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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

  • New Planning Laws – Again!

    On 9 January 2017, the NSW Minister for Planning released a package outlining proposals to update the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act). The failed planning reforms of 2013 by this same Department are now presented again with no improvements or lessons learned! 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.

    We only have until 31 March to make a submission.
    Here is the link to the Department of Planning information and submission page Legislative Updates . So the time to act is Now! Please also see our 2017 NSW Planning Laws member information for assistance in making a submission.

  • Forced Amalgamation for Ku-ring-gai Continues

    With new Premier Berejiklian's initial posturing to meet the demands of the National Party to stop forced amalgamations in regional NSW, we had hoped for a more consultative and respectful outcome.
    Unfortunately, on 14th February, Premier Berejiklian has continued to ignore the outcry of residents and Councils to stop the forced amalgamations. She and her Liberal colleagues continue to support developers rather than residents in the push for amalgamation. Please read FOKE's latest Press Release on the Premier's decision.
    As you would be aware, Ku-ring-gai Council had commenced a court challenge on the forced amalgamation with Hornsby Council in the Land and Environment Court. In the September 2016 court ruling, Ku-ring-gai Council was found to be only “partially successful” in its case against a forced merger with Hornsby Shire.  More information is available on the Ku-ring-gai Council website Forced Council Amalgamatons
    A number of Sydney councils are also challenging their Land and Environment Court 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

  • 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,

  • Bairds weakened Biodiversity Laws.

    Premier Baird and his Liberal Party MPs, including Ku-ring-gai and Davidson, voted in November for extinction with their flawed, reckless and biased Biodiversity Conservation and Local Land Services Amendment Act.  Despite thousands of submissions against these anti-environment laws, the Liberal Party shamefully caved into pressure from the National Party. The Liberal Party's environmental credibility is now severely damaged by these new laws which seriously put wildlife, trees and climate at risk. To this extent, one of Baird's senior advisors on this legislation, Prof Possingham, resigned in November stating that the package is bad for biodiversity. Similarly, The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists have described this funding as a "taxpayer subsidy for farmers to degrade land" These laws will put Ku-ring-gai's environment at risk.  The Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the umbrella group for NSW's environment groups (including FOKE), promised that the campaign to repeal these laws that exacerbate extinction will not go away – until they are repealed. We need a new vision to protect, restore and ensure resilience for our precious biodiversity. See our Media Release , detailing FOKE's arguments against Baird's draft Biodiversity laws Media Release 27 June 2016

News & Updates

Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) - Greater Sydney Plan for the North District is on Public Exhibition Now. These plans will determine the development of Ku-ring-gai over the next 20 years.
FOKE has prepared submission points to assist members making a submission. The North District plan is a lengthy and cumbersome document, and we hope you find our North District Briefing note of assistance in preparing your submission. It is important that we make our concerns heard! You can read the entire draft North District Plan at www.greater.sydney/north-district. Send your feedback or submission to Greater Sydney Commission's Have Your Say

Advance Notice of FOKE AGM
The FOKE AGM will be held on Wednesday 24 May 2017 at the Uniting Church Hall, Killara at 6.30pm. Details to follow.

FOKE Heritage Walks Festival 2017
FOKE is again leading 4 Events in Ku-ring-gai in April and May as part of the National Trust Heritage Festival. Click on the Heritage Walks for more information.

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».

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.

YouTube Documentary: State of Siege Much of what we expected, and were promised, in respect of planning reform from a Coalition Government has not been acted on. As a consequence the documentary that exposed the ills of the past remains relevant in 2016. 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 stand against Forced Amalgamations. Media Release 14 March 2017