Dee Why Civic Centre was packed last night (23/8/16) as the fate of the former Manly Council's divisive Oval Car Park and Whistler Street redevelopment plans were shelved by the Administrator, Dick Perssons, after an extensive investigation into the flawed Manly2015 Plan. Below is the recommendation that was adopted:
The total project has been shelved, and the DA for the Oval Car Park has been withdrawn. This has resulted in the termination of the Development Deeds with Abergeldie Construction (Oval Car Park), and Athas/Built (Whistler Street site 99 year lease).
After four years of campaigning a decision is finally made.......and the residents were right!
Campaign Based of The Facts
From the very beginning Good For Manly focused on the facts. This was in total contrast to former Mayor Jean Hay and her Liberal Councillors who refused to support any investigation into the process, or even to question former General Manager Henry Wong, who essentially did what he liked. Instead the Liberal block shouted down any opposition, and talked about "scare campaigns" and people pushing their own political barrows.
A four year campaign spearheaded by former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham was supported by huge community opposition to the scheme. Campaign efforts included three public meetings, two protest rallies, letterbox drops, objections by the resident precinct groups, a survey of businesses, hundreds of submissions, four-years worth of letters to the Manly Daily and relevant government ministers, regular press coverage, meetings with local MP Mike Baird, and the formation of the Save Manly Oval Alliance.
Save Manly Oval Alliance
The Alliance commissioned legal advice from the Environmental Defenders Office and engaged independent experts to prepare reports and submissions, covering financial, heritage, traffic management, structural and environmental issues, water & flood management etc in response to the oval car park development application which was lodged 2 days before Manly Council was dismissed and amalgamated into one Northern Beaches Council.
But in the end the depth of community opposition and the stark facts provided by the experts co-ordinated by the Save Manly Oval Alliance could not be ignored. The total project has been shelved, and the DA for the Oval Car Park has been withdrawn. This has resulted in the termination of the Development Deeds with Abergeldie Construction (Oval Car Park), and Athas/Built (Whistler Street site 99 year lease).
At present, the independent reports remain confidential until contractual arrangements have been sorted however the Council has undertaken to make the reports by Ernst & Young and Value Network public once this have been done.
It's time for the Manly Community to celebrate!
And to thank and acknowledge all those who worked so tirelessly to stop this Plan. The non-Liberal councillors who were successful in delaying the project for a number of years. Clrs Candy Bingham, Cathy Griffin Hugh Burns and later Barbara Aird. As well as the huge number of Manly residents, local experts, precinct groups and business leaders who have stood up to be counted. And of course the the executive and members of the Save Manly Oval Alliance and Good For Manly Association.
We can now go back to the drawing board and come up with a Masterplan for Manly that will gain the support of locals and tourists alike. Watch this space!
It's been a long time coming, but under the Administrator of the Northern Beaches Council, the actual costs of the new Andrew Boy Charlton Swim Centre have finally been revealed.
The new indoor Swim Centre opened on 13th August, 2016
For years the non-Liberal Councillors on Manly Council put up motions (that were refused to be put on the agenda by the General Manager); made requests at the Audit & Risk Committee (that were ignored) and contacted the Office of Local Government (to no avail) in an attempt to find out the actual costings and progress reports of the new indoor centre. Requests for a business plan for the operation of the Centre were also ignored by the then General Manager, Henry Wong.
Clr Barbara Aird also worked tirelessly for local residents over the issues of major traffic and parking concerns in relation to Kenneth Road which was re-configured three times, and yet still remains unsatisfactory, dangerous and inadequate.
What Is the Cost?
The original budget was $15m and this was the result of a government subsidised loan at 1.56%.
The final cost was $27,356,250 and was funded as follows:
The new complex is big. The upstairs gym is big. And the building is imposing, not relating in any way to the RM Graham Reserve next door. But there is no doubt it will be popular with kids and families offering a large range of pools and activities.
The task now is to ensure that the new Centre is popular and profitable.
It’s been a long time coming but Manly residents finally have a special picnic area and new dingy and kayak storage space on the public land near Little Manly Beach at the corner of Craig Avenue, thanks to a long fought battle by the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group.
Now, thanks to a government grant pursued by former councillor Cathy Griffin, the creation of a new public space is almost a reality.
The project is set to be finished by the end of this month, just in time for Spring.
Here is how it unfolded
For more than 40 years there has been a vision to increase the open space at Little Manly foreshore. Initially harbour front blocks at 34 and 36 Stuart Street were purchased by Manly Council. Recently No. 40 Stuart Street was purchased with the view to extend the parkland in the future.
But in 2013 the former Manly Council led by Mayor Jean Hay, tried to sell off the parcels of land of Nos 34 & 36, claiming the money was needed to pay for the recent purchase of 40 Stuart Street.
Public fury and a community-driven court action by the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group in the Land and Environment Court put a stop to the sale.
There have many plans to improve the area, which had been used for kayak and dingy storage but was never fully accessible to the public.
Now, thanks to a grant pursued by former councillor Cathy Griffin, the creation of a new public space is almost a reality.
The kayaks and dingeys have been moved to the street-end of the site, and arranged in a better-organised, tidy system freeing up the space overlooking the harbour.
The work is almost complete in converting this once cluttered space into a grassed picnic area, with landscaping and seats.
Thank you to the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group, their supporters, and Clrs Barbara Aird, Hugh Burns, David Murphy, Cathy Griffin and Candy Bingham who never gave-up on this vision.
A new community group has been formed with the single purpose of eliminating single use plastic bags in Manly by 2017. What a great goal!
It takes a village - to go plastic bag free.
That's the strategy powering community group Plastic Free Manly towards their ambitious environmental goals. The grassroots organisation has set 2017 - next year - as their target to rid Manly of single use plastic bags.
Because social change only happens if everyone is on side, the environmentalists are talking to as many groups as possible, ranging from school children and their families to local businesses and large corporate entities.
For the children there are family activity sheets and the story of Gertie the Turtle who swallowed a plastic bag and almost died. For businesses there is support for a transition away from plastic, and publicity to nudge shoppers into doing the right thing. Plastic Free Manly already has the support of more than 40 local retailers, Northern Beaches Council and Manly Chamber of Commerce. They are also working with grocery giant Coles on a local plastic reduction campaign.
The need is pressing. Every day ten million new plastic bags are used by Australian shoppers. And the plastic in every one of them takes hundreds of years to break down.
"Manly is special," former Manly councillor and Good For Manly president Candy Bingham said. "It's a village community, and it's full of people who care passionately about our oceans, wildlife and bush. We already have campaigns like Plastic Free July, which Good For Manly helped to introduce to Manly last year, and now this terrific group of women are taking it to a whole new level."
Plastic Free Manly is run entirely by volunteers. To join their team and receive training as a Business Engagement Warrior or digital marketer, or just to find out more, please click the link below.
We were told that the installation of a $3.35million detention tank would solve the problems of fooding of Manly Oval and the Raglan Street/Belgrave Street corner.
Instead, four months after the installation work was completed, the oval has become a total, unusable mess. A local annual school sports carnival had to be cancelled due to the state of the grounds.
Why is it so bad?
The stated design was for 1,000 cubic metres, and yet the report prepared for Council by Cardino said 4,400 cubic metres was needed for the task. Further work was proposed as part of the building of the Oval Car Park even though the car park plan had not been approved by Council at the time the work started. It is still possible that the car park will not go ahead depending upon the outcome of independent reports commissioned by the Administrator of the Northern Beaches Council which will be released on 23 August.
Apparently the detention tank isn't even connected!
The job was rushed through in February to April with a commitment to have it finished in time for the first Rugby game of the season. That timeframe was met, but at what cost? And what further work, if any, is needed? These questions have now been asked and answers promised shortly.
In the meantime groundsmen have been fighting a losing battle attempting to bring the surface up to standard although the Council has indicated that this will be fixed in time for upcoming cricket matches.
At the nextNorthern Beaches Council meeting (9/8/16) the Community Engagement process will be announced with 11 Strategic Reference Groups to be appointed for the next 12 months, until the new Council is elected in September 2017.
These groups will replace former council committees. They are:
Economic Strategic Reference Groups
1. Affordable Housing
2. Economic Development & Tourism
3. Place Making
Environment Strategic Reference Groups
4. Natural Enviroment
5. Waste & Recovery Management
6. Sustainable Transport
Social Strategic Reference Groups
7. Art, Culture & Heritage
8. Community Safety
9. Inclusive Communities
10. Open Space & Recreation
11. Northern Beaches Youth
The Groups will be formed through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to be advertised shortly.
Each group will comprise representatives from the community, local experts and former Councillors and Mayors.
Members of the community are encouraged to apply to be part of the working committees, which will be in place for the next twelve months until the the Council elections in September 2017. Details will be on the Northern Beaches Council's website shortly. It is expected that each committee will have 12 community members and up to three former Councillors.
Fate of Manly's Resident Precinct Forums
Unfortunately the previous Resident Forum groups supported by Manly Council will no longer be recognised, or supported by Council, in their current form.
In response a number of the existing Precinct Forums have reformed as Community Forum Groups. This includes Clontarf, North Harbour Reserve, Ivanhoe and Little Manly which has merged with Fairy Bower and The Corso to represent the Eastern Hill.
The list of existing resident groups already operating in the old Warringah and Pittwater Council areas is extensive. It therefore has been decided by the new Council to invite all community groups and associations to register with the Council which will enable them to continue to play a role in council decision making.
Council Engagement Process
Raising issues with council will be via Customer Request either via email or over the counter, and will be dealt with directly by the relevant business unit. Regular email updates will also be provided.
It's a disappointing outcome for the Manly's Resident Precinct system which has provided direct access and input to council over the past 25 years as as proven and effective way for interested residents to have a say. However, it is pleasing to see that the majority of the Precincts have reformed into Community Groups and are expected to continue to be as effective as ever in dealing with the issues and needs of their areas.
One advantage will be that these groups will remain independent. When controversial issues are before Council this will mean the Council will no longer be able to dictate, threaten or attempt to control the decisions of the group. This was clearly the case with the Oval Car park plan under the former Manly Council.
What do you think of this new approach?
t's been almost two months since monster storm waves smashed into Manly, ripping up cement slabs and stone blocks and tossing them out to sea.
Marine Parade and beautiful Fairy Bower Pool were particularly hard hit, with damage not just to the footpath and pool, but to the adjacent sea wall and cliff face and underlying sewage pipes as well.
Now repair work is almost complete and the path between Fairy Bower and Shelly Beach, closed since the storms hit, is set to reopen this month.
The first job, which started immediately the storm settled, involved work by Sydney Water to repair and secure the three large sewer pipes running under the walkway. This task alone took one month, with the site only given back to the Northern Beaches Council on July 7.
The pipes, which would normally be underground, were put in when a sewerage system was first built for Manly in 1898, as it was cheaper to route the pipes around the coast line and then under North Head to the outfall at Blue Fish Point, than it was to tunnel the whole way from Manly Life Saving Club, as originally planned.
Once the pipes were repaired, the Council could hire cranes to retrieve the concrete slabs and sandstone blocks which ended up in the water. The heritage sea wall was then repaired and the concrete footpath rebuilt, with new timber handrails and posts now ready to be installed. The entire cliff face above the walkway has been inspected by a geotechnical company, with one section needing rock bolting and shot crete work to make it stable. The Catholic Archdiocese, which is the owner of that section, is funding the work which will finish early this month.
Fairy Bower Pool is being cleared of debris thrown in by the storm, a job complicated by the fact that it can only take place at low tide. And the much-loved twin ladies sculpture on the pool edge will be either replaced or repaired, after one of the twins was snapped in half by the force of the waves. The pool is set to reopen by the middle of this month.
Further work is on the agenda too. The concrete bottom of the rock pool has been cracked and uneven for months, probably years, before the storm made things worse. Tenders had already been called to carry out repairs and these will be assessed by the Council. As it is important not to make the pool shallower, work will involve removing the existing cracked floor to a depth of 10cm before replacing it with a new 10cm concrete reinforced slab. This can’t be done cheaply but as the pool bottom had become a trip hazard, it is necessary.
The most dramatic evidence of the storm’s power was the Fairy Bower toilet block, which was demolished, sheared off its footings and washed out to sea. The Council is preparing a design for a similar facility, which is expected to be completed by late next month. It is not known yet when the new facility will be built.
Good For Manly has been impressed by the work undertaken by the new Northern Beaches Council to reinstate one of Manly's favourite walkways, which is expected to be reopened mid August.
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.