Halt DA supported by 'theoretical strategy'
I write regarding Central Coast Council DA51904/2017, as reported in Peninsula News ("Townhouses proposed for Ettalong", May 1).
This property is situated metres from Ettalong beachfront and will soon, if not already, be subjected to coastal erosion, storm surge, climate change, sea level rise, increasing weather events and changing dynamics in the estuary.
Major infrastructure engineering was necessary to stabilise areas close to this property in 2015.
However, the Council has failed to carry out remediation work following this.
With urban flooding being an unaddressed problem on the Peninsula, it is clear that the council does not have the budget and resources to address current problems.
To approve a development that will add to the council's inadequate budget is ludicrous.
The statement in the DA, that this is "efficient use of zoned residential land", should be supported by a coastal engineer's report and the latest accepted advice on climate change.
The public is not told what information in the DA will be researched and tested, and what information will not be.
To assess advice given in support of the DA will require expert independent consultants but who will select and pay for these consultants?
It is clear the Central Coast Council does not have the resources and staff numbers to model and test the assertions made in the DA.
For example, what are the details of the claimed "efficient use of existing infrastructure services" referred to in the developer's Statement of Environmental Effect?
How can the proponent make this claim without any research and further investigation into the Council's future infrastructure plans? How can the Council test this?
Further, what is the Central Coast Council's strategy to assess this DA for future climate change, changing coastal processes and changing estuary dynamics?
The Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 was cited as supporting the application.
However, the plan does not contain "strategic directions" and those claimed to be in the plan have been based on in-house discussions with developers held since the plan was released and will change with each and every developer forum until 2036.
The future character of Ettalong, Woy Woy and the whole Peninsula should be determined by the Council, not by development proponents.
The Central Coast Regional Strategy 2036 has failed to produce any meaningful comment on climate change and renewable energy.
The Premier of NSW, Government departments and the Central Coast Council have all failed to provide details on the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036.
This means that the document is essentially a front and back cover without details.
As this DA is supported by a theoretical strategy, the application cannot be substantiated and should be removed from exhibition until the Regional Plan contains the necessary detail to assess the application.
The statement in the council report that the Central Coast Regional Plan "does not impose any prohibitions, restrictions or development standards on the proposed development" only supports my claims that the document is worthless in its current form.
Restrictions on beachfront development should apply to Ettalong now.
Halting development now, at least until meaningful climate-related standards are specified, could save the council and ratepayers millions of dollars in the future.
Letter, 10 May 2017
Norman Harris, Umina