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FOKE

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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



  • Amalgamation Victory for Ku-ring-gai!

    On 27th March, a panel of three Court of Appeal judges ruled that the plan to forcibly merge Kur-ing-gai and Hornsby councils cannot proceed in its current form. The court found the department failed to properly consider the financial advantages and disadvantages resulting from the merger. Justice Sackville of the NSW Court of Appeals was particularly critical of the role of the NSW State Government appointed "independent" Delegate former National Party MP Garry West. The Court ruled Mr West failed to fulfil his statutory function by not assessing a confidential KPMG document, referring to the financial implications of mergers. A vindication for the several hundred Ku-ring-gai residents who spoke at the merger Public Inquiry at Pymble Golf Club!
    FOKE thanks the former Mayor Cheryl Szatow with Councillors Christiane Berlioz, Elaine Malicki, David Armstrong and Duncan McDonald who stood firm and proceeded with the legal action in support of the overwhelming majority of Ku-ring-gai residents opposed to this forced amalgamation.
    The Berejiklian government had 28 days to appeal this decision, and has not done so in this timeframe. Premier Berejiklian says she remains supportive of amalgamations, so we await the next move to reduce local democracy by this government!
    More information is available on the Ku-ring-gai Council website Forced Council Amalgamatons
    A number of Sydney councils continue to challenge their amalgamation rulings in the Supreme Court of Appeal such as Woollahra, Hunter's Hill and Lane Cove.  Follow us on Facebook for up-to-date information. www.facebook.com/friendsofkuringgai
    Ku-ring-gai merger win makes the news on International website Newgeography.com Newgeography.com

  • Greater Sydey Commission (GSC)North District Plan

    FOKE's assessment of the North District plan as presented by the GSC highlights the lack of any real understanding of the Ku-ring-gai area, its natural and built heritage, its endangered fauna, flora and waterways. There is a one-size fits all approach to the proposed plans that is detrimental to the protection and unique qualities of our area, and hence the need for sympathetic development. FOKE is currently organising a meeting with Dr Dearing, the North District Commissioner, to discuss our concerns. You can read the entire draft North District Plan at www.greater.sydney/north-district. You can also see the submissions being progressively uploaded at www.greater.sydney/what-youve-said#P.

  • New Planning Laws
    Submissions for the proposed changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act)closed as of end March 2017. The biggest concern is that the proposed changes to the legislation are likely to set up a planning system that further erodes the role of councils and elected representatives in local planning decisions and diminishes the rights of the community to have a say on the local developments that affect them most. It is aimed quite clearly at removing obstacles to allow fast -tracked development at the expense of community consultation and respect for their views. FOKE has submitted a range of concerns on behalf of our members. Here is the link to the Department of Planning information page Legislative Updates .

  • Single Dwelling Zoning Under Attack

    NSW Planning's proposed legislation, called the draft Medium Density Housing Code, aims to extend medium density development throughout current low density single dwelling (R2 zone) residential areas as complying development. As complying development, developers will not need to get development application approval, with neighbours only required to be informed of these developments without the right to object. As long as the developments meet a predetermined set of guidelines they can be fast-tracked through Council. Currently the R3 zone has been specifically designed to deliver medium density. The proposed plan is to allow medium density development on all residential (single dwelling) R2 land in NSW with a street frontage of 12m or more and a minimum lot size of 400sqm, with 5 townhouses on a lot of 1000 square metres.
    These medium density complying developments include townhouses, terraces, manor homes (2up, 2 down) and dual occupancies.. This proposal applies a blanket rezoning for medium density (with minor exceptions) to all low-density residential R2 land. It does not take into account the cumulative effects of intensifying development on local infrastructure, services, traffic, street car parking, social services and amenities. It overrides local environment plans and planning conttrols to the detriment of residents. FOKE has made a submission against this extension of complying developments
    Also please read FOKE's Latest Media Release Low Density Residential Zones to Disappear,

News & Updates


DIck Smith's Talk at our Public Forum
It was a full house for Dick Smith's talk on 24th May at our Public Forum and AGM. Dick addressed the topic 'Sydney's Population Growth - is it Sustainable?' in his inimitable style. To see a video of his talk, click on Dick Smith Talk.

Stop the Carnage
The Liberal Government have allowed the degradation of Ku-ring-gai's treed environment through the introduction of the 10/50 Tree Clearing Code and changes to the Biodiversity Act. FOKE supports the Total Environment Centre's campaign to petition Premier Berejiklian to stop this carnage of our ecological communities. Here is a letter created to help in writing to the Premier Stop the Carnage.

Loss of more Ku-ring-gai Community Assets - Turramurra
In February, Ku-ring-gai Councillors voted to consign another Public Asset for development. Council planners recommended to allow development of the small green space in Turramurra, known as the Little Village Green. This is despite the recommendation of an independent inquiry to retain this space in the middle of a future massive town-hub development. This vote illustrates the development-driven system that the residents of NSW are enduring under the current State Government. Last September, the Lindfield Library and Senior Centre site were reclassified as operational land by Ku-ring-gai Council. Overall 25 community assets have now been reclassified by our Council to pay predominantly for the purchase of their new administation building. These so-called “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. 

With all these sites being rationalised for more highrise development, where will the community facilities and public spaces exist for current and future generations' benefit and use? With an increasing population and high costs to repurchase land when needed, this is short term thinking in the extreme. More».

NSW Government's Council Amalgamation Push lacks validity The NSW 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.

Check out our latest Media Releases , detailing FOKE's stand against Forced Amalgamations. Media Release 14 March 2017


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