The issue of infrastructure and parking management at Church Point is about to hot up. In the next month or so a significant Council meeting to make some important decisions on this matter will be held.
There are four significant issues:
- the approval status of the existing plan
- current and future Demand Management
- the recent alternative plan
- the future level of Church Point Permit Fees
The last item is the main subject of this communiqué and the detailed discussion paper can be viewed via this link. In regard to the other three issues, here are some summary comments:
- Approval Status of the Existing Plan: Before going out to tender, the existing plan still has to be presented to Council one more time. There was a Council meeting scheduled for the August 17, but there has been a delay in the preparation of a report and this meeting has now been postponed. At this Council meeting two Reports will be presented. The first Report is the “Review of Environmental Factors (REF)” and the second is on “Demand Management”. While this meeting should be an endorsement of the previous Council decision made in December 2013, it could potentially be derailed. SIRA and WPCA will be addressing Council at the meeting. We will notify residents of the meeting date in advance and would request those Offshore community members concerned about progress on Church Point issues to attend the meeting.
- Current and Future Demand Management Report: No drafts of this Report have yet been made available. The view shared by all local Associations regardless of their preferences is that, following the construction of any additional infrastructure, the outcome must include sufficient exclusive use during evenings to enable Offshore residents to park their cars. This is necessary to address the concern that increased capacity will create further demand for parking by non-local users. A joint communication was sent to Council from the local onshore and offshore community Associations proposing specific and equitable strategies to achieve this aim and strongly requesting that these be included in the demand management plan. If the Report’s recommendations do not support the above aim and outcome, it should be rejected and returned to Council to be revised accordingly.
- Recent Alternative Plan: Many people have seen the new plan and made comments. The plan has some merits and is a version of previous plans that were proposed some years ago. Council have made a written response to the developers of this alternative plan. Pittwater Council’s General Manager, Mark Ferguson, discussed Council’s view at the SIRA General Community Meeting and Council staff have now provided a briefing to all Councillors. In summary, the view Council have communicated is that, while this plan may have some merits, it would require entering into a further period of consultation both with the local community and with various Government authorities with no guarantee of success. Thus they do not support changing course at this late stage. The plan has received some initial in principle support from the Bayview Church Point Residents’ Association Committee, has been rejected by the West Pittwater Community Association Committee and Church Point Friends raised pro’s and con’s and urged further investigation.
- Future Level of Church Point Permit Fees: Recently Council staff stated they will be recommending that the fees be increased to $500 once construction commences. The background and arguments as to why this may not be necessary is the subject of the accompanying Discussion Paper. The 2013 Offshore Survey results were based on a fee level of around $300. If Council raises fees to $500, we will need to conduct another survey to ascertain whether Offshore residents still indicate majority support for the current plan.
Should you wish to respond to any of the issues raised above please email president@SIRA.org.au