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More about FOKE projects

This page provides further detail on FOKE current and past projects NSW Planning, 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice, Reclassification of Public Assets, Culworth Ave Killara Carpark, Gordon Golf Course Master Plan.

NSW Planning remains an issue for communities.

Prior to the 2015 NSW State Election, the Better Planning Network and its 470 members took a proactive approach targeting candidates to commit to a planning process as outlined in A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW.

The key principles on which the Charter is based are: a) The well-being of the whole community, the environment and future generations across regional, rural and urban NSW. b) Effective and genuine public participation in strategic planning and development decisions. c) An open, accessible, transparent and accountable, corruption-free planning system. d) The integration of land use planning with the provision of infrastructure and the conservation of our natural, built and cultural environment, and e) Objective, evidence-based assessment of strategic planning and development proposals.

This Community Charter has been prepared by a working group of community organisations from around the State over a number of months, in consultation with Better Planning Network, Community Councillors Network, Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development, National Parks Association of NSW, National Trust of Australia (NSW), Nature Conservation Council of NSW, NSW Heritage Network, Shelter NSW, Australia International Council of Monuments and Sites and The Total Environment Centre.

Already hundreds of individuals, organisations and politicians across NSW, have endorsed the Charter.  Unfortunately to date, none from our NSW Liberal Government have signed the Charter.

We invite you to read the Charter and endorse A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW.
Together, we can make a difference.

10/50 Clearing Code of Practice Go to top of page

On 1 August 2014 the NSW Government announced the commencement of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing legislation and Code of Practice (the 10/50 Code), in accordance with section 100Q of the Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Bill 2014. This allowed trees to be removed without Council approval within a 10 metre proximity to a home and other vegetation within a 50 metre radius when in a designated fire threat area. There has been widespread misuse of this legislation to destroy hundreds of trees across Ku-ring-gai and thousands across Sydney. Many historic and significant trees have been felled in areas that are not seem as bushfire prone areas. These have often been cleared to to allow for further developement.

Due to significant public concerns raised regarding the application of the 10/50 Code a review of the 10/50 legislation, Code of Practice and Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Areas has been brought forward. In late November, the Baird government tightened the regulation. Homes deemed to be near vegetation deemed to be category-one bushland will only be allowed to apply the 10/50 rules if they are within 100 metres of that bushland, rather than 350 metres previously. Residents near category-two bushland will be able to clear trees and vegetation under the 10/50 rules only if they live within 30 metres of the bush, compared with 150 metres under the previous setting.The confusion of rules and how they applied would likely continue, it would have been more reasonable to halt the permit-free clearing until the review of the policy by the Rural Fire Service and the Department of Planning and Environment had been completed.

FOKE is working with the Better Planning Network and the Nature Conservation Council calling for the immediate suspension of the Code.  FOKE has made submission to the Premier Mike Baird, Minister for the Environment, Rob Stokes office@stokes.minister.nsw.gov.au, Minister for Planning Pru Goward, The Minister for Emergency Services, Stuart Ayres office@ayres.minister.nsw.gov.au and the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, Shane Fitzsimmons.

Reclassification and Sale of Public Assets to fund Council purchase of new administration building at 828 Pacific Highway Gordon (SUN building) Go to top of page

On 4 December 2012 Ku-ring-gai Council settled on the purchase of 828 Pacific Highway,Gordon, following a number of confidential reports considered at council meetings that were closed to the public.  The purchase was resolved without any prior community consultation.  The acquisition was only made on the basis that it would be funded by the rationalisation of what council staff described as 23 “under-utilised” council assets.  These 23 “under-utilised” assets included the Culworth Avenue Car Park, Killara; the Lifeline Centre, Gordon; the Gordon Community Pre-school; public land adjacent to East Killara, West Pymble and East Lindfield shops; and the Ku-ring-gai Town Hall at Pymble.

The purchase price of 828 Pacific Highway was $22.5 million, with the costs of refurbishing, upgrading and moving from the old building (next door) expected to bring the total cost to more than $30 million – all without any firm plan for financing the purchase and move!

Council has commenced the process to reclassify and sell off a number of these assets including the Culworth Avenue Car Park, Killara; 17 Marian Street Killara; 9 Havilah Lane, Lindfield; 19 Hughes Place, Lindfield; 97 Babbage Road, East Roseville; 23 and 25 Griffith and 30 and 32 Calga Street, Roseville Chase; Kulgoa Road, West Pymble; and Pymble Playgroup, 57 Merrivale Road Pymble.

Council has 12-18 months to reclassify and sell off the assets to avoid a debt bill exceeding $47 million.

FOKE remains opposed to the reclassification and sell-off of valuable public assets which are finite and cannot be replaced.

Culworth Avenue, Killara, Car Park Reclassification Go to top of page

Council resolved without public consultation or community support at the Ordinary Meeting held on 30 April 2013, to prepare a Planning Proposal to reclassify what Council staff described as 23 “under-utilised” Council assets from Community land to Operational land, including the Culworth Avenue Car Park, Killara.

With the sale of the 23 public assets, including the Culworth Avenue Car park, Council hopes to fund the purchase, refurbishment and development of the SUN building at 828 Pacific Highway, Gordon and adjoining council land for a civic hub for community facilities, open space and Council's civic and administrative functions.

CARPARK (Citizens Against Reduced Parking at Railway) is a group formed to fight the proposal to reclassify and sell the car park.  See www.savekillaracarpark.info for more information.

FOKE has responded to Council's Planning Proposal and reclassification hearings with two submissions against the proposal to reclassify and sell the land.  Over 6,600 petitioners have indicated they wish the whole area retained for commuter parking.  There have now been over 400 written submissions to two Public Hearings and 40 verbal presentations by ratepayers – all opposing the Council's intentions to sell the land for high-rise development.

Council has recently resolved to negotiate the sale of a portion of the car park to Transport for NSW (TfNSW).  CARPARK believes that TfNSW should acquire the whole site so as to enable the current number of car spaces to remain without requiring the State Government to pay for a multi-storey car park.  They are lobbying council and the state government for the whole acquisition of the car park by TfNSW.  Council is retaining the balance of the area which it resolved in November to rezone for high rise residential development.

FOKE remains opposed to the Council reclassifying and selling off the Culworth Avenue car park to fund the SUN building and believes that it should remain as a car park.

Gordon Golf Course Master Plan - Community Consultation Go to top of page

Council resolved on 10 June 2014 to rescind an earlier master planning motion approved on 25 February to spend $750,000 to examine options into possible future uses of the Gordon Golf Course including an indoor sports centre, a range of residential housing, neighbourhood shops, a local park and other community facilities.  Council agreed to adopt a resolution to prepare a communications and consultation strategy to develop a master plan to support a new multi-use Regional Park to incorporate multi-age playgrounds, picnic areas, an off-leash area, on-site parking, walking and cycling trails.

The initial reason for council voting in February 2014 on the master plan for Gordon Golf Course, was to find funds to master plan and build a civic and cultural centre adjacent to the new administrative building at 828 Pacific Highway Gordon, projected to cost Council in the vicinity of $80 million.  The Gordon Golf Course is estimated to be worth approximately $150 million.

Council stated that “while as part of the master planning process it may be possible to consider small sections of the golf course land for divestment to serve other community needs, the bulk of the golf course land should be preserved as open space.”

The consultation process is well underway with two Visioning workshops completed in October and November 2014. More community consultation is needed. so go to The Future of Gordon Golf Course Here you can comment, ask questions or get involved in the workshop process. Foke encourages residents to participate in these recreational and public amenity developments. The more residents that voice their desires...the better the outcome for all.

Two resident groups “Save Gordon Golf Course” and “No Sale and We Care About Public Land” have now joined forces to monitor this proposal. See www.savegordongolfcoursesite.com

FOKE has been an active participant in the submission and consultation process.