Coogee Matters

 

What’s happening in Coogee?

As readers will be aware, late in 2009 developers submitted a proposal to the State Government under what was called Part3A of the Environment and Planning Assessment [EPA] Act to redevelop the site along Coogee Bay Road between Arden St and Vicar St Coogee. Residents ran a sustained campaign against this proposal with its 15 storey tower on the corner of Vicar St and 8/9 storey towers elsewhere on the site. In May in response to community concern the Minister for Planning rejected this proposal. The developers came back with a second proposal of two options featuring 8 and 9 storey towers. One of the options involved removal of the heritage listed building which started its life in the mid 1880s as a school. Residents continued with their campaign.

The Campaign

The campaign consisted of petitions, an email campaign, a rally and working with the then local Member Paul Pearce in securing meetings with the Minister and the Department of Planning. There were two petitions - one to go to the Lower House of Parliament and the other to the Upper House. These were tabled in each House at intervals through 2010 - as one Parliamentarian said “all we hear about is Coogee, Coogee, Coogee”.

By December, 17,700 residents of Coogee and other nearby suburbs as well as NSW citizens who visited Coogee, had signed the petitions. Thousands emailed the Minister and Shadow Minister and the Premier and Leader of the Opposition etc. A photo shoot was also organised in order to get some photographs for the Campaign and this turned into an impromptu rally with over 1,000 people turning up on a public holiday afternoon.

In August the Minister for Planning referred the matter to the Government Architect . His brief was to review the second proposal and in so doing consult with the developers, the Council and - in what must be a first - the Coogee Precinct group of residents.

In October the Government Architect’s report found that the two options in the developers’ proposal were unacceptable and he set some guidelines for the site which echoed the current heights on the site. In November the Minister, following this advice, rejected the proposal with its two options for 8 and 9 storey towers. In a meeting with the Department, residents were told that any proposal from the developers would have to be within the Government Architects’ guidelines.

On 10 December it seems that the developers submitted a third proposal. This was declared eligible for consideration as a Part3A development by the Minster BUT the Department of Planning never issued what are called the Director-Generals Guidelines - hence the proposal did not start along the Part3A approval track.

Where are we now?

The new Minister has repealed Part3A of the EPA Act. As a result no new proposals will be considered under this provision. As the 10 December proposal [whatever it was?] had not started down the Part3A track, it is defunct. The developers may choose to put forward the 10 December proposal or a new proposal. However, with the changes brought in by Minister Hazzard, any such proposal would need to be submitted to Randwick Council - not the State Government. Some 17,700 people are watching and waiting and will be forever vigilant!!!

For information about the Campaign see http://www.savecoogee.com/MainPage.html

For the Government Architects Report see

http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MRQvBgVhjQw%3d&tabid=70&language=en-AU

For some of the coverage of the Campaign provided by StreetCorner see

http://www.streetcorner.com.au/news/showPost.cfm?bid=14804&mycomm=ES

 

 

 

 

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