November 6 - 12, 2016: Issue 288

Mona Vale Place Plan Meeting Discloses Salient Points And Communitys' Objections

The Community Meeting on the Mona Vale Place Plan Draft was held at Mona Vale Memorial Hall on Saturday October 29th.

The first 50 minutes were taken up by presentations from the Council Administrator Dick Persson, General Manager Mark Ferguson, with further presentations from Council staff. An interesting admission made by the Council was during all community consultations there was not any discussion about 6 storey buildings for Mona Vale and this was added entirely by Council Staff later on.

Statements were made by Simon Dunn, Mona Vale Chamber of Commerce, followed by Marcia Rackman, Mona Vale Residents Association. 

Almost an hour and a half into the two hour meeting people were allowed to ask questions or speak about their concerns. 

One resident made the point that the current 13 metre height limit in Mona Vale Commercial Core allowed 4 storey buildings and the proposed increase via the MVPP Draft to 23 metres would actually permit 7 storeys. A second point made by the same gentleman was that the administrator should not be making any decisions on the Mona Vale Place Plan and this should be left to the local representation of newly Elected Councillors in September 2017. This announcement received overwhelming applause of support from the public gallery.

Once again the ratio of what was the input to council in its aspirations for Mona Vale, of over 1300 comments, describing a vibrant green open space area, among many other ideas, only one of which asked for more blocks of flats was reiterated. This speaker stated that since the community had so clearly been ignored what would be the point of making another submission or comment as the decisions may have already been made by council.

One speaker was upset that Mona Vale Memorial Hall would be demolished as it has its 50th Birthday coming up soon and has much history and charm. Concern also was if it is demolished then what future venue can be provided.

Another expressed numbers not adding up - their concern was that with so many more people proposed to be living in the heart of the Mona Vale Commercial Core where will they and their visitors all park, 'the increased traffic congestion and with the centre excluding more cars to be more people friendly will impact on traffic flow around the centre'. This concern was also exacerbated with one council staffer saying earlier in the meeting that instead of the current 1 car space per 1 bedroom apartment and 2 cars spaces for 2 or more bedrooms, this may change to no car spaces for 1 bedroom and only 1 car space for 2 or more bedrooms.

A lack of infrastructure was pointed out again, the 'Affordable Housing' carrot was clarified by the audience back to the council as this only provides rented accommodation, and only for 10 years. It does not include people on low incomes to purchase any properties.

The administrator Dick Persson acknowledged the high level of concern from the community regarding the Mona Vale Place Plan. The public exhibition period has been extended for another month as a result. This means the previous closing date for comments of 13 November 2016 is now 13 December 2016 to give people more time for submissions.

Pittwater Online has received the following full address the Mona Vale Residents Association wished to give at the meeting and from David Owen, President of the Clareville and Bilgola Plateau Residents Association (CABPRA).

Public meeting 
Draft Mona Vale Place Plan 
Mona Vale Memorial Hall, 29th Oct 2016 

Thank you for coming this afternoon. It is important that the community has an opportunity to ask questions about the draft Place plan for Mona Vale, prior to the end of the exhibition period, and I hope that all those wishing to ask questions this afternoon are given the opportunity to do so. Your involvement in this process should not be restricted.

Some of you present this afternoon may have attended the urban talks and place making workshops held last year. Perhaps alarm bells rang out when the first guest speaker, the mayor of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas talked about how his council managed urban growth by building three twenty- four story high tower blocks. Or perhaps you were there to hear our own inspirational local identity, eminent architect, Rick Leplastrier describe Mona Vale as being a town of wind and water, with roads that followed ancient aboriginal tracks. 

We the community, were present at these talks and workshops because we wanted to work together to make our town centre a better place for people. We wanted to help express the pride in the place in which we live and work, and wanted to create an urban environment that reflected our local community values and its site-specific conditions. For the few that attended it was a good feeling to be involved in this process of place making for our public domain, and a great many good ideas came to light, but in the back of your mind you could not help but think there was a development agenda.

Our community involvement has now been muddied by a place planning process that we were largely not included in. We have before us a plan that has a complete disconnect to the workshops held, a draft Plan that challenge’s what our ideas for Mona Vale were. Did we really, say, that we wanted six story buildings? Did we really, say, that we wanted a night time economy like Manly? No, we did not. In fact, one of the big points of difference that we identified to our neighbours in the south, was our low-rise landscape and the human scale and village character of our town centre. We identified as being an area of important low key tourism along with our village neighbours to the north and could see this as an attraction to tourists, investors and talent that could help build our economy. Six storey high buildings are not part of the character that we envisage for Mona Vale and will destroy our village feel. We do not wish to see developers coming in and developing whole precincts, setting a precedent for development in surrounding localities.

We already have the real estate agents spruiking the increases to property prices with a revamped Mona Vale and there is still no evidence that Mona Vale needs greater housing stock. Affordable housing does not equate to six storey high buildings.

We still do not know what the economic/environmental cost of population growth equates to in our area. What we do know however is that there is no reference to increased infrastructure in the plan. Only an improved bus service. There is no reference to an upgrade of the sewerage works or water systems and drainage. No reference to our crowded schools. With the continued development of Warriewood and the large land release in Ingleside, the introduction of town house legislation, and the interest in secondary dwellings on the peninsula, it does not paint a pretty picture. We need to respect the carrying capacity of our area when planning for our future. 

Village park is sacrosanct to the community as made very clear on the post-it notes in the workshops. We do not want four storey development on our park. And our commercial and industrial lands are rare and must be protected.

What is missing from the place plan is a workable community facility. Where is our neighbourhood centre, the very heart of any community building exercise? Why are we extending the library, when longer opening hours are what we need. Why are we building an Amphitheatre in the centre of our village, when Warriewood was promised a theatre and community rooms to replace the sinking Nelson Heather Centre only two years ago. These plans were well advanced. An underground carpark in the centre of our village is ludicrous, when all planners are now actively trying to move traffic away from the town centres.

This place plan does not represent the communities’ desires. The process has been politically managed and PR dominated. Six thousand hits on a website does not constitute meaningful consultation. The State Government, The Property council of NSW, The Future Cities group, local real-estate agents, mortgage brokers and banks, the developers waiting in the wings, should not be responsible for the evolution of Mona Vale. Nor should an unelected council executive who are pushing for densification and changes to our LEP.

The process of designing a centre should be about community building, and it breaks my heart that community members are now considering moving away if this plan progresses. Where is the community wellbeing in this document.

Our Association does not support the draft Mona Vale place plan, as a whole.

Our Association objects to the draft MV place plan on the grounds that it would result in the overdevelopment of Mona Vale village, provide poor infrastructure and services, a loss of sense of place and urban character, and cause business stress.

Our Association calls for better respect for the community, better planning, real public participation in the planning process and the provision of adequate infrastructure and services.

More specifically: 

  • The Association does not support any changes to Pittwater LEP 2014 and the DCP.  
  • The Association does not support the proposed increase in building height to 6 (six) storeys.  
  • The Association does not support the proposed development of the park precinct, the park itself and public lands.
  • The Association does not support any loss of car parking and accessibility to the centre.  
  • The Association does not support housing in Industrial Zones. As existing employment lands are scarce they need special protection from rezoning and the incursion of residential development.  
  • The Association does not support Council’s “Vision” that Mona Vale should be like Manly with 6 (six) storey building heights and night time economy.  
  • The Association does not support residential over-development of the commercial-retail core of Mona Vale, loss of commercial office function and adverse impacts on existing businesses. 

We are not Dee Why, not Manly, not Frenchs Forest. We are Mona Vale.  
Marcia Rackham, Spokesperson 
Mona Vale Residents Association 

Draft Mona Vale Place Plan - CABPRA

The Draft Mona Vale Place Plan has been hijacked by two agendas which were never discussed in any of the place making workshops. Firstly a 6 storey agenda and secondly an agenda to re-build and add onto the Council community buildings,” said David Owen, President of CABPRA (Clareville and Bilgola Plateau Residents Association). “This hijacking, understandably, has made our community angry and distrustful of the whole process.”

“This is such as shame as the Mona Vale Place Making - Imagine process is full of such potential. So many people came up with great imaginative ideas and activities. So let us take away the agendas which have hijacked this plan. Let us instead focus on all the good art, cultural, educational, active things people imagined to attract us into Mona Vale.” 

“We don’t, however, say we should ignore looking at adding onto our community buildings or looking at diverse housing options. We just say do it properly. Give the community some options to consider.  Don’t try and solve all the affordable housing issues within the Mona Vale CBD.  Don’t say its  6 storeys or nothing.  Do it outside of the Mona Vale Draft Plan which was all about community consultation of how we could come up with art, cultural and activity ideas to attract people into Mona Vale. Do it with proper consultation, proper research, proper surveys. Don’t hijack our Mona Vale Placemaking Plan.  Keep the village feel.

David Owen, 
President of the Clareville and Bilgola Plateau Residents Association (CABPRA).


Submissions should be in writing and received by 5pmTuesday December 13 2016. 

Submissions should be marked "Draft Mona Vale Place Plan"
• Mail - Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 882, Mona Vale, NSW 1660
• Fax – (02) 9970 1200

The Mona Vale Draft Plan  (PDF: 16MB) 

Information stall at Mona Vale Library Laneway
Sunday 6 November, 10am-4pm (Mona Vale Market Day)


by Pittwater Pathways

Published on 29 Oct 2016: Public meeting @ Pittwater's Mona Vale Memorial Hall, 29/10/2016 on Mona Vale Place Plan Draft. This man's question about housing affordability, and the answer he received, nails it for many peninsula residents.