KU-RING-GAI RESIDENTIAL STRATEGY
(Davidson) [5.07 p.m.]: I raise a matter of considerable interest and concern to members of my constituency who live in the Ku-ring-gai council area. The Ku-ring-gai residential strategy is approaching what may be the end of one of its stages and seeks to introduce a substantial degree of medium density housing into Ku-ring-gai. I support the principle of housing choice and diversity in all communities. I believe that applies also to Ku-ring-gai. It is important that elderly people should have the choice of living in their own homes or, alternatively, of living in a retirement village or nursing home and the option of living in facilities such as town houses or villas.
Likewise, some younger people desire to live in similar dwellings. I believe the current strategy encompasses reasonable and well-based concern from the community because it gives the indication that it would substantially alter the character of Ku-ring-gai. It must be understood that Ku-ring-gai is an area that is predominantly residential with a substantial degree of vegetation with tree-lined streets, and surrounding parks and reserves, which the local people wish to have preserved. Their concerns evolve through a number of areas.
As I mentioned, one concern is that Ku-ring-gai has a predominantly vegetative nature. The other is the impact of the strategy on heritage buildings, whether infrastructure is adequate and the impact on traffic. The strategy proposes to introduce greater density around transport modes such as railway stations and, additionally, the St Ives shopping village. I share the concern of the local community that the amount of additional housing proposed for St Ives village is likely to result in a substantial increase in vehicle movements, particularly in peak periods. The traffic situation can only get worse, bearing in mind that the area has no rail service and is not well serviced by public transport. The impact on the environment could be substantial if what is currently on the drawing board comes to fruition.
The local council has done a reasonably good job, given the fairly awkward and difficult
parameters in which it has had to work. In the past few months the council has consulted widely in the community and drawn different perspectives. The views of people in the local area are fairly strong and diverse. Some people fully support the proposal, while many others have contacted the council to express concern. The views range from slight reservations about the proposal to strong objections to any housing changes.
The council is cognisant that the community has strongly expressed the need for further studies by way of a local environmental plan before substantial changes occur. It does not want to put the cart before the horse. The council must undertake studies relating to heritage, infrastructure - that is, water, sewerage and stormwater - and traffic. Many of the streets that will be impacted by increased traffic are local residential streets. At present, most of the arterial roads in the area, particularly Mona Vale Road, the Pacific Highway, Arterial Road, Archbold Road and Boundary Road, are congested during normal peak periods. The council must consider whether adequate transport will be provided.
The council must consider all the environmental impacts of the proposal. Government support is necessary if the project is to proceed. Council needs the time and the ability to complete critical studies before it can move forward and satisfy the demands imposed by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, and I support the council in that regard. It is important that the degree of change not be as extensive as that currently contained in the draft strategy. I am sure that after consultation the extent of the changes will be drawn back. However, at this stage there is a potential for substantial adverse impacts on the local area, its heritage and its environment.
Private members’ statements noted.
Mr ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Lynch):
Order! The House will now adjourn as a mark of respect on the death of Sir James Rowland, a former Governor of New South Wales.
House adjourned at 5.12 p.m. until Tuesday 1 June 1999 at 2.15 p.m.