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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackeral Beach

- November 2006 -

Newsletter for Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia  Volume 9, Issue 198 November 2006     

At the Meeting of Pittwater Council last night, it was resolved that the development application for Pasadena be refused. The matter is now listed for hearing in the Land and Development Court (LEC), on Wednesday next, the 15th November.

Thank you to the many people who attended the meeting. I am sure it made a difference...

The following item was contributed by a concerned local resident who attended the meeting:


After receiving a well-prepared dossier of objections to the proposed development of the Pasadena, Pittwater’s councillors rejected the latest development application prepared for Joe and Mary Romeo at its council meeting Monday night.

After debating the vexing question of dogs on Peninsula beaches for just over 40 minutes, receiving questions about the council’s policy on responding to correspondence (there isn’t one) and how it proposes to deal with greenhouse gases (more talk), they turned to the Pasadena and gave it a full two hours.

It rapidly became clear that the hard work Scotland Island resident Ian Souter (who addressed the council) and a group of experienced campaigners (Alan Yuille also spoke) had put in discussing strategy over recent months in the case of this application, and years in relation to the previous attempts to redevelop the building had paid off.

Speaking for the Pasadena DA was Frank Makin of the Church Point Residents Association (though how many people he represents is a mystery, and whether they actually agree with his views is another question mark), the Romeos specialist development lawyer, and architect Stutchbury (who, as has been frequently mentioned since he took the contract, has won prizes for his work).

Though the council’s Planning Unit had whittled away the objections one-by-one since last December, with Planning Officer Trevor Dunbar finding just last month that the only ground remaining for refusal of the DA was the parking issue, the concerted efforts of the objectors had made an obvious impact on the individual councillors.

Dunbar’s view was contradicted by the first motion put forward (Cr James) which found three areas of objection: the parking issue, the incompatibility of the development, and the view loss suffered by a resident overlooking the Point.

An amendment was then put forward (Cr Steven) went even further, running to 14 points of possible objection: subdivision, bulk, parking, proximity to shore, front setback, side setback, lack of certainty of proposed access, objections that it was not in the public interest, land usage, density, building envelope, SEP 65, SEP 71 2a, b, c, k, and l, and overdevelopment of the site.

The points overlapped in some respects and to little surprise, the amendment was lost – but the motion succeeded.

With so much attention focussed on the DA (The Manly Daily and Pittwater Life reporters were present and there was a corps of hardy offshore objectors), it was also not surprising that every councillor spoke on the matter.

Which begs the question, with such a consistency of views, how did the DA even get to this point? For a third time?

Cr Jones spoke, Stevens put forward her amendment, Giles then spoke, followed by Grace, McTaggart, Butler, Czinner and Treharne.

Their messages echoed the views of the principal objectors, that Church Point was historically the transport terminus for the offshore community (Cr McTaggart used the term “iconic” five times), that parking was uncertain at the best of times, that the scale of the building was disproportionate, that public benefit seemed to have been ignored, that there was little difference to the previous rejected plans (though most councillors praised the Stutchbury design),  that the council’s lawyers, Mallesons, had provided the Land and Environment Court with more objections than Dunbar has fingers on both hands and both feet (I made that up – Mallesons provided 16 objections to the LEC).

So, ultimately, with the full moon barely a day old, the councillors came back to the three issues raised by Cr James, and passed that motion.

Bill Gye, a seasoned veteran of this and other issues central to the offshore community, later privately expressed the hope that some of the objectors could meet and have a “round-table” discussion with the Romeos to see how they and the offshore community, could go forward.

That must be preferable to subjecting all ratepayers to further court costs, but whether a solution appealing to the Romeos can be found is another matter.

They have made a substantial investment and they have been unable to realise the profit they had hoped.

The amenities that Church Point once enjoyed have deteriorated. The general store no longer stocks the variety of goods it once used to, the liquor store is no longer communications central as it was under a previous proprietor, the civil amenity has been permitted to run down.

Perhaps this has happened in anticipation of newer and better things, perhaps not, perhaps the Romeos’ attention to their local businesses has been distracted by thoughts of the possibilities the redeveloped Pasadena might deliver.

Whatever has been the problem, everyone who uses Church Point has suffered through this disinterest. An opportunity has been squandered over the past dozen years, and the question must surely be asked now, for what?



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