Can a sports club, Randwick Council, the RSL and the NSW State Government come together to save the beach side Maroubra Bowling Club from being sold off for residential development?
Community meeting to save the Maroubra Bowling Club site.
Thursday night, 17th March at 7:30pm
Venue: Maroubra Sports Club!
RSVP on Facebook event page.
Can the local Greens, Labor and Liberal factions unite to support this common effort on behalf of the local community?
Will an amalgamation-intent State Government keep Randwick City Councillors in office to pull it all together for their constituents?
On the 22nd of March Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey will put a motion to Randwick Council putting a plan to the State Government on how the site can be saved. She said,
“My motion effectively calls on the State Government to block any attempt by developers to bypass the Council when trying to obtain a rezoning that would allow residential development of the site. It also allows Council to avoid a perceived conflict of interest should we attempt to buy the site ourselves after having intervened to block a rezoning. This is achieved by suggesting that the Government buy the site instead and then appoint Council to run the site via a community member trust in the same way Wylies Baths is presently done.”
James Macdonald, Greens candidate for Kingsford Smith, wants the preservation of the Maroubra Bowling Club site and has called for bipartisan support from all local politicians and candidates.
He like Councillor Shurey, is a Maroubra Beach resident and regards the Club premises as part of local history and culture.
“I am aware of many exciting ideas for how the Bowling Club site could be used for local community building. There is now a weekend market held on the old greens and talk of a community garden. Others talk of child care services and a long proposed neighbourhood centre for the area. We need bipartisan support from all our local politicians and candidates to get behind this opportunity to build up a community asset at Maroubra Beach.”
Fellow Greens Councillor Murray Matson says the State Government should back up the Council on the issue to the credibility of its own ‘Fit For The Future’ amalgamation process.
“The State Government is arguing that NSW Councils should be merged to make them ‘fit for the future’. Well, here is a clear example of a Council that is trying to adapt to future community needs by fighting to preserve a local building and accompanying open space against building development pressure. I look forward to Randwick Council receiving a positive response from the State Government.”
Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey will put a motion to the next Randwick City Council meeting urging the State Government to block any attempts by developers to have the Maroubra Bowling Club site rezoned for sale and development.
Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey believes that the Maroubra Bowling Club can be saved for community use.
The motion will also suggest that the Government back up this refusal to change the use of the site by negotiating with the RSL to acquire it for community use. Cr Shurey said,
“I think that the Maroubra Bowling Club site can be owned by the State Government and run by the Council for local use in exactly the same successful way Wylies Baths is run by a trust of community members.”
The Greens have been proactive in trying to save the site for community use. At the last Council meeting fellow Greens Councillor Murray Matson moved that the Government be lobbied to keep current Randwick Councillors in office after forced amalgamations to enable them to save the Bowling Club and other sites.
His resolution stands despite a subsequent Labor Councillor attempt to rescind his original which formed part of the official Council submission to the Boundaries Commission inquiry on the Government’s proposed amalgamation of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils.
Cr Matson said,
“Councillor Shurey’s great motion in response to the community’s clear call for keeping the Bowling Club out of the hands of developers demonstrates why we needed to make a submission designed to retain our Councillors in office after the amalgamation happens instead of leaving such decions to an unelected administrator.”
A barrage of recent high rize development proposals has seen Greens Councillor Murray Matson suggest that Randwick Council offer a $300,000 prize for the best “strategic planning mission” for the Kensington and Kingsford town centres.
Cr Matson also wants the winning vision to recognise that Kingsford and Kensington will be the likely local government and administrative centre for the new Eastern Sydney Council entity after the state government pushes through amalgamation with Woollahra and Waverley Councils.
“These non-conforming high rize proposals are going to the Joint Regional Planning Panel for approval and are bypassing Randwick Councillors. The only way we can control them is to tighten up our zoning controls. Plus we should be looking at the opportunity to declare that Kingsford and Kensington will be the new local government centre for the eastern suburbs.”
The threatening development proposals range from 41.5 metres to 85 metres in height despite the current Council limits being only 12 to 25 metres.
So far the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) has only narrowly refused the first two on the Council’s advice.
“The JRPP based its decision on Council’s position that increased density should be based on a review of the whole town centre and public transport catchment, with consideration of urban design, rather than be restricted to the context of individual development sites” (Council report 23rd Feb. 2016)
But further refusals may not be guaranteed with the JRPP strongly advising that “Council should review and update its planning framework and controls for the centres in a timely manner”. The view amongst Councillors is that they are on the verge of losing strategic control over the two centres if they are not seen to be updating their planning instruments.
Councillor Matson said that the Council had to respond to the JRPP’s criticism or see the panel start to approve non-conforming height proposals. His ambitious motion stated that the final strategic planning mission should seek to make the two town centres “… subject to the world’s most cutting edge planning and development standards in terms of:
Beautiful, visionary and functional architecture based on Ecological Sustainability and living building concepts;
Striking street visages open to urban forest and large scale green wall possibilities;
Balanced commercial opportunity;
Open space enhancement;
A sense of place, identity, history and social cohesion;
Infrastructure, educational and entertainment provision; and