New Kogarah City Plan revolt: Hundreds join fight against high-rise | St George & Sutherland Shire Leader

IMG_0733FRONT PAGE ARTICLE – September 4, 2015:
St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

(Link to the Leader’s online copy of the article)

New Kogarah City Plan revolt: Hundreds join fight against high-rise
By Maria Galinovic

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Not happy: Kogarah New City Plan forum at Venus Reception Centre. Picture: Supplied

Hundreds of angry and sometimes volatile residents crowded into the Venus Reception Centre on Monday night to tell Kogarah Council what they thought of its proposed New City Plan.

Many doubted the council would take any notice.

Speaker after speaker said the public forum was just a formality which would do nothing to persuade the council to diverge from its plan to allow high-rises up to 11 storeys in many parts of the city and suburbs.

Speakers demanded that the plan — an LEP amendment to meet future housing needs — be returned to the drawing board for a fresh start more in keeping with the Kogarah lifestyle and the expectation of its residents.

Another bone of contention was the forum itself, run along the lines of a formal council meeting, with speakers allowed only three minutes to get their points across.

They wanted a question-and-answer type of hearing where council officers and councillors could explain themselves and be accountable for their decisions.

By the time the forum started at 7pm, there was standing room only in the reception centre. Several people estimated between 500 and 600 people were present, of whom 82 had registered to speak Of those, about 52 spoke.

Only three or four speakers were in favour of the plan.

Many said the council had not commissioned the necessary traffic and environmental studies.

COUNCIL CHANGES

A Kogarah Council spokeswoman said the council had the ability to ‘‘make amendments to the draft New City Plan during consideration of the final report’’.

‘‘Council officers are preparing that report for submission to a future council meeting,’’ she said

VARVARIS SILENT

Members of United Kogarah City Residents Association, formed specifically to protect Kogarah from overdevelopment proposed by the New City Plan, are calling on Barton MP Nickolas Varvaris for support.

Group spokeswoman Theresa Kot said they had support from Kogarah and Rockdale MPs Chris Minns and Steve Kamper and Banks MP David Coleman.

She said Mr Kamper spoke at Monday’s forum and offered support at the public meeting on May 17.

Mr Minns also spoke at the forum, attended a previous meeting, made his views public in the Leader, spoke against the plan in Parliament and responded to residents’ concerns.

Mr Coleman organised a kerbside meeting for residents in South Hurstville on June 20 which was well attended and shared his concerns for residents on his website and Facebook.

‘‘The federal Member for Barton, also a Kogarah councillor sitting on Kogarah Council, has shown no interest in the matter of the LEP,’’ Ms Kot said.

‘‘Residents elect them, but are they our sincere representatives?’’

There was no response from Mr Varvaris before the Leader went to print.

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