Rally: Save Sydney & Ku-ring-gai on Tues 12 March 1pm

RALLY Save our Suburb 12th March Sydney Domain Ipm

AT Tree of Knowledge behind Parliament House, Hospital Road, Domain. Map here.

PROTEST against the new planning laws proposed by the NSW Government.

THREATENS every suburb across Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Lower Hunter, Greater Newcastle and Illawarra-Shoalhaven.

BRIING banners identifying your suburb or council area.

SPEAKERS will include MPs, Mayors & Community representatives.

SHARE with your networks, community groups, neighbours, friends and family.


CONTACT KATHY COWLEY, President, FOKE, info@foke.org.au for more information

TOD Submissions DUE 28 March

The NSW Parliament has announced an Upper House Inquiry into the Development of the Transport Orientated Development Program (TOD).

The TOD Program will devastate Ku-ring-gais heritage conservation areas and environmentally sensitive lands particularly the 400 metres surrounding Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon Stations.

Both the TOD Program and the Low and Mid-rise Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will include a “non-refusal” standard which will disallow Ku-ring-gai Council heritage and environmental controls.

The TODs 3:1 FSR and 6-7 + storey heights (with no minimum lot size or lot width) will effectively wipe out Heritage Conservation Areas and remove critically endangered Blue Gum High Forest (BGHF) and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest (STIF) in Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon. 

The Upper House Committee consist of:

Chair: Sue Higginson MLC (GREENS)
Deputy Chair:  John Ruddick MLC (LDP)

Mark Buttigieg MLC (ALP)
Anthony D’Adam MLC (ALP)
Scott Farlow MLC (LIBERAL)
Jacqui Munro MLC (LIBERAL)
Peter Primrose MLC (ALP)

The Terms of Reference can be found here.

It is critical that as many submissions be sent in by members of the community.

Tell NSW Government Your Thoughts by Deadline 23 February 2024

Send your submission HERE by deadline Friday 23 February, 2024

Ideas to help you send your submission:

The NSW Minns Government planning ‘reforms’:

  • are grossly UNDEMOCRATIC.

  • are flawed. They undermine the integrity of the entire NSW PLANNING system and will lead to planning chaos.

  • will destroy the character, heritage and environment of Sydney’s diverse suburbs with a “one size fits all policy”.

  • fails to consider local amenity impacts, including overshadowing, loss of privacy, loss of scenic views, loss of streetscape.

  • fail to ensure good quality and good designed apartment buildings.
  • put the interests of property developers before the COMMUNITY.

  • will allow super windfall rezoning profits to be ‘gifted’ to property developers.

  • will not address the housing affordability crisis.

  • will open the NSW planning system to “corruption risk” with the introduction of the ‘non-refusal standards’ (including money-laundering).

  • deny natural justice for those residents living within a  Transport Oriented Development (TOD) with no opportunity to object.  

  • deny natural justice for those residents living across Sydney with the introduction of the Changes to create low and mid-rise housing occurring just before the Christmas, New Year and school holidays.

  • lack transparency and accountability. The Minns Government refuses to release the “Cabinet in confidence“ evidence justifying why Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon had the necessary infrastructure to take further density.   the TOD to be introduced 400 metres surrounding Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon Railway Stations can take the increase in density.

  • are environmentally irresponsible when Sydney’s natural ENVIRONMENT is under severe with the escalating threats of climate and biodiversity extinction.

  • fail to acknowledge Sydney’s environment interconnections. Ku-ring-gai is the lungs of Sydney. What happens to Ku-ring-gai’s trees will impact on Western Sydney’s, Northern Beaches, Sydney Harbour’s and the Hawkesbury River’s environmental health.

  • will devastate Ku-ring-gai’s natural environment with the overriding of existing Council protections including Tree & Vegetation Development Control Plan (DCP), Urban Forest Policy, Threatened Species Community.
  • Fail to acknowledge Ku-ring-gai as an environmentally sensitive area.  

  • Fail to acknowledge Ku-ring-gai’s Aboriginal heritage that is a local government area that has one of the most significant Aboriginal sites in Sydney.

  • will push Ku-ring-gai’s Critically Endangered Ecological Communities (Blue Gum High Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark and Duffys Forest) and its wildlife and birdlife to extinction (Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).

  • will destroy Ku-ring-gai’s tree canopy. Already Ku-ring-gai’s tree canopy is under serious threat with an 8-9% slash in tree canopy cover. The NSW Housing Strategy will accelerate this destruction. It will destroy the vital wildlife corridor/national park railway line ridge.

  • will have an adverse impact on Lane Cove National Park, Garigal National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. As well the integrity of the remaining pockets of intact Blue Gum High Forest at the Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve (St Ives), Sheldon Forest (Turramurra) will be placed under pressure. Other bushland reserves include Ku-ring-gai Flying-Fox Reserve (within 400 metres of Gordon Railway Station), Granny Springs Reserve (Turramurra), Swain Garden, Seven Little Australians Park.

  • ignores Ku-ring-gai’s geography. geology and climate. Ku-ring-gai suburbs are located on a thin ‘railway line’ ridge that climbs to about 200 metres and has the highest rainfall in Sydney. There are many creeks running from this ridge east and west, flowing down into either the Lane Cove, Garigal or Ku-ring-gai National Parks. The canopy trees, bushland reserves, gardens are environmentally critical to the survival of these national parks. The NSW housing policies will lead to more intensive hard surfaces.  During high rainfall events this will lead to flash flooding, with pollutants, rubbish and weeds being flushed into the National Parks.
  • will result in wildlife extinction. Ku-ring-gai has more native species than the entire United Kingdom. Ku-ring-gai is a hot bed of biological diversity that supports over 800 native plants, 170 fungi and 690 fauna species (including the threatened species – Grey-Headed Flying Fox and Powerful Owl.

  • ignores the evidence that Ku-ring-gai is one of Sydney’s most ecologically sensitive places.

  • Fail to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regarding the  multiple rezonings since 2004 when the last major rezonings occurred as LEP 194.

  • will demolish Ku-ring-gai’s hard won HERITAGE Conservation Areas that includes the nation’s best 20th Century domestic architecture.

  • fail to acknowledge and respect the character, heritage and environment of a local area. They are blunt, one-size-fits all changes that will irreversibly destroy a community’s liveability, character, heritage and the environment.

  • abrogate NSW’s obligations to protect individual heritage items (eg Eryldene)  and Heritage Conservation Areas . If allowed it means that heritage protection will be extinguished across NSW.

  • will destroy Ku-ring-gai’s heritage where the ‘natural dominates the built form’. Ku-ring-gai’s garden and bushland suburbs will be demolished and replaced with hard surface concrete.

  • fails to recognise Ku-ring-gai’s significance to the Australia’s cultural, natural and environmental pioneer history. Ku-ring-gai is the birthplace of the modern Australian environment movement with environmental pioneers such as Annie Wyatt (founder of the National Trust of Australia), Charles Bean, Eccleston du Faur, Alex Colley, Paddy Pallin.

  • will overwhelm existing ageing INFRASTRUCTRE for stormwater, sewerage and drinking water, train carrying capacity.

  • fails to address the risks that Ku-ring-gai faces from climate fueled bushfires, wild storms and flash flooding.
  • will cause continual traffic congestion chaos. Ku-ring-gai has limited access roads to the Pacific Highway. In an emergency how will the ambulance get to the hospital? Streets will be impassible with additional carparking.

  • are silent on controls to ensure new multistorey developments have net zero emissions with roof top solar and community batteries for the high energy required for lifts and air conditioning.

  • fail to provide the funds to purchase additional land for more parks, playgrounds, green spaces, sporting fields, swimming pools as well as services such as schools, hospitals, libraries and community and recreational facilities.

  • fail to acknowledge that over the past 20+ years, Ku-ring-gai Council’s attempts to strengthen the protection of Ku-ring-gai’s heritage and the environment have been ignored, denied or delayed by the NSW Planning Department (eg 10/50 vegetation clearing rule). Concurrently environment, heritage and local government powers have been significantly weakened. It is time to strengthen urban environmental protections – not extinguish them.

FOKE supports Mayoral Minute 21 November, 2023

14 November 2023                    

Dear Mayor and Councillors

FOKE wishes to express its support for the Mayoral Minute of 21 November, 2023 that outlines his initial response to The Hon Paul Scully MP, NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces letter (dated 30/10/2023 and received on 9 November, 2023).

It is important that the integrity of Ku-ring-gai zoning controls or Local Environment Plans (LEPs) be upheld to ensure Ku-ring-gai’s environment, heritage, character and amenity, especially in its R2 Low Density Residential Zones, be protected for future generations to enjoy.

FOKE commends the Mayoral minute for its clarity and careful consideration on the challenges ahead for Ku-ring-gai.

FOKE strongly supports a rigorous and transparent public consultation process to allow residents to have a say.  We recommend that Council refer to the 2002 questionnaire sent to all residents that was used as part of the consultation process for the then Ku-ring-gai Residential Strategy.

FOKE shares the Mayor’s concern about the unacceptable loss of tree-canopy and asks that an audit be done on the cumulative loss of trees since 2004 as well as what planning controls are needed for climate-change resilience as we face increasingly dangerous bushfires, wild storms, flooding and extreme heat stress that will endangers the lives of residents and threaten the natural environment.

FOKE shares concerns townhouses in low residential areas in R2 zones would considerably alter the heritage character and environment of Ku-ring-gai.

FOKE shares the Mayor’s concern about significantly increasing Ku-ring-gai’s population without necessarily the funding for or provision of adequate infrastructure (transport, stormwater, education and recreation and environmental restoration projects) to support the increase.

FOKE requests that the four baseline studies (Heritage and Neighbourhood Character, Infrastructure, Environment and Traffic and Parking Studies) carried out for the preparation for the Ku-ring-gai Residential Strategy in 2002 be assessed in light of the development that has occurred since 2004.

For over twenty five years FOKE has argued that Ku-ring-gai requires planning controls that protect, threatened and endangered ecological communities, national parks and environmentally sensitive areas. 

We thank and commend this Mayoral Minute.

Yours sincerely

Kathy Cowley



cc  Matt Cross MP Member for Davidson

cc The Hon Alister Henskens SC MP Member for Wahroonga

cc The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Member for Bradfield

FOKE Thanks Mr McKee

FOKE President Kathy Cowley wrote to Jehn McKee, on 14 November 2023, thanking him for his service as Ku-ring-gai Council General Manager from 2006-2023.

Read FOKEs letter below:

Dear Mr McKee

FOKE wishes to thank you for your many years of service to Ku-ring-gai Council as its General Manager since 2006 and as its Director of Finance (2001-2006) since you first started working for Ku-ring-gai Council in 1998.  An enormous and respected legacy that is greatly appreciated.

We thank you for your leadership that has been important in protecting so much of Ku-ring-gai’s natural, built and cultural heritage from overdevelopment, forced amalgamation and higher density rezonings.

We greatly appreciate your determination to successfully oppose the NSW Government’s forced amalgamation agenda in 2017 and your record of sound financial management.

We recognise your significant achievements including your commitment to:

  • Heritage protection for Ku-ring-gai through the Gazettal of Heritage Conservation Areas across Ku-ring-gai Town Centres.
  • Environmental stewardship for Ku-ring-gai through an IPART approved Environmental Levy that provided $4 million a year for a range of environmental projects in 2019.
  • Establishing an award-winning open space acquisition strategy that has led to the creation of 15 new parks and playgrounds from 2006-2020.
  • Local government excellence as recognised by Ku-ring-gai Council winning the A R Bluett Award for best performing metropolitan council in NSW in 2014.
  • Ensuring Ku-ring-gai Council was one of the first councils to respond to the Greater Sydney Commission’s requirement for new local environmental plans with the adoption of Ku-ring-gai’s Local Strategic Planning Statement in 2020.
  • Implementation of a development contributions scheme to provide new community facilities in areas of high density development.
  • Sound financial management through a combination of rigorous debt reduction, increasing income, land purchases and strategic long-term planning.
  • Improving budget outcomes through the integration of Ku-ring-gai Council’s asset management, financial and operational planning and associated reporting.
  • Rate restructuring that provided $36 million for infrastructure renewal over 20 years.
  •  ‘Activate Ku-ring-gai Civic Redevelopment Program’ to revitalise Ku-ring-gai’s main centres.
  • $29 million multi-purpose recreational area for netball, soccer and golf for Ku-ring-gai residents.
  • $20 million fitness and aquatic centre at West Pymble.
  • Refurbishment and modernisation of Ku-ring-gai’s central library at Gordon.
  • Building a new Council depot at Pymble as well providing new headquarters for SES volunteer emergency services.
  • Provision of the large public space and underground parking for 130 cars at Lindfield.

We will not forget how you steered Ku-ring-gai Council through difficult State Government challenges.  Your successful management of Council’s financial performance ensured Ku-ring-gai Council was one of the only councils in NSW to meet the State Government’s financial criteria under the ‘Fit for the Future’ sustainability program. Nevertheless, the NSW State Government proposed merging Ku-ring-gai Council and Hornsby Council. When Ku-ring-gai Council resolved to oppose this merger, you led a successful legal challenge to the merger process resulting in a win in the Court of Appeal that maintained Ku-ring-gai’s independence.  

Thank you again for the huge difference you have made in leading, protecting and retaining so much of Ku-ring-gai’s natural, built and cultural heritage and in the strategic planning and delivery of new infrastructure for Ku-ring-gai.

We wish you the very best in your new endeavours ahead.

Yours sincerely

Kathy Cowley


PHOTO CAPTION: John McKee talking about how engaged his Senior Management team on a collective leadership journey for the Australian Applied Management Colloquium, 2014

Outrage Over GM’s Sacking

Ku-ring-gai Councillors elected Clr Sam Ngai as the new Ku-ring-gai Mayor and Clr Christine Kay as the new Deputy Mayor at its meeting on Tuesday 19 September, 2023.

Following this mayoral election, an extraordinary meeting was held where an amended Rescission Motion by Councillors Pettett, Smith and Wheatley, dated 15 August, 2023 was moved.  This motion hoped to reinstate Mr John McKee as Ku-ring-gai’s General Manager.  However, the motion was defeated six votes to four. 

Those voting against the Rescission Motion were Councillors Cedric Spencer, Sam Ngai, Alec Taylor, Barbara Ward, Greg Taylor and Christine Kay.  Their vote effectively terminated Mr McKee’s position as General Manager. 

Clr Martin Smith before moving the Rescission Motion, tabled a document to all councillors, showing that Clr Smith had raised his concerns with the Council’s Audit and Risk Committee, outlining the following issues – reputational damage, no due process in the termination of the GM, no tabled performance review due to Councillor Kay not supplying her markings after repeated requests, litigation, and political jousting for the mayoral position.  Clr Smith stated that the NSW State MP was using unacceptable interference with the elected Ku-ring-gai Council Liberal member councillors and two easily influenced Independents.

Clr Kim Wheatley’s speech seconded the Rescission motion defending the General Manager stating that “Mr McKee in his 17 year tenure as GM of Ku-ring-gai Council has always received satisfactory or better in relation to his performance reviews.”  She called on councillors to “act lawfully and honestly and exercise a reasonable degree of care and diligence”.  

Clr Simon Lennon who had initially supported the termination of the General Manager’s contract at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 15 August, 2023, reversed his decision and joined Councillors Martin Smith, Kim Wheatley and Jeff Pettett in voting for the Rescission Motion to reinstate the General Manager. 

Clr Lennon expressed regret that he had made a mistake in voting for the original motion to terminate Mr McKee as General Manager in August.  During the debate he attempted to move a compromise motion where Councillors would have further time to renegotiate the General Manager’s KPIs in consultation with Mr McKee.

Clr Spencer’s vote and speech against the Rescission motion revealed his longstanding desire to terminate the GM since he first attempted to do so two years ago when mayor.  His recent claims that he did not support the GM’s termination were exposed as untrue.   

Over the last 30 years, community groups have observed many alarming decisions voted on by councillors, but this decision to terminate Mr McKee as General Manager has utterly shocked the community with its lack of procedural fairness and potential political interference by a local state MP who congratulated the councillors sacking the General Manager. This decision now risks ongoing instability of Ku-ring-gai Council’s management. 

Among the six councillors who voted against the rescission motion only Clr Ngai and Clr Spencer spoke against it. Neither one provided any substantial justification for Mr McKee’s sacking.  Councillors Alec Taylor, Barbara Ward, Greg Taylor and Christine Kay remained silent as to why they were so aggrieved with Mr McKee. 

Despite warnings about the reputational’ legal risks and potential costs of an unfair dismissal from the Department of Local Government, Ku-ring-gai Council’s Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee, former Mayors, former Councillors, community leaders and members of the community – four Liberal member councillors and two Independent councillors ignored this advice.

The newly elected mayor, Clr Sam Ngai appeared unaware of his responsibility as the new mayor to advance community cohesion.  Instead, he dismissed concerns raised at a recent Public Forum by former Ku-ring-gai mayors, former councillors and esteemed community leaders who spoke strongly in support of the General Manager and against the actions of those terminating his contract.

Soon after the rescission motion’s defeat, the newly elected Mayor Clr Sam Ngai moved a callous and calculating motion to start the process in appointing a new General Manager.  This indicated that Clr Ngai had played a lead role in Mr McKee’s dismissal.

The newly elected Deputy Mayor Christine Kay also voted to support the termination of Mr McKee.

Both Clr Sam Ngai and Christine Kay hold high positions in the NSW Liberal Party.

Clr Sam Ngai, branch Treasurer, is involved in organised the Davidson Liberals Annual Davidson Business Breakfast.  No doubt he will be congratulated as the new Mayor of Ku-ring-gai at the upcoming event, on 21 September, 2023.

Clr Christine Kay is the Membership Secretary of the NSW Liberal Women’s Council.

FOKE expresses great regret that Ku-ring-gai Councillors Cedric Spencer, Sam Ngai, Alec Taylor, Barbara Ward, Greg Taylor and Christiane Kay have chosen to take a high-risk strategy of removing a well-respected and excellent GM with no justification.

FOKE fears that this will now lead to negative and long lasting impacts on Council stability. 

FOKE feels betrayal at the total disregard for the community. 

FOKE believes that the six Ku-ring-gai Councillors’ action seriously diminishes Ku-ring-gai’s democracy.

FOKE thanks Mr McKee for his years of public service to the Ku-ring-gai community and expresses its deep regret that personal grievances, self-interest and political machinations have led to his termination as General Manager of Ku-ring-gai Council.

Posted 21 September, 2023

For Ku-ring-gai’s sake reinstate GM


Tuesday 12 September 2023

“The decision tonight to reinstate the General Manger Mr McKee is a critical one for residents and Ku-ring-gai. One we’re very unlikely to forget!

We are shocked and dismayed that Mr McKee has been sacked without any warning or due cause.  We believe the sacking is not only, opportunist, unfair and against the principals of due diligence and good governance by an elected body of council.  

You have provided no credible or rational reason to sack the GM.  By sacking him at the last meeting you usurped the council’s meeting agenda which was to discuss the General Managers performance for  which we believe was measured as more than satisfactory.

So where are the reasons for this sudden and unexplained action?

  1. There has been no evidence or allegations of maleficence.
  2. No suggestion of scandal or misconduct.
  3. No evidence of lack of capacity or ability to carry out his work.
  4. and no calling from the general community of Ku-ring-gai to sack him.

Your sudden and drastic decision can only be seen for what it is, a tawdry political hatchet job, made worse by the frantic jockeying to be the next Mayor next week. Backed and supported by a local MP, who has no role or no right to interfere in Ku-ring-gai Council decision making.

Further the group of six has used an ideological argument that “it’s time for a change” which is not a valid argument to sack a loyal General Manager and with no justification bought forward to support it. His performance has been assessed by many councillors and past mayors, three of whom have written a public letter of support for Mr McKee, and reinforcing the fact that the GM has had a more than satisfactory performance not just for the last two years but for the last 17 years.

The sacking of Mr McKee is a high-risk strategy with the potential to destabilise the senior staff, disrupt the day-to-day management of the council, and will undoubtedly cause reputational damage to council  and councillors.

We fear destabilisation of senior staff could lead to the intervention of the State Government – such as an appointment of an Administrator.

Residents need to rely on a stable Council with experienced staff that can lead Ku-ring-gai through the next tranche of massive rezonings for which we are warned are on the agenda by the Labor Government.   Mr McKee has a consistent track record in leading this council through major challenges.

Councillors have been elected to consult widely with their constituents and to make decisions in the public interest not political self-interests.   The community’s reaction to this decision should give cause for the six councillors to look at their own actions as to whether they have put in a satisfactory performance.  The community will have the opportunity to assess that at the ballot box.

For Ku-ring-gai’s sake we urge you to right a wrong and reinstate Mr McKee.”

FOKE Calls on Councillors to KEEP Mr McKEE

FOKE is deeply disturbed that six Ku-ring-gai Councillors – Sam Ngai, Alec Taylor, Greg Taylor, Barbara Ward, Simon Lennon and Christine Kay – recently voted to terminate Mr John McKee, as General Manager of Ku-ring-gai Council. 

In an effort to retain John McKee as General Manager, three Councillors – Martin Smith, Kim Wheatley and Jeff Pettett – put forward a rescission motion. 

FOKE strongly supports this rescission motion to retain McKee as Ku-ring-gai Council’s General Manager.

This rescission motion will be determined at an Extraordinary General Meeting of Council this Tuesday 12 September at the Gordon Council Chambers, commencing 6.00 pm

Speakers need to arrive 10 minutes before the start of the Public Forum to ensure they are on the list to speak.

It will be important for councillors to receive letters or from residents in addressing the Public Forum next Tuesday evening.

Speakers for the Public Forum need to be registered at the very latest with council by 5pm, Monday 11 September by calling 9424 0000, or by on line registration at https://www.krg.nsw.gov.au/Council/Council-meetings/Council-Meetings-and-Public-Forums

This Extraordinary General Meeting to determine the Rescission Motion to reinstate the General Manager will be held on the same night right after the Public Forum see https://eservices.kmc.nsw.gov.au/Infocouncil.Web/Open/2023/09/OMC_12092023_AGN_AT_EXTRA_WEB.htm

Please write to councillors at councillors@krg.nsw.gov.au  calling to support the Rescission Motion to reinstate Mr McKee as General Manager.

OR write individually to:

sngai@krg.nsw.gov.au;  ataylor@krg.nsw.gov.aubward@krg.nsw.gov.au;  slennon@krg.nsw.gov.au;  gtaylor@krg.nsw.gov.au;  ckay@krg.nsw.gov.au;  cspencer@krg.nsw.gov.aukwheatley@krg.nsw.gov.au;  jpettett@krg.nsw.gov.au;  martinsmith@krg.nsw.gov.au

FOKE has written to all councillors questioning the removal of the General Manager John McKee, at a time when the Council is being targetted by the Labor Government for more urban densification. 

FOKE has also expressed the view that the sudden and unexplained sacking of John McKee will lead to the destabilisation of senior staff and experienced management as well as bring reputational damage to the whole of Council.    

FOKE fears this destabilisation could lead to the intervention of the State Government.

What may appear a straightforward decision has the potential to bring many unintended high-risk consequences into play – the loss of experienced staff, sacking of all Councillors, imposition of an Administrator, loss of planning powers and control of certain development sites.

The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Post has published an article in support of the General Manager Mr McKee quoting the views of three former Mayors Jennifer Anderson, Elaine Malicki and Cheryl Szatow who collectively have 50 years of local government experience between them and are very concerned by the sudden termination of Mr McKee.


Ku-ring-gai Council plans to sell more community assets

One has to delve into the Ku-ring-gai Council’s Community Strategic Plan’s detailed attachments to unearth the basis of the Strategic Plan.

Unfortunately, the Draft Long Term Financial Plan (DLTFP) accompanying the Strategic Plan, highlights Council’s objective to sell $110 million of community assets over the next 10 years.

FOKE continues to stress that the sale of community assets remains detrimental to the long-term amenity, health and character of Ku-ring-gai. With the impost from NSW Planning to demand further population increases in Ku-ring-gai, the loss of the community assets that could be utilised as playgrounds, ovals, open space and community services buildings is negative to the vision espoused for Ku-ring-gai in the Strategic Plan of an interconnected community appreciating our natural and heritage character.

The DLTFP is heavily supported by the sale of supposedly ‘underutilised’ assets, without the mention of the largest asset of 828 Pacific Highway which has been very much underutilised to meet council or community needs.

Going back to the early 2000’s it was understood by the community that the Council Chambers and council’s car park would be proposed for a ‘Gordon Hub’ not 828 Pacific Highway which we understand is the current plan. We believe the house blocks adjoining council’s car park bought by council for a park on the west side of Gordon adjacent to the shopping precinct, are now a potential additional council asset being considered for sale and redevelopment.

Community assets are not an ever-ending source of funds for Council. Continuing in this manner to maintain a sustainable budget will eventually spell financial disaster, while undermining the key elements that make Ku-ring-gai such a wonderful area to live.

Though the early years of this financial plan highlight spending on park development, this quickly dissipates in the outward years. Very few new parks are planned while community assets such as bowling and recreation clubs, 3 libraries and public halls such as the Pymble Town Hall, car park and Presbytery, and Lindfield senior citizen community hall, affordable housing units and two tennis courts (on the Lindfield Library site) are planned to be sold and redeveloped, are just some of the assets to be disposed by Council.

Outlined in the DLTFP was an alternative financial scenario without asset sales which was seen as similarly ‘financially sustainable in terms of maintaining a balanced budget, sufficient unrestricted cash and available working capital, sufficient cash reserves and a permissible debt service ratio over the medium term’.

The intergenerational equity of retaining existing assets close to residential areas for use by residents into the future should be council’s primary purpose. The office block at 828 Pacific Highway should be the first asset to be sold as it does not add to the amenity of residents in terms of community services, recreation or engagement.

Council’s own Open Space Program highlights numerous areas where parks and playgrounds need to be built or expanded, such as in West Roseville and Lindfield west of the Highway. The Lindfield Hub will allow for hundreds of new residents with no significant open space for play and recreation within close proximity. With this overdevelopment planning scenario played out for other planned council Hubs in Turramurra and Gordon.

The determination of ‘underutilised assets’ (assets which have for years been deliberately allowed to run down by council) for sale will continue to be an area of concern for residents both for the short and long term as these sites, once sold these assets will be lost forever for the amenity of our ever-growing population.