Wade Orth (Your Say, 26 Nov) and others who are celebrating "the dumping of the unpopular Mona Vale Place Plan", be warned! In 2011 the residents of Frenchs Wasteland were similarly delighted when the State government (Mr Persson's employer, remember) withdrew the proposal to make us a 'State Significant Site', a second Chatswood. How naive we were!
They got their way in the end, by stealth, bit by bit. First a hospital, then roads, now wider re-zoning. Trees gone, wildlife gone, homes and valuable businesses gone, even a school to go, we're told. The Council now describes us as a town, not a suburb. It's indistinguishable from the proposal that was supposedly scrapped.
History has a nasty habit of repeating itself. Beware!
I'm sorry, Elizabeth Farrelly, I admire so much of what you write, but I find your whimsically optimistic second scenario utterly unconvincing. (It's time to choose, Sydney, 26 Nov)
Maybe, just maybe, your ideals might be realised if you were designing a new city from scratch - which is probably what we should be doing - but nothing I can see in the political climate of this state gIves grounds for hope that an additional two million people over the next twenty years will be anything other than disastrous.
Perhaps if you had a look at what they are doing to my suburb of Frenchs Wasteland, and understood the dishonest means by which it has been achieved, you would appreciate my pessimism.
Surely the Creativity that you espouse is more readily achievable when humanity has room to thrive within its natural environment.
In stating “Some still say…” that the hospital was built in the wrong place, Alf Sylvester’s otherwise excellent letter (Your Say, 23 Nov) implies that there is some uncertainty on the point. He and others may like to know the facts.
NSW Health’s EIS applications for the hospital states: "The NSW Government confirmed the selection of the Frenchs Forest site for the new Northern Beaches Hospital in 2006. This decision was informed by a robust qualitative analysis in determining the Frenchs Forest site for the new hospital.” (Northern Beaches Hospital SSI Application SSI 13_5982, Submissions Report/Preferred Infrastructure Report February 2014 page 42, available on the NSW Planning web site at NBH Stage 1 Submissions Report Final.pdf )
The attached pdf contains the relevant pages from the the Health Department’s 'Development Options Business Case', Nov 2005, on which the 2006 decision was based. It clearly places Frenchs Forest as a poor third on the all-important qualitative assessment. The choice of the Frenchs Forest site was based on the necessary roading upgrades costing $21.3 million, whereas the current published estimate is $500 million. The site’s “risk profile” (ie short-term obstacles) rated well.
So Frenchs Forest was the cheap (so they thought in 2005) and easy option, definitely NOT the best on long-term operational criteria, as was claimed.
Note that the 2006 decision was not reviewed or updated in October 2013 when the then Planning Minister signed the Order designating Frenchs Forest and kick-starting the project. Nor did NSW Planning question the choice of location, despite their own criteria requiring full and up-to-date data to support the application.
The other fundamental lie is that the site is central to its designated catchment area, the then LGAs of Manly, Warringah and Pittwater. This is manifestly false geographically, and there was a study done which placed the weighted demographic centre around Cromer.
I hope that you will find some way to publish this information, or at the very least to forward it to Mr Sylvester.
Yesterday it was "Sydney can never be full". Today it is "Move over red-tiled roofs on quarter-acre blocks ... how will the old make way for the new?", not 'should the essential character of suburban Sydney be destroyed and replaced?'
As self-appointed facilitator of this debate, Fairfax should exercise more objectivity, rather than act as an organ for Big Business. Or perhaps "debate" is your euphemism for a conditioning process aimed at convincing us that your vision is inevitable.
Perhaps you could more usefully examine the alternative option of building a new city to house the additional population you want.
185,000 more homes over five years; 2,000,000 more people over twenty years!
Can anyone advise me on how to bring this irresponsible, out-of-control state government before the International Criminal Court on the charge of 'Crime against Humanity'? Would they be able to use 'Insanity' as an acceptable defence?
How else are we going to stop them utterly destroying our city? Sydney is already over-crowded, while the rest of the state is largely empty. So why not create a new city somewhere? There are plenty of precedents.
There aren't too many ways available for venting one's anger or frustration at some of the things happening in the world around us. One such escape valve is the good old Letter to the Editor, even if only a small proportion of them gets published. It is often well-nigh impossible to keep the discussion short enough for the newspapers. So rather that have them expire in some Editor's Trash bin, we'll preserve them for posterity here. Inevitably, though, some nuances will be lost for those unfamiliar with the background or the letter or article to which we are responding. But each is undoubtedly a miniature literary masterpiece, though you may find the themes become somewhat repetitive.