NSW Planning agenda for megacity Sydney!

Ku-ring-gai Council has prepared a draft 20 year Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) for Ku-ring-gai that meets the objectives and population targets established by NSW Planning, and its implementation arm, the Greater Sydney Commission. All Councils are required to do likewise.

Commencing in the latter part of this year there are a number of policies being put forward for community comment to further inform these planning objectives. In November we were asked to complete a Housing Survey to inform Council as to our expectations of appropriate housing for the future in Ku-ring-gai.

Council’s statement that the projected increase in Ku-ring-gai’s population over 20 years of an additional 31,000 people, ‘represents a relatively modest growth compared to many parts of Greater Sydney’ fails to mention the fact that since 2006 the population of Ku-ring-gai has increased by 20% to 2018 (as stated in the LSPS). Council fails to take into account the cumulative impact of the earlier period since 2004 when Ku-ring-gai was targeted for high growth.

This new target projects another increase of 25% up to 2036. This is a dramatic 50% population increase over 30 years. This is not a modest growth…this is a rapid and destructive growth target.
So, we will have a draft Housing Survey on exhibition in early 2020. We are also requested before Christmas to complete the survey on a Draft Urban Forest Strategy and Draft Recreation in Natural Areas Strategy, as well as a Draft Community Participation Plan. Please participate and go to http://www.kmc.nsw.gov.au/Your_Council/Organisation/Have_my_say_public_exhibitions. And these and more surveys and policies will be rolling out over the next 12 months.

The draft LSPS was approved by Council on 19th November with minor amendments, though much more were sought from the community. It is a sign of the speed of this process that no baseline studies have been undertaken in the preparation of the Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement to inform the document. An improved process was undertaken in 2000 in preparation for the Ku-ring-gai Residential Development Strategy, where 4 baseline studies (Environment, Heritage and Local Character, Traffic and Transport and Infrastructure) were undertaken as a basis for planning before the Plan was drawn up.

Key studies critical to the LSPS remain unfunded such as the Local Character Study, Urban Forest, Green Grid, Open Space Sport and Recreation, and Creative Arts Strategies. Funds must be allocated to ensure these studies are completed in the short term. We would also think it is imperative that an environmental study is undertaken to assess the cumulative impacts of the past two decades of development on the critically endangered ecological communities.

FOKE recommends that it be a requirement for council staff to prepare a Ku-ring-gai Map overlaying all development which has occurred in the past 15 years since the Residential Development Strategy and subsequent LEPS were put in place since 2004, covering the projected 800 meters from each local centre, and 400 metres from neighbourhood centres, as required for high or medium density in the LSPS. This will need to be overlaid with Ku-ring-gai fire zones, riparian and sensitive bushland areas, heritage conservation areas, heritage homes, areas of high slope and slip, developed SEPP 5 and Seniors Living development sites, dual occupancy and boarding house development which has been approved and built etc to assess the constraints and the cumulative impact and layering of development which has occurred within Ku-ring-gai since 2004. Only then will we be able to assess a realistic target for growth.

FOKE will continue to pursue informed and proper process and the feasibility of this additional population with Ku-ring-gai Council, our councillors and our local representatives. It is clear that Ku-ring-gai’s heritage and environment has been impacted and degraded from the last two decade’s urban consolidation programme