According to Clr Candy Bingham, Manly Council is misleading the public by stating that the feedback they are receiving is positive towards the Manly 2015 Plan.
“Setting up an information booth in Manly Plaza was an excellent idea although the feedback I’ve received from many who attended was that they couldn’t get their questions answered, and that most around them were not happy with the Oval car park component of the Plan”, she said.
This is backed up by a recent poll asking residents and business owners whether they supported the building of the oval car park and the demolition of the Whistler Street car park.
“A total of 900 people have completed the poll. 75% disagree with the building of a car park under the oval; 71% disagree with demolishing the Whistler Street car park; 91.5% agree with the revitalising of the laneways and 82% agreed that these issues should be taken to a referendum so residents can have their say”, Clr Bingham said. The Poll was promoted extensively by as well as Good for Manlythe Chamber of Commerce and some Manly Precinct groups .
This compares to the Council’s statement that “68 people made written comments at the information booth” – although it’s not clear what type of comments they were.
The Council has also ignored the Precinct Resident Groups, all of which have stated that they are not yet convinced that the Oval Car Park is a viable project for Manly.
“What’s the rush? While the concept of pedestrianising Manly and revitalising the laneways is popular, the real question of whether the high risk components of the oval car park project have been accurately assessed remains a concern”, Clr Bingham concluded.
You can complete the poll here
You can view the poll results as at 28 July below.
A report presented to Manly Councillors this week (14/7/14) proposed a review of the land under the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP 2009, to permit Boarding Houses in more appropriate, strategically determined areas through Manly.
Under the Manly Local Environment Plan (LEP) Boarding Houses are permissible in residential and business zones , however recent changes to the planning laws has seen a need to update the LEP following a number of Land & Environment Court challenges and concerns by local residents that DAs are being lodged for 'inappropriate' locations.
Following extensive work undertaken by Manly Council staff, Clr Adelle Heasman has championed the case, with the likely outcome that sections of Manly's local government area will be excluded from the application of the Boarding House provisions of the SEPPs (State Environment Planning Policies) in certain locations. Predominately these include Clontarf, Balgowlah Heights and Seaforth for example.
Council is now approaching the Department of Planning and Environment with a substantial report for the review of the exclusion area . Once agreement is received in principal, a planning proposal will then be submitted for a Gateway Determination enabling Council to make the LEP changes.
You could be forgiven for not knowing what Manly Council's Manly 2015 Plan currently entails - even the Councillors don't seem to know!
The Plan, which at its core involves the construction of a car park under Manly Oval, seems to change regularly, without any reference to the Councillors. What is the latest plan for the LIbrary - does it stay or does it go? Does the sale of the Whistler Street car park include the area in front where disabled parking currently is? Does the Council own the oval under which the car park is to be built or are they selling a major asset to pay for another asset under Crown Land?
The Combined Precinct Group (representing the 8 active resident precinct groups in Manly) has worked hard to obtain answers from Council and this has been progressing. However at a recent meeting of the Group it became clear that many important questions still had not been answered (see copy of questions below) and therefore the Combined Precinct Group are still unable to support the Oval car park concept.
In the meantime the Council has been busy running further 'information sessions' in the newly named Manly Plaza. The display and concept video were excellent although feedback has been that on many occasions staff present were not able to answer questions. In addition, a Manly2015 Bulletin has also been issued (see copy below) which provides more technical detail.
While the concept of pedestrianising Manly and revitalising the laneways is popular, the real question of whether the high risk components of the oval car park project have been accurately assessed remains a concern. And the question still remains: will locals continue to come to Manly if the parking is less convenient and further away?
You can follow the Manly 2015 Plan issue here
The Department of Education (DET) has released a proposal to reduce the catchment area for Manly Village Public School for the 2015 new enrollments.
A growing population has seen the number of children at Manly Village Public School increase dramatically in recent years. In 2010 there were 542 students, and this year the number peaked at 696. This is from around 220 less than 10 years ago.
The current Year 6 has 72 students and the Kindergarten approximately 130. If another 130 Kindergarten students are enrolled next year, that will be some 50 new students, meaning two new classrooms would be needed. That would result in a demountable being placed in the already congested playground.
The Parents & Citizens (P&C) group expressed concern that this would seriously compromise the quality of education. Lunch and recess breaks are already staggered, as there are too many students for the small amount of outdoor space currently available. The growing population is seen as unsustainable.
By law, all children in the catchment must be accepted into the school, and they must have classrooms. Population density in Manly is increasing so a smaller catchment was seen as the best immediate solution to stop the numbers reaching the projected 887 students in 2018.
The P&C Executive met with Local Member and Premier, Mike Baird and Department of Education representatives recently. The response has been to release the proposed change to the boundaries - a plan that has been worked on for some time.
A consultation process is underway and feedback is being sought. The P&C Executive has declared their support for the proposal to change the catchment area, with many new enrollments in the local being moved into in the Manly Vale catchment area. You can view the proposed new catchment in the information document below.
Capital allocations in the recent NSW budget will allow for new buildings to be constructed at nearby Manly Vale Public School, with the view to accommodate the additional children from the surrounding areas.
You can lodge your view to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com at the Department of Education by July 25. Short responses are acceptable provided you say which option you support and why.
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.