Planning codes and standards do not meet the need
I am sorry that Matthew Wales feels insulted by my criticism of his views on the development future of the city ("Insulting to building industry and council planners", Peninsula News 439).
I have no personal animosity towards Mr Wales at all and don't feel at all insulted that he disagrees with me.
I am a little puzzled at such a heated response to my support of an objection system that would allow concerned citizens to express their democratic right to be involved in decisions that directly affect their future.
I pass over his defence of developers.
I don't imagine that anybody believes developers have anything in mind beyond a profitable investment, and it is purely coincidental if their goals happen to be of community benefit as well.
As for his praise of the Atlantis, Sporties and West St projects, we shall simply have to agree to disagree and leave the final judgement to the court of public opinion.
If he dislikes the term "uglification", he should take it up with Robin Boyd (one of our most distinguished architects) who coined the word to describe exactly the kind of thing that is happening on the Peninsula.
I am quite sure he is correct that council staff members work hard to see that applications conform to codes and standards, but the problem is that this is clearly not enough.
On the one hand, we have the report on your front page that Council has approved 14 non-conforming developments on the Peninsula and, on the other hand, we have the fact that many people are unhappy with developments that are conforming, leading to the conclusion that the codes and standards do not meet the need.
If the codes and standards were correct, there wouldn't have to be any non-conforming developments, and people would be satisfied with the results of applying them.
Incidentally, it is worth pointing out as well that Council staff wouldn't have to "work hard", if we had appropriate and transparent codes and standards for them to apply.
I would suggest that most of the hard work arises from applications that don't meet the codes and standards, because developers are trying to bypass them to increase their profits.
Finally, I am, of course, well aware that two councillors can bring an application to council for consideration.
However, I doubt that many would want to rely on the support of councillors Best, Pilon, Marquart, McLachlan and Collins when these representatives don't want council to consider an application unless there are 50 objectors.
Most councillors are beholden to their political parties for their seats and only marginally to their ward residents, so why would they spontaneously take up an application with fewer than the required number of objections?
This is the kind of "safeguard" that sounds plausible but is actually almost meaningless.
In fact, it would be enlightening to know how many such referrals to council have taken place.
While I am about it, may I comment on Mr Wales' contention that investment in a $20M ocean-going dredge would be a wise allocation in the 2018/2019 budget ("Council should spend $20 million on dredge, says Chamber", PN439).
Perhaps, he is right, but how did he come to this conclusion?
Where is the information on capital and operating costs (a dredge once bought is an ongoing expenditure commitment)?
Where is the technical analysis of the number of days a dredge would be required each year?
Where is the cost-benefit calculation on ownership against contracting-out?
Who says that Noosa has made a sensible decision in buying a dredge?
Mr Wales is allowed to have an unsubstantiated opinion on such a highly technical matter, and I'm not allowed to have an architectural opinion based on 60 years' experience in the profession?
Email, 1 Mar 2018
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy