Well, we’re all a little nervous around here at the moment – the judgment we have been waiting for is due to be handed down this Friday @ 10.15am. We’ll post an update as soon as we’re told…
Hastings Point residents are fuming and rightly so!!!!
How many times must a community sue a Council and Developers to protect its locality?
Apparently, at least 4 times over a period of 18 months!!!! (will this be our last one????)
This week, the community will be filing its 4th set of legal proceedings against Tweed Council and a developer for the illegal approval of a dwelling on the most contentious block of land in HP – Lot 156.
Why is this block so contentious?
Well, this block of land has a sordid history where the previous owner dredged HP’s estuary (20 yrs ago) illegally (which resulted in a 7 acre crown land grab after getting a mean high water adjustment) to illegally turn a beautiful saltmarsh/estuary into a low lying flood plain to create some “so claimed” developable land on which the subsequent owner (buying with this knowledge) seeks to build a large resort and 57 houses.
The Council took legal action way back to stop the illegal dredging (albeit too late) But then failed to have the owner rectify the damage – leaving the estuary filled. This estuary previously drained the catchment and so now extreme flooding is caused to neighbours (approx 400).
The new owner also wreaked his own carnage in recent years – knocking down acres of trees and natural habitat illegally one long weekend. Once again, Council took legal action too late and failed to have the developer fully remediate all the valuable habitat he destroyed.
Funny how developers destroy land illegally and then let it lie for a few years (mowing it down every month of course for “maintenance”) and then claim it has no conservational value and should be developed. Please!!!!! Talk about UNJUST!!!
The developer and its planning consultant (Planit Consulting responsible for all contentious large DAs in HP) rather than endure proper assessment of their subdivision through the NSW Department of Planning and consultation with the community, snuck through the back door of Council – the Building Services Unit – which assesses single dwellings. This allowed them to effectively bypass Council’s planning department and the NSW Dpt of Planning to commence their subdivision.
And make no mistake – this is not just a one dwelling project as claimed. WHY? It is IN the exact same location as same size 300 m2 blocks of subdivision I.E. TINY block (far lower right red block in diagram to right). The road to this site circles the land rather than going direct to the site – surprise, surprise – the same road as in the subdivision proposal opposite. BLIND FREDDY can tell this is the first of the 57 houses – i.e. the show house for the block.
How was it done?
The developer planning consultant omitted any reference to the fact that it had a current subdivision application with the NSW Department of Planning of like dwellings (57) plus a resort on the same block.
Specifically advised the Building Services Unit that it need not notify the community of the development given that a DCP alleviates notification for two storey dwellings.
But GET THIS:
– The Planning Department at Council claims it was not aware of the approval.
– The Planning Department at Council had full knowledge of the subdivision proposal.
– The Building Services Unit claims it was not aware of the subdivision proposal or the history of the block.
– The community knew nothing of the development until a year following approval when trucks with fill start rolling down the street. (check out height of fill which restricts water flow on this flood plain – top photos also show it well – building pad right on top of old estuary).
So a dwelling was approved on the most contentious and litigated block in Hastings Point without the Planning Department’s knowledge – WOOPS!!! And without full assessment in accordance with the local LEP.
And who’s left to clean up the mess – well – no surprise there – the community!!!! Apparently, having approved the development, the Council claims it cannot do anything.
Worst of all, is that the developer has placed the dwelling in the most strategic place possible i.e. straight on top of the filled estuary which would render the flooding problem for the catchment irreversible and all because the Council has failed to remediate the land which still today leaves the community at significant risk of flooding. (see photos of recent flooding of exact location and nearby neighbours because of filling of estuary)
One has to seriously question the negligence of authorities in not only leaving this land in this state but worse, allowing more fill on an already existing flood plain and approving development – like it has in Seabreeze Estate, Pottsville – in an area that will cause an irreversible problem.
Hey, for the developer – who cares as long as they get in their developments – that extra land is X more houses. Who cares of the environmental and social cost – lets squeeze in as many houses as we can!
They buy the land for peanuts because of its huge development issues fully aware of the history and slowly grind away illegally to create a position to make mega bucks. And then if the community seeks to stop them, let’s wait for the cry “land rights, land rights” – imagine if the land could speak – what would it have to say about the damage caused to it over the years all in the name of the dollar. What rights does the land actually have? It would seem none if you listen to these developers.
For HASTOS, enough is enough!!! Expect legal proceedings served this WEEK!!!!
And Developer Cowboys – building at haste – like your developer colleagues down the road – if you build while the matter is in Court and you lose – which they did – expect to pull your development out. See photo right – screw piles being pulled out on the 21 Coast Road site – where developers of “the Point” started building and lost.
Same goes for the Point development (264 units) as they build despite the matter still before the Court
Our other big win was the refusal of one of PDK’s developments which we previously won in the Land & Environment Court. Applying a raft of applicable laws, the Planning Department and our responsible 4 Councillors correctly refused the DA. Orders are being sort to have the developer pull up footings & remediate the site since it recklessly proceeded building while the matter was in Court.
The SAD thing however is to see the 3 pro-developer Councillors – Polglase, Youngblutt and Skinner forever trying to save their developer lobbiers (MUST see below) despite:
1. the DA not complying with the law
2. the planning department’s DA refusal
3. Council’s own expert’s advices – Ruker
4. Council’s Code of Conduct mandate to consider DAs on legal merit
5. that Councilllors were last sacked for developer associations while Polglase at the helm.