DECEMBER 14, 2018
SUBMISSION ON MP 06_0094 MOD 5 MODIFICATION TO CONCEPT PLAN (SANDON POINT REDEVELOPMENT)
I write as the Secretary of the Thirroul Village Committee (TVC). The TVC is a group of local residents who share a keen interest in the future of Thirroul and its surrounds. The Committee was formed in 1991 and established one of the Illawarra’s leading community Festivals: the Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival. The TVC is a non-partisan organisation with a contact list of over 100 residents dedicated to the orderly and managed development of Thirroul and its surrounds. It advocates the need for sensitive planning and development which preserves the natural, built and cultural heritage of Thirroul - for present and future generations.
The following represents a consensus view of the members of the Thirroul Village Committee (TVC) in response to the application by Anglicare to modify the approval of the 2006 concept plan for the development on the old Cookson Plibrico site at Bulli.
As this plan in its original form was approved in 2006, and, as Anglicare have already stated their intent to proceed, we wish to ensure that the NSW Department of Planning know of the following concerns of local residents and ask that our submission be taken into account during the review process.
ISSUE OF THE SINGLE MEANS OF EGRESS
The McCauley Beach Estate currently has only one exit and entry point for over 2,000 residents – at the intersection of Wrexham Road and Lawrence Hargrave Drive. This could be considered dangerous. A second means of egress south from McCauley Beach Estate will resolve this issue.
BENEFIT OF A LINK ROAD
Geraghty Street will provide a second means of egress south from Thirroul bypassing the foot of Bull Pass.
It will provide a link road through to to Sandon Point providing residents of Thirroul a more direct route to parts of Bulli and Sandon Point. It will also provide people in the region of Point Street and east Bulli direct access to Thirroul, especially the Railway Station and Gibson Park, without having to be funnelled onto Lawrence Hargrave Drive .
LINK ROAD PRIORITY
One of the primary concerns is to ensure that a new link road though to Sandon Point be built first. This will ensure that the current residents of McCauley Beach Estate are not subject to heavy earth moving and construction equipment passing through their residential streets. This should also reduce the time to site for most contractors and thus reduce the cost to the environment of this development.
It is our submission that the construction of this link road should be clearly specified in any modification to Anglicare’s 2006 Concept plan. It is not mentioned in the 2018 Anglicare Submission. It was not part of the planning in the 2006 Anglicare submission. Wollongong City Council make this a condition of development of this site in 2012. As it will improve the efficiency of this development, specification of its timing should be an integral part of any future planning for the site.
CONCERNS FOR THE TURPENTINE FOREST
There is a need to leave the natural environment of the Turpentine Forest undisturbed. This is listed in Wollongong’s LEP as a heritage item and the site is of special significance to the local Aboriginal community. There is also a concern that future townhouse blocks B-F are under the immediate threat of fire danger due to their close proximity to the forest. The residents in Wilkies Street have fresh memory of a bush fire that happened in the early summer in 2017 at the area of block B, C of the planned townhouses. Therefore, to ensure the safety of the townhouse residents if the above blocks are allowed, there should be an increase in the defendable space required.
Residents are concerned about the lack of basic road infrastructure for the additional townhouses, especially when a bridge across Cookson Creek, included in the 2006 plans, is no longer included in the modified approval application. Also, there does not appear to be any consideration being given to the significant increase in active residents that will live in these town houses, as opposed to more inactive seniors. These streets were not designed to cater for the addition of 57 town houses with a maximum of two car spaces per unit. Where will visitors and future adult children park?
Wilkies Street, the primary access route is already the main path for many beach goers, pedestrians and cyclists. Yet, as clearly shown by the photo overleaf, it only is wide enough for parking on one side.
We suggest that Wilkie Street (currently 13.2 metres wide including footpath and 300 metres in length) should be widened to the same width as Geraghty Street (currently 16.4 metres wide including footpath, a difference of 3.2 metres). This will improve pedestrian safety, cyclist safety and parking facilities for the increased number of active residents and their visitors. This would reduce the useable development space by 300 metres x 3.2 metres or approximately 1,000 m2.
As shown in the Anglicare submission in Attachment A_171101_SK.01_C.PDF, the average lot size per residential dwelling is under 180 m2 (57 units made up of 54 x 3 bedroom units and 3 x 2 bedroom units totalling 10,245m2 equates to an average of 179.74 m2). It can be argued that these lot sizes are arguably the minimum size for a dwelling of this type.
We know of no similar lot size in the centre of of either Thirroul or Bulli. Yet these dwellings are on the edge of both towns where facilities normally associated with such compact dwellings, such as public transport, shops, banks are a considerable distance away. How can these micro lot sizes, when used first on the edge of any community, be considered as acceptable town planning? How can this be considered to be acceptable planning when the location is verging on a unique beach reserve? As such, we believe the average lot size is below the local standard acceptable for such a prime beach side location.
We believe a review of recent three bedroom two double garage multi dwelling sites in Thirroul approved by Wollongong city Council will show an average size above 250 m2. Therefore we believe the minimum lot size needs to be increased to above what can be argued is the acceptable minimum for this locale. This could be achieved by a 30% average lot size increase with a corresponding 30% decrease in the number of town houses using the same space.
CONSIDERATION OF ABORIGINAL HERITAGE
The Cookson Plibrico site is proximate to the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) site at McCauley’s Beach, Thirroul. This is a site of great cultural and heritage significance;
not just to the people of the Northern Illawarra; but to all the people of NSW. Its uniqueness lies in its marriage of natural, environmental, cultural and aboriginal heritage values. It is our submission that the proposed modification to the 2006 concept plan approval, in particular the increase of medium density private housing, does not pay proper regard or respect to the constraints arising out of its immediate proximity to this unique heritage. We suggest that the permissible number of townhouses should be reduced to ensure there are no adverse impacts upon the SPATE site; or its natural environs.
REDUCTION IN NUMBER OF UNITS
To allow for TVC's concerns for fire safety, road widening, aboriginal heritage considerations and basic town planning, we believe a fair result would be to increase the average dwelling footprint and correspondingly reduce the number of units by around 35%. This equates to reducing the number of town houses from 57 to 40.
ABORIGINAL KEEPING PLACE
The location of the Keeping Place for aboriginal relics discovered during recent developments has not been settled. This development presents an opportunity to resolve this issue.
In summary we submit that the State Department of Planning should ensure, consistency with the requirements of the “Illawarra Regional Implementation Plan 2017-2019”, that the environmental values at the Cookson Plibrico site be protected by ensuring measured development in a location where the capacity to absorb development is limited by:
a) Additional site constraints;
b) a single access road;
c) important cultural, natural and aboriginal heritage considerations.
We ask that you give these issues consideration during your evaluation of Anglicare's proposal.
Thirroul Village Committee