We are angry that the Mona Vale Place Plan has been corrupted by an agenda to build six-storey high-rises in Mona Vale.
An agenda which hasn’t been discussed, researched, surveyed or explored with the community.
At last Saturday’s community meeting on the Draft Mona Vale Place Plan, Northern Beaches Council and its administrator Dick Persson argued that six-stories is needed to provide ‘affordable housing for 20-30 year olds and workers’ (their words) as data shows that we don’t have many 20-30 year olds living in the area.
Yet at the same meeting it became clear, because of the lack of proper research:
- We have NO idea why 20-30 year olds leave our area.
- We don’t know if they actually want to live in small apartments in high-rises by themselves in Mona Vale when they are working and commuting via the “worst commute in Australia“?
- We are not even sure this age-group wants to live here. Wouldn’t they rather live close to universities and towns, which provide a very different lifestyle?
- We can’t show that six-storey apartments will actually be affordable? In fact members of the audience pointed out that high-rise apartments have been a social experiment which have failed elsewhere: High-rise apartments are bad to live in and bad for society, says respected architect (from The Age, Aug 29, 2016)
- We can’t even say that the use of valuable land in Mona Vale to build six-storey apartments is the best use. A 35 year old stood up (an age group which does live here) at last night’s meeting and said he and his family are looking for an affordable townhouse and better transport links. Please see a video of his comments here.
The obvious “take-away” from the meeting is we should look at what our community wants and needs in housing options, rather than go for the extremely risky experiment of six-stories which:
- we are not sure is needed,
- could destroy Mona Vale – one of our biggest assets as the gateway to our beautiful natural Pittwater,
- is catering for a demographic which doesn’t live here – and we are not even sure wants to live here,
- hasn’t worked elsewhere,
- is iffy in its delivery of “affordable” housing and
- is not wanted by our community i.e. doesn’t cater for the community which lives here
With all these points in mind we should be looking at other affordable housing options such as:
- Designing housing as we have done for the over 55s but make it available for all age groups. For example a two bedroom apartment at an over-55 development, well designed, surrounded by green space, parking for one car, its own private courtyard and shared amenities such as a pool, a community centre, even a restaurant, is priced in the mid-$700,000 range. There are also cheaper one-bedroom and studio options. If we can do this for over 55s why can’t this be done for all age groups?
- Pittwater’s very own development at Warriewood which won the Premier awards for active living.
- Look at building and encouraging tiny houses in Pittwater – maybe tiny is the answer
- Taking inspiration from 19th century terraced housing, such as has been done with 88 Angel
- Eco affordable housing design such as Village Homes in Davis, California and Seabrook
- Or even go with more creative designs such as creative small houses, Verde 25 and the Edible House
Following the community meeting the exhibition date for the Draft Mona Vale Place Plan has now been extended to Friday 16 December, 2016.