually, the BDCA was available to voice their concerns, and through the Association they could get their message to Cllr Tilbury and others.
... ... taken at the B&DCA Town Meeting held at the RSL Club, Berowra, on Thursday 30th April 2009. The meeting was opened at 7.40 pm by the B&DCA Chairperson, John Farquhar.
John Farquhar stated the purpose of the meeting: to share opinions and ideas to weave into submissions to Hornsby Shire council and the State government concerning the proposal to re-zone parts of the District and allow builders to erect several 5-storey blocks that provide 250 + units. This is to meet the council's undertaking to provide housing for 11,000 over the next couple of decades.
Mick Marr addressed the meeting, pointing out the inadequate public transport and the lack of recreational facilities in the District. Our trains and roads are already over-crowded, and the train service is poor. Berowra itself is an area that is highly prone to bush fires, and when the fires come there is congestion and confusion as people try to get to safety. All recreational facilities are already booked out and over-used: the council seems to want to renege, once again, on the construction of our Aquatic Centre. Our meagre amenities could not cope with an influx of several hundreds - even thousands? - of new residents.
Judy Hopwood said that she had known nothing about the proposal, and had been kept in the dark until the council announced it. She said that the fire threat was a very real one, while the character of the area would suffer from 5-storey high-rises. She encouraged everyone to write submissions, both to the council and to the State government, and asked that copies should be sent to her. She is keen to pick up on our concerns. She reminded us of the strength of 'people power', which had saved Hornsby and Neringah hospitals.
It was suggested from the floor that the council's proposal was a poor one in that this area is not only particularly prone to bush fires, but there is no evacuation plan, no warning siren - nothing to facilitate a safe and orderly exist from the only road from Berowra Heights to the Pacific Highway. At the point where that road, Berowra Waters Road, exits onto the Highway, the council wants to set up one of the areas to be re-zoned and used for 5-storey blocks of units. The question was raised several times: why did the council deliberately choose an area that is especially bush fire prone for this proposal?
Timms spoke about the problems of getting places in before-school
and after-school childcare
for the already existing population. An increase in this population
would compound these problems, which have to be met by the schools
P&C (aka local community).
is no strategy for the local community to cope with
this problem, or with any other problem caused by an increase in
the local population.
Verlaine said that people chose Berowra as a location in which to
rear their children because it has the qualities that they enjoyed
in their childhood, and these could be eroded if the proposal went
John Farquhar pointed out some of the effects an increase in population would bring. It would alter the village atmosphere and lifestyle that we at present enjoy. Further, there's no telling where it might end.
Dilip Chopra stated that he understood the concerns of the community.
Mick Smart stated that this was only a proposal, and might not go anywhere. We shouldn't get scared. The whole of Hornsby Shire is bush fire prone.
During the Open Forum, these comments were made from the floor:
· State Government imposes these things on councils
· we should write to State Government, and to local Members
· we need to compromise
· we need to plan
· policing of the area not adequate; we'll need more police
· people power can change things
· we need to have clear emergency exits from Berowra
· we need numbers and demonstrations - local and State
· fires - Berowra very fire prone
· not adequate to dismiss this problem by saying so is whole Shire
· evacuation issue has to be resolved, not compounded
· recall what has recently happened in Victoria
· do we want to say yes or no?
· how many storeys should we suggest?
· must work up a viable alternative
· urban consolidation is here to stay
· let's vote on 2-storeys high
He declared the meeting closed at approximately 9.10 pm.
the meeting, a Fighting Fund was established, and
Judy Hopwood, local MP, hosted a meeting on these proposals on Tuesday 19th May 2009 at the Asquith Leagues Club in Waitara.
There were 300+ residents of the Shire present, all at odds with the Shire council and State government over the proposals.
The first speaker, Julie Spink, began an impassioned introduction with an unequivocal "No", which was resoundingly echoed by the audience. Her main thrust was that the council had presented the Shire residents with a proposal that must be rejected.
B&DCA's Chairperson, John Farquhar, was also one of the key speakers, and, in a presentation that gained prolonged applause, highlighted the many problems associated with the council's 'development' proposals. As a compromise, he suggested that dwellings could be built in the Gully in Berowra, where they would still be near to the railway station. When later asked what can be done, he suggested protest marches and rallies outside the council and government offices. John said that the democratic process doesn't end at the ballot box. That's where it begins. After the ballot is over, voters need to continue to take an active part in what happens.
The Liberal Party speakers present - with the exception of Judy, who chaired the meeting - seemed set to use the occasion as a sort of election campaign. They were largely in 'election promises mode', and while many of the voters present were happy to hear the State government named as incompetent, most will have taken the politicians' hype with a grain of salt. Indeed, the Party leader said that, if he wins the next election, he mightn't succeed, anyway, in 'unscrambling the eggs' that the present government has mixed up. (!?!)
Many Shire residents said they were outraged - one said 'deeply insulted' - by council not doing any true preliminary consulting with the voters before coming up with these proposals. It was suggested that council probably does acts in concert with the State government - shown in the two holding secret talks over a period of two years concerning one local 'development', thus avoiding input from residents, and then refusing them access to information about what went on in these talks.
One resident pointed out that we had come in such great numbers because we had confidence in Judy Hopwood's concern and genuine practice of listening to what we have to say - something that couldn't be said of council workers and councillors.
The residents brought up a huge array of issues associated with the councils' proposals, including the unfair treatment of some individuals; the plans being made to suit 'developers' and their profits, not people and their quality of life; the proposals want to cram more people into bush fire prone areas; the lack of adequate public transport; the lack of reliable water and electricity supplies; lack of recreational facilities (including a much needed Aquatic Centre); the fact that all these proposed 'developments' are set to take place within the Catchment Area of Berowra Creek, and therefore need extra special environmental controls; 5-storey dwellings are demonstrably more damaging to the environment in terms of CO2 gasses than single dwellings; 5-storey 'developments' should not be placed along the railway or highway ridge - the highest points in Asquith, Mount Colah, Mount Ku-ring-gai and Berowra; the places selected north of Hornsby cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called 'transport nodes', i.e. intersections of rail, road and bus services.
There were many more comments and questions from the body of the meeting, in its short two hour duration.
When councillors or council workers spoke or gave answers to questions, they were frequently howled down. It has to be admitted that they hardly ever did more than trot out 'council-speak', probably indicating that they were more concerned with vindicating the council than with listening to and taking on board what residents were saying.
All present were urged by Judy and the two key speakers to protest in writing, and to send their submissions to as many people - council workers, politicians, councillors - as possible. Not just once, but many times. Talk-back radio should also be used to raise these issues.
The council took a number of years to formulate these proposals, and used numerous 'expert' consultants in the process. It has given us only 2 or 3 months in which to digest the proposals and then respond. This period is due to expire on 1st June.
Judy Hopwood proposed a motion, seconded by John Farquhar and passed unanimously by the 300+ residents present, that the council be asked to extend this period beyond the cut-off date.
The meeting was declared closed at approximately 9.10 pm.
The democratic process
doesn't end at the ballot box. That's where it begins. After the
ballot is over, voters need to continue to take an active part
in what happens. Theirs is not just a passive role, putting up
with whatever decisions their representatives make. Indeed, those
elected need to know what the people think and feel if they are
truly to represent them. So, voters have an obligation and a duty
to be a continuing part of the democratic process, and to persist
in putting their ideas forward and in making their opinions and
aspirations known to those they've elected. That's what being
a responsible adult means in a democracy.