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School overcrowding: Artarmon residents and WCC may finally have some action on the school overcrowding issue (2012 August Gazette, Page 15; 2012 November Gazette, p12). The NSW education department has set up two project control groups to consider the overcrowding at Artarmon and Chatswood public schools, it was revealed in a report presented at the council meeting on April 22. After the public meeting on November 26, and representations to local state MP Gladys Berejiklian, council officers have met with department representatives to tackle the issues of school overcrowding and lack of OOSH places. The officers have been invited on the department’s local planning committee responsible for the master planning of local school sites. Further, council’s manager of planning approvals has been appointed to the PCG, which met early this month.

Local Government Amendment (Early Intervention) Bill 2013: Council has expressed much concern over this bill. Councillor Nic Wright states the bill could “effectively make democratically elected local councils into state corporations, accountable to the minister and subject to … dismissal without the current open and transparent process of a public inquiry” (April 13 Artarmon Immediate). He has enlisted local support to lobby Berejiklian. Her response to the APA was non-committal. However, she passed its concern on to NSW local govt minister Don Page who was much more emphatic. “We are all too aware of the high-profile dysfunction in a number of councils in recent times,” he said. The bill delivered on his promise to “tackle dysfunction” through early intervention.

The new planning reform White Paper: NSW planning minister Brad Hazzard has been promoting the planning reform white paper (2012 February Gazette, p1) since its release on April 16 for being based on wide-ranging community consultation, but in an interview with Quentin Dempster on April 19, he let it slip the new regime would be based on a similar system in Vancouver, Canada - so much for community participation. A key proposal is the “community participation charter”. Under the new system local councils and residents develop a strategic plan or blue print for development in their community that imposes a duty on councils and state agencies to act according to the charter when “carrying out planning activities”. A regional panel can then approve development applications within five days. That will “depoliticise” the process and minimise corruption, Hazzard says. Every development will come with “guaranteed” infrastructure such as roads, parks and community facilities, funded through private sector participation and budget allocation. But that does not include schools or OOSH facilities. The Better Planning Network, which the APA has joined (March 13 Artarmon Immediate), has labelled the paper pro-development and is furious at the loss of the right to object to specific proposals at a local level.

by Eva Wiland, Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette May 2013
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Girl Guides
Action in Hampden Rd on Cleanup Australia Day, March 3 ... Artarmon Girl Guides doing their bit
Photo: J.Cozens

 
 


 

 

 

 
   
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