Re-opening of a Sydney landmark divides community
Reprinted from Sydney Morning Herald
newspaper articleBy Andrew
Taylor15 April 2018 —
redevelopment of the Pasadena at Church Point into a restaurant and
hotel has divided residents.
Photo: Nick Moir
Nicholas Cowdery encountered plenty of bad behaviour during his
distinguished legal career.
But the former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions uses harsh words to
describe the owner of the Pasadena, a derelict former motel on prime
waterfront land in Sydney’s northern beaches.
The redevelopment of the Pasadena at Church Point into a restaurant and
hotel has divided residents.
“He has not engaged the community to discover or seek to accommodate
its desires – he has just given the finger to everyone,” Mr Cowdery
The target of Mr Cowdery’s ire is Paul Peterkin, whose plan to
transform the Pasadena at Church Point into a 160-seat restaurant and boutique hotel has
outraged some residents of the exclusive enclave, while winning the
support of others.
“It will bring at business hours more cars, more people including large
numbers for functions, more noise, more light pollution, more drunken
rowdy behaviour [and] service vehicles,” Mr Cowdery said.
Mr Cowdery, the vice-president of the West Pittwater Community
Association, called the Pasadena “a rogue development” that did not
comply with planning laws – an argument strenuously denied by Mr
Nicholas Cowdery, the former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions,
pictured in 2013 with his wife Joy at Pittwater on Sydney's northern
Mr Peterkin’s plans are at odds with the Northern Beaches Council,
which resolved in August 2017 to compulsorily acquire
and bulldoze the
Pasadena to create a park.
The council's plan to purchase the site with funds from the NSW
government was backed by the Liberal member for Pittwater, NSW
Education Minister Rob Stokes.
“It’s vital that the low-key character of Church Point is maintained
and its historic purpose as a community and commuter precinct
continues,” he said in 2017.
Northern Beaches mayor Michael Regan said the site had become a
“The community called on the state government and council to take
action and a resolution was passed at that time to return this
important piece of the foreshore to the community,” he said.
The Pasadena was described as 'one of Sydney's most exclusive
roadhouses' before World War II.
A masterplan for the site would be developed in consultation with the
community “if this acquisition is completed”, Cr Regan said.
A council spokeswoman said negotiations with Mr Peterkin to purchase
the Pasadena were “ongoing”.
Mr Peterkin said the council was given the construction certificate in
September 2017 and did not ask questions about it: "Similarly, council
representatives attended the work site at various stages of the works
and did not raise any concerns about the construction certificate."
Mr Peterkin questioned whether the council followed proper processes in
deciding to compulsorily acquire the site.
He expected the “reinstatement and rectification works" to be completed
shortly with the Pasadena re-opening in a few weeks.
Not everyone is opposed to the re-opening of the Pasadena. A group of
residents wrote to councillors in March to express concern about the
council’s proposed acquisition of the site.
“We are concerned that the views of a few small vocal groups who
support acquisition may appear as the community view,” the email said.
In contrast, Church Point resident Rob Jeffress said a restaurant and
hotel at the Pasadena would have a serious impact on the environment
and residents’ quality of life.
Mr Jeffress said residents feared an occupation certificate would be
issued if council failed to act, which would allow the Pasadena to
re-open and complicate the acquisition process.
Three Pittwater residents groups argue the re-opening the Pasadena does
not comply with planning laws, and have demanded the Northern Beaches
Council take legal action against Mr Peterkin.
“The council is the custodian of the public interest with respect to
the development taking place there and it is inconceivable that council
would turn a blind eye to the work being carried on there at present,”
the groups said in a letter to Cr Regan.
Cr Regan said the council was “investigating the lawfulness of current
works being undertaken at the site”.
The residents groups have also raised questions about a 25-year Crown
land lease, which they argue was improperly awarded to Mr Peterkin – a
claim denied by the NSW Department of Lands.
Mr Peterkin’s plan for the Pasadena is the latest chapter in the site’s
colourful and controversial history.
The Pasadena had been vacant for several years until it was purchased
in 2012 for $2.4 million by Altius, a company part-owned by Mr Peterkin
that outbid the former Pittwater Council.
The site on prime waterfront land has been the subject of a number of failed development applications, which included
proposals for a day
spa, restaurant and bar, motel and apartment buildings of various sizes.
“Because these development applications have been rejected, Altius has
been restricted to carrying out rectification and reinstatement works
in accordance with a previous development consent obtained some time
ago in the 1960s,” Mr Peterkin said.
Mr Cowdery said legal advice from barrister Peter Tomasetti S.C.
questioned the legality of the redevelopment, which relied on a
construction certificate issued by a private certifier.
“It is a travesty that these works are continuing under the pretext of
a complying development approval dating back 55 years to 1963,” Mr
Mr Cowdery said the saga revealed flaws in the planning process and
management of Crown land.
Online article can be viewed HERE.
By Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor is a Senior
Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
For further social media regarding this topic, search the following;
#roguedevelopersNSW #developers #property #Pittwater #Pasadena
#CrownLandsNSW #NicholasCowdery #ScotlandIslandResidents
@WestPittwater @NSWPlanning @SMH_Andrew Taylor @SMH @theheraldsun
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