On Sunday 5th June, a Public Meeting was held to review the Development Application for the Oval Car Park.
You can view the presentations below. Submissions close 1 July. DA 116/2016 - send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Update on Submissions
As of 20/6/16, 383 submissions have been received, 335 against the car park and 48 supporting the project.
In addition the Save Many Oval Alliance, as result of a fighting fund which was supported by local residents and businesses, commissioned independent exports to review various aspects of the DA including heritage, traffic, urban design and flooding issues. A copy of their submission is below and well worth a read.
Other Submissions, both for and against, can be viewed on the Council's website here. Once you have ticked the disclaimer - select DA 116/2016.
Although 'officially' opened over the weekend, the new Andrew (Boy) Charlton Indoor Swim Centre and gym will not be opened to the public until early August.
.Former Mayor of Manly, Jean Hay, officially opened the new Swim Centre in the presence of former Olympians, amateur swimmers, the Premier and Local Member Mike Baird and other official guests, while a number of determined local residents held a peaceful protest outside.
Touring the vast facility one had to be impressed by the expanse of space, the open-air feeling and attention to detail in the internal design. A number of large 'portholes' look either out onto the outdoor pools, into the pumping station, or overlook Graham Reserve.
However, concerns about the revenue that will need to be generated to operate the facility (as well as pay off the $15m loan included in the estimated total cost of $26m) was in the backs of the minds of many as they observed the large gym with state-of-the-art equipment; a spa; sauna; creche area and three sparkling-clean pools. The additional staff bill of $900,000.00 pa to operate the Centre was also revealed this week by the Northern Beaches Council as part of its 2016/17 budget.
Undeterred, regular swimmers did laps outside in the original 50 metre and 25 metre pools in the cool June sunshine.
The Swim Centre will be closed for its usual winter maintenance on June 24 reopening in the first week of August.
Huge waves battered the Manly to Shelly Beach Walkway over the weekend leaving serious damage in its wake.
The walkway was left badly damaged with concrete paving slabs uplifted and displaced, and the iconic twin ladies sculpture at the Fairy Bower pool badly damaged. The force of the water was so great that the toilet block was completely demolished and dumped in shattered pieces on Shelly Beach.
The Bower Restaurant and nearby shops were also severely damaged.
Local member and Premier Mike Baird was quick to respond, pledging funds for public infrastructure storm-damage repair. The important walkway , which is used by thousands of locals and tourists a week, is expected be be repaired within three weeks.
The Bower Restaurant already had a development application underway although it is not know what impact the storm damage will have on the current DA.
In the longer-term, the Manly to Shelly Beach walkway is due for a major upgrade and funds have already been granted for a masterplan to be prepared. That task will now be taken on by the new Northern Beaches Council.
(Storm photographs taken by Elaine de Jager)
We saw "people power" at its very best in Manly last Sunday afternoon.
Despite 150 kph winds and torrential rain approximately 300 concerned locals turned up at a church hall for a "Save Manly Oval" public meeting.
It seemed ironic that a meeting raising concerns about a 500 space car park to be built under a reinstated Manly Oval, was in progress while Manly Oval was actually flooded, particularly around the area where the new detention tank had been installed by Council earlier this year.
Expert after expert informed the meeting about major concerns in relation to the DA which was lodged the day before Manly Council was amalgamated into the new Northern Beaches Council.
The proposed $28m cost was dismissed by experts claiming the cost would be closer to $45-50m. Traffic experts explained the impact of reducing Sydney Road into one through lane in both directions, and the issue of there being no break-down area. (That afternoon a truck broke down in Sydney Road . Under the proposed new arrangement it would have totally blocked and stopped the traffic proceeding into Manly for hours causing traffic jams likely as far as the The Spit.) And what about emergency vehicles? How are they supposed to access this major road in an emergency?
A proposed roundabout at Eustace Street simply will not work, the gathering was told. Dozens of buses, trucks and the dual carriage Sydney Water Sewage trucks which use Sydney Road daily, will be unable to negotiate such a tight turn.
But then there was the flooding issue. As torrential rain fell on the roof of the hall, and water was gushing down Sydney Road at a great rate, the sober reality of building an underground car park, in a flood plain at the bottom of a steep hill, sent shivers up the spine. And the DA does not allow for a 1 in 100 year flood, in fact the DA falls well short of the requirement.
For many the reality that the existing historic oval will be completely demolished, with road barriers, entry portals, ventilation stacks, public toilet amenities, and other bulidings blocking the existing vista of the oval from Sydney Road, came as a shock. For years they had been told by Council that the oval would be reinstated in its former glory, but the harsh reality of what is required to service and ventilate a large underground car park means that in fact this will be far from the case. Even the historic Merritt Memorial gateway (erected in 1927) which now proudly provides the entrance to the oval, will be relocated further away - with the toilet amenities as its backdrop.
But that's not all .....
The DA plans clearly show the relocation of the picket fence reducing further the playing field, which is already short of desired length. This raises serious safety issues, particularly for the rugby players where strict rules apply in relation to the size and standard of the playing surface. The Manly Marlins, who have played on the field for 133 years, have now lodged a submission outlining their concerns. (A copy can be viewed the end of this post).
(A recent tongue in cheek cartoon in the Manly Daily by Buddy Ross, captured this concern well.)
The final presentation was by former CEO of Wilson Parking, Craig Smith. With more than 30 years experience in building and operating major car parks all over Australia, he left no doubt that the location of the Oval Car Park simply would not work. It was too far away from the CBD and beach, the revenue projections were way out and the operational costs would be very high. Northern Beaches ratepayers were looking at huge annual ongoing losses that could never be recouped.
So why is this flawed plan even been considered? That's a question Good For Manly has been asking the former five Liberal Councillors on Manly Council, and Local Member Mike Baird, for four years.
The Save Manly Oval Alliance (SMOA) has recently been formed to continue the fight against the Oval Car Park proposal. Already close to $20,000.00 has been raised in a fighting fund which is being used to engage experts to prepare reports against the Oval Car Park DA and engage legal counsel. The Environmental Defenders Office has taken on the case on behalf of the SMOA, and the advice of a leading barrister sought.
What Can You Do?
1. Put in a submission against the Oval Car Park DA No.116/2016. Send your submission to email@example.com before July 1.
2. Consider making a donation to the Save Manly Oval Fighting Fund.
Details on how to make a submission and how to make a donation are on their website.
Save Manly Oval Alliance
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.