Stop flood of DAs before village ruined for good
ALARM bells have been ringing in Woolgoolga as a flood of controversial DAs are lodged while the wait drags on for the town's master plan to be formally adopted.
The Woolgoolga Town Centre Master Plan was unanimously accepted by Councillors in 2018 but is yet to be adopted.
In recent months, a number of high-rise proposals have been met with strong opposition including one for Trafalgar St and another on the corner of Market and Queen streets.
Tony Judge is a Woolgoolga resident and intends to run as a Labor candidate in the Local Government elections in September next year.
He has written the following open letter to Coffs Harbour City Councillors:
Circuit breaker needed to take the heat out of the current situation
I am calling on you to place a moratorium on applications for new developments in Woolgoolga that do not comply with the Woolgoolga Town Centre Master Plan, at least until that Plan is considered by the State Government.
The Master Plan was developed over several years by Council in consultation with Woolgoolga residents. It is primarily a planning document, but it is also an agreement between residents and you, their representatives. It came after years of hard work and compromise and it won an award for community consultation. It represents a shared understanding of the sort of future we all want for Woolgoolga.
The Master Plan was unanimously accepted by Councillors in 2018, but its submission to the State Government planning authority was delayed. It is now due to be enacted in March 2021.
In the meantime, developers have continued to submit Development Applications that do not comply with the Master Plan. Every one of those developments causes concern in the Woolgoolga community.
We see the prospect of the coastal village that we love becoming something different and unwelcome, a place where multistorey blocks of flats tower over their neighbours and change the character of the town. And we feel that the trust we placed in Council through the Master Plan is being eroded.
I am aware that because the enactment of the Master Plan has been delayed, Council cannot refuse to consider a Development Application that meets existing planning regulations. However, it is well within the rights of Councillors to decide to defer consideration of those Development Applications until the State Government has considered and hopefully enacted the Master Plan.
A clear statement to that effect from Councillors would reduce the level of concern in our community and provide clarity for developers. It would be in the spirit of the agreement that led to the Master Plan and it would restore the community's trust in Council to act in our interests.
If all goes according to plan, the Master Plan will be enacted by March 2021, so it's not a long wait for any of us. It's a small delay, but it's a circuit breaker that would take the heat out of the current situation and save a lot of people a lot of worry.