May 6 - 12, 2018: Issue 358

Residents say Newport B-Line extension Not Needed: Will Facilitate Dee Why Style Over-Development + Road congestion

Friends of Newport members; Robert Orr, Patsy Clayton-Fry and David Catchpole. AJG photo.

Around 80% of people the community group Friends of Newport have spoken to in recent months are against having the B-Line bus service extended to Newport. 

Comments have ranged from 'Bring back the L90', to 'why haven't they simply added on more E88 and E89 Services' and even 'just paint the old buses yellow, call them a B-Line, run them out to Palm Beach, and be done with it'.

With Review of Environmental Factors (REF) due to be released imminently, residents are expressing concern over what Newport may look like if a roundabout is installed at the corner of Neptune streets and Barrenjoey road and what trees may go in view of the destruction of trees on the centre median at Dee Why for B-Line works.

The 118 trees that were to be planted 'on or near the impacted site' of Mona Vale Village Park, as per the documents available on the Mona Vale page of the B-Line website, and to be 'semi-mature' has not happened - in either number or 'maturity'.

There is a prevailing sentiment in the community that the extension to Newport is about facilitating development along the lines of the Mona Vale Place Plan, which is still 'under review'.

Those concerns may be warranted given the Greater Sydney Commissions’ District Plan for ‘North’ included as follows;
Mona Vale’s connectivity to Brookvale-Dee Why and the Harbour CBD has improved with the commencement of the B-Line bus service which operates more frequent buses both during the day and into the evening.
Further improvements to travel times, especially for those within the northern part of the peninsula, will be made when operations are extended to Newport.

The fact that the GSC Final Plan includes a statement that effectively says the B-Line will be extended to Newport flies in the face of "with services proposed to be extended to Newport in 2018' on the Newport B-Line webpage and discussions Transport for NSW project team members have had with the Newport Residents Association to the effect that that decision will not be made until after an REF is released and commented upon by the community. 

One Newport resident recently had a query answered from a project leader which stated that in 2016 'key local stakeholders', the then newly minted Northern Beaches Council, under Administration, had supported the B-Line to Newport proposal. This raises the question of whom these 'key local stakeholders' may be given that the October 2017 Newport B-Line Rally the other 'stakeholders' (the community members) were in support of a common sense approach to trying to get people out of cars and onto buses that won't require an extension to Newport, or ripping up the streets and trees or slotting into the GSC's 'urban activation' scheme.

The advice by a number of the community organisations north of Newport is that they have not been directly consulted regarding the traffic impacts on their communities, despite Transport for NSW officers advising that the REF would include the outcomes of such consultation. 

Perhaps they aren't 'key stakeholders' either.

The other point of concern is that any roundabout at the Neptune-Barrenjoey road juncture will create a choke-point for traffic heading south from beyond the Bilgola bends. 

A recent photo of a B-Line bus going around a roundabout at Narrabeen was a concern to those who had seen it as this was considered a smaller roundabout than that proposed for Newport.

The Newport Residents Association is keeping up to date with all Newport B-Line discussions and a place where concerned residents may seek information on the Newport B-Line proposal. 

Members are currently collecting signatures for the following Petition;
I will not support the extension of the B-Line to Newport without having a fully developed and researched plan to judge. Everything exposed to us as yet threatens to increase traffic congestion, threatens our local and beach parking, threatens our trees and threatens our village life. I want a public transport solution that works for the whole Peninsula.

Download petition at this linkWhen complete send to PO Box 1180 Newport NSW 2106 or hand in at a Newport Residents Association meeting. The next meeting of the Newport Residents Association will be held on Tuesday 15th May 2018 at the Newport Community Centre, The Boulevard Newport at 7 pm. All community members are encouraged and are most welcome to attend.
To find out more visit:

Weeks ago the Friends of Newport group sent in this Notice:

The Imminent Threat To Newport And Avalon…

The congestion. All the new apartments. Traffic jams, even between Newport and Mona Vale. Not to mention the shemozzle at Narrabeen bridge. And now the B Line is about to turn Newport Beach into a bus depot. The simple answer is:
The B Line must terminate at Mona Vale

Didn’t we all come here, kilometres away from the city, for the trees, the blue sea and the beach? Well, you might say, it’s only a bus service but, the threat to our way of life this represents is really serious. Consider these four reasons why the B Line termination at Newport, or Avalon or Palm Beach, would wreck the character and amenity of the far north peninsula:
  1. B Line buses are large. Creating a massive roundabout at Newport for these buses means removing trees, widening roads and making an ugly mess of the beach area of Newport. With queues of diesel buses, congestion would be terrible, for the people of Newport and all places further north. 
  2. If the B Line were to go further, negotiating the bends at Bilgola and the Avalon Kamakaze roundabout would be absolute chaos. Particularly congestion at Avalon shops would be unacceptable. 
  3. The government’s stated intention is for increased density. Extending the B Line to Newport invites further development north of Mona Vale. We’ve all noticed the huge increase in congestion between the northern suburbs and Mona Vale. 
  4. If termination is at Newport, the beach parking would be forever filled up. Newport would become a parking station, its beach, its ambiance and its character destroyed.
Bus services north of Mona Vale must be improved

The service is now decidedly worse with the introduction of the B Line. Such is the way all this has been organised, it seems the E88 is now faster from Mona Vale to the city than the B Line.

In some cases, yes, it would be necessary to change at Mona Vale if you are city bound, but everything is a trade-off. If we want to keep the far peninsula as a liveable place, to retain its character and to hold on to a community we all love, the B Line must terminate at Mona Vale. 

At the same time, we must have an improved bus service for the far north peninsula. Make no mistake, the government will make a roundabout at Newport unless we make ourselves heard.

What can we do?
We’ll be talking to the community on the corner of Robertson road and Barrenjoey road on Saturday mornings from 10.00 to 1.00. Please come and see us. We would welcome your suggestions as to how to counter this threat.

Friends of Newport Community Group. 
Please email us at

The view north along Barrenjoey road at Newport - May 2018

The view south along Barrenjoey road at Newport - May 2018


Bus Rapid Transit Interchange At Mona Vale 

Mona Vale Residents Association: September 22 , 2015 - Community News, October 2015

Investigative Drilling is currently being undertaken in Beeby Park Mona Vale and Village Park Mona Vale by Transport NSW. They are looking at potential sites to build the bus rapid transit interchange. A number of sights are being looked at around the MV CBD.

MVRA contacted Transport NSW this week and found out there are 5-6 sites under investigation around Mona Vale.

The state owned Bus depot in Darley Street is also being looked at as a potential transport hub. This is a site that the Mona Vale Residents Association think should be seriously considered as it will not have an impact on green open space and will be far better for traffic movements. 

We are now seeking a meeting regarding this matter with Transport NSW. It is disappointing that communication with the community had completely been ignored. 

Pictures courtesy Mark Horton

Misleading B-Line Rumours Are Unhelpful - Issue 328 - September 2017
Newport B-Line Update October 2017 - Issue 333, October 2017

Urban activation precincts: the concept and implementation
by Craig Johnston - Shelter NSW Update, 24th of February, 2014
The notion of an ‘urban activation precinct’ was announced by the state government in June 2012, at the time of the state budget for 2012-13. The name is not as impenetrable as appears at first sight: it is an area of land (precinct’) that the government has decided should be used more intensively for dwellings or businesses (urban’) and for which the government will fast-track the application of new planning controls (‘activation’). It is a mechanism by which the government proposes denser development for certain sites and prepares new planning controls (rezonings, height controls, floor space ratios) to do this. The new controls override whatever is in the local environmental plan which is made by the minister for planning following proposals by the local council and community consultation. The Governor issues a special state environmental planning policy (I’ll call this a ‘spot SEPP’), which is the legal basis for the new controls.

The mechanism is clearly an extra-ordinary assertion of state government power over local governments, with the work around the new planning controls — and the massaging and messaging of them with immediate stakeholders and the general public — being done by public servants in the Department of Planning. The purpose of the proposed changes is to promote ‘growth’.

The guideline was issued in October 2012. It indicates the process for a precinct, which is along the lines:
  • Someone (including a private developer) makes a proposal to the government for a particular area to be designated a UAP.
  • The Government considers the case for this area being so declared; the agencies involved include Transport for NSW, Finance and Services, Treasury, UrbanGrowth NSW as well as of course the Department of Planning, and the relevant local governments and other state government agencies are consulted. 
  • Factors to be considered in investigating the suitability of an area and in preparing a brief on the planning outcomes to be got from making it a UAP include constraints and opportunities (‘including environmental, social and economic factors’), and opportunities for increasing housing. The Affordable Housing Taskforce chairperson’s recommendation was not taken up. 
  • The Department of Planning prepares a set of proposals for new planning controls and advertises them. It holds information sessions. It might also establish a community reference group at this stage.
  • The Department considers feedback; the submissions are public, on the DP website. The Department addresses the issues raised, in a planning report, and prepares new planning controls for the minister to consider. 
  • The Governor (acting on the minister’s advice) issues a ‘spot SEPP’ to give effect to them.
The legal authority for this action was the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, specifically, section 37.

There have been questions raised about the adequacy of consideration of social impacts of more intensive development on the selected sites, of consideration of affordable housing, and about adequacy of community consultation processes, in the UAP process.

Another thing to remember is that, once the new planning controls are imposed, development applications will be assessed against these. In assessing applications, consent authorities are also required to consider — under then current planning law — the ‘likely impacts of that development, including environmental impacts on both the natural and built environments, and social and economic impacts in the locality’, and the ‘public interest’.

The guideline made no mention and has no special provision for affordable housing. As indicated above, the Department rejected the recommendation of the chairperson of the minister for planning’s Affordable Housing Taskforce that the UAP process do so. The UAP process has no remit for the housing of very-low, low and moderate-income households (as ‘affordable housing’ is defined in planning law). 

It does, however, have an expectation that the growth it is seeking to promote (including construction of more dwellings) might have some effect on house prices (for owner-occupation and investment). The opening sentence of the guideline indicates that the Government is committed to providing ‘housing choice and affordability’. What it is doing to achieve that is to encourage the construction of more dwellings, in locations with adequate infrastructure and access to transport. This approach is consistent with and falls out from theDraft metropolitan strategy for Sydney to 2031 (March 2013) and the NSW Government, A new planning system for NSW white paper(April 2013) - PDF: 44.5 MB

The white paper, in particular, made it clear that the Government wanted ‘housing choice and affordability’ to be promoted through strategic planning processes, not statutory planning processes (i.e. planning and development controls).

Report and photos by A J Guesdon, 2018.