Bayside Council decides it can't advance Cooks Cove planning proposal

The Cooks Cove project has received another setback with Bayside Council deciding it can’t advance plans to reclassify part of the land because of a conflict of duty.

One councillor believes the situation could take more than five years to be resolved.

Bayside Council is the trustee for two parcels of land, totalling about 19 hectares, in the northern precinct where 5000 apartments are proposed.

The council is obliged to hold the land, which was reserved for the F6 extension, for road purposes and, if the opportunity exists before and after that, for a public park, reserve or other recreation area.

At present, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has control of the land for the New M5 and stage one of the F6 extension.

A council staff report said, after the road works were completed, there was an opportunity for some of the land to be used for a public park or recreation area.

The report said, in order for the Cooks Cove development proposal to potentially proceed to a Gateway determination by the Department of Planning and Environment, the trusts administered by the council would need to be extinguished.

“It is critical for council to maintain clear separation between the planning function and property function,” the report said.

The council decided it could not advance the plan without a conflict of duty, and to seek a response from the Attorney-General.

​Councillors Tarek Ibrahim and Andrew Tsounis moved the resolution, which was unanimously supported.

Cr Ibrahim said later the decision was “very important from a community perspective”.

The proposed change in use of the land from a potential public park to residential units was not the best outcome for the community, he said.

Cr Tsounis said he did not expect the question of the trusts would be resolved until after RMS had finished with the land, which could be more than five years.

Cr Tsounis said the land on which the developer proposed to provide a new sports stadium and fields was owned by Sydney Water and longevity of use was not guaranteed.

The land was also flood prone, he said.

”We are being asked to trade off green space for apartments, which is a hard trade because once you give green space away you don’t get it back,” he said.

The decision follows a recommendation in August by the Bayside Planning Panel that the council not refer the Cooks Cove planning proposal for the northern precinct for a fast-tracked Gateway review.

Meanwhile, community groups continue to fight to stop Barton Park being handed over to the privately owned Kogarah Golf Club in the southern precinct.

Developer John Boyd’s company Cook Cove Inlet has previously said a revised development application (DA) for the southern precinct will be lodged by the end of this year.