KOGARAH Council is planning to listen to the opinion of residents on the contentious New City Plan at a public forum held during an extraordinary council meeting on Monday, August 31.
The venue is the Venus Lounge in Belgrave Street at 7pm.
People wanting to speak at this forum must register by contacting the council before 4pm this Friday. Each can speak for three minutes.
As preparation, speakers will have access to a council report reviewing all the issues raised in submissions to the New City Plan — a local environmental plan amendment to meet future housing needs.
This report is now available on the council's website and at its customer service centre.
The forum has been met with derision by some members of the United Kogarah City Residents Association (UKCRA), an organisation formed specifically to fight the New City Plan and what is seen as gross overdevelopment in large parts of Kogarah.
UKCRA has continually called for public hearings where residents can have some say in what happens to their city.
"Is Kogarah Council convening this public forum with such haste to simply 'fill the void' — to be able to say that they provided the community with the opportunity to speak?" UKCRA member Theresa Kot said.
"What do the residents feel? Ambushed, outraged, fed-up with the manoeuvring, rejected.
"Council and developers want a certain outcome, as we have already seen in comments from residents who have taken up options and signed agreements to sell their property.
"Both developers and owners have been assured of the 'success' of the proposed changes.
"How should the community respond when they have been ignored?"
Whatever the response to the forum, Ms Kot said they would continue to fight against the plan.
They have identified a number of points they intend to demand:
■ a five- to seven-storey limit;
■a maximum of three storeys height along the Princes Highway where there are no nearby rail-way stations;
■ more infrastructure and facilities to cope with the inevitable population increase;
■ car parking solutions, and
■ more open space to balance out big new developments.
Although demoralised, UKCRA members are still hoping that the council will take notice of the many objections to the New City Plan, including a poll on the Leader website.
To the question ‘‘should Kogarah Council go ahead with the New City Plan in its present form?’’ — the Leader online poll has shown a consistent answer in the negative.
Close to 83 per cent of respondents don’t want the plan — an LEP amendment to meet future housing needs — to go ahead.
The poll is attached to a report about developer activity which has taken hold of Kogarah under the expectation that the NCP with its higher density rezonings will go ahead and modest suburban homes will be replaced by large seven- to 11- storey developments.
Some developers and real estate agents have predicted a glut in apartments and subsequent fall in prices.
During its nine-week exhibition period, the plan attracted 2234 submissions comprising 1095 proforma objections from 400 households; 779 individual letters of objection from 552 households; and 360 individual letters of support from 259 households.
The council decided against public hearings under the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, settling instead for a public forum during a council meeting.