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A Lesson In How A Democracy Works

By Stephen Lightfoot of Save Bronte Village on February 8, 2013 in Other

In reply to Duncan Horscroft’s letter (Children Exploited During Bronte RSL Development Protest,
The Beast, January 2013 ): why is it that those in favour of the multi- storey shopping mall proposal for the Bronte RSL site always try to deny that a development proposal exists? In his letter Duncan Horscroft dismisses protests as being “against something that has not even reached a development application stage”.

He should be aware that the developer (Winston Langley Burlington) and his RSL partners have presented their proposal to the community on two occasions, have discussed it with Waverley Council and said that they will lodge the DA in February. It is no secret that they want to construct a building that is at least two, and possibly three, times the size allowed under current planning laws and if we don’t start objecting now, come February we will have missed the boat.

How is protesting against outsiders imposing an unwanted development on our community a bad role
model for our children? Are we not simply giving our kids a lesson in how democracy works?

Reading Mr Horscroft’s talk of the “right” to raise points in a debate, you’d think you need be a signed-up member of the UN Convention on Bronte to have the right to comment on the WlB-RSl proposal. Saying we are not allowed to raise child safety issues related to the WlB-RSl proposal is as ridiculous as it is wrong. Anyone who has children, who knows children or who is remotely interested in children’s welfare has the “right” to comment. If we adhered to Mr Horscroft’s views on this, we would not be able to talk about child safety when discussing such issues as mandatory pool fences or safety vests being compulsory at Nippers.

Of course we can be concerned about the child safety implications of a major commercial development in the heart of residential Bronte, particularly when it is so close to Clovelly Public School and the Bronte Child Care Centre. The WlB-RSl proposal will cause a significant increase in traffic in all streets surrounding the RSl site. Rat runs will develop in residential streets including more truck and retail traffic around Clovelly Public School, the Clovelly Scout Hall and the Bronte Child Care Centre.

Even if Mr Horscroft believes the Save Bronte Village group doesn’t have the “right” to raise this safety issue, surely he can’t argue with the “right” of the Clovelly School P&C to comment. The P&C has put a submission to Waverley Council that raises their concerns over the ‘considerable’ safety impacts on local school children of a large scale development at the RSl site. They are so concerned that they have re- quested that the council conduct an independent traffic impact assessment to look at the potential effect on the Clovelly School community.

The child safety impacts of the WlB-RSl proposal are not some fantasy dreamed up by the Save Bronte Village group. Waverley Council’s own traffic consultants noted the safety implications of the development proposal and recom- mended further investigation of these with regard to the Clovelly Public School. The state government long ago recognised that traffic and school kids are a bad mix, and set a re- duced 40 km/hr speed limit in school zones around all NSW schools.

Our children have no less a “right” than you or me to enjoy our beachside suburb with its small shops and village environment in safety. Increasing the danger to children on the streets of Bronte is
a real issue and we are well within our rights to raise it. No matter how uncomfortable it is for those in favour of this inappropriately sized development proposal, we will continue to voice our concerns about its potential effect on our kids.

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