Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Council’s DA for the removal of 21 trees at Figtree Park rejected!

We’re delighted that the independent Local Planning Panel, which met on 19 December to consider Council’s Amended DA for the removal of 21 trees at Figtree Park, resolved to refuse the application.  Their reasons were:

  • Insufficient details of proposed infrastructure works have been provided to justify removal of the trees as listed.
  • Insufficient detail has been provided in relation to any necessary removal of garden bed concrete edging within the structural root zones of retained trees.
  • Insufficient detail of the location and type of proposed fencing has been provided.
  • No detail has been provided for any work required to address the current drainage issues in the Park.
  • The proposal in its current form, is not considered to be in the public interest.

We are pleased that commonsense has prevailed and the LPP has agreed that there is not enough detail to justify why so many trees are being removed or to understand the extent and location of all the proposed infrastructure.
 
The Trust has been requesting full disclosure of Council’s Master plan, referred to in their DA and consultant documentation, in order that the purpose of this project can be fully understood by the community.
 
Council openly states this is just “stage 1 of a broader Council initiative to develop a community precinct within the heart of the Hunters Hill town centre.  The removal of trees is consistent with the master plan for the above mentioned works”.    So where and what is Stage 2?
 
So far Council has denied the existence of a Master plan implying that it is the consultant’s ‘Concept’ plan, but we believe this is because the Master plan involves the development of Gladesville Road, as detailed in the Property Strategy already rejected by the community. Disclosure about the extent of this publicly funded project is now essential if Council’s professed transparency is to be believed.

2023-01-12T21:11:28+11:00January 12, 2023|

HHT Journal December 2022

Beautiful Jacarandas around every corner

Our latest HHT JOURNAL December 2022 is here for you to enjoy.  We again cover the continued loss of our trees and the main reasons why this is happening.   Page 3 & 4 is a special supplement featuring another two modernist mid-century homes built by notable architects, which we hope will add to the ‘register’ of these important local houses.

This edition includes:

    • From the President’s Desktop
    • The Continuing Loss of our Trees
    • Hunters Hill Modern
    • Figtree Park Amended DA
    • Montefiore Site
    • Barangaroo
    • Vale Carl Ryves
2022-12-29T12:04:38+11:00December 29, 2022|

What a fun party…..!

It was exciting to be able to finally have an ‘in person’ Christmas Party and a leisurely twilight river cruise onboard the vintage ferry Royale!  Over 80 of our members booked to go on the 3 hour cruise which gave us plenty of time to enjoy some wonderful sights, a delicious spread, plenty of wine and excellent company!
 
We had lots to catch up on, and cruising past our lovely local foreshore and beyond, under the Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House and into Darling Harbour proved a wonderful backdrop, especially with Christmas and celebration in the air!   The images below say it all! One of our members kindly summed it up beautifully:

How spoilt we all felt to be out on the water on such a magic evening! Everyone I spoke to loved the venue and as we said it is not often we see the sights so comprehensively from the water at close range. Wonderful organisation and wonderful company!

Our very best wishes to all our members for a happy festive season and a healthy and peaceful 2023!

2022-12-29T11:58:00+11:00December 11, 2022|

Amended Plans for Figtree Park: A missed opportunity…..

It is extremely disappointing that with a total of $4.75m of public money being invested in this project, this amended DA20220104 for Figtree Park is for the removal, rather than the care, of our valuable park trees.
 
Little attempt has been made to maximise the retention of significant native and exotic deciduous trees that give this public land its particular character and amenity.
 
Council have opted to make only a modest reduction in tree removals in a nod to community pressure (see our August posts below…)   A few of the more iconic trees in this unique park have been saved, but there are still 27 (not 21) individual trees to be removed and some trees not originally under threat, have now been added to the ‘destroy’ list!
 
With so much money at its disposal, Council could have dramatically improved the condition of all the existing trees so as to retain as much as possible of the natural tree cover.  This would be both beneficial to the environment and improve usage of the park.
 
However many of the trees in the picture below are to be removed – reducing a huge area of shade just where new seating is planned! WHY?

GOING, GOING GONE…..
The 11m Willow Gum (in the foreground) endangered in its natural state and in dire need of pruning, was originally given a “Consider for Retention” status by the Arborists. This is now to be cut down, together with the Willow Gum behind it, the Native Daphne on the right and most of the middle storey trees in this photo!


Some healthy trees such as the Broad leafed Paperbark and Queensland Firewheel pictured below, will be cut down to make way for footpaths!  Some trees that in the previous DA were only going to be pruned, are now being removed.  And a tree that was deemed by Arborists to be ‘Priority for Removal’ is now saved!   What’s going on?
 
Ensuring existing trees have the best of attention by being pruned and tended in order to extend their life as much as possible should be a given and removing any but the most seriously damaged, could be considered vandalism!
 
Residents expect Council to lead the community in ‘best practice’ and set a high standard in terms of tree conservation and management, particularly in light of our declining tree canopy and continued tree destruction.
 


The decisions made in this DA appear conflicting and random and it is a missed opportunity which does little to instil confidence that there is any concern from Council to minimise tree loss.
 
See the Trust’s submission here Submission for DA20220104 Figtree Park Removal of 21 Trees 031222
 
Address submissions to customerservice@huntershill.nsw.gov.au by 5pm Tuesday 6 December.

2022-12-08T18:56:18+11:00December 4, 2022|

WHY NOT JOIN US….?

If you’d like to know more about the history and purpose of our organisation, below is a good summary of our philosophy and passion for the built and natural environment, published in The Weekly Times on 2 November 2022. 
 
Our membership is growing and we’d love to welcome you to the family.  We encourage everyone to support the Trust in standing up for our irreplaceable heritage, mature tree cover, sandstone foreshores and precious natural bushland – which are exactly the reasons why many of us chose to live here! 
 

BECOME A MEMBER (click the link on the left)

AND HELP SWELL THE NUMBER OF VOICES SPEAKING UP FOR OUR UNIQUE MUNICIPALITY

The Weekly Times 2 November 2022

2022-11-15T12:53:39+11:00November 14, 2022|

What’s the community benefit of 20 year licence over Boronia Park?

Boronia Park is dedicated crown land reserved for Public Recreation, however the proposed Licence Agreement between Hunters Hill Council and Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club, allows the Rugby Club almost exclusive rights to the planned facility and expanded use of all 3 playing fields plus parking areas and access roads, for a period of 20 years.
 
Council argues that the Rugby Club will not need to pay for use of the facility, or contribute to its maintenance, because of their ‘significant financial contribution’ to Council. This contribution consists almost entirely of Government grants, and tax deductible donations. The guidelines of the three government grants effectively “gifted” to Council and/or the Rugby Club by local State and Federal politicians, are ambiguous.
 
None specifically state that it is to fund construction of the facility identified in the approved DA as the ‘Boronia Park Sports and Community Facility’ for which there has been no open tender process and a lack of transparency as to whether the combined funds will actually cover the final cost of the building.
 

Site of new ‘facility’ will involve cutting down these mature Eucalypts

The Trust objects to the proposed licence, which will result in ratepayers being responsible for the long term upkeep of the ‘facility’. It is highly unlikely that residents will receive any significant benefit because the bulk of the bookings will be for the exclusive use of the Rugby club.
 
We question whether Council has demonstrated responsible management of its finances or of the public land under its care and control.
 
Objections can be submitted to the General Manager at customerservice@huntershill.nsw.gov.au by Wed 26 October.  See the Trust’s submission here Boronia Park Licence Agreement HHT submssion

2022-11-02T12:22:25+11:00October 23, 2022|

Where to next for Figtree Park……??

Following community concerns regarding the controversial Figtree Park DA to remove 37 trees (see August posts below), Council resolved to review the DA and the scale of the infrastructure. No word yet but we’re looking forward to hearing the new proposals for this unique park.
 
Meanwhile back at the park, the trees under threat have been putting on a beautiful show…..!   After some gorgeous spring blossoms, the deciduous trees in the two pictures below are now full of summer foliage and providing a leafy haven for the birds….
 

 

 
This 13m high Willow Gum and the three Weeping Elms behind it are looking good – but are they still under threat….?
 

 

And what about these lovely slow growing and sculptural Junipers? Are they safe?


 
Residents will be expecting careful consideration by Council to ensure the new design avoids the unwarranted removal of healthy trees.

2022-11-07T08:46:55+11:00October 21, 2022|

Save the date…..Friday 9 December 6-9pm!

Our Christmas Party this year will be on the water!
 
We will be having a leisurely twilight river cruise onboard the vintage boat ‘Radar’.    This comfortable wooden ferry has for decades plied the routes along the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers, so this trip may be a little nostalgic for some!
 
In any case, it will be a perfect opportunity for us all to view our lovely foreshore from the water, whilst enjoying a delicious buffet and glass or two of wine.
 
The cruise will be on Friday 9 December from 6-9pm and tickets are $65 per head.  Friends and family are also welcome.
 
RSVP to  huntershilltrust@gmail.com to reserve your space ASAP and please make your payment by 31 October to: CBA Bank, BSB: 062000, Acct No: 16211909 or by cheque to PO Box 85 Hunters Hill 2110.
 
We look forward to celebrating with you in person and marking the end of yet another eventful year!

 

2022-10-12T16:28:26+11:00October 12, 2022|

Remnant Public Land ‘Sell Off’ Motion Passed by Council

You may have missed the report below in this week’s TWT about Council passing a compromise motion for a partial sell off of so-called “remnant land” alongside 10 Lloyd Avenue.   The sale of this portion of nature strip is a controversial decision that will set a dangerous precedent and Councillors Sanderson and Wiilliams have stated they will be submitting a recession motion against it.
 
Council’s own Bushland Management Committee keenly supports the retention of these public lands and their value to increasing biodiversity in our neighbourhoods.  There is an opportunity for planting canopy trees and smaller native species to create wildlife corridors and such actions must be recognised as being beneficial for the whole community. No-one can be unaware of the importance of creating and maintaining a ‘green shield’ against our increasingly harsh climate.
 
It is critical that these public lands remain in community ownership and are not seen as easy income for a cash-strapped Council.
 
The decision by Council to surrender public green space appears to be at odds with Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Krassoi who, in her ‘To the Point’ article in the same newspaper, has come out in defence of the importance of preserving our green spaces!

We wholeheartedly agree with her statement that: “With world bee and bird populations in free fall, there has never been a more important time to plan and plant for a greener future in our public places……”

And are delighted to note that Council is: “strategically planning for care of our existing valuable trees and for much more planting on public and private land”.

We look forward to seeing how this worthy ambition translates into the review of the DA to remove 37 trees at Figtree Park.

 


 

2022-10-04T10:56:26+11:00October 1, 2022|

Demolition of 48 Gladesville Road – for the community or for development?

The Local Planning Panel has approved the demolition of the Council-owned house at 48 Gladesville Road.

Although the reason given for this DA is to provide an entry to Figtree Park, the community can be forgiven for being cynical about this demolition, as 48 Gladesville Road is one of the row of five buildings long-considered a ‘redevelopment opportunity’ by Council as part of their Draft Property Strategy.

This Strategy was rejected by the community last year and therefore not adopted by Council, but this DA with its Notification Plan and drawings marked as HUNTERS HILL NEW COUNCIL CHAMBERS, PARK & COMMUNITY CENTRE now appears to progress this redevelopment agenda.

This is hardly the transparency that Council has promised ratepayers, who should be given the courtesy of full disclosure of its real intentions.

The Trust’s concerns are:

48 Gladesville Road

1.  The work does not comply with the $4.75M Public Spaces Legacy Grant

  • This demolition conflicts with Council’s Grant application which stated that Council would: “Maintain the character of Hunters Hill and manage growth by protecting heritage cottages on Gladesville Road”
  • The guidelines for the Grant specifically exclude work on privately owned land – 48 Gladesville Road is privately owned by Council. Also the Grant rules do not support using funds for demolition “unless council has documented and published evidence of an existing deficiency in open space” which is clearly not the case here.

2.  Existing access points through to the Park from Gladesville Road could be easily upgraded

  • There are already existing access pathways to the park, which could have been upgraded and improved to provide a wide walkway at a fraction of the cost and with the least amount of disruption. To demolish a revenue-generating property simply to create a huge entrance to a small park is an irresponsible waste of resources.

3.  Loss of rental revenue of approximately $35,000 per annum

  • There has been no explanation to ratepayers as to how Council will mitigate the loss of ongoing rental revenue from this property and no discussion about alternative income-generating options that the building could have provided.

4.  Council’s Conservation Advisory Panel does not support the demolition of this property

  • The expert panel advised that this house makes an important contribution to the conservation area and the streetscape, whilst providing a low key backdrop to the park. They recommended that the existing access to the park be re-animated and options for adaptive re-use of the house as an asset to the park should be considered thoroughly prior to deciding on demolition.

5.  Local Planning Panel approval may not align with Council’s recently approved Figtree Park Plan of Management

  • Item 8.3 of the Plan of Management states: “Council-owned adjacent land at 48 Gladesville Rd could contribute to the proposal either as seniors living accommodation land / age in place / over 55s, or as community land to contribute to the local government, community or open space outcomes as best suits final designs.”
  • The Local Planning Panel has approved the demolition on the basis that this site would be used for creating an entry to the park. However as Council has expressed a potential longer-term use as above, the approval does not align with the site being used as part of a development.

 

2022-11-02T12:38:15+11:00September 26, 2022|
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