The State Government is moving fast on the proposed development of the Beaches Link Tunnel with a series of recent community consultation sessions attracting large crowds.
This article, prepared by Terry le Roux for the July Newsletter of the North Harbour Resident's Group, raises some interesting points for consideration and discussion:
"Many residents will oppose the construction of the Tunnels - a strategy built around allowing greater movements for cars and trucks ahead of a better public transport network built around light and/or heavy rail. This is an important issue, but this note is not the place to cover this debate.
There will also be a big impact on residents in North Balgowlah close to where the Tunnel meets up with Burnt Creek Deviation. In addition, the entrance to the Tunnel for cars travelling from the North along Condamine Street will most probably be in the stretch of bush between the Burnt Creek Deviation and Balgowlah Road.
Let’s talk about the potential direct and indirect impact of the Beaches Link Tunnel on the residents of Manly - and how do we plan for them: This part of my contribution is purely speculative and it is designed to stimulate discussion among the residents.
Firstly, we need to realise and accept that the rationale for the Beaches Link Tunnel is not for the benefit of the residents of Manly, but to relieve the serious congestion in the mornings in the corridor from Dee Why - over the Spit Bridge - through Mosman - and onto the Warringah Freeway. Vehicles from Manly residents contribute less than 20% of all vehicles that cross the Spit Bridge in the morning peak.
You also need to understand that if the State Government spends billions of dollars on infrastructure for an area like the Northern Beaches it expects (actually demands) that the Northern Beaches “allows” many more people to live in the area. A rough rule-of-thumb I believe is that for every $1 billion of infrastructure, the government expects 50,000 more people to come and live in the area benefiting from the infrastructure spend.
The primary direct impact will be that as it is easier for people to drive to Manly there will be an increase in visitors by car - especially over weekends in the summer. The consequence of this will be pressure to build more car parking capacity in Manly. The grave of the Oval Car Park will be broken into !!
To this will be added the loss of areas of bushland that many of us currently access for recreation and as the population density grows probably in other areas as well.
I believe that the major indirect impacts will flow from the increase in property prices in Manly. The model of developers in such a scenario is to “land bank” - which is that they buy up houses with the view to consolidating their holdings into a size that allows them to eventually build townhouse/apartment complexes. This is what happened in Roseville, Lindfield and Lane Cove - residents who have recently driven along Boundary Road in Roseville will know what I mean. Under the existing NSW Planning Laws and the Manly (and future Northern Beaches) LEP this strategy is not illegal - and I am of the view that the State Government encourages this as it is a form of “densification” that allows Councils to meet the residence density targets set by the State Government.
The ability of residents to influence what happens in our community is very limited – and essentially restricted to the protection afforded by the LEP and the DCPs. Unfortunately, we know from bitter experience that developers (and their lobbyists) will work very hard to “loosen” the Planning Laws, the LEP and the DCPs and ensure that they are only used as “guidelines” or are loosely interpreted by Council staff. It is very important that Manly residents ensure that:
But, what about the impact of the new Northern Beaches Hospital and the new developments in French’s Forest and Dee Why ?
My views on the relevance for Manly residents of these are:
Stocklands Balgowlah: Thursday 6 July, 3pm - 6pm
Saturday 8 July 9am - 12pm
So what do you think? Will the proposed tunnel have a major impact on Manly? What about the suburbs of Nth Balgowlah & Seaforth which are expected to be affected by the works?
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.