No Ryde Civic Precinct Twin Towers
Tuesday’s @CityofRyde council meeting considered what many interpreted as a backdoor attempt to get the ball rolling again on the Civic Centre redevelopment sham.
For those not in the loop, the Civic precinct redevelopment – or Civic Centre – plan, is the single issue that has caused Ryde Council to descend into unbelievable turmoil over the last few years. All the sinister goings-on in Ryde are all related to it, including the ICAC inquiry into Ryde and prior to that, the push to terminate the contract of former general manager, John Neish.
The plan was driven by Neish and a Liberal Right-led clique of four councillors, who during the critical period leading up to the September 2012 council elections, were joined by two left wing Labor councillors who as a result fell out of favour with their political party.
One of the first moves of the elected majority anti-Civic Centre councillor bloc was to rezone the site to avoid opportunist multinational developers and councillors with their snouts in the trough reviving the controversial and extremely unpopular proposal.
Prior to Tuesday, a council meeting had already affirmed the decision – unanimously – to proceed with a zoning downgrade to SP2
Infrastructure (Community Facility and Public Administration Building). It was also decided that the site’s building height allowance would be reduced to the height of the existing Civic Centre building.
Concerned residents from the Ryde Community Alliance could smell a rat when the community consultation period was set down for the Xmas/NewYears holiday period and Ryde’s staff planners wheeled out an expensive consultant’s report in what suspiciously appeared to be an attempt to justify a halt to the ‘down zoning’ and leave the door slightly ajar for a property developer to revive the concept.
But the seven anti-Civic Centre councillors remained solidly behind the community’s push to rid Ryde of the Civic precinct plan spectre, with a 7-5 vote resolving to proceed with the downgrading of the site’s zoning and height restrictions.
Six Ryde Community Alliance members – Barbara Poulter, Philip Peake, Kevin Page, Leonie Dean, Sheryl Barton and Vicki Morton – addressed council at the start of the meeting, all passionately outlining their opposition to any attempt to disregard council’s previous decision to proceed with the downgrading.
Councillors Jeff Salvestro-Martin, Ivan Petch, Denise Pendleton and Terry Perram all made compelling arguments supporting the zining diowngrade, while Craig Chung was the sole Liberal councillor to speak persuasively to the meeting outlining his view that the downgrading should not proceed.
Cr Pickering also spoke, but was visibly frustrated by heckling from members of the gallery, most of whom could not accept that a lobbyist with developer clients that was such an outspoken proponent of the Civic precinct plan, could possibly represent or take into account their concerns.
The resolution ultimately moved by a majority of councillors was:
Item #3 – PLANNING PROPOSAL – Civic Centre Precinct
RESOLUTION: (Moved by Councillors Pendleton and Petch)
1. That Council note that the report does not pay sufficient weight to the lack
of community support for the current rezoning and the strength of support
to revert the height and change to SP2.
2. That Council proceed with the rezoning submission to the Department of
Planning and a draft of that report is to be circulated to Councillors via the
Councillors Information Bulletin for comment.
3. That the Mayor and all interested Councillors meet the new Minister for
Planning to present the community’s proposal.
4. That Council write to the local member for Ryde requesting his support in
achieving the rezoning as requested by the community.
5. That Council adopts the planning proposal for the Ryde Civic Centre
Precinct (1and 1A Devlin Street and 150-156 Blaxland Road) that:
- amends the land use zone from B4 Business Mixed Use to SP2 Infrastructure (Community Facility and Public Administration Building),
- amends Height of Buildings Map to reduce the building height from RL 130 to reinstate RL 91 for 1 and 1A Devlin Street, and
- amends Ryde LEP 2010 Ryde Town Centre Precincts Map by renaming Precinct 1 – Civic Mixed Use to Precinct1 – Ryde Civic and the proposal is submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment with a request to bring the plan into effect.
6. That Council advise all persons who made a submission on the planning
RECORD OF VOTING:
For the motion: Councillors Laxale, Li, Pendleton, Perram, Petch, Salvestro-Martin, Simon
Against the motion: The Mayor, Councillor Maggio and Councillors Chung, Etmekdjian, Pickering and Yedelian OAM