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More Development Angst for Bronte Locals

By Duncan Horscroft on August 2, 2016 in News

Photo: Duncan Horscroft

Photo: Duncan Horscroft

Locals once had a major say about new developments around their properties, but it seems any objections to a CDC (complying development certificate) are falling on deaf ears. A CDC allows developers to obtain approval through private certification.

It appears Waverley Council can’t act on residents’ pleas when a new building appears to have gone beyond the legal boundaries after being signed off and put in the hands of an independent certifier.

A major battle has been going on in Bronte over a multi-storey home being built between Bronte Road and Gardyne Street. It is alleged that the development is not compliant and that the height has exceeded its legal limit.

A group of nearby residents has fought to have the matter dealt with by Council, but because of the legalities involved in the matter, Council has backed down, not wanting to get involved in a court case where compensation might have to be paid.

The independent certifier assigned to the project has also turned his back on protests, refusing to talk to residents other than through a lawyer.

Local state member Bruce Notley-Smith visited the site and was convinced there were irregularities, while Deputy Leader of the Opposition Michael Daley has also been involved and was of the opinion the development had “gone too far”.

So where do the residents stand if no one is listening to them?

One of the major issues is that if there is an objection and action to be taken, the matter must be dealt with in the Land and Environment Court, a cost that must be worn by those protesting the anomalies if they lose the case.

Local resident Annie Byrne, whose property is affected by the development, said the idea that we all have equal access to the courts is ridiculous.

“As a teacher I earn $50,000 a year; enough to pay my bills, put food on the table and educate my children,” she said. “I do not have endless funds to have barristers act on my behalf.

“Stock responses from Waverley Council and one of its councillors to ‘take it to the L&E Court’ are insulting.

“Short of taking out another loan, what recourse does a person like me have when the legislation is flawed or ambiguous at best?”

According to Waverley Labor Councillor Paula Masselos, Council can challenge the validity of a CDC, but is reluctant to do so because of the possible legal costs involved.

“If one looked hard enough we would find a number of mistakes in most CDCs,” she said.

“Some private certifiers are starting to push people towards councils to issue the CDCs, presumably because it is easy to make a mistake when issuing one.

“I think most people in the community prefer an independent body such as a council doing these development applications.

“Most people think it’s better to go back to a DA process and not have any CDCs in Bronte. It’s better that the council gets back that power.”

It appears too late for the Gardyne Street residents, but they are still fighting the issue despite the development nearing completion.