NBC’s Conservation Zones Review - What’s It All About?
“Pittwater is a Series of Villages Connected by Bush, Beach and Water.”
Since the early 1990s, Pittwater’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) and its zonings have reflected residents’ desire to:
- protect and enhance Pittwater’s natural environment and recreation areas
- conserve Pittwater’s European and Aboriginal heritage
- minimise risks to the community in areas subject to environmental hazards including climate change and
- protect and promote the health and well-being of current and future residents of Pittwater.
In the same vein, the Pittwater Development Control plan recognises that:
“Any future growth of Pittwater must conserve, protect and enhance the natural environment and beauty of the area. Development will need to be ecologically sustainable and considerate of the natural hazards of the area that have helped to shape the region, which will ensure a safe and good quality of life for the community and future generations.
Pittwater’s zonings have been critical to protecting this spectacular and precious area. Large swathes of our suburbs were classified as Environmental Zones - later redefined by the NSW government as Conservation zones. Much of Pittwater’s residential areas are currently zoned C4 (Environmental Living).
Conservation zones, such as C4, are applied to properties with significant environmental values - which may be ecological, scientific or aesthetic - and to those potentially exposed to significant hazards such as bushfires, flooding and landslides. The zones help determine what owners are allowed to do on their land.
C3 zones, which are typically for Environmental Management, and what you can do in these zones is more restrictive.
Northern Beaches Council is conducting a Conservation Zones Review, as part of its preparation for a harmonised LEP across the Northern Beaches. The review is on public exhibition until December 2, and comprises a complex set of documents and maps. It proposes rezoning 3,613 properties within the former Pittwater Local Government Area from C4 to residential zones, and 1,328 from an Residential zone to a Conservation zone. By comparison, 54 properties in the former Manly LGA will lose C zonings, and in the former Warringah Council area, one.
One of the main causes of the changes in Pittwater’s zones is that land with native vegetation in core habitat areas, and Threatened Ecological Communities, is defined as having “High Environmental Values” - and only one of these criteria is required for a C4 or C3 zone. However, similarly significant wildlife corridors and tree canopy are defined as only “Medium Environmental values” - and two of these are required for a C4 zone.
Have Your Say to Protect Pittwater
If you love Pittwater’s unique and precious environment, please make a submission to the Northern Beaches Council’s exhibition of its Conservation Zones Review by December 2. Submissions can be as long or short as you like - even a paragraph is plenty.
A collection of residents - including experts, community groups, former and current councillors - have distilled the following points from the review that you could emphasise in your submission:
1. The bushland landscape of the former Pittwater Local Government Area is its predominant feature, with the built form secondary, and this must be maintained in the future Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan.
2. C4 (Environmental Living) land must not be rezoned as Residential.
3. Conservation zonings should be applied to properties where any significant environmental values or hazards are present.
4. Foreshore Scenic Protection Areas should be created from shorelines to ridgelines - as has been done in the former Manly LEP and this year’s Mosman LEP.
5. All Heritage Conservation Areas must be maintained, and those proposed but not yet implemented by the former Pittwater Council should also be investigated.
6. Biodiversity/wildlife Corridors and Urban Tree Canopy should be defined as of High Environmental Value when determining criteria for Conservation zones.
7. Ridgeline and Escarpments should be defined as of High Environmental Value when determining criteria for Conservation zones.
8. Extremely steep land (ie in Geotechnical Planning Class: C3 Hawkesbury Sandstone with Slope > 25 degrees, or C5 Narrabeen Group with Slope > 15 degrees) should be included as hazard criteria.
To see the Conservation Zone Review and to make a submission, go to the Northern Beaches Council website: https://yoursay.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/planning-ezones.
The webpage includes introductory videos, with two focused on Pittwater, an “Easy to Read” guide and Executive Summary Conservation Zones Review.
An online search tool will help you find any property of interest. Notice the large numbers of properties on ridgelines in Palm Beach and Mona Vale that are proposed for R zones (in pink on the maps); also close to the waterfront at Church Point and on the slopes of Bangalley headland in North Avalon. Similarly, R zones on Bilgola Plateau in wildlife corridors between Plateau Park and Angophora Reserve, and in the Spotted Gum forest in both Avalon and Clareville. Remember that much of Pittwater is bushfire prone due to its proximity to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, which also makes it inappropriate for R zones.
Finally, please consider printing the Conservation zones petition and collecting signatures from neighbours, local family and/or friends. Return to the PO Box on the form.
You can download a copy below - simply click on the PDF and 'save as' on your own device; Desktop is usually best so you can find it.
Feedback closes Friday December 2nd.
|Petition_ Conservation Zones in Pittwater (2).pdf
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Type : pdf
Shearwater Estate Residents Paying A Lot More For A Lot Less: Unfairness Embedded The Local Government Amendment Act 2021 Council 'Fairer Rating System'
Shearwater Warriewood residents are currently paying two lots of fees for the same thing but only receiving it once - one as part of being in an estate with a Community Title and atop that they also pay council rates. Such arrangements have grown across Sydney where owners of homes in estates such as these find they are paying twice for the same thing and only receiving it once.
Those outside of these estates pay Council rates and see their verges and park areas mown or have council staff or contractors coming to collect fallen branches after storm events.
Those within these estates are paying the estate to have the grass verges mown, and paying to have the branches taken away - and then they pay the Council for the same - but don't get those same services.
The main issue arising from this is the definite sense of unfairness (and discrimination some state) of home owners of one estate (Shearwater Estate) paying different rates, and getting different services to the home owners of an adjoining estate (Fernbrook Sanctuary Estate).
Fernbrook Sanctuary was one of the first big developments of Warriewood Valley about 25 years ago. They are freehold title, and pay one set of rates, and get all the services required from Council. There are about 155 homes in the estate.
In contrast, Shearwater Estate was developed about 20 years ago. The residents own their homes and land as freehold title, but the rest of the estate is Community Title run by an Executive Committee. Because the estate is large, and the executive committee members are home owners and unpaid volunteers, the residents have hired a Body Corporate company to run the body corporate administration. They now pay full Council rates, and only get garbage collection for the same amount rates paid by Fernbrook Sanctuary.
''This is very unfair.'' the Shearwater Estate residents have said
Additionally, the residents have to pay Body Corporate fees (amounting currently to about the same as our current Council Rates), plus additional Special Levies to cover repairs, maintenance, replacement etc of the following:
- Grass mowing - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- Weed control - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- Tree control, trimming and removal - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- Kerbing and gutter maintenance and repairs(including damage done by visitors and trucks) - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- Street signage and replacement - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- All street lighting maintenance, repairs and replacement (including transformers etc) - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- All storm-water maintenance and repairs - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- All water supply maintenance and repairs for the ponds adjacent to Warriewood wetlands - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- All estate road seal maintenance, replacement and repairs - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- Damage done in severe weather and emergencies (eg costs to remove fallen trees) - benefitting Council as this is one cost they don't incur
- Any other item not mentioned above (eg emergency water standpipes)
''From our perspective, the contrast is immense and very unfair. We believe one of the main reasons a lot of people left the estate was due to this extra social and cost burden.'' the residents have told Pittwater Online News
Shearwater Estate's Kingfisher Lane street sign - same council signage, at twice the price paid elsewhere
In December 2020 the State Government's consultation guide to local rating reform, ''Towards a fairer rating system' noted the Local Government Act 1993 prevented councils from applying different residential rates on properties within a single 'centre of population'.
The Local Government Amendment Bill 2021 was passed by the NSW Parliament on May 13th 2021 and assented to on May 24th, 2021. These reforms commenced with and when the assent occurred.
On October 15th 2021 a regulation was published to specify a factor to limit the highest ordinary rate that may apply where separate rates are set within a contiguous urban area.
A newer document, 'Local Government Amendment Act 2021 - Guidance on local government rating reforms, April 2022' states 'Four rating reforms took effect immediately on 24 May 2021 and provide options that may already be taken up by councils' one of which was
3. Urban residential rating subcategories – allowing all councils to set separate rates for different residential areas within a contiguous urban area, in certain circumstances, whether or not they have different ‘centres of population’
However, this document further states that:
For the purpose of setting different rating subcategories for residential land, ‘contiguous urban area’ has not yet been defined by any regulation or Ministerial Guideline. This may however capture a portion of an area that is urban in nature and comprises residential land where the properties within that area, taken together, are not entirely separated by land that falls within other rating categories.
Councils are required to use geographic names published by the Geographical Names Board to objectively define different residential areas to which to apply different residential rates, rather than being enabled to simply draw ‘lines on a map’. While an alternative option may be prescribed by regulation, no regulation has been made to date.
Each council must:
• Be satisfied on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to identify residential areas because of significant differences between the areas in relation to access to or demand for, or the cost of, providing services or infrastructure – see section 529(2A) of the LG Act.
• Publish the reasons for doing so on its website as soon as practicable after making the rates, and set out the reasons in councils Statement of Revenue Policy in its operational plan for the year concerned – see section 530(7)(a) and 530(7)(b).
How this translates in Warriewood, or any of the thousands of other similar schemes across Sydney, is that they are paying a lot more for a lot less - on one side of the road in Warriewood residents are paying around $4,600.00 to get their grass verges kept trim and their weeds pulled or their rubbish collected while those on the other side of the street only have to pay $2300.00 a year.
For those on one side of the street, when storms come and bring down trees, they must pay to have them taken away - while those on the other side have this service provided by the Council at no cost, apart from their rates.
However, if the WHOLE of Warriewood was 'paying double' and getting just half or less of what they're paying for, then the 'separate rates' system could be applied.
So, although it is absolutely clear that Shearwater residents are most definitely those who have 'significant differences between the areas in relation to access to or demand for, or the cost of, providing services or infrastructure' the Council is still collecting full rates from them.
The Shearwater Estate residents have spoken to and written, officially, to the Council. The Council, in reply, has pointed out that under these terms, and wording, the Council is unable to levy a different rate on these properties.
As these systems have been in place for at least 20 years in thousands of places across Sydney - which must have shown up in the State Government's inquires, consultations and discussion documents, long before the Local Government Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced, debated, specified upon, amended, passed by both houses of the NSW Parliament and then assented to - you have to wonder why this obvious form of unfairness and discrimination has not, as yet, been addressed.
The progress towards a 'Fairer Rating System' has failed those living in these estates - they continue to pay twice as much for much much less - there are thousands of people across Sydney being double charged in this way.
Residents of Shearwater Estate have advised Pittwater Online News that they will be speaking to their local State MP, The Hon. Rob Stokes.
The information provided by the NSW Government's Office of Local Government on the Commencement of Local Government Amendment Act 2021 runs HERE.
Shearwater Estate ponds aeration and maintenance is paid for by their residents - a contrast to those in nearby/adjacent Warriewood wetlands, which they and other residents across the LGA are also paying for but seeing deteriorate with weed infestations
Connecting To Country – Barley Ki Giballee: You And Me Come Together - Avalon 100
Another Great Sally Mayman Collaboration Realised
Barley Ki Giballee: You and Me Come Together, Collaborating Connecting and Caring For Country: Open November 19 To 20 Saturday and Sunday 10 - 4pm
Sally Mayman (Turtle Pictures), continues to enjoy an enduring passion for photography, working as an artist, commercial photographer and educator. Sally exhibits regularly, her personal work exploring the emotional, spiritual and physical connections we have with the natural world and how these are intimately woven with our sense of belonging.
Through workshops Sally loves sharing her knowledge and skills with students throughout Australia, she is the Artist in Residence at Barrenjoey High School and Youth Off The Streets and currently mentors teenagers living with anxiety and depression.
At the launch earlier this year of one of the Avalon 100 Art Exhibitions Sally outlined a project she would be undertaking to engage local youngsters with country, with the help of indigenous peoples.
In Winter 2022, running into Sally at South Avalon Beach headland, the word was the project was advancing. And now, next weekend, November 19th-20th, at Avalon Beach Surf Club the community is invited to a very special exhibition as a result of this project.
To commemorate the Avalon Beach Centenary please join in celebrating a collaborative exhibition capturing students connections to country. The project, inspired and directed by Sally Mayman, has culminated in an exhibition reflective of a series of workshops with local Indigenous artists Corey Kirk and Aleta Wassell, and Barrenjoey High School visual arts teacher Sandy Chockman.
Students from Avalon Primary and Barrenjoey High schools have experienced their immediate environment and been challenged to extend their knowledge of Avalon’s history, culture, flora and fauna, emphasising First Nations knowledge of place.
The intention of the project is to provoke deeper levels of belonging and well-being. Through enhanced awareness and connection, it is hoped this project will continue to inspire students to share with others, building a stronger sense of the their important role in caring for country and building a healthy connected community.
This week Pittwater Online News spoke to Sally about the project.
What kind of works will be on display at the Barley Ki Giballee: You And Me Come Together, Collaborating Connecting and Caring For Country Exhibition?
It’s photographic based but not just photographs. We’ve been inspired by working with two indigenous Artists and have been working to create works that represent the students’ connections to their local environment. So we decided to use an old photographic process called the cyanotype process and we’ve made 2 ½ metre long material banners. We’ve made 40 of these. So it’s a bit like a forest you walk through, but it’s also inspired by the coast as well.
So that part is photographic based but they’re not photographs as such.
They’re really beautiful. The students have done outstanding work.
Avalon Recreation Centre Celebrations: 20 Years Since The New Building Opened Celebrated - Scout Hall Built By Early Avalon Beach RSL Served As Community Hall From 1954, Avalon Youth & Community Centre Opened November 1968
When speaking to Angus Gordon OAM, Engineer and General Manager of Pittwater Council at that time, he spoke of how the brief for the new building was to construct something that was both functional and would be geared to create a natural airflow instead of installing air-conditioning, to minimise any costs related to the same.
On Friday November 11th a small group of residents gathered in the Avalon Recreation Centre to share anecdotes and memorabilia from that time, including the first manager of the rec. centre, Judi Wilson.
Pittwater Council's 'Pittwater Report', Volume 8, No. 3 of November 2002, announced under 'Avalon's Jewel in the Crown';
'Avalon Recreation Centre opened in September to a fanfare of praise from our community. The beautiful building is designed to be a popular and effective focus for community and recreational activity, and operates seven days a week for a diverse range of interests. It houses a Council Customer Service Centre, Avalon Community Library, an Early Childhood Centre and facilities for hire, including a sports hall, four activity rooms and a meeting room. Residents living north of Mona Vale now have a convenient location at Avalon offering Council information and assistance with general enquiries, applications and payment of accounts.
The building exemplifies Council's commitment to sustainability, with its natural ventilation, use of glass and shades to ensure light without unnecessary heating, louvres to achieve crossflow ventilation, resulting in a light airy environment. This construction process generated a very economic building with low operating and maintenance costs. The old hall was retained and integrated back into the new building, which itself blends into neighbouring Dunbar Park, where the community can enjoy open grassed areas, soon to be further landscaped and beautified.
Avalon Recreation Centre represents a second phase of a significant change in the way Council operates within out community. The first phase was the development of the Pittwater website as a working site which allows residents to deal with Council without leaving home, as part of our policy to make information available to our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The second phase is the development of Customer Service Centres - at Warriewood, Avalon, and in the future at Mona Vale - which bring Council closer to our community. Residents who are unable to use the Internet or who wish to have face-to-face contact with an officer, can do so at these centres.
We pay tribute to our dedicated Avalon Community Library volunteers, who have endured two relocations before the final site, which all agree is ''just beautiful''. Hundreds of people have joined the library since opening in the new centre in September. Reading areas are located along the front of the library, affording magnificent views. The library is in the process of changing from a card system to an electronic index, which will improve service for customers.
Two successful events have already been held in the new centre - Artfest and ''Meet the Authors'' cocktail party - with more booked in the future. A wide variety of hirers ranging from Belly Dancing to Japanese Language are taking advantage of the Centre's natural, relaxed ambience, as well as corporate clients holding training sessions. Please call Judi Wilson on 9970 1273 to book your function or activity at this wonderful building, which is already proving to be a ''hub'' of Avalon life.'
Geoff Searl OAM, President of the Avalon Beach Historical Society and Judi Wilson at the 20 year celebrations on Friday
Model for the 2002 opened Avalon Recreation Centre
However, this was not the first Avalon Centre in the village of Avalon Beach.
Local lore has it that the same Scout Hall in Dunbar Park, still being used for community events, was originally a shed placed there for the benefit of members of the Avalon Beach RSL Club, formed by the Returned Servicemen in 1947; the first official meeting was held at the rear of the general store and later at the Avalon Golf course. The Club was formed in 1950 with 60 members who purchased a temporary shed, which still stands in Dunbar Park. This building was the Scout Hall for many years and was renovated as part of the Plan of Management for Dunbar Park by Pittwater Council in 2012.
Surf Life Saving Australia's National Awards Of Excellence 2022: Two Meritorious Awards For Avalon Beach SLSC - Two New Life Members From Freshwater SLSC
Australia’s top surf lifesavers were recognised for their achievements and contributions in the annual Surf Life Saving Australia National Awards of Excellence on Saturday November 5th.
For the first time since 2019, members came together on the Gold Coast for SLSA’s night of nights to recognise recipients of awards across the lifesaving, sport and education categories for their outstanding service to their communities.
Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir said: “Across the country Surf Life Saving boasts 314 surf clubs with more than 189,000 members all of whom contribute to the 8,900+ rescues and 1,634,223 preventative actions taken to keep Australian beaches and communities safe.
“While volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards keep watch of the coastline, there are so many roles that contribute to the success of the organisation – from the trainers to assessors, officials, coaches and many more.
“Each year Surf Life Saving’s members give more than 1 million hours to keep Australian beaches safe, and the Awards of Excellence are a great platform that allows us to recognise these members for their commitment to their communities, and dedication to ensuring we keeping the coast safe for all.
“The last 12 months have been focusing on bringing the Surf Life Saving community back together, it has been fantastic to have members from across our diverse community all together tonight for the first time since 2019.
“On behalf of Surf Life Saving I wish to congratulate all our Award winners as well as the finalists from across the country,” he said.
Shannon Fox of Wollongong City SLSC (NSW) took out the prestigious DHL Surf Lifesaver of the Year with Richard Lissett – Quinns Mindarie SLSC (WA) awarded DHL Volunteer of the Year, Mermaid Beach SLSC (QLD) was named as DHL Club of the Year and DHL Lifeguard of the Year honours went to Reece Dobbin (NSW).
After another spectacular season, that saw him take out the triple crown, winning the 2021 Coolangatta Gold, 2022 Nutri-Grain IronMan Series and 2022 Australian Ironman title, Ali Day (Surfers Paradise, QLD) took out the 2022 Surf Sports Athlete of the Year.
SLSA was also proud to induct thirteen new members to the Hall of Fame, including three-time Australian Ironwoman champion Georgia Miller (Northcliffe, QLD - previously Newport SLSC), ironman legend Dean Mercer (Kurrawa, QLD), pioneer lifesaver Hayden Kenny (Alexandra Headland, QLD) and surfboarding stalwart Robert Little OAM (Wollongong, NSW).
Among the celebrations, six long-standing SLSA Members were awarded Life Membership having displayed distinguished voluntary service to the organisation sustained over a period of at least 20 years. The newest Life Members include John Baker ESM (Brighton SLSC, SA), Wayne McLennan (Broadbeach SLSC, QLD), Alan Seeney (Bondi SBLSC, NSW & Dicky Beach SLSC, QLD), John Mills OAM (Freshwater SLSC & Coffs Harbour SLSC, NSW), Michael Bate (Freshwater SLSC & Fairy Meadow SLSC, NSW), and Donald Marsh (Carlton Park SLSC, TAS).
There were also 18 Meritorious awards announced on the night, the highest honour awarded by Surf Life Saving Australia for bravery. These awards, to both individuals and groups, recognise acts of bravery by members who went above and beyond, putting their lives on the line to rescue people who found themselves in trouble.
Two were awarded to Avalon Beach SLSC - the details are:
Group Certificate of Merit
Avalon Beach SLSC, NSW
Avalon Beach faced challenging conditions on Sunday, 2 January for both the morning and afternoon patrols. With 71 recorded rescues during the course of the day it was very much an ‘all hands-on deck’ scenario for the members.
Cyclone Seth was driving 1-1.5 meter swells onto the beach pushing water over a bank and into a gutter before meeting the shoreline. The gutter rip on its own, was easily pushing people outside of the flags, quickly finding swimmers off guard. Due to the conditions multiple rescues were occurring at any one time, quickly stretching resources.
Rips were running at both north and south ends of the beach on the low tide challenging the Avalon patrols with what was believed to be record numbers on the beach that day. The Club made the call to bring in reinforcements to keep the beach open and safe for the record crowds so they could continue to support the many beach goers.
The Avalon Beach average patrol size is 11. On that January day, the club pulled in an additional 20+ members with close to 30 members supporting the team throughout the day.
Without a doubt, Avalon recalls the day as the biggest multiple rescue event on record for the club. The events of that day were a testament to the dedication and commitment shown by the Avalon Beach members on what was its most the toughest of days.
Jason Dale, Nick Sampson Avalon Beach SLSC Club Captains - collected the group award for the Club's rescues on the day of multiple rescues. Zac Dale IRB Driver, Todd Barber IRB Crew - received their award for their rescue of the people from a sinking boat off Careel Head in dangerous conditions.
Group Certificate of Merit
Avalon Beach SLSC, NSW
Zachary Dale, Todd Barber
On Saturday, 19 March Avalon Beach received a Surfcom call to support a mayday call from a 35ft boat taking on water North of the Beach, off Careel Point.
With 45km winds and a 4–5-meter swell, Todd and Zachary launched the IRB and made their way to the scene. Challenging conditions met the IRB as it navigated its way to the boat off the Point.
On arrival Todd and Zachary found three people clinging to what was remaining of the submerged boat, just above the waterline.
Within minutes of getting the patients on board the IRB, the boat quickly sunk out of sight. Any later the rescue scenario would have been completely different. Shortly after the IRB was joined by a Rescue Water Craft as well as a second IRB from Whale Beach. All assisted in returning the patients to calmer waters.
The conditions facing Zachary and Todd that day required a high level of knowledge and skill to be able to navigate the high winds and big swells. Their understanding of the capabilities of the IRB ensured a positive outcome for all involved.