May 30 - June 5, 2021: Issue 496


Currawong’s 10th Anniversary Funding: The Investment In Local Heritage Continues


Kookaburra, renovated cabin, at the May 2021 Beryl Driver OAM fundraiser for Variety the Children's Charity at Currawong. Photos by and courtesy Elyse Cole, semi-retired Mermaid.

Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes announced additional funding to support the ongoing restoration of the Currawong Beach cottages on Tuesday May 25th. The announcement preceded the Sunday May 29th 2011 10th year marker of a community celebration at Currawong Pittwater's state representative was an integral part of. 

A further $148,000 has been allocated under the NSW Government’s 2021 Heritage Grants Program to celebrate 10 years since Currawong was returned to public ownership. This brings the total amount allocated by the NSW Government to support the restoration project to more than $2.9 million.

“We’ve seen incredible improvements at Currawong in recent years and this extra funding will help support the next phase of works,“ Rob Stokes said when making the announcement.

“Importantly, the restoration works are being undertaken with complete respect to Currawong’s rich history and unique environmental characteristics.

“By using modern materials to match the original fabric and features - we're able to see the holiday cottages brought up to a contemporary standard without losing the iconic charm. 

"We never wanted a situation where Currawong was simply purchased and roped off. We all want as many people as possible to experience and enjoy this truly magical place," Rob Stokes said.

The restoration works at Currawong commenced in 2014 and are being progressively undertaken as part of a joint initiative involving the Council, Friends of Currawong, Pittwater Environmental Foundation, Currawong State Park Advisory Committee and the NSW Government.

The grant is one of four grant allocations to local heritage and among 220 projects being funded under the NSW Government’s NSW Heritage Grants Program. The grants are awarded to heritage owners and custodians, local government and the community. This enables the delivery of a broad range of heritage outcomes including conservation and repair works, education programs, and heritage interpretations.

The Currawong Cottages Restoration - Phase 2 - Platypus, is part of this investment into NSW heritage. Readers can learn more about heritage in your local area by searching the NSW State Heritage InventoryInformation on all the successful grants is on the Heritage NSW website, however, the news for Currawong's restoration works will bring a smile locally.

Currawong is a heritage-listed, holiday retreat, located at the northern end of Pittwater, across the water from Palm Beach Wharf and accessible only by ferry or boat. There are nine small cabins - each accommodating a family of five, a four bedroom homestead and a lodge suitable for small groups. 

For twelve years the Friends of Currawong ran an intensive campaign to save Currawong from developers. On the 8th of April 2011 Currawong came under the ownership the the NSW State Government and the management of Pittwater Council.

Over 1000 people attended the Currawong Day celebration at Currawong Beach on Sunday 29th of May, 2011. The day was filled with showers, rainbows, sunshine, a kookaburra watching the proceedings from the Jacaranda tree outside Midholme and other omens of blessing and success. In the lines waiting patiently to catch ferries a sense of bonhomie. On the ferries strangers greeted each other and shared stories as though they had all been going to this place for decades together like this - which some of them actually had been doing. The excitement and happiness created a party atmosphere that lasted all day.

Community Group The Friends of Currawong are who began and led the charge to save this place. They did not cease or desist in their efforts until the job was done. Rob Stokes did more then most are aware of and worked tirelessly to ensure Currawong remained a haven that is inclusive for all rather then exclusive (to exclude). He was there at the beginning, did all he could to ensure the issue stayed alive through the years it took to win back the People’s Park, and he was there at the end. 

Then Mayor of Pittwater, Harvey Rose, who led the Friends of Currawong before having to step down due to his new role, and Mark Ferguson, General Manager at Pittwater Council, brought the considerable knowledge, energy and integrity of what a Council should be to bear on each new phase of the strange waltz one Developer after another tried to impose on them and us. The Labour government’s Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, which gives one Minister the ‘yay or nay’ also makes Kristina Keneally, when she was Planning Minister, the key turning point. Once Ms Keneally Heritage Listed Currawong any proposed ‘development’ of the site would be restricted.

The quote of that week is 'With patience and persistence we will prevail'. This is how Shane Withington signed off all Newsletters from the Friends of Currawong during the long battle to save the historic site of Currawong Beach and Family Park from Developers. On Currawong Day Sunday that became 'With patience and persistence we have prevailed'

Harvey Rose OAM (R.I.P.) and Shane Withington in full flight outside the NSW Parliament during the campaign to Save Currawong - photo by Michael Mannington OAM



Members Get Plastered To Mark Official Start Of New Mona Vale SLSC

Photo: L-R: Mayor Michael Regan, club members Christian Boss and  Avigail Kedmi-Gencher; Mona Vale SLSC President Paula Tocquer, Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes MP. Image supplied.

May 28, 2021

Community members turned out today to celebrate the start of construction of the $10 million new Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club. It is the second major beachfront community infrastructure to commence in as many months after construction of the $7.5 million Long Reef Surf Club started in April.

To commemorate the occasion, one of the Club’s senior members and one of its youngest members had their handprints cast together in plaster to be displayed later in the new clubhouse.

Christian Boss - 77 years old - joined Mona Vale in 1959, while nine-year-old  Avigail Kedmi-Gencher joined as a six-year-old nipper in 2018.

With construction scheduled to be completed in time for its centenary year, the club began life in 1923 on the dunes near Darley Street. In 1934, a new clubhouse was built 100 metres to the south of the existing club, and then in 1969 it evolved to dwell on its current site.

Mayor Michael Regan said the 52-year-old clubhouse had served the community exceptionally well but needed a complete overhaul to service the needs of 1,600 club members, Council Lifeguards and a growing community.

“The new club will facilitate surf club operations, including increased on-site storage capacity for surf lifesaving equipment, better access to the beach, function space, first aid and family change facilities, and a nippers’ room,” Mayor Regan said.

“However, its pièce de résistance sure to be a local drawcard will be an 70 seat café and 90 seat restaurant offering magnificent vistas of the stunning Mona Vale Beach and South Pacific Ocean.”

“The delivery of this project will see the area transformed into a vibrant, activated precinct with significant public amenities.

“I would like to sincerely thank our partners that worked together with Council to make this clubhouse a reality – local MPs, the NSW Government and the Mona Vale SLSC members who dug deep to fund this project.”

Member for Pittwater, Hon Rob Stokes said the new clubhouse is a vital upgrade to one of our most important community facilities.

“Mona Vale is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches during summer and its lifesavers perform an invaluable service.

“Surf clubs aren’t just places that accommodate surf rescue equipment and training facilities – they’re also key community hubs used by dozens of local groups and organisations.

“This project has been on the to-do-list for many years – so it’s great the NSW Government is partnering with Northern Beaches Council and the club to get work underway,” Mr Stokes said.

Locals, lifeguards and club members are thrilled with the long-awaited new facilities that will increase floor space to 1690 square metres over two levels.

Mona Vale SLSC President Paula Tocquer said she and many others had been involved in getting the project off the ground for eight years, and was overjoyed that it was to finally become a reality today.

“Many members have expressed a little sadness to see the old building go. So many memories were made in the old clubhouse. But we are all very excited to have a new place to call home,” Ms Tocquer said.

“Council has been great to work with. It has been a great partnership that will result in a much-need community building.”



Revised South-Ingleside Precinct Housing Development Plan Now Open For Feedback

The revised draft Ingleside Place Strategy is now on exhibition with feedback closing July 6th, 2021. The Ingleside Precinct, as part of the Greater Sydney Commission commitment to accelerate development as part of a plan for meeting anticipated housing requirements, commenced mid-2013.  A draft Land Use and Infrastructure Plan was exhibited from December 2016 until 28 February 2017, the target being for the Housing of 9000 thousand more people in 3500 more dwellings.

On November 28th, 2018 the State Government announced the proposed development plans for Ingleside would not proceed after an independent bushfire risk assessment found the 2016 draft plan would put future residents in danger. Department of Planning and Environment’s Acting Deputy Secretary, Planning and Design, Brett Whitworth, said then the safety of residents is of paramount importance.

“Above all, we need to ensure the safety of residents at Ingleside,” Mr Whitworth said.

“During consultation, we heard loud and clear that bushfire risk and mitigation was a key concern to residents in the area. We listened and responded to these concerns, by going back and relooking at the way we were planning for bushfire protection in Ingleside,” he said.

The revised draft Ingleside Place Strategy aims to provide:

  • Up to 980 new dwellings with a mix of dwelling types including houses on larger lots, low rise apartments and townhouses;
  • A local community hub and shopping centre;
  • Attractive and welcoming public areas that positively contribute to Ingleside’s character;
  • Public open spaces including attractive streetscapes;
  • Better pedestrian and cycling connections; 
  • Enhanced ecosystems and green spaces for people to relax outdoors;
  • A model resilient, sustainable and low-carbon community; and
  • New development only in areas that allow for effective and safe evacuation in the event of a bushfire.

The existing minimum lot size over most of Ingleside is 20,000 m2, or 2 ha. This coincides with all RU2 – Rural Landscape land. Areas retaining the RU2 – Rural Landscape zone will retain this minimum lot size.

The 2021 draft Place Strategy proposes:

  • R2 – Low Density Residential: minimum lot size of 450 m2
  • R3 – Medium Density Residential: minimum lot size of 225 m2
  • R5 – Large Lot Residential: minimum lot size of 1,500 m2.

An existing maximum height of 8.5 metres applies to most of Ingleside. This is largely retained in the bulk of the land area allocated for the proposal apart from a 10.5 metre control in the proposed R3 – Medium Density Residential zone as well as the areas covered by the SP2 and B1 zones as focussed on the location for neighbourhood shops to allow for apartments and townhouses.

Areas of low and medium density development within this Sub-Precinct are estimated to yield between 5 and 30 dwellings per hectare. 

The documents made available state the Warriewood Wastewater Treatment Plant and ocean outfall has sufficient capacity to accommodate the loads associated with the proposed development of the Precinct  and that the existing trunk infrastructure has sufficient capacity to service the South Ingleside Sub-Precinct via a gravity led sewer. 

Trunk infrastructure is proposed to connect to the Elanora Heights Reservoir and the Ingleside Park Reservoir and the watermains being delivered adjacent to Mona Vale Road as part of the road upgrade. Reticulation mains will feed off these trunk mains to service the South Ingleside precincts. A new booster arrangement is proposed at the Ingleside Park Reservoir which will provide adequate pressure to the elevated areas of the South Ingleside Sub-Precinct. 

To determine the potential for land contamination, salinity, slope and other constraints in the Precinct, a Preliminary Site Assessment was conducted. The slope risk analysis classed the precinct as moderate, which does not meet the tolerable risk to future development. Recommendations to reduce this risk to tolerable levels include scaling the slope, installing rock bolts and considering development location. It is recommended that a slope stability assessment be undertaken for any future development.



Keolis Downer Awarded Contract To Deliver Bus Services In Our Area: Survey Shows Residents Fear Under Privatisation Routes Will Be Axed - Stranding Seniors, Students

May 28, 2021

Transport for New South Wales has announced Keolis Downer was awarded a $900 million contract to operate and maintain bus services in the Northern Beaches and the lower North Shore for eight years, from October 31st 2021. 

The contract will see the introduction of 125 electric buses over the next eight years, delivering more sustainable transport options for the local community from two newly electrified depots in Brookvale and Mona Vale.

Keolis Downer will also introduce innovative headway technology to further increase the reliability and quality of service of the successful B-Line. The popular On Demand transport service known as Keoride will also become a permanent part of the network.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said Keolis Downer will deliver more than 1.2 million services a year for customers, while also saving taxpayers more than $100 million over the eight-year contract.

“We are lucky to have some of the best transport operators in the world running buses in Sydney, and customers on the Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches will soon benefit from the expertise and efficiency Keolis Downer brings to the table,” Mr Constance said.

“Keolis Downer will be ordering electric buses to replace their older diesel buses as they are retired from the fleet, with more than 100 new zero-emission buses to be introduced to the area over the next eight years.

“As part of the new deal, the trial On-Demand service between Palm Beach and North Narrabeen will be made permanent. Around 540 customers use this service each day to connect to major public transport hubs and routes like the B-Line.”

Keolis Downer will be responsible for delivering around 24,000 services each week, including the 24-hour B-Line and all day express services between Dee Why and Chatswood via Frenchs Forest, which were introduced as part of 2,000 additional weekly services last year.

“Keolis Downer will also trial new innovative technology to deliver a better customer experience, including a system which provides drivers with feedback in real-time, to help them manage regular frequency of bus services,” Mr Constance said.

Transport for NSW will work closely with Keolis Downer on any improvements that can be made to the network in the coming years, with the Government continuing to regulate all routes, timetables and fares, as well as retain ownership and control of the existing depots and buses.

Keolis Downer’s first priority is to ensure a smooth transition of all the employees and maintain high standards of customer experience and operations. Additionally, the operator stated, they are focused on introducing global innovations like headway services, new electric buses, and wayfinding improvements that will deliver more connected and sustainable journeys.

“We are very proud to partner with TfNSW to support the future growth and transformation of the Northern Beaches. Drawing on our experience locally and globally, we will launch a range of new initiatives to enhance the customer experience building from the already excellent bus services in the area” comments David Franks, Keolis Downer CEO. “We will introduce new service technology to enable staff to actively manage routes and monitor bus running times, improving the frequency of bus services.

“We are also very excited to continue to deliver the highly successful On Demand transport service, which we have been operating in the area since 2017. We look forward to further engaging with the community to deliver a safe, efficient and reliable transport system that supports the liveability and future prosperity of this vibrant, growing region”.

However, in a March 2021 statement the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW says a survey shows 92% of commuters fear their bus routes will be changed or axed when regions 7, 8 and 9 are privatised, prompting the RTBU NSW to lay out recommendations for public consultation with local residents who feel excluded from the process.

The Our Transport survey of almost 2000 people living in three areas of Sydney set for bus privatisation found 91% felt they had not been consulted or informed about bus privatisation in their area. Respondents identified hundreds of routes they wanted to see protected and called for the restoration of services that were recently axed in sweeping cuts to the bus network.



Marina Of The Year Award Winners Announced: Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay Named 'Club Of The Year'

The 2021 Club Marine Marina of the Year Awards were held Wednesday May 26th at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia which provided a stunning and very appropriate backdrop for the events. A COVID capped, sell-out crowd of over 120 of the industry’s most prominent people enjoyed the event with dozens watching the live feed remotely.  Finalists who couldn’t make the trip from Western Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Cairns and Airlie Beach all joined from their own satellite events via Zoom, with drinks in hand.

18 finalists were in the running for nine hotly contested awards and the recurring theme throughout the acceptance speeches was that the accolades are the result of teams, not assets or individuals.   As Phil McGowen CMM and Marina Manager so eloquently put it when accepting the Marina of the Year Award over 140 berths, for his 5 Gold Anchor Platinum accredited Birkenhead Point Marina, “this is not about the marina, it can’t win it, it is about the people who set this facility apart……it is the best marina in the world, we set the benchmark for Platinum Marinas”.   It was indeed a proud and emotional win for the entire team. 

One of the most celebrated wins of the night went to the Club of the Year winner Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay (RMYC BB).  In accepting the award, Commodore Chris Lee acknowledged that the RMYC BB has undergone a transformation in recent years to create what is now a vibrant, world-class boating lifestyle destination that caters to the needs of all boaters.  He again gave the credit to CEO Jayson McDonald who in true style, passed it on to his team who were all on stage sharing the moment.


Winter In Pittwater 2021

Resolute Beach view to Barrenjoey and Station Beach, Thursday May 27th, 2021 - photo by Kevin Murray
The Whole Rainbow, Narrabeen Lagoon, Monday May 24th, 2021 - photo by Joe Mills

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