Manly residents don't want a new car park or a new library. They want to keep the ones they already have.
They don't want $80 million spent on new infrastructure and they don't want Manly Council to persist with its deeply unpopular Manly 2015 redevelopment plan.
That was the message from over 400 Manly residents and business owners who turned out for Saturday's Manly 2015 public meeting organised by the Good For Manly Association (February 22, 2014).
Questions and comments from the floor showed just how unpopular the Manly 2015 plan is. The high level of debt, pulling down the existing library, and building an underground car park in a flood plain were particularly criticised.
All of Manly's independent councilors, Clrs Barbara Aird, Candy Bingham, Cathy Griffin and Hugh Burns were present. The Liberal councillors, who hold five out of nine council seats, were represented by first-term councillor James Griffin. Local Member, Mike Baird, was also in attendance.
The scene was set with four excellent speakers · Jeremy Bingham, Former Lord Mayor of Sydney & renowned Local Government Lawyer on Local Councils and their responsibility to the Community; Peter Greentree former Head of Equities, Challenger Financial Services on Funding 2015 Plan - The Financial Implications & Risks; Michael Peters, Chair Balgowlah Heights Precinct, The Community Consultation Process and Rob Burgess, Specialist in Town Centres and former Chief Town Planner, Manly Council on Revitalising the Manly Village.
While there was a no doubt about opposition to the 2015 plan, what to do about it was another matter. Given Manly Council's record of not listening to the public and its current dominance by Liberal councillors who vote as a block, how to actually stop the plan became the meeting's main challenge.
Local Member and State Treasurer, Mike Baird, was invited to address the meeting and admitted the financial viability of Manly 2015 in its present form was "marginal" but that Manly Council, led by project champion Mayor Jean Hay, was "working hard" to address these financial issues. His comments did not reassure the meeting.
The mood was summed up by a man who jumped up in the back row to say: "We don't want a car park under the oval and we don't want a new library. We don't want them. It's not about the money. We just don't want them."
So the meeting did what it could - it called on Manly Council to retain Whistler St car park and the library and to abandon the oval car park proposal; and it called on Mr Baird, as State Treasurer and local MP, to do everything in his power to make that stick.
The resolution, which was passed unanimously, called on the Mayor Clr Jean Hay, the General Manager, Henry Wong, and all Councillors to abandon all proposals to demolish the Library and the Whistler Street carpark and to construct a car park under Manly Oval; and that alternative plans to revitalise Manly's village centre in the Market Lane triangle, be considered.
If you missed the meeting you can still take action here.
Sign our Petition to the Premier to Say No to Manly's Mega Debt
See below to download Minutes from Meeting and Financial Presentation from Peter Greentree.
Other Ideas to Revitalise Whistler Street.
In addition to ideas already promoted by Good For Manly to revitalise the Whistler Street carp ark and creation of a new Plaza, Rob Burgess presented long forgotten plans developed by Manly Library's renowned architect, Feiko Bouman ,to add two storeys to the existing Library, open it up at ground level and revitalise the the old Whistler Street car park. (above)
Some other facade ideas to improve the Whistler Street car park ...
Public Meeting - Minutes & Financial notes
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.