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Better Development Plans Need to be Constructed

By Duncan Horscroft on October 27, 2021 in News

Photo: Muhler Bonita

“From little things, big things grow.” This catchy little tune is regularly played in the media, but it can also be applied to local councils as far as development is concerned.
Small suburban streets have been turned into major construction sites as architectural monoliths replace old-style houses that have stood the test of time for many decades.
A former edict from Waverley Council was that any planned development should fit into the local streetscape, but this seems to have gone through to the keeper when development applications are lodged.
The main problem seems to be that councils have no control over new projects once the DA is ticked off and it is handed to a state government planning department to control the final process. And this poses the question of how the state government knows what design is appropriate or what affect it has on local residents.
Within the Waverley Municipality there is a plethora of narrow streets, and getting access to these is almost impossible during the construction process. For those who don’t enjoy the luxury of off-street parking, finding a spot close to home after a morning’s shopping is almost impossible. This is particularly problematic for the less mobile among us like the elderly and anyone with a disability.
Modular homes are popping up all over the suburbs and these can be a logistical nightmare as far as getting the structures into narrow streets, which are shut down to the locals to allow for the massive trucks and machinery to unload and erect the modulars.
Again, the residents are held to ransom and not allowed into their own street for around two days and have to find alternate parking away from their home.
Before a modular is erected there is the process of demolishing the existing building and then digging out the land. This can take up to six months. Most projects have been granted a construction zone permit, and if anyone aside from the workers parks there they are liable to a fine.
There is no doubting tradies have to get in and out of a work site, but some flout the rules and set up witches hats to reserve parking for themselves and if anyone has the audacity to remove these when there is no official ‘construction zone’ signage in place, they are frowned upon.
This writer was called by the police not so long ago and informed that they had received a call requesting that I move my car because a cement truck couldn’t access the building site. I was parked legally and there were no signs to the contrary.
It’s time councils were handed back responsibility for their own areas. We also need to ensure that ratepayers are treated with a bit more respect. After all, isn’t that why there are local councils?
Some form of remuneration to residents would be an example of goodwill for the inconvenience suffered. Developers could slip a Crystal Carwash voucher on every windscreen of local cars who park on the street and are subjected to the dust and dirt from continual excavation. And councils should consider a reward such as a rate discount for those residents who have suffered.

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