It’s time to reclaim Manly village.
Manly Library, Whistler St car park and the surrounding plazas areas are the true heart of Manly for many locals. Referred to as the Whistler Street triangle, the area is alive with cool cafes and on-trend eating options. But it’s been let down by poor maintenance, multiplying garbage bins, and a lack of viable forward planning.
Good For Manly is pushing for a reset; with a call for a longterm plan, as well as an immediate clean-up and re-furbishment.
“We need to rethink this area,” Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“The Whistler St triangle is right at the heart of Manly Village. Some parts, such as Whistler St car park have just been allowed to run down, and the whole area looks shoddy and un-loved.
“I’m asking Northern Beaches Council to take immediate action to repaint, or at least clean, the outside of the library and refurbish the toilets there and in the car park. Also to get rid of all the garbage bins in Market Lane and around the plaza and provide an area for the businesses to store their bins somewhere else. And to take action on Whistler St car park to improve signage, lighting, line marking and painting."
Cr Bingham said the Manly 2015 plan put forward by the former Manly Council would have revamped the central area, but involved virtually selling it off via a 99-year-lease to developers. The village would have ended up grossly over-developed and with a high-rise apartment block at its heart. That plan also relied upon the development of the Manly Oval car park which has now been discredited and cancelled.
“Thanks goodness that’s not going ahead now,” Cr Bingham said. “With the huge support of the local community we saved Manly Oval and now have the opportunity to revamp the Whistler Stret triangle into something special".
Cr Bingham has put a motion to Northern Beaches Council for a short-term fix, and a longer term plan for the whole Market Place precinct.
The Beaches Link tunnel is set to become a State Significant infrastructure (SSI) project, meaning all decisions will be made at a State level.
The RMS notified stakeholders last week that it had applied to the Department of Planning for SSI listing for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project.
This step takes decision making out of the hands of councils and local communities, although Northern Beaches Council will still make a submission to the Planning Minister.
“I believe local council is always in a better place to understand local communities and get the best outcome for our whole region,”
Good For Manly President and Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“But due to the size and impact the Beaches Link tunnel will have on a wide area, it was always going to be called in as State Significant Infrastructure.”
Final decisions about SSI applications are made by the Department of Planning and Environment.
The department website says submissions from relevant councils and public submissions will be considered in the assessment process.
“While there’s no doubt we need a solution to the terrible traffic around Spit Bridge, there are problems with the existing design for the Beaches Link,” Cr Bingham said.
“The worst is the proposed location of one of the exhaust stacks, which is right near Seaforth Public School and in a spot where the fumes will be trapped by the prevailing winds and local topography.”
“We should also have public transport in the tunnel. That’s a no brainer.”
The Seaforth/North Balgowlah Beaches Link Community Group has put together a detailed assessment of the proposed stack locations, along with suggestions to solve the trapped-fumes problem. Details here.
The uptake of different modes of transport - Uber, driverless cars and in particular, electric cars - will also have an impact on emissions in the future.
The new Walk Manly - Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan - has been put together to identify and fix existing trouble spots; improve access to public transport including the Hop Skip Jump Bus; and anticipate and manage future demand. It was adopted by Council in October, and is currently costed at $2,125,000.
Items, which are listed below, are grouped in geographical zones in the study area as shown.
Or go to the full Walk Manly plan here. Attachment booklet for NBC meeting 24/10/17. From p21
Manly Town Centre
East Esplanade and Belgrave St junction, opposite the Wharf - this major intersection is notorious for people crossing against the traffic lights. Options include installing countdown timers to let people know how long they have to wait. This is likely to discourage people from crossing on the red but, because it requires that all pedestrians cross at the same time, it may mean longer wait times for pedestrians and cars.
Town Hall pedestrian crossing at The Corso and Whistler St. The existing zebra crossing is too wide and is non-compliant with traffic standards, and markings are confusing. The crossing should be redesigned and fencing or plantar boxes installed to restrict people to the marked area.
Rialto Lane - a conflict area with combined loading zone and pedestrian area. Options include installing wayfinding signage to direct pedestrians away from problem areas, linemarking of loading areas and restricting loading times. The cleanest option, restricting loading to the two privately owned loading zones at either end of the lane, depends on negotiation with the zones owners - Coles and Ribs and Rumps.
Darley Rd and Wentworth St intersection, opposite Manly Village Public School - unsafe signalised crossing. Motorists try to drive round the corner while pedestrians are crossing on the green light. Traffic lights can be reconfigured for ‘pedestrian protection’, meaning pedestrians get a green light before the traffic does. Already done.
Darley Rd and The Corso intersection - pedestrian crossing with traffic lights. Audit showed nothing wrong with the signage or timing of traffic lights. Risky behaviour by pedestrians should be targeted in education campaign.
Raglan St, near St Mary’s school - unsafe zebra crossing. Options include improve signage and line markings, or installing a raised ‘wombat’ crossing.
East Esplanade, near Victoria Parade - unsafe zebra crossing. Install better lighting and remove vegetation so pedestrians can be seen.
Pittwater and Balgowlah roads intersection, near Harris Farm Markets - lack of a pedestrian crossing. Options include installing either a pedestrian refuge or a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights on Pittwater Rd near Harris Farm carpark. Or to convert the existing roundabout into an intersection with traffic lights, with protected pedestrian crossings (pedestrian Walk signal before cars have green light) on all approaches.
North Steyne, opposite Queenscliff Surf Club - unsafe raised ‘womat’ crossing. This crossing is at a complicated intersection between North Steyne, Collingwood St and Cameron Ave, on a curving road with short sight lines. It also adds to traffic congestion in the area. Options include moving the crossing 50m south on North Steyne, or redirecting pedestrians through the existing underpass - but in both cases people will probably still try and cross opposite the surf club. The third option is to put traffic lights at the existing intersection, including at Cameron Ave and Collingwood St.
Manly ocean beach shared bike path - conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and people getting out of cars. Suggestion is to paint very obvious ‘shared pathway’ line marking, although there are concerns this may not be enough.
Manly Lagoon shared pathway - too narrow and poorly lit. Options include widening the pathway or creating a second pathway, depending on the outcome of community consultation. Improve lighting, while minimising light pollution into nearby homes.
Pittwater Rd bridge over far end Queenscliff Lagoon - narrow footpath with shared pedestrian/cycle way. Options include pedestrian fencing or widening the footpath or building a separate bike path bridge.
Pittwater Rd, near Carlton St junction - no existing crossing. A fully signalised (traffic lights) intersection. Pittwater Rd is a State Road so approval is needed from the RMS. This is a big ticket item, costing about $800,000. It's expected the RMS will pay up to 50% of the costs.
North Steyne, near Carlton St junction - no existing crossing. Pedestrian refuge, with design to minimise conflict with cyclists on ocean front shared path. Along with new traffic lights on Pittwater Rd at the other end of Carlton St, this would create a clear walking pathway down Carlton St to the ocean front.
North Steyne, near Denison St - unsafe zebra crossing. Install better lighting.
North Steyne, near Pacific St - zebra crossing. Clear vegetation from signage.
Southern Zone/Eastern Hill
Bower Lane providing local access to Fairy Bower - a ‘high conflict’ area with pedestrians, cars and a loading zone. Convert area to ‘shared zone’ including removing footpath to widen roadway and installing smooth paving across entire road surface. Restrict loading times and the size of commercial vehicles.
East Esplanade, near Ashburner St junction - unsafe crossing. A zebra crossing had been suggested here but is not suitable as it would be too near a corner and on a downhill run. Plan is to direct pedestrians away from the corner by extending crash barrier on the north side of E Esplanade and adding pedestrian fencing. Then creating a safe place to cross on the far side of the junction to cross by adding a pedestrian refuge just north of Ashburner St.
Reddall and Cliff streets intersection - unsafe high pedestrian area. Install pedestrian refugees.
Darley Rd pavement above Marshall St - unsafe shared bike/pedestrian path. Better signage, including on driveways crossing path, and footpath markings.
Sydney Road Zone
Commonwealth Pde near Fairlight St junction - unsafe pedestrian refuge. Refuge is on a sweeping curve and hard to see for drivers coming from the east. Increase signage and install traffic calming road cushions.
Manly Swim Centre
Kenneth and Balgowlah roads near Manly Swim Centre. Investigate lowering the speed limit on Kenneth Rd, but agreement must be reached with the RMS. Reconfigure the existing zebra crossing on Balgowlah Rd and install road cushions on either side of it, or relocate the crossing 20m south along Balgowlah Rd away from the Kenneth Rd intersection.
Manly is set to become a more pedestrian-friendly zone.
The Northern Beaches Council has committed over $2M to making Manly more accessible and safer for pedestrians, including people with prams or in wheelchairs.
The Walk Manly - Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan - has been put together to identify and fix existing trouble spots; improve access to public transport including the Hop Skip Jump Bus; and anticipate and manage future demand. Go to our zone-by-zone list of items in Walk Manly plan.
The scope of the Walk Manly plan includes Manly beachfront, town centre and wharf, and streets within a 400m catchment of those areas, as well as outlying areas such as the Andrew Boy Charlton Swim centre.
“It’s fantastic that Manly is finally getting the attention it deserves,” Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“This is a very thorough assessment of pavements, intersections, pedestrian crossings and overall pedestrian and cyclist needs in the Manly area.”
Cr Bingham said planned improvements included putting in a new set of traffic lights at the Pittwater Rd and Carlton St intersection; improvements to crossings at North and South Steyne and improving appearance and pedestrian safety in Bower and Rialto lanes.
The survey also looked at pedestrian safety on Raglan St near St Mary’s School; at the intersection of Darley and Wentworth roads near Manly Public School; and and on Pittwater Rd near Harris Farm Markets.
The notorious pedestrian crossing between The Corso and the Wharf was another focus.
“Everybody has seen people taking stupid risks at this intersection,” Cr Bingham said. “People are always running across the road against the lights to get their ferry. It’s amazing no one has been killed there.”
“While the Walk Manly plan has suggested count-down timers to let pedestrians know how long they have to wait before crossing, it looks like this would lengthen overall waiting times for everyone, so I’m not sure it’s the right solution.”
Cr Bingham said the shared cycle/walk path along the oceanfront also needed more study. The suggestion is to simply improve line markings on the cycle way, but Cr Bingham said a better solution would be to make it bike only, with pedestrians using the main beachfront promenade.
The total cost of the plan stands at $2,125,000, of which $1.3M is for high-priority work - to be completed within five years. The biggest item is currently $800,000 for a new crossing with traffic lights at the Pittwater Rd/Carlton St intersection, but as Pittwater is a State Road this work will hopefully receive at least 50% in costs from the RMS. Another $250,000 of the high priority work is maintenance related.
Pittwater and Belgrave roads were revealed as pedestrian black-spots, with an average of two people injured each year in each location. North Steyne was next with four people injured over six years. Over the area studied there were, on average, six pedestrian injuries a year.
“Part of what makes Manly such a great community is that people can walk to where they want to go and interact with other people along the way, which doesn’t happen if everyone is in cars,” Cr Bingham said.
“I’m delighted that the Council is committed to making Manly even better for walking and cycling.”
Walking and cycling routes used in the study are shown below.
A proposal to upgrade The Manly Corso, a new boardwalk at Little Manly, a draft Masterplan for East Esplanade Reserve and approval of the concept Masterplan for Ivanhoe Park (behind Manly Oval) ... it been a busy few months for the new Council!
Little Manly Beach & Boardwalk
Under the Administrator, long awaited plans for Little Manly Beach got underway with the first cab off the rank being a proposed new boardwalk linking one side of the area to the other. Starting at Craig Ave, the proposed boardwalk will run along the beachside to the existing park on the other side. In addition, a full concept masterplan for Little Manly Beach is expected to be released mid next year for community comment. You can see the full plans and make a submission regarding the boardwalk here,
East Esplanade Reserve
A concept Masterplan for one of Manly's most popular reserves, East Esplande, is also currently on public exhibition.
One of the key issues addressed is the ongoing problem of uncontrolled runoff from East Esplanade across the Park, which then washes large amounts of sediment onto the beach and into the harbour.
Other issues addressed include the need to provide better protection for the trees, and better control over the vegetated areas interfacing with the promenade.
Although it's about 12 years since the $10m upgrade of Manly Corso, some believe the area is looking tired, and question whether the plan to make it a thoroughfare was the right one. Would outdoor dining bring back more life to the area? What about planter boxes and trees that provide more shade?
A report on initial ideas will be prepared by Council staff over the next three months for consideration.
The Corso as it looks today. Some question whether the Cabbage Tree palms were a good idea.
What changes, if any, would you like to see to The Corso?
The new Northern Beaches Council is up and running, with independent councillors in the driving seat.
Of the 15 councillors elected, six are from Michael Regan’s Your Northern Beaches independent team. There are five Liberals - one from each of the five wards - and one Greens councillor. The rest are independents, including Good For Manly President Candy Bingham.
The first meeting elected Cr Regan as Mayor and Cr Bingham as Deputy, strengthening the council’s independent credentials.
“I’m thrilled to be elected deputy,” Cr Bingham said. “What an honour! It will be a lot of work, but I believe this council will really be able to make a difference for the whole Northern Beaches area. And Manly will have a strong voice at the table.”
She said the impressive showing by independents in “Liberal heartland” showed that voters did not want major political parties in local government, preferring representatives whose allegiance to the community was not complicated by their political affiliation.
“But despite having different political backgrounds I’m very hopeful that this council will work well together,” Cr Bingham said.
“The Manly Ward Councillors - myself, Sarah Grattan from Your Northern Beaches, and Liberal councillor Pat Daley - are already working as a team to have a look at the off-leash “dog park” situation for dog owners and other residents, and to improve the look of The Corso.
"And as a council our priorities include dealing with our parking problems, and improving the state of public amenities, such as toilets."
Want to know who the new Councillors are and what Ward they represent?
Go to the link here.
Dogs are back in Manly Lagoon after Northern Beaches councillors voted in favour of dogs off-leash on the weekend at the popular park.
The unanimous decision was the first act of the newly elected council.
It overturned a decision by interim council administrator Dick Persson to ban off-leash dogs from the park during the weekend.
His decision, which went against council officers’ recommendation, was prompted by complaints by residents of barking and uncontrolled behaviour by dogs.
But Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said the decision has provoked outrage in the community.
“There is a critical shortage of areas for people to exercise their dogs off-leash. It’s been made worse by the changes to LM Graham reserve as a result of the expansion of the Manly swim centre,” Cr Bingham said.
“In this case the administrator made the wrong decision.”
Instead the council voted to adopt the original recommendation, that dogs must be on a lead at night and early morning during weekends and public holidays, but could run free at all other times.
Cr Bingham said the decision was the best compromise between the needs of nearby residents and dog owners.
“The challenge is there are a couple of residents who say they are being severely affected by the dogs,” she said.
“The good news is the community group Manly Dogs have taken that on board and they will personally run a roster of their members who will be on site. They are serious about it - they have a lot to lose if the arrangement doesn’t work out.”
She said group members would ask dog owners not to let their animals roam in a pack and to identify “trouble dogs” which would be banned from the area.
She said the council would also undertake a larger review of the Northern Beaches area to identify more potential off-leash areas.
Toxic fumes will be trapped over Balgowlah and neighbouring suburbs if the State Government goes ahead with its existing plans for the Northern Beaches tunnel.
That’s the view of a community group which has carried out a detailed assessment of the Beaches Link tunnel plans, focusing on the location of vehicle access points and exhaust stacks.
The plans, which were leaked from the RMS and published in the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year, show two access points for the Northern Beaches - one near Serpentine Parade and Burnt Bridge Deviation, Balgowlah and the other on Wakehurst Parkway, near Kirkwood St, North Seaforth.
The Seaforth/North Balgowlah Beaches Link Community Group says both locations are problematic.
Group spokesperson Marco Corrent says the group wasn’t trying to stop the Beaches Link project, but simply to get community input into the design process.
“We just need some open thinking from the government," he said. "And the integration of some of our ideas into their designs, because that is what the community wants."
“We’ve put together a document, with advice from a commercial architect, civil engineers with state infrastructure experience, ventilation engineers and other experts. It points out the problems with the existing plan and suggests cost-neutral alternatives.”
The document, which has been sent to the RMS and to State Roads Minister Melinda Pavey, identifies the Balgowlah ventilation stack as particularly worrying.
Not only is this stack less than 150m from Seaforth Primary School, but it’s located in a topographical low point that is notorious among locals for trapping smoke and other emissions.
This occurs as the prevailing easterlies from the ocean stop smoke or fumes from dissipating out to sea, but are not strong enough to blow them over Seaforth Ridge, immediately to the west. Emissions from an exhaust stack would therefore build up over Balgowlah, gradually spreading out over the "valley" that extends from Manly to Brookvale and North Curl Curl - a densely populated area with at least 12 schools and many kindergartens and day care centres.
While the Balgowlah location is too low, the group believes the Seaforth location is too high for an access point so close to the deep tunnel section under Middle Harbour.
Their assessment reveals that the grade from the tunnel low point to the proposed exit at Seaforth is 4.5%, which exceeds the RMS own guidelines and is likely to cause excessive pollution as vehicles drop into low gear to tackle the climb.
As well both locations are close to existing houses and near precious bushland.
But solutions are possible.
One idea is to shorten the Balgowlah tunnel spur - the section between the main tunnel and the Balgowlah exit - to 500m, a length at which it would not need its own exhaust stack. All the exhaust emissions would then be safely vented at the Seaforth Exhaust Stack, located on a high, windy ridge.
And the Seaforth access portal should be moved 600m further north along the Wakehurst Parkway resulting in a longer distance for the climb from the tunnel low point and therefore a gentler, safer grade.
The document says these relocations would also mean fewer homes would be affected in both locations, meaning the government would save money on house acquisitions and on expensive noise mitigation work, as well as causing less disruption to the community.
Mr Corrent said the group has been told the project is only in the concept stage and that their ideas will be considered for the final design, which will be made public next year.
"I'm hopeful they will take our ideas on board," he said. "This is what the community wants. People are being polite now - but they won't put up with having an exhaust stack right next to a primary school.
"We have a lot of support, including from Manly Ward councillors (Deputy Mayor) Candy Bingham and Sarah Grattan, and from (Northern Beaches Council Mayor) Michael Regan."
The Beaches Link assessment document is available here:
The first election for the new Northern Beaches Council saw 81 candidates contesting 15 councillor positions, over five wards. Good For Manly gained the most votes in the new Manly Ward, with Candy Bingham declared elected on polling night, together with Liberal candidate Pat Daley. Overall it is expected there will be 9 Independents, 1 Green and 5 Liberal Councillors on the new Council.
The third spot for Councillor in Manly will be decided by preferences, with Your Northern Beaches candidate Sarah Grattan expected to win after a close contest with Kyeema Doyle, Good For Manly's No.2.
With the support of hundreds of volunteers, Good for Manly ran a first-rate, community-based campaign resulting in a doubling of votes from the previous council election in 2012, and a swing against the Liberals of 18%.
See the analysis below.
Our first priorities will be to re-instate the off-leash dog area at Manly Lagoon, call for an audit of parking in Manly with the view to putting locals first, and ensuring that the Manly Town Hall building remains in public hands as a community centre.
A HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers who letterbox dropped 22,000 flyers, handed out how-to-votes at pre-polling, made donations to our campaign, and worked tirelessly on polling day.
The first council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 26th September, 2017, 6.30pm at Dee Why Council Chambers when the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be elected by the Councillors.
They're back! The Sea Nymphs, or Oceanides, were returned to Fairy Bower pool last week, and this time they're here to stay, with the sculptures made of beautiful, unbreakable bronze.
The artwork, created 20 years ago by sculptor Helen Leete, was destroyed beyond repair in a huge storm last year.
But the Northern Beaches community was not prepared to let the iconic creation die, and the Save Our Sea Nymphs committee was formed.
"I was delighted to be part of this enthusiastic group of artists and local residents," Good for Manly President and newly elected Northern Beaches Councillor Candy Bingham said. "We worked very closely with the original artist Helen Leete, and Clive Calder, from Australia Bronze Art Gallery and Foundry up at North Head, where the new bronze statues were eventually poured.
"Early on I was able to get the support of the Northern Beaches Council administrator to underwrite half of the reconstruction costs. That was a huge help, as we needed $80,000 all up to recreate the sculptures in a way that would last - in bronze."
In the end, the community was easily up to the task. A whopping $57,000 was raised from art lovers and locals who wanted to see the 'sisters' returned to their rock platform.
A limited edition of mini nymph sculptures, individually created by Ms Leete, were a big part of the success. The miniatures sold out on the night they were released, contributing $27,000 to the cause.
Now the nymphs are back, and they have immediately become part of the action.
Their reinstatement was featured on ABC news, and this week they were on almost every TV channel and newspaper, when Fairy Bower pool was used to resuscitate an injured great white shark.
"After the shark was gone, I went down to have another look at them, and they just looked great," Cr Bingham said. "The bronze, with its sea-green patina is fabulous, and it will look even better as it starts to age.
"And absolutely everybody that was going past was stopping to have a look and usually take a photo. Everyone seemed so happy they were back."
In a shock move, the Council Administrator decreed at his last Council meeting, that Manly Lagoon would be on-leash on weekends & holidays. This has caused a major back-lash by dog owners because the area had been off-lease for more than sixty years.
Hundreds of dog owners are looking to the new Council to reinstate the off-leash area, with the ManlyDogs group being proactive in seeking the reversal.
Prior to the Council election executive members of ManlyDogs convened a meeting of candidates for the Northern Beaches Council and sought their support in having the ban reversed.
Candy Bingham of Good For Manly, who has been working alongside ManlyDogs for some years, supported the reversal, as did Pat Daley & David Walton of the Liberals, Sarah Grattan and Michael Regan of Your Northern Beaches and Madeleine Charles of The Greens.
It is expected the matter will be discussed at the first appropriate meeting of the new Council.
The same week the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced that there would be no further forced council amalgamations, the Northern Beaches Council launched its new logo and corporate look.
The clever new logo will be rolled out over the next fews months, marking the true beginning of the new Council, with the election of Councillors set for Saturday 9th September.
The timing of the Premier's announcement has proven unsettling for many however, who are now questioning why Manly Council didn't stand-alone and take legal action against the forced merger, as Mosman did.
It is important to remember that at the time of the proposed merger process there was huge community support for one Northern Beaches Council, driven mostly by the concerns of how dysfunctional Manly Council had become under the leadership of Liberal Mayor, Jean Hay.
I attended the public hearings where most people spoke in support of the merger. We were told by the authorities that more than 18,000 submissions had been received from the Northern Beaches, the majority in support of a merger. (It was interesting to note that of a total of 36,000 submissions received for the whole of NSW, half came from the Northern Beaches.)
Personally I believe that the new Northern Beaches Council will serve Manly ratepayers well. I am impressed by the level of professionalism of the new staff and the can-do culture. Good for Manly has already been very successful in getting things done for Manly and we can already see the major advantages of having just one big council.
It is a concern however that as our level of 'local' government, Manly will now have only three out of 15 councillors representing our area. Therefore we need to focus on ways and means of making the bigger council work to our advantage, and I would welcome a productive discussion on how this can be achieve. Any suggestions?
Although he said previously that he would leave the decision to an elected Council, Administrator Dick Perrson passed the Sportsground Strategy at the Council meeting this week, leaving the future of a 18 hole Golf Course at Warringah in doubt.
Although the development deed for the construction of the Manly Oval Car Park was cancelled promptly by the new administrator of the Northern Beaches Council, the matter of the outcome of the Whistler Street site has hung in the balance for many months while the Council undertook to negotiate with the successful tenderers, Built Athas.
It has recently been confirmed that the negotiations have stopped, and the Council has cancelled the development deed for the project, which was inexplicitly linked to the flawed Manly Oval Car Park Plan.
While it may be reasonable for Built Athas to claim their expenses in relation to the terminated contract (which was hastily pushed through by the Liberal bloc on the Manly Council prior to amalgamation), the organisation was also claiming for loss of profits, believed to be a figure of around $45m, which was considered unreasonable.
Built Athas cancelled the negotiation process, and no further action will be taken by Council at this stage.
This effectively terminates the debacle that was known as the Manly2015 Plan and a five year battle by Good For Manly to stop the highly-flawed projects.
In the meantime Save Manly Oval Alliance is preparing a submission to have Ivanhoe Park, including Manly Oval, listed on the State Heritage Register with the view to protect this area from any future development.
There have been many positive outcomes from the amalgamation of the old Manly Council into the new Northern Beaches Council but one aspect that locals have become concerned about is the protection of their parking rights.
While the introduction of the Northern Beaches parking sticker was seen as a way to unite the peninsula, and enables Manly residents to park for free at local beaches further up the coast, it has had the adverse effect of making parking at our local beach even more difficult, if not impossible.
Recently the new administration at the council moved to cancel the Manly Resident Card, an initiative introduced by Good for Manly to allow local residents to park for 3 hours free in the four council car parks in Manly’s CBD.
This was followed by the change, without notice, of the evening flat rate parking fee starting time from 7pm to 6pm. This sent locals into a spin. No longer could they pop into Coles on the way home for dinner supplies or to pick up takeaway nearby without being hit with an $11 parking fee. Community groups and local gyms were also adversely affected with customers now having to pay a $11 parking fee to attend a 6.30am class!
Candy Bingham and Good For Manly were quick to act, contacting the council, notifying the Manly Chamber of Commerce and preparing detailed submissions to council staff.
To their credit the new Council responded quickly. They put on hold the cancellation of the Manly Resident Card, which is to undergo further review.
The Evening Flat Parking Fee was changed back to 7pm within weeks.
However these changes demonstrated an important point. Parking is one of the biggest issues in Manly. It is scarce. Manly CBD is our local shopping centre and the local businesses need our support to survive.
The council’s current approach of ‘harmonising’ everything across the Northern Beaches needs to be challenged. One size fits all does not necessarily fit all when you have areas with special needs (and millions of tourists!)
Good for Manly is currently working on a parking plan for Manly locals. We will welcome your feedback once it is completed.
The proposed location of ventilation stacks for the Beach Link Tunnel have been released, alarming residents in Nth Balgowlah, Balgowlah and Seaforth.
While many accept that the tunnel is inevitable, the proposed location of stacks near schools and residences is totally unacceptable.
According to recent reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, there will be a tunnel entrance in Serpentine Crescent and ventilation stacks in either North Balgowlah (corner of Bangaroo Street and Serpentine Crescent ) or Balgowlah (Dudley Street).
It is not entirely clear from the diagrams whether the ventilation building will be near the corner of Bangaroo and
Serpentine, with the stack further away in Serpentine, or whether the two will be together.
If in Dudley Street, it is not clear where in the street this would be located. In all cases, the proposed stack is right beside houses, especially if a stack is located within North Balgowlah itself.
On the north western side, there is a tunnel entrance and a ventilation stack proposed for Judith Street in Seaforth. This also is right beside houses. The location will be coping with extra traffic due to the doubling in size of the Wakehurst Parkway.
While the RMS continues to hold public meetings, the information provided to date has been sketchy leaving residents feeling they are being kept in the dark.
Education Minister Rob Stokes was recently quoted as saying that “there was no way in hell” he would allow stacks near schools, and yet he allowed ventilation towers to be constructed near schools in the city’s inner west as part of WestConnex during his time as planning minister.
Clearly the plans are well underway for the $14billion underground toll road linking the Northern Beaches to the inner west as shown by the leaked documents to the Herald and ABC.
While it may be too early to confirm any design details about the project until geotechnical work is completed and an alignment developed, we must remain vigilant to ensure that any adverse impacts are managed to protect the health of our community.
Have you attended a public meeting? What do you think?
In one of his final acts as Administrator of the Northern Beaches Council, Dick Perrson has approved a recommendation that a Masterplan be undertaken for Little Manly Reserve. This follows years of lobbying by the Save Little Manly Foreshore group and the former Little Manly Precinct to ensure that the foreshore land remains accessable to the public.
Initial work includes:
(Council owns three of the four properties on the foreshore being Nos 34, 36 and 40. No 38 is a recently-built private residence.)
The Administrator also expressed the view that the existing kiosk and toilet block should be demolished, providing more open space in that part of the reserve. The proposed café/restaurant at No 40 Stuart St. would be accessible from the park.
Council staff will prepare a draft Masterplan, for discussion with key stakeholders and the public. The final plan will then be put on public exhibition for further comment and submissions.
This announcement follows years of work by the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group who fought long and hard to retain a number of council-owned properties on the foreshore of Little Manly. Their focus was to realise a 40 year vision to return the harbour foreshore back to open space.
The most recent acquisition, the purchase of No 40 Stuart Street, which runs beside the existing reserve, was purchased by Manly Council in 2012 for $4.2m.
However, then Mayor Jean Hay was totally against the purchase and continued to fight the matter during her term as Mayor in 2012 – 2016 including a proposal to sell-off the other council-owned properties in the area (Nos 34 – 36) to cover the costs of No 40, despite the fact that council owned 3 out of the 4 of the sites making up the foreshore!
The Save Little Manly Foreshore Group, backed in particular by Cr Barbara Aird and Cr Hugh Burns, as well as Cr Candy Bingham and Cr Cathy Griffin, took the Council to court to stop the sale and won. An expensive court case, backed by the Liberal bloc on Council, cost the Council an estimated $200,000.
You can read more on the history to save this site here.
What do you think of the proposed draft ideas for the area?
The State Government is moving fast on the proposed development of the Beaches Link Tunnel with a series of recent community consultation sessions attracting large crowds.
This article, prepared by Terry le Roux for the July Newsletter of the North Harbour Resident's Group, raises some interesting points for consideration and discussion:
"Many residents will oppose the construction of the Tunnels - a strategy built around allowing greater movements for cars and trucks ahead of a better public transport network built around light and/or heavy rail. This is an important issue, but this note is not the place to cover this debate.
There will also be a big impact on residents in North Balgowlah close to where the Tunnel meets up with Burnt Creek Deviation. In addition, the entrance to the Tunnel for cars travelling from the North along Condamine Street will most probably be in the stretch of bush between the Burnt Creek Deviation and Balgowlah Road.
Let’s talk about the potential direct and indirect impact of the Beaches Link Tunnel on the residents of Manly - and how do we plan for them: This part of my contribution is purely speculative and it is designed to stimulate discussion among the residents.
Firstly, we need to realise and accept that the rationale for the Beaches Link Tunnel is not for the benefit of the residents of Manly, but to relieve the serious congestion in the mornings in the corridor from Dee Why - over the Spit Bridge - through Mosman - and onto the Warringah Freeway. Vehicles from Manly residents contribute less than 20% of all vehicles that cross the Spit Bridge in the morning peak.
You also need to understand that if the State Government spends billions of dollars on infrastructure for an area like the Northern Beaches it expects (actually demands) that the Northern Beaches “allows” many more people to live in the area. A rough rule-of-thumb I believe is that for every $1 billion of infrastructure, the government expects 50,000 more people to come and live in the area benefiting from the infrastructure spend.
The primary direct impact will be that as it is easier for people to drive to Manly there will be an increase in visitors by car - especially over weekends in the summer. The consequence of this will be pressure to build more car parking capacity in Manly. The grave of the Oval Car Park will be broken into !!
To this will be added the loss of areas of bushland that many of us currently access for recreation and as the population density grows probably in other areas as well.
I believe that the major indirect impacts will flow from the increase in property prices in Manly. The model of developers in such a scenario is to “land bank” - which is that they buy up houses with the view to consolidating their holdings into a size that allows them to eventually build townhouse/apartment complexes. This is what happened in Roseville, Lindfield and Lane Cove - residents who have recently driven along Boundary Road in Roseville will know what I mean. Under the existing NSW Planning Laws and the Manly (and future Northern Beaches) LEP this strategy is not illegal - and I am of the view that the State Government encourages this as it is a form of “densification” that allows Councils to meet the residence density targets set by the State Government.
The ability of residents to influence what happens in our community is very limited – and essentially restricted to the protection afforded by the LEP and the DCPs. Unfortunately, we know from bitter experience that developers (and their lobbyists) will work very hard to “loosen” the Planning Laws, the LEP and the DCPs and ensure that they are only used as “guidelines” or are loosely interpreted by Council staff. It is very important that Manly residents ensure that:
But, what about the impact of the new Northern Beaches Hospital and the new developments in French’s Forest and Dee Why ?
My views on the relevance for Manly residents of these are:
Stocklands Balgowlah: Thursday 6 July, 3pm - 6pm
Saturday 8 July 9am - 12pm
So what do you think? Will the proposed tunnel have a major impact on Manly? What about the suburbs of Nth Balgowlah & Seaforth which are expected to be affected by the works?
Good for Manly has announced that it will contest the Northern Beaches Council election on 9th September, running three independent candidates headed by former Manly Councillor, Candy Bingham, in the newly formed Manly Ward.
Joining Candy will be Craig Smith, former CEO of Wilson Parking, and Kyeema Doyle, a Town Planner who operates her own business in Manly.
Candy successfully led the campaign to stop the financially irresponsible and deeply flawed Manly Oval car park project that was being pushed by the majority Liberal Party Councillors on Manly Council.
“It is critical that we keep party politicians off Council. The shocking behaviour of the majority Liberal councillors riding roughshod over due process has left the new Northern Beaches Council with a major financial and legal mess”, she stated.
“We need to reconnect with the community to find out people’s views on what they expect of their new Council. Good for Manly has carried out an extensive survey to ascertain this and I will be using the findings to guide us in our decision making”, Mrs Bingham said.
“The heritage Manly Council chambers, which are now surplus to requirements, should remain as a service centre for local residents. There is also great potential to create a performing arts space. On no account should the building be sold off, or leased for private use”, Mrs Bingham added.
With more than 30 years experience running major carparks nationally, Craig Smith, former CEO of Wilson Parking, believes he has the solutions to making parking in Manly more assessable for locals.
“Parking is a major issue in Manly. We will push for a full audit of all public parking in Manly including the oceanfront, council car parks and resident parking schemes to ensure that the needs of special local areas are not overlooked by the new big Council.” Mr Smith stated.
Kyeema Doyle is a former Olympic Rower and keen sportswoman. In addition to good planning principles, she will be focusing on the needs of sporting groups in the area,
Candy describes the Good For Manly team as ‘conservative environmentalists’.
“We are a water-based region and we have to ensure that we protect our fragile aquatic environment. Millions of visitors place a lot of pressure on our infrastructure and our environment. It is a no-brainer to ban single use plastic bags, followed by plastic straws, bottles and coffee cups. We must do more to reduce waste and encourage recycling”.
They are also concerned about the loss of bushland stating that better planning solutions that protect our bushland need to be a priority.
As the election draws closer a full list of policies will be announced by the Good For Manly Team.
Find out more about the Candidates here:
Candy Bingham Craig Smith Kyeema Doyle
After 10 years of community pressure, NSW Health has announced that the Manly Hospital site will not be sold to developers and will be retained in public hands, after it closes in November 2018 when the Northern Beaches Hospital is commissioned. However, just what services will be offered is still unknown.
The site however will be surplus to NSW Health requirements. This provides an opportunity for various buildings on the site to be made available to the Manly community for health care purposes.
A team of dedicated community members are working to shape the proposed Manly Community-driven Health Care Facility (McHCF) to fill the current health care gaps in our area.
This group has identified the buildings on the site which they believe would be suitable for reuse, and they are currently putting together proposals on how community-based health services could operate from this site.
Community member and resident Lubo Kulisec; a well recognised heritage architect and overseas health care administrator, has already done a great deal of work assessing the site working with fellow local, Darryl Dobe.
"The first objective of this initiative is to seriously consider the re-use of 13 or more of the existing Manly Hospital buildings. So far external site assessments have been completed, and the internal assessment of all buildings has been undertaken. There are many candidate buildings which are suitable for re-use", explained Darryl Dobe.
Over the next 12 months, before the Manly Hospital closes, appropriate funding model(s) need to be devised for scrutiny by the NSW Health Infrastructure group, to ensure that they incur no long term debt associated with the on-going community site usages. The community team are looking at areas such as palliative care for youth, aged care services, mental health support and so on.
A website and Facebook page have been established for interested community members to enable them to remain abreast of the current situation, and the proposed re-use of current building infrastructure. It is also possible to participate in an array of initiatives deemed necessary to pro-actively prepare for the Hospital's closure.
Read about some of the innovative ideas under consideration and consider playing an active role.
Website Portal: http://yourselfhelper.com/manly-community-health-care-facility/
A storm is brewing in Manly over the Northern Beaches Council’s proposal to cancel the Manly Resident Card which provides three hours free parking for residents in the Council’s CBD car parks.
Former Manly Councillor and Good For Manly President, Candy Bingham, is campaigning against the move claiming it is unfair to Manly residents and that local businesses rely on locals, not just tourists, for their survival.
“Manly CBD is our local shopping centre but the council car parks only provide two hours free parking not 3 hours like its competitors at Stocklands, Warringah Mall and all other shopping centres on the peninsula”, Candy Bingham explained.
The introduction of an additional free hour parking for locals was a Good For Manly initiative which became the Manly Resident Card four years ago.
The purpose was to support our local businesses as it was found that two hours free parking was not adequate nor competitive.
For example we have a large number of hair, nail & beauty salons in Manly. It can take 2.5 hours to get your hair done which means that locals need to pay for the third hour parking, which costs $12.50. An expensive haircut!
“We have large communities of swimmers who like to stay for coffee and breakfast; volunteers at the Library and Community Centre; friends meeting for shopping and lunch, all of which require more than two hours”, Mrs Bingham said.
The Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of retaining the third hour free for locals saying their business is vital to the viability of most retailers in Manly.
The Northern Beaches Council argues that the Manly Resident Card is not equitable, and is costing the Council $100,000 a year in lost revenue.
However, this revenue estimate is challenged by parking expert and former CEO of Wilson Parking, Craig Smith, who says that research shows that locals resent paying for parking that they believe they are entitled to. “They would rather leave than pay $12.50 for an extra hour, or simply not come to Manly at all”, he said.
“One way to make the Card more equitable and cost effective for the council would be to charge a nominal annual fee for the card, which can only be used once a day. Only one card is available per household.
“The technology required to accept the card at the four Manly Car Parks is already in place and operating effectively. I hope the Council will review its decision and retain the Card albeit for an annual renewable fee”, Mrs Bingham said.
Around 1,600 people obtained a Manly Resident Card from the former Manly Council, which then charged a one-off fee of $40.00. These cards are still valid for another six months only.
A copy of Good For Manly's submission to Council to retain the card is below.
Do you use a Manly Resident Parking Card?
Short term holiday letting has been around for years, but over the last few years the industry has gone to a new level. And sea-side suburbs like Manly are riding the crest of the wave.
House-sharing websites, like Airbnb, benefit travellers by providing a huge number of new, affordable places to stay, and they help home-owners make the most of their biggest asset. The local economy, especially in rural areas, gets a boost as well, as travellers end up in local cafes, shops and restaurants.
But there’s a downside. Residents of apartment buildings worry that their building will turn into a hotel. They cite concerns about security, disrespect for common property, noise and late-night parties and loss of the “community” where they used to live. The traditional accomodation industry - hotels, hostels etc - who make bricks and mortar investments and also provide local employment - are under threat as well.
Manly residents have already fought, and won, one battle over this. Noisy “party units” were so disruptive that in 2004 Manly Council took action and required short-term renters to obtain council consent in order to operate.
This time around its the sharing economy which has emerged so quickly that legislation is struggling to keep up. A NSW parliamentary inquiry into the short term rental industry was held last year and its recommendations are now under review.
The most contentious issue is over what say apartment owners should have over how their apartment block is used. The concern is not about residents renting out a spare room, or even renting their whole unit for a few weeks at a time. But owners corporations are horrified at the thought that an apartment may turn into party central every week of the year, and there will be nothing they can do about it.
That fear was addressed in a recent government statement on the issue. It took on the most frightening recommendation of the parliamentary inquiry; that holiday lets should be “complying developments”, meaning there would be no legal basis for apartment blocks to pass by-laws to block or restrict them.
But the relevant government ministers - Anthony Roberts for Planning and Matt Kean for Innovation & Better Regulation - didn't agree and said they needed more time to consult with all the stakeholders.
The ministers, who will release a position paper this month, say that work needs to be done to find “a balance between providing options for accomodation and allowing residents to go about their daily lives”. Stakeholders, including the traditional tourism industry, the house-sharing economy and residential communities will be consulted.
“We don’t want a holiday accomodation market that’s so over-regulated it puts people off coming here, but the rights of residents who live near these properties must be considered too,” Mr Keen said.
Good For Manly president Candy Bingham said she welcomed the consultative approach.
"I've been contacted by people who are in despair over problem units in the building they live in," she said. "They say that existing by laws covering noise and problem behaviour are not enough to deal with people who are just coming to have a good time, and behave as if they've booked into a unsupervised hostel".
“I believe apartment owners deserve the right to decide if short-term rentals are permitted within their strata communities and if so on what basis it is permitted.” she said.
What do you think?
The Good For Manly four year fight against the Manly Oval car park plan, spearheaded by former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham, has been fully vindicated now that independent assessments into the controversial project have been released - and they are as damning as it gets!
A full copy of the reports by Ernst & Young and Value Networks can be downloaded below. In summary they highlight:
And most importantly ….
“The Manly community, all the non-Liberal Manly councillors, and my community group Good For Manly, have been incredibly worried about this reckless project from the start,” Mrs Bingham said. “Now that we have seen the independent reports, the reality was probably even worse than we thought.”
She said that the project, which was pushed by former Mayor Jean Hay and GM Henry Wong, lacked even the most basic of business principals.
“This was a huge project for Manly - it involved building what would most likely have been a $50M car park in difficult, water logged ground under the sports oval. To finance it we would have had to accept a non-complying commercial and residential development in the heart of Manly village,” Mrs Bingham said.
“Despite all that, the reports found that the council did not even have a business plan; there was no adequate financial risk assessment; the specifications for the oval car park were hopelessly vague and the total cost of building the oval car park was significantly underestimated. And the contract the council eventually signed actually transferred all the car park project risks to the council and its ratepayers."
These failings, along with other serious concerns, were so grave, that both independent reports recommended the project should be terminated, despite Manly Council having already signed contracts with developers just days before its amalgamation.
Mrs Bingham said Council general manager Henry Wong and Mayor Jean Hay, who were the main drivers of the project, had been warned time after time that the plans were flawed.
“We have been asking for a business plan since day one”, Mrs Bingham said
“In the end it got so bad we couldn’t even discuss it in council. I tried to put a motion on the council agenda asking for a business case to be developed and the general manager refused. He didn’t have the right to, but he did it anyway. I then asked Mayor Jean Hay to debate the item as a matter of urgency but she refused too. "
Mrs Bingham said the reports also revealed that although the oval car park had been ‘sold’ as parking for locals and shoppers, the General Manager had told developers to design the car park for commuters.
“That is just appalling,” Mrs Bingham said. “While Henry Wong was promoting the plans by promising they would increase parking spaces in Manly, (which in fact they wouldn't due to the number of parking spaces that were to be removed from the streets), what he was actually doing was removing our locals' car park, and putting up a commuter car park instead.”
“Whistler St car park is used by 425,000 cars each year. If you assume an average spend per car of $20, then pulling the car park down means Manly retailers would lose almost $10 million every year. That would have gutted Manly Village as a retail and commercial precinct.”
Mrs Bingham also pointed to Manly Council’s track record with new infrastructure.
“The car park would have been the same as the swimming pool debacle. The GM said the pool upgrade would cost $15M. It cost $28M plus no allowance had been made for the $900,000 annual additional staff costs. The car park would have been the swimming pool on steroids.”
Mrs Bingham acknowledged the hard work of Good For Manly, community group Save Manly Oval Alliance, the non-Liberal councillors Barbara Aird, Cathy Griffin and Hugh Burns, the North Harbour Precinct and the Manly community in the oval car park battle. And she called for those responsible to be held to account.
“Given the damning nature of these reports, I believe Northern Beaches Council should consider taking action against former GM Henry Wong for misleading the council and entering into contracts that had no hope of being delivered for the approved budget,” Mrs Bingham said.
“The reports are also an indictment on the former Liberal block of five councillors, who were derelict in their duty to the community they were supposed to represent.
“Serious questions still remain about who was to benefit from the two projects - it certainly wasn't the community”
The Northern Beaches Council is left with trying to sort out the mess, including massive claims for compensation from Built/Athas who were awarded the tender for the Whistler Street site.
What do you think should be done about this debacle?
It’s like Uber with benefits - It’s local, it involves your own circle of friends, and best of all - it’s free!
Localift is an app built by Manly entrepreneurs Krystyna Weston and Stephen Coulter to help people arrange free lifts between people they know. Like car-pooling, but rejigged for people living their lives in the fast lane.
Ms Weston and Mr Coulter say our traffic is already so bad, we can’t wait for promised infrastructure such as tunnels, road widening or B-Line buses. Their statistics illustrate the point:
• We live in a car culture, with 75% of Northern Beaches workers driving to work
• Only 1 in 14 cars have a passenger
• 25% of morning peak hour traffic is related to schools
• Saturday sport creates terrible traffic and parking chaos
“Look at netball as an example,” Ms Weston said. “ With the season starting in April, every Saturday there are thousands of people at John Fisher Park at Curl Curl creating traffic and parking congestion for participants and residents. If an app like Localift is used there’s potential to reduce cars by 25% to 50%.”
She said Localift works by bringing together social networking, mapping, messaging and calendars in one app. Users “friend” each other in the app and can arrange lifts directly or through groups of friends.
“This is a brilliant idea by Krystyna and Stephen, and could be a real game-changer for our region,” Good For Manly President Candy Bingham said.
“I’ve used the app and it worked very well. I love the way this will not only take cars off the road, but has the potential to strengthen community ties.
“And we’re the first ‘cab’ off the rank, which is very cool. If the app is a success here, it will be rolled out in other regions and overseas."
You can download the Localift app from iTunes or Google Play, or contact email@example.com to have your sport, school or club more actively involved. More details at localift.net
Thanks to the hard work of a community committee comprising local residents and artists, the iconic Oceanides sculpture at Fairy Bower, known by locals as the 'sea nymphs, will be reinstated in long lasting bronze.
The committee, made up of Hugh Burns, Heather Potts, Wendy McCready, Julie Bakalor, Candy Bingham, Sherree Hooper, Sharon Curby and Janne Seletto, has successfully matched the $40,000 pledged by the Northern Beaches Council.
"We have been blown away by the passion felt by people in relation to this sculpture. The crowd-funding raised almost half the additional $40,000 needed, and the sale of limited edition miniature sculptures has ensured the funds needed have now been raised," explained Candy Bingham, Head of Fundraising for the project.
Feature stories in the Manly Daily and Sun-Herald spread the word, and more than 10,000 promotional flyers were distributed in local letterboxes promoting the crowd-funding website.
In addition, the Northern Beach Council supported the campaign by erecting a large "Save Our Sea Nymphs" donation sign at the entrance to the Fairy Bower pool.
The project was accepted by the Federal Government's Australian Cultural Fund, which enabled donations to be tax-deductible.
Artist Helen Leete worked tirelessly with the Committee, donating her time and talents to produce two miniature sculptures of the Sea Nymphs, which were available in 23cm and 50cm. Only twelve of each will be produced.
The launch of the fundraising event, took place at the Bronze Sculpture Gallery at North Head on Friday night (31/3/17) with students of Helen Leete providing the catering and the Manly Art Gallery providing its full support with the loan of glasses, a lecturn and donation box. By the end of the evening the final funds needed were quickly secured with the sale of the 50cm miniature sculptures selling out.
"The project has been a wonderful example of how the Council and its community can work together to get the outcomes they want, and really highlighted for me just how much art is appreciated in this area", Candy Bingham added.
Clive Calder of the Bronze Sculpture Gallery and Foundry at North Head will cast the replacement sculpture, which is hoped to be back in its proud position overlooking Fairy Bower Pool in time for next summer.
Well done Manly!
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.