“MV Place Plan does not represent the communities’ desires”

The Mona Vale Residents Association (MVRA) calls for better respect for the community, better planning, real public participation in the planning process and the provision of adequate infrastructure and services from the council in its Draft Mona Vale Place Plan.

Here is Marcia Rackham’s, President of MVRA, speech from Saturday’s Community Meeting on the Draft Mona Vale Place Plan:

It is important that the community has an opportunity to ask questions about the draft Place plan for Mona Vale, prior to the end of the exhibition period, and I hope that all those wishing to ask questions this afternoon are given the opportunity to do so. Your involvement in this process should not be restricted.

Some of you present this afternoon may have attended the urban talks and place making workshops held last year.

Perhaps alarm bells rang out when the first guest speaker, the mayor of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas talked about how his council managed urban growth by building three twenty- four story high tower blocks.

Or perhaps you were there to hear our own inspirational local identity, eminent architect, Rick Leplastrier describe Mona Vale as being a town of wind and water, with roads that followed ancient aboriginal tracks.

We the community, were present at these talks and workshops because we wanted to work together to make our town centre a better place for people.

We wanted to help express the pride in the place in which we live and work, and wanted to create an urban environment that reflected our local community values and its site-specific conditions.

For the few that attended it was a good feeling to be involved in this process of place making for our public domain, and a great many good ideas came to light, but in the back of your mind you could not help but think there was a development agenda.

Our community involvement has now been muddied by a place planning process that we were largely not included in.

We have before us a plan that has a complete disconnect to the workshops held, a draft Plan that challenge’s what our ideas for Mona Vale were. Did we really, say, that we wanted six story buildings? Did we really, say, that we wanted a night time economy like Manly? No, we did not.

In fact, one of the big points of difference that we identified to our neighbours in the south, was our low-rise landscape and the human scale and village character of our town centre.

We identified as being an area of important low key tourism along with our village neighbours to the north and could see this as an attraction to tourists, investors and talent that could help build our economy.

Six storey high buildings are not part of the character that we envisage for Mona Vale and will destroy our village feel. We do not wish to see developers coming in and developing whole precincts, setting a precedent for development in surrounding localities.

We already have the real estate agents spruiking the increases to property prices with a revamped Mona Vale and there is still no evidence that Mona Vale needs greater housing stock. Affordable housing does not equate to six storey high buildings.

We still do not know what the economic/environmental cost of population growth equates to in our area. What we do know however is that there is no reference to increased infrastructure in the plan. Only an improved bus service.

There is no reference to an upgrade of the sewerage works or water systems and drainage. No reference to our crowded schools. With the continued development of Warriewood and Ingleside, the introduction of town house legislation and the interest in secondary dwellings on the peninsula, it does not paint a pretty picture. We need to respect the carrying capacity of our area when planning for our future.

Village park is sacrosanct to the community as made very clear on the post-it notes in the workshops. We do not want four-storey development on our park. And our commercial and industrial lands are rare and must be protected.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-1-20-03-pm

The four-storey development planned in the Draft Mona Vale Place Plan – on our Village Park

What is missing from the place plan is a workable community facility. Where is our neighbourhood centre, the very heart of any community building exercise?

This place plan does not represent the communities’ desires. Six thousand hits on a website does not constitute meaningful consultation.

The State Government, The Property council of NSW, The Future Cities group, local real-estate agents, mortgage brokers and banks, the developers waiting in the wings, should not be responsible for the evolution of Mona Vale. Nor should an unelected council executive who is pushing for densification and changes to our LEP.

Our Association (Mona Vale Residents Association) does not support the draft Mona Vale place plan, as a whole.

Our Association objects to the draft MV place plan on the grounds that it would result in the over-development of Mona Vale village, provide poor infrastructure and services, a loss of sense of place and urban character, and cause business stress.

Our Association calls for better respect for the community, better planning, real public participation in the planning process and the provision of adequate infrastructure and services.

We are not Dee Why, not Manly, not Frenchs Forest. We are Mona Vale.

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2 thoughts on ““MV Place Plan does not represent the communities’ desires”

    • Communications editor says:

      Marcia did a wonderful job. She said eloquently what most of us feel is so wrong about the MV Place Plan. She had a prolonged, loud and well deserved ovation over this wonderful speech. Marcia has allowed us to print this on our website because she wants the community’s wishes to be known, so I think you – and others – can use many of her very valid and well researched arguments.

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