Battle lines drawn on Kogarah LEP

Gathering information: Kogarah residents preparing to take on Kogarah Council over LEP changes.
Gathering information: Kogarah residents preparing to take on Kogarah Council over LEP changes.

SINCE its public meeting in November, the new United Kogarah Local Residents Association (UKLRA) has been gathering strength for the fight it expects to have sometime in 2015.

It will be battling Kogarah Council, once the council's revised local environmental plan (LEP) goes public.

The plan is still being reviewed by the state Planning Minister.

If adopted, the LEP changes would lead to higher-density housing in parts of Kogarah.

The council's rationale is that it needs to accommodate 17,400 extra residents by 2031, in line with the state government's metropolitan housing strategy.

City centres in Kogarah and Hurstville (Ormonde Road) would be allowed nine- to 12-storey developments, and areas near smaller shopping centres and public transport routes would have five- to seven-storey limits as would some waterfront areas.

Perceiving this as a threat to Kogarah's "garden" lifestyle, a number of community organisations — Community Group Carlton, Kogarah Bay & Carss Park; Friends of Oatley; Georges River Environmental Alliance; Kogarah Bay Progress Association; Kogarah Residents Association and Kyle Bay Residents Association — joined up to create UKLRA.

Spokesman Tony Soubris said the simple message they were trying to get across was: "Now that we have been forewarned, it is imperative that we are forearmed as to the relevant issues, so that the community can have a say as to what type of community living, transport links and recreational facilities and amenities we would like to see during our lifetime and that of our children; and, secondly, the council and councillors need to be reminded that their paramount duty is to represent the community and to provide LEPs and DCPs that reflect what the local community really wants and expects to receive from its elected civic officials."

"We call upon the whole community to adopt a proactive approach when it comes to the time for the council to place the proposed changes to the LEP on public exhibition," Mr Soubris said.

"People need to get involved while we have time to lobby local councillors.

"Otherwise, the changes to the LEP will become legally binding and cannot be easily changed for a very long time.

"If we allow this to occur then our community and local area will never be the same ever again.

"Therefore, the onus is on the community to decide what type of community and amenity they would like to have in the future — and not for the councillors or any vested interest groups to impose it by stealth."

Mr Soubris said that developers and local real estate agents had already started approaching residents to sell their homes or to grant options to purchase.

"The amounts of money being offered are substantially more than the current market value of their properties," he said.

The association has a website and a Facebook page.

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