The recent NSW Budget announcements could finally deliver the infrastructure seriously needed by the much neglected Northern Beaches.
Local Member Mike Baird has followed through with a $633 million transport upgrade announced that will include a rapid bus transport system from Mona Vale to the city, and five new public transport hubs.
This includes a $400 million package of infrastructure to support the yet to be built Northern Beaches Hospital, including two underpasses on the Warringah Road at Forest Way and Wakehurst Parkway, the widening of Warringah Road and Allambie Road as well as providing access to the new hospital via the intersection of Warringah Road and Hilmer Street. These upgrades will be in place by 2018.
The proposed Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT) is a project which has been lobbied by SHOROC (the combined Councils of Mosman, Manly, Warringah and Pittwater) for many years as the best solution to free up the grind that is the daily commute from the Northern Beaches.
A $125 million will be allocated to build the BRT from Mona Vale to the city, including indented bus bays, more frequent services and longer operating hours.
Five new interchanges will be developed at Mona Vale, Dee Why, Brookvale, Northern Beaches Hospital and Mosman at a cost of $30 million.
Also included in the package is the creation of 800 new commuter carparks at North Narrabeen, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Warriewood and Brookvale costing $67 million.
The building opposite Warringah Mall, which has been an eye-sore for years, is currently under negotiation to be transformed into a commuter car park.
Talks have also commenced to divert buses from the Spit Bridge approach through the nearby property that includes the old Greater Union cinema building at Spit Junction.
More good news for the Northern Beaches, and Manly, with Local Member and Premier, Mike Baird, announcing this month that there were plans to connect Manly with more destinations by ferry.
Routes to places like Milson’s Point, Darling Harbour and new opportunities with the development of Barangaroo are to be investigated.
Also announced in the State Budget this month was a $17 million package to construct a new ferry wharf and interchange hub at Barangaroo.
The Sydney Ferries fleet replacement program, which $1.5 million was allocated to, would bring in faster, additional vessels to reduce travel times between Manly and Circular Quay. More bus connections to ferry services are also planned as demand increases.
UPDATE: DA to expand Clontarf Marina was approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, with some conditions in June.
The majority of the panel formed the view that the proposal would not have a negative impact on Clontarf Bay and its surround foreshore despite major opposition.
See full report & background information below.
Background to Development Application
Clontarf Marina plans a major redevelopment that will transform the look of Sandy Bay. Their original plans have been modified and they are asking for comments on the newly revised plan. A Modified Proposal has been lodged with Manly Council, for consideration by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
The new plans are to remove a total of 41 swing moorings and replace the existing 21 vessel birth marina with a new marina containing 64 vessel births, above ground fuel tanks and alterations and additions to the boatshed. 18 existing swing moorings will also remain.
General Manager of the Marina, Steve Jeffress, has issued a notice to residents, in which he states that:
• The original footprint has been reduced
• Environmental improvements have been made
• Disabled access enabled, with a berth for water taxis and for private individuals
The Clontarf Precinct Committee comments that the previous proposal would not have passed the MIAP Committee assessment and most of the same issues apply to this DA, although it is a modest improvement on the former proposal. The Precinct states:
• While there is a reduction in the overall footprint with an increase in open water area compared to the former proposal this DA still has two long finger wharves extending a long way out into Sandy Bay. There will be walls of boats blocking views from the iconic foreshore walk.
• If this DA goes ahead it will be supporting a small minority of large boat owners and depriving residents and visitors of the use of this wonderful public harbourside waterway.
• Some residents fear that it will cause an increase in sound and light disturbance for those living on the slopes above.
You can view the proposal at Manly Council or go online to their website under Development Applications and view number: 183/2012, Sandy Bay Road.
THE MANLY 2015 PLAN PROCESS
Just How Open & Transparent has it been?
1. In November 2011 the Mayor Jean Hay wrote to those who had made submissions re Manly 2015, saying that “Despite what you may hear to the contrary, no formal or final decisions have been reached, nor will they be, until Council receives a report from staff on the exhibition process over the next month.” No such report was submitted to a Council meeting.
2. Major changes were made to the vehicular entry/exit plans for the proposed car park under Manly Oval without a report to Council.
3. The resolution of the previous Council on the 4th June 2012 that “no new funds or resources are to be raised and/or allocated to the Manly 2015 proposal unless or until the Council to be elected in September 2012 formally resolves to do so” was not reported to, nor formally resolved, by the new Council
4. In October 2012 KPMG was engaged to carry out a financial and commercial review of the Village Centre and Manly Oval car park elements of the Manly 2015 proposal, without a report to the new Council.
5. Clr Candy Bingham’s request for access to the KPMG report, which resulted in lodging a formal GIPA request to Council, was refused, and this refusal was only overturned after intervention by the Office of Local Government some four month later.
6. ‘The Fact Sheet’ published on Council’s website and printed brochure following the adoption of the 2013-2023 Long Term Financial Plan advised that “Manly 2015 has been independently assessed by TCorp (NSW Treasury)”. This claim was incorrect and subsequently removed from the website, but Council refused to publish an explanation or apology.
7. Despite the Council resolution of 3 June 2013 that the preservation of the Whistler Street Triangle and Manly Oval components in Council’s Long Term Financial Plan were subject to “Acknowledgement that Manly 2015 is a master plan requiring the Council to make progressive decisions on each of the components that form the final plan”, a Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) application for approval of borrowings for the construction of the Oval car park was submitted to the Office of Local Government without a prior report to Council and before Councillors had access to the due diligence reports.
8. Inclusion on the agenda of Clr Bingham’s Notice of Motion requesting reports to Council prior to the lodging of any DA or the advertising of any tender in relation to the Manly Oval car park proposal was refused, twice, on the grounds of alleged pecuniary and non- pecuniary interest. This was not only unlawful, but incorrect.
9. There has been conflicting answers provided regarding the proposed source of funding for a car park under Manly Oval; how revenue will be generated; how the proceeds from the sale of the Whistler Street carpark will be used. Although the original 2015 Plan has substantially changed no reports have been submitted to Council on the current Plan
In fact, since the Manly 2015 proposal was first placed on exhibition, there has not been a single progress report submitted to a formal meeting of Council.*
*Council’s practice has been to brief councillors in workshops, which are held quarterly. The information from these workshops is marked ‘confidential’ and nothing is placed on the public record.
Perhaps even more concerning is that this systemic approach of not making public relevant information, (even to the Councillors), has also been used on all other major projects before Council including the $15m New Leisure Swim Centre and building of a Polo Pool, and the Little Manly Foreshore land debacle.
Does this sound like open & transparent government to you?
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.