Stop the sham of 'public exhibition'
At the last Council meeting the Administrator, who for the moment is the Council, expressed surprise at the lack of any speakers at the Public Forum, except one who appeared at the last moment.
To me it's a clear case of the public "voting with their feet".
Surely it's time to end this pretence of involving the community in decisions that affect them.
For years we've had to put up with a Council whose meetings resembled, at times, The Mad Hatters Tea Party; culminating in the arrival of the schoolmasterly figure of Mr Persson to put a stop to all the nonsense.
Almost unnoticed, the planning situation has gone from bad to worse with some truly bizarre decisions being imposed on the community.
The Hillview Nursing Home is one example, where a decision by one planning officer was inexplicably reversed by another.
No explanation to the community as to how or why.
Now it seems that developers merely have to wave a list of "precedents" in the council's face to be granted permission to break virtually every rule in the LEP and DCP and concrete over the landscape to their heart's content.
There's been much criticism of certain overseas authoritarian regimes in the media comparing them unfavourably with Australia's democracy.
However at least these overseas regimes are honest.
They don't pretend to give the community a say.
For a while now, it's been quite obvious that state and local governments are hell bent on "expediting" their own agenda by limiting community involvement.
The so-called Low-Rise Housing Diversity Code is a clear example of this.
This not so hidden agenda is based on the conviction that the Australian economy should be based on mass immigration and housing.
No less a person than Bob Carr has described this as a crazy idea but the bureaucratic machine grinds on.
At a local government level, we can see the effects of this in various ways.
One is the pathetic pretence at "public exhibition" of major development applications.
DA060666 is a current example.
This is a "second bite at the cherry" application for a site comprising five formerly separate properties located at the intersection of Blackwall and Farnell Rds.
Like the successful Hillview St nursing home application, it is based on outdated documents that no longer apply.
The situation will gradually get worse as developers realise they can get away with it.
It can only be stopped by the community telling Council loudly and clearly to either stop the sham of "public exhibition" completely or to make sure it's done properly.
Email, 3 Apr 2021
Frank Wiffen, Woy Woy
Editor's note: This is the part of a much longer letter.
The second part of the letter, which comments on the detail of the Farnell Rd proposal in DA 060666, can be found in Peninsula News EXTRA.
Peninsula News EXTRA is an electronic supplement to the print edition of Peninsula News, which can be found from Thursday at http://peninsula.news/Extra.pdf.