Our thanks go to Mayor Ross Williams and Councillors Sanderson, Krassoi and McLaughlin who voted at Council’s meeting on 26th April for Agenda Item 4.3 Property Strategy (formerly the Draft Community Infrastructure Plan) to be subject to further community engagement before it is formally accepted.
A huge thank you also to those Trust members who took the trouble to write in with their own submissions or to attend the meeting to address Council. There were some powerful and erudite presentations and we commend those residents who spoke so passionately.
Here are the outcomes of the main Agenda items:
4.1 Draft Hunters Hill Local Housing Strategy (LHS) Outcome of Public Exhibition
Despite the best efforts of Councillor Sanderson to achieve better outcomes, the LHS was adopted without substantial amendment, with the support of Councillors Miles, Collins, Krassoi and McLaughlin. Regrettably, there was little regard for the 37 submissions received, nearly 90% of which expressed concern about the impact on heritage and the environment and strong opposition to development over and above State targets.
4.2 Boronia Park sports and community facility
The Heritage Grandstand will not be restored even though the State Government Grant was given for that specific purpose plus the upgrade of sporting facilities. The Rugby Club has been awarded two government grants totaling $1.5m but will make only a capital ‘contribution’ to the construction costs of the building and pay a peppercorn rent for 20 years. In a recent communication, Council had assured the community that ratepayers’ money would not be used to assist with the Rugby Club facility, but now it has committed $100,000 ‘in-kind’.
Speakers were opposed to the new facility on the basis of size, location, Licence Conditions of Use, an inadequate business case, impact on local residents and the loss of three magnificent Eucalypts. View a recent letter to the TWT from one of our committee members here https://huntershilltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/TWT-Letter-24-February-2021.pdf
Concept drawings entitled ‘Development application May 2021’ (included as pages 242 – 252 of the business paper) can be found at Council’s website.
The business case fails to mention payment for use of the facility by sports other than Rugby who will have 85% of the allocated time. This assumes the remaining 15% of use will provide sufficient income to make the project viable, but still leaves a net annual maintenance cost to ratepayers of $37,740 pa. How is this equitable or prudent?
In spite of these issues, the business case for the facility was ‘received and noted’ by Council, and the proposed licence terms were approved by Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club.
4.3 Draft Community Infrastructure Plan (now renamed Property Strategy)
The Item was referred for further community consultation as above and we look forward to Council honouring its commitment to engage our community meaningfully, transparently and openly.
4.4 Gladesville Reserve Playing Field
This field is used for competitive sport and the natural surface is highly valued by the local community for casual use and family picnics. Soccer club members are strongly in favour of replacing the turf with a synthetic playing surface which would allow more intensive usage. However this would exclude its use for cricket, dog walking and other passive pursuits. The proposal was opposed on environmental grounds with current evidence of damaging chemical run off into waterways, excessive heat off the surface in summer and the danger of ‘carpet’ burns when players fall.
After much community input for and against, Council decided to defer a decision on using the $2 million grant, delivered by our local MP in March 2019. We anticipate the matter will return for the 17 May meeting.