PUDS aimed to balance growth with infrastructure
One of the major flaws of the amalgamated council was highlighted at a recent meeting to discuss the over-development of Farnell Rd.
Council staff and majority of councillors had no clue what the Peninsula Urban Direction Strategy (PUDS) was or even if it was adopted by Council when the strategy was used to support the development.
The urban directions strategy was passed in May 2006 to guide for future planning controls, and urban design of the Peninsula.
The strategy was prepared on the basis of limiting the impacts of growth on the already stressed infrastructure capacities.
In the presentations to council it was claimed the Farnell Rd Development Application was supported by the strategy, yet PUDS only outlined different scenarios of development and doesn't support a specific option.
The only thing similar between the development proposal and the strategy is the suggested amalgamations of blocks. That's where the similarities stop.
One option in the strategy did include a three-storey building on three consolidated blocks with 16 units, which is a far cry from the proposed 26 plus units in this proposal.
Other glaring differences are the distance from the town centre, claimed as short walk, but it is actually over 1km on substandard footpaths, far beyond the 400-800m mark for walkability, not to mention the lack of public transport and the cumulative impacts on congestion and parking of the cars on the local roads.
These same local roads in 2004 were nearing environmental and traffic capacity, with 80 per cent of transport trips by vehicle recorded in PUDS.
Allfield Rd development fronts Blackwall Rd 2004 had 19,641 car movements a day.
Add in the population growth of 15 years and that figure is significantly increased, and many can attest to being stuck in traffic on Blackwall Rd.
The traffic lights one block south were installed to improve the traffic flow from this increased population, yet the council report states this development would lead to no significant increase and ignore the cumulative impacts of this next wave of mega infill development that is changing the amenity and liveability of the local areas.
It seems like the community is in a never-ending spiral of population growth with no supporting public transport infrastructure.
In 2001 there were 18,934 dwellings in the Peninsula, 10.6 per cent increase on the previous 10 years.
The 2016 Census shows there is approximately 38,000 people across the Peninsula, just 2000 people short of the 40,000 maximum population for the peninsula stated in PUDS.
The consultant actually recommended in the 2005 report that "It would be prudent to delay significant growth in Woy Woy until there are more definite improvements to transport".
Fast forward to 2019: there is more traffic congestion, crowded trains and less and less car parking to cater for the over-population.
It's 20 years on and the calls for funding a better transport system are deafening with their silence.
There have been no significant improvements in the local transport system, or increase in bus service, development of light rail or other micro mobility as a service (MAAS) except the very limited community transport.
Yet the people and development such as Farnell Rd keep pouring in supported by a regional strategy that purports to create liveability.
In fact, it is more like creating a living hell for the existing residents with no thought for the future amenity, sustainability, climate impacts or carrying capacity of the area.
Density can work if done right with sustainable buildings, sufficient open space and efficient regular public transit and supporting services, but all the Peninsula gets is the non-complying developments and increased growth.
Email, 9 May 2019
Mark Ellis, Woy Woy