PRESENT: Paul Tuckerman, Murray Jones, Ray Smith, Kay Smith, John Mebberson, Martin Gorrick, Annette Jones, Ken Clunas, Jo Holder, Trevor Holeman, Anne Marett, Susannah Cavill, Vicki Potter, Carolyn Woods, Ken Woods, C M Philps, Lynne Parker, Philip Clifford, John Dalla Pozza, Bob Cole, Chris Hay, Richard Martin, Louise Wellington, Mithra Cox, Brian Wardhaugh, Ross Dearden, Cameron Walters, Bronwyn Batten, Glenn Durrance, Tony Honeman, Rob Knight, Nikki Main, Stephen Young, Lena Huda, Helen Wilson? Helen Lisbon?, Bruce Storey, Bradon Ellem, Christine Hill, John Nicholls, Judy Bourke, Philip Laird, Stephen Le Bas, Libby Gentle
APOLOGIES: Kerry Stratton, Warwick Erwin, Barbara Mebberson, Mary Ellen Durrance, Patricia Donaldson.
Meeting opened at 4pm.
Welcome extended to all by the President of the TVC, Paul Tuckerman. Paul provided the meeting with a quick summary of the history of the TVC, for the benefit of new members and Ward 1 candidates.
Minutes of last TVC meeting on 30 May 2021 accepted – Moved - Murray, Seconded – Annette
1. Plaza Update – Louise Wellington
Louise explained that she and Stephen Le Bas decided to set up the Save Thirroul Village (STV) group in response to the strong reaction to the Plaza Development Application (DA) evident on social media. It was acknowledged that this was the biggest DA in recent history in Thirroul and if approved will completely alter the face and feel of Thirroul.
The DA was originally to be determined by the Southern Regional Planning Panel. However, the developers of the Plaza DA utilized their right under ‘deemed refusal’ to appeal through the Land and Environment Court. Basically, the developers have been unsatisfied with the Council’s assessment process and under the deemed refusal process, and have requested to have it heard through the courts.
On the 1st of November a conciliation conference was held whereby the Council and the developer attempted to resolve any of the outstanding matters with regards to the DA. The community was able to make representations at this conference with a limit of six community members. These consisted of 2 members from STV, 1 from the TVC and 3 local business owners. At the last moment an additional person was included to speak on behalf of Anita’s and Beaches.
Once the community representatives had completed their presentations they were asked to leave the online conference. The conference then continued between Council, the developers and their respective Counsel. The discussion between the parties is considered confidential, so the community is unsure as to what happened.
Council’s legal representatives contacted Louise and informed her that the matter had been adjourned till 24th November. On 25th November she was informed that this resulted in a further adjournment till 2nd December. There are 2 possible outcomes from this meeting:
A. Decision to terminate the conciliation and go to a full hearing in the courts, or
B. If an agreement can be reached by all parties and the court supports the agreement then a decision approving the development may proceed.
At this stage the best outcome is for a full hearing. If this happens the STV is in a position to provide the expert reports it commissioned regarding such issues as traffic and parking to Council for use in their presentation before the court.
2. TVC Graffiti Report – Tony Honeman
Graffiti attacks continue in the Thirroul area, particularly Thomas Gibson Park, Station Street and the bus shelters along Lawrence Hargrave Drive. Thomas Gibson Park suffered a major graffiti attack in October 2021. The most prolific tagger is ‘DOPE’, and ‘REKER’ and thanks are extended to John Dalla Pozza for his efforts over painting the tags using council supplied paint. Council removed the more extensive tags. Peter Spencer from Thirroul Guru was also recognised for his work looking after the bus shelter and Station Street Tags.
A revised Graffiti Management Council Policy was adopted by Council in July 2021. This means that racist, defamatory, offensive graffiti on Council assets and/or prominent sites or sites of significance will be removed within 2 working days from when it is reported. All non-offensive or other types of graffiti will be removed within 20 working days in accordance with Council’s asset routine maintenance schedule.
The NSW Graffiti Control Act 2008 requires Councils to maintain a register of graffiti removal work carried out. So it is important that residents report all graffiti attacks to Council:
Phone: (02) 4227 7111
3. NIRAG Report - Ross Dearden
Ross noted the importance of community groups, such as NIRAG and the TVC to continue to work together. He thanked Murray, Annette and Martin for their attendance at NIRAG meetings and help on various issues. He also extended a big thanks to Cr Janice Kershaw and Cr Mithra Cox for their assistance and for attending community meetings.
He explained that in September 2021 Council sent an Unreasonable Customer Conduct letter to NIRAG and himself. Such action is unprecedented. With support of NIRAG members and discussions with Council staff this gag order has been watered down. Jo Page, Director of Infrastructure and Works, recognised the difficulties in communicating, and noted that even though there had been a large amount of interactions, none of it was vexatious. A significant issue is the councils continued failure to meet prior commitments. For example, there have been 4 standout and longstanding Neighbourhood Forum 3 and NIRAG concerns:
1. Trying to get the puddle at Tramway Creek fixed ongoing since at least 2017;
2. Trying to get visible dog signage at the southern end of McCauley’s Beach to protect the rock platform;
3. Attempting to have the present cycleway being reconstructed and widened instead of just replacing the existing to the same width;
4. Trying to get pedestrian safety issues in Point St addressed by attempting to get a solid commitment to complete the footpath between Sandon Drive and the Café, which remain unresolved. Ross asked for a commitment from Ward 1 Councillors to get this pathway designed and have construction staged well before the Geraghty St connection to Thirroul is built.
4. Closure of Hewitts Lane – Murray Jones
Hewitts Lane is now blocked off. This laneway was once one of the access points to Newbolds or the AIR Brick refinery. Numerous locals use this laneway as a means of access to the beach.
Recently this laneway and adjacent flood prone land was purchased as a building site with the purchaser planning to divert the creek and build on the filled site. Council objected to the submitted DA and the purchaser forwarded the matter to the Land and Environment Court and won. Access is now blocked off for the work on realignment of the creek to occur. The current approved DA does not include dwelling approval. This will have to go before Council.
Council has a legal Right of Way which was registered on the property over 100 years ago and the purchaser bought the laneway from the Perpetual Trustees knowing that Council has an established right to travel across that land. Council is currently investigating this Right of Way and the impact that subsequent development and acquisition have had on how the Right of Way should be interpreted.
5. Introduction of Ward 1 candidates
Apology received from Councillor Kershaw who could not attend due to a broken ankle which happened on the campaign trail.
Cameron Walters and Philip Clifford - Liberal:
Cameron felt that traffic is the major issue in the northern suburbs. Cameron said that he was happy to take this issue to Parliament. He is concerned about the increase in traffic in the region due to the proposed development of land near Badgery’s Creek, known as Bradfield. People from this part of the city will certainly head to Thirroul and Wollongong to go to the beach.
Cameron said that there should be a stop to overdevelopment as there is a need to have appropriate infrastructure in place to cope with any increase. He added that he was happy to work with Council to get the Point St path actioned.
Philip said that he had worked behind the scenes with Council to get the commuter carpark in Church St constructed, get Bulli Hospital constructed and establish a space for the Men’s Shed. He has a background in property and has worked with the NSW Dept of Planning. He added that he is committed to working with State Government to get things done in the local area.
Mithra Cox and Bronwyn Batten - Greens:
Mithra said the Greens have a 6 page vision statement that people could get from her. The Greens and Mithra have identified 2 main issues for Ward 1 – Traffic/transport and planning. She is concerned there is a lack of pathways and pedestrian crossings in the area – especially difficult for parents and children. She said that there needs to be investment in the Grand Pacific walk as this would allow day trippers to visit the area.
Mithra stated that the changes to the train timetable that happened years ago has resulted in increased traffic and parking at Thirroul as trains to and from Sydney do not regularly pick up from intervening stations.
She is concerned out the loss of heritage buildings in the area. As a means to combat this she suggests implementing changes to the Local Environment Plan (LEP). She would work to reduce building heights, establish heritage precincts and seek to have all heritage items listed.
Bronwyn has worked in various policy roles for the NSW Government. She is also a qualified secondary teacher and actively volunteers in our community, teaching primary ethics at Thirroul Public School.
Since moving to Thirroul in 2017 Bronwyn has been a fierce advocate for quality public transport for the Illawarra. In 2017 she established “Illawarra Rail Fail” which continues to actively campaign to get more carriages, more services and faster travel times on the South Coast Line. She is concerned about overdevelopment and the loss of heritage items in the area.
Stephen Young, also present at the meeting, is also on the Greens ticket.
Richard Martin – Labor:
Richard moved to the Illawarra 11 after working overseas in the music industry.
Richard said that he wants to ensure the Council enhances where people live by providing good recreation, sporting facilities, and playgrounds. In fact he said Labor worked to improve paths and playgrounds for locals. He wants to ensure the beach precincts are preserved and enhanced.
Richard admitted that Council has no control over public transport, as this is a State Government domain, but that should not prevent Council working alongside the State Government to improve transport in the area.
After the presentations there was a Q&A session with a series of questions asked about development, traffic and graffiti.
Cameron suggested there is a need for more surveillance camera in the area to help reduce the amount of graffiti.
All candidates agreed that Thirroul is suffering from overdevelopment. There was agreement that communication with Council and Council staff needs to improve. Cameron offered to raise the issue of development, specifically the Plaza, with the NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes. He offered to try and get him down here for a meeting.
Mithra suggested there needs to be a revised LEP – one in which the community can have input. She said she would work on this if re-elected to Council.
It was agreed that traffic is a major issue. There was discussion about a second route to and from Thirroul.
Meeting closed at 5.20pm with many attendees staying for end of the year drinks and nibbles.
NEXT MEETING: AGM Sunday 6th February.
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