Hans Lovejoy, editor
Are you aware that ‘Greens’ mayor Simon Richardson is actively wedging residents, who face large inappropriate DAs in their neighbourhood, against developers?
His soaring rhetorical – and at times emotional and unintelligible – speech is available at Council’s website for those interested.
It’s part of last Thursday’s March 11 Council meeting, where all councillors had a crack at speaking on the rapidly diminishing ‘key worker’ population of Byron.
Indeed, it’s a hot button issue, which needs, as we were told by the mayor, a nuanced approach.
The mayor’s public comments around this are worthy of unpacking, considering his vote matters when it comes to improving, or worsening, the planning instruments at Council’s disposal. It’s unclear if any improvements have occurred in recent years to protect the amenity of residents, given planning staff are completely off the leash and free to roam unhindered.
So what is the real nuance?
It’s whether Council supports residents in protecting their amenity, and how Council can facilitate key worker accommodation.
And whether the two are mutually exclusive.
Should residents have to take the hit, given there are alternatives for developers? Perhaps the mayor is blaming residents because of his own failure in preparing for this issue.
He has had a majority in the chamber for over four years now.
The mayor implied that neighbours opposing the Corso DA in Bayside, Bruns, for a large boarding house were ‘greedy’, and he softened his language around the developer behind it, The Kollective. Perhaps the public can now look forward to the mayor encouraging The Kollective to plonk a massive ‘affordable housing’ complex next to his own home to demonstrate, through example, that he is not greedy.
The mayor didn’t mention that the Bayside land in question was pegged as a commercial precinct by the developer of the suburb, Codlea. It was what that community – and the Bayside developer – expected. Good planning matters.
At another point, Greens Cr Sarah Ndiaye admitted that Council have ‘over delivered on every target we’ve been set by the department of housing [sic] on the amount of houses that we have approved’. Given that, where is the end point? Will endless housing, like West Byron, ease the burden? The rhetoric from councillors was alarming because there appeared an absence of understanding of how to address the problem.
On a more positive note, at the same meeting, Council staff were requested by councillors ‘to further investigate the Community Land Trust, Live-Work and Restricted Purchase models, to see how they can be applied to Council-owned land and developments including contributions under a SEPP 70 Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme’.