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Locals Locked out in Development Lockdown

By Duncan Horscroft on July 22, 2021 in News

When will it end? Photo: Duncan Horscroft

Forget about the COVID-19 lockdown, the Waverley municipality has been locked down since well before the pandemic began due to the blight of never-ending development.
It seems that with every corner you turn your progress is stymied by partial road closures, where traffic banks up as heavy machinery has the right of passage on main roads and, to a lesser extent, in small suburban streets.
Bronte’s Macpherson Street has been a traffic nightmare since the start of the St Catherine’s School project, and add to that the chaos caused by the ripping up of the road around the corner from Arden Street.
The Bronte Cutting is also another hotspot, where a new footpath is being laid, to the detriment of locals who use the beach regularly for their morning swim.
No one is against progress, but when more than one major project is underway at the same time in the same area it tends to cause more than a little angst among local residents.
This writer lives in a small street behind Clovelly Public School, and this street has been closed to residents three times in the past six months due to two modular homes being erected and the resurfacing of the road.
And it becomes a case of ‘catch and kill your own’ when you have to relocate your vehicle in an area where parking is at a premium.
It’s not just the major projects that cause the problem. Smaller projects, where there is a knockdown or major refurbishment, add to the woes when locals aren’t fortunate enough to have off-street parking.
Unfortunately, Waverley Council no longer holds the upper hand in development approvals, nor are councillors involved in the process of development application (DA) assessments.
“The state government removed councillors’ role in approving or not approving DAs,” Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos explained.
“In 2014, the Waverley Development Assessment Panel (WDAP) was introduced under (former mayor) Sally Betts.Councillors still have an active role in the strategic planning vision and setting of controls and policies for the whole local government area (LGA). This includes being actively involved in reviewing, amending and introducing new policies and controls for future development in our LGA,” she said.
Cr Masselos said private certifiers fall under the Exempt and Complying Development Codes (CDC), which is a fast track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial developments that must adhere to certain criteria.
“Where a CDC is approved by an accredited private certifier, Council is not part of this process,” she told The Beast.
Surely common sense should prevail in these situations and Waverley Council should be given back the responsibility to assess these new developments. After all, it is Council, and not the state government, that understands the needs of its residents.
We have all seen the results of shonky developments in the hands of private certifiers. The last thing we need in the Waverley municipality is another Mascot Towers.