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FOKE is a community group with membership drawn from across Ku-ring-gai, opposing inappropriate and unsympathetic overdevelopment within Ku-ring-gai, and defending and promoting the cultural and natural heritage of Ku-ring-gai.

FOKE is not anti-development.  We work on behalf of residents and friends for the maintenance of Ku-ring-gai’s heritage and the enhancement of the existing traditional character and amenity of its environment, both built and natural.

Current Issues

  • Liberal's Broken Promise. Forced take-over of Ku-ring-gai by Hornsby Council
    Despite overwhelming opposition from Ku-ring-gai Councillors and residents, on 18th December 2015 Premier Baird stated his resolution to force Councils to amalgamate, breaking a pre-election promise not to do so. In addition, as his Government, and our two Liberal representatives are aware, these forced amalgamations would not gain the support of the Upper House. So the path to achieving his end of fewer Councils and less resident representation in his aim of a high growth agenda will be via changing electoral boundaries.
    The long-awaited KPMG report which we had hoped will highlight some detailed cost-benefit analysis, has now been quarantined as 'Commercial in Confidence'! To date, there is no data to support claims that these amalgamations will save money and add to infrastructure as Baird claims. In an attempt to rush these changes through, this Liberal Government has started the process, not with facts but with a misleading advertising campaign. Therehave been rallies against these forced amalgamations across NSW, leaving no doubt that the public, and most Councils are against this action by the heavay handed Baird Government. Follow us on Facebook for up-to-date information. www.facebook.com/friendsofkuringgai
    Ku-ring-gai Council has repeatedly shown that it can stand alone. More information is available on the Ku-ring-gai Council website Forced Council Amalgamatons. Also please read the Message from Foke's President, Kathy Cowley and the Press Release from Save our Councils Coalition, a cross-council, multi-community, non-aligned campaign group.

  • Will there be a Better Planning Process for NSW?

    Following the election, Premier Baird has announced that Rob Stokes will become the new Planning Minister for NSW. Though there have been huge numbers endorsing the Community Charter for Good Planning, no Liberal candidate signed the Charter. We have not been given any reason to believe that NSW Planning will cease its pro-development approach under the new Planning Minister. In order to stress the community's disillusionment with NSW planning, a Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW was created by the Better Planning Network in conjunction with community groups and consultants. This Charter sets out the principles to achieve a more balanced, fairer, transparent and accountable planning system in NSW. Find out more about A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW. FOKE has endorsed the Charter and we invite you to also endorse it. The more people that send a message to our politicians that we want a fairer deal from NSW Planning, the louder our voice.  For more information   More»

  • 10/50 Clearing Code of Practise: A disaster for our trees

    On 1 August 2014 the NSW Government announced the commencement of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing legislation and Code of Practice.This allowed trees to be removed without Council approval within a 10 metre proximity to a home and other vegetation within a 50 metre radius when in a designated fire threat area. There has been widespread misuse of this legislation to destroy hundreds of trees across Ku-ring-gai and thousands across Sydney. Though there has been a tightening of the legislation in recent months, FOKE, with the majority of Local Councils and community groups, is demanding a moratorium on the destruction of our trees until the review as been completed. More»

  • Loss of more Ku-ring-gai community assets as Council continues extensive reclassification to fund its new administration building

    In November, the Lindfield Library and Senior Centre site was the latest community asset to be reclassified as operational land by Ku-ring-gai Council. Overall 24 community assets have now been reclassified by our Council to pay predominantly for the purchase of their new administation building. The acquisition was to be funded by what Council staff described as the “rationalisation” of 23 “under-utilised” assets, but these are community assets first and foremost.   Some of the 23 “under-utilised assets” included the Culworth Avenue Car Park, Killara; the Lifeline Centre, Gordon; the Gordon Community Pre-school; the Ku-ring-gai Town Hall, Pymble; and various pieces of public land adjacent to East Killara, West Pymble and East Lindfield shops.  Now this has increased to 24, including the Lindfield Library site. More».

  • Turramurra Heritage Precinct Walk –FOKE proposal to Council on 26 June 2014

    FOKE and interested residents have prepared a proposal to Council to protect the built and natural heritage areas of Turramurra for the sustainable beautification of the Turramurra Village.  An educational walk linking the key heritage areas within the Hillview precinct would highlight Turramurra's rich built history and environment, as well as enhancing its socio-economic value.  The walk would highlight Turramurra's contribution to Sydney's early history, help create a civic and cultural hub (distinct from other centres in Ku-ring-gai and Sydney). The precinct would create a ‘sense of place’ and become an active place for the local community to landscape and beautify at minimal cost to Council.  To see FOKE's proposal to Council, click here 2014 Turramurra Heritage Walk Presentation.  If you would like to support this initiative, please download our Walk Leaflet, sign the letter to Council within it and send to FOKE or Council.

News & Updates

Save the Lindfield Library site. Ku-ring-gai Council has determined that the Lindfield Library Precinct is to be reclassified and sold for high-rise development prior to building a replacement Library, Senior Citizen or community facilities within Lindfield. The Council decision to sell the site is not in the community interest. It is contrary to the KLEP (Local Centres) 2012 plans. The intention is for the sale proceeds to go towards paying council debt or for infrastructure projects outside Lindfield. If you are against more public land being taken away from our community, write to your Councillor or Mayor Cheryl Szatow at Councillor email addresses or to ALL Councillors on KMC Councillors If you would like to add your name to FOKE's Petition or gather some additional signatures click here to print out a copy. Save the Lindfield Library Precinct Petition. Either post or email it to FOKE.

FOKE is presenting 3 Events as part of the National Trust's Heritage Festival in April/May 2016 with two Walks in Ku-ring-gai that highlight specific heritage and environmental aspects of the area and a talk on why biodiversity matters. The accompanying leaflet has all the details FOKE Heritage Events 2016.

Baird's Council Amalgamation Push lacks validity The Baird Government imperative for larger and fewer Local Government areas makes many assumptions which are not backed by evidence. Mayor Abelson from Mosman is an economist and has co-authored an interesting paper called Smoke and Mirrors. Some of the conclusions include that a) Financial capacity is fundamentally a function of local community income, not of council size; b) There is little evidence to show that financial capacity or efficiency is a function of the size of a council or that mega councils of 250,000 or more persons are more efficient than small councils; c) Most councils in the Sydney Metropolitan area require more flexible rate pricing and d) Less well-off and lower density council areas will not be improved by amalgamation alone. To download the summary presentation, click here Smoke & Mirrors Presentation 2015. To download the full report, click here Smoke & Mirrors Report.

See also our latest newsletter  For copies of all our newsletters, visit our newsletter archive.

High Court Upholds Ban on Political Donations from Developers In a judgment delivered in October 2015, a majority of the Court rejected a claim by Newcastle ex-mayor Jeff McCloy that the ban was an impermissible restriction on the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution. The Court also upheld the validity of caps on the maximum amount that can be donated to individual candidates and parties in NSW, which are set at $2000 and $5000 respectively. The decision removes a major obstacle to the Independent Commission Against Corruption releasing findings following its explosive inquiry into illicit political donations. Justice Stephen Gageler said the current provisions met the "compelling statutory object ... of preventing corruption and undue influence in the government of the state." 

YouTube Documentary: State of Siege Much of what we expected, and were promised, in respect of planning reform from a Coalition win at the 2011 state election has not been acted on. As a consequence the documentary that exposed the ills of the past remains relevant in 2015. Click State of Siege to see the entire 2011 documentary directed by Dennis Grosvenor that exposes the history of corruption behind planning and development in New South Wales. For more information go to www.stateofsiege.com.au

Check out our latest Media Releases , detailing FOKE's concern about Planning in NSW. Media Release 2 November 2015