Residents ready to fight for the foreshore

Removing the current foreshore scenic protections from areas beyond the river ridgeline would give a green light to allow an additional 750 dual occupancies in that area, Georges River Residents and Ratepayers Peakhurst Ward candidate Peter Mahoney said.
Removing the current foreshore scenic protections from areas beyond the river ridgeline would give a green light to allow an additional 750 dual occupancies in that area, Georges River Residents and Ratepayers Peakhurst Ward candidate Peter Mahoney said.

Concerns have been raised about the Georges River Foreshore Scenic Character Study which recommends removal of properties from the established foreshore protection area that are not visible from the river.

This could possibly lead to an additional 750 properties such as dual occupancies in areas of the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area, Georges River Residents and Ratepayers candidate for Peakhurst Ward, Peter Mahoney said.

The study will inform the preparation of future amendments to the council's planning policies including the Georges River Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan.

Last year, residents had serious concerns over proposed changes to foreshore controls contained in Georges River Council's draft Local Environmental Plan 2020.

The draft LEP 2020 proposed to expand the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area (FSPA) into the former Kogarah LGA adding approximately 1,297 lots.

A map provided by the Georges River Residents and Ratepayers group. The areas highlighted in yellow would be put at risk if removed from the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area, the group says.

A map provided by the Georges River Residents and Ratepayers group. The areas highlighted in yellow would be put at risk if removed from the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area, the group says.

But it also proposed to reduce the existing FSPA in the former Hurstville LGA, removing approximately 2,380 lots.

The Georges River Local Planning Panel listened to residents' concerns and recommended retention of the existing Foreshore Scenic Protection Area as identified in the Hurstville LEP 2012 and supported the extension of the FSPA into the former Kogarah local government area.

And the panel recommended the council further define the role, mapped extent and zoning of Foreshore Scenic Protection Areas in both the former Hurstivlle and Kogarah Local Government areas having regard to those properties and bridge lines visible to and from the Georges River and its tributaries.

The council commissioned a technical study by Ethos Urban, the Georges RIver Foreshore Scenic Character Study that was presented to the council in June.

Of particular concern to the Georges River Residents and Ratepayers group is that the study recommends a reduction in the extent of the FPSA that don't meet two factors:

- Removal of areas further away from the river that do not satisfy the 'visibility criteria', that is properties that are not visible form the river or foreshore;

- And removal of properties that do not meet the study's 'scenic criteria '. Scenic criteria is described as land that is visually dominated by natural elements instead of built elements.

On this basis, the study recommends removal of areas further away from the river that cannot be seen from the river or foreshore, and removal of areas around the Kogarah Bay foreshore that do not exhibit a 'scenic character'.

Mr Mahoney said that keeping the existing FSPA is essential because it protects the green, leafy surrounds that the area is renowned for.

"I strongly dispute that any properties should be taken out of the current foreshore zone," Mr Mahoney said.

"Removing the current foreshore scenic protections from areas beyond the river ridgeline would give a green light to allow an additional 750 dual occupancies in that area.

"It would give a green light to up-zone additional properties for higher densities and high-rise development and a green light to dramatically increase densities in the Oatley West shopping village," he said.

"Oatley West is one of eight local centres identified in the Georges River Local Strategic Planning Statement 2040 as locations to be investigated for expansion through future Master Plan developments.

"The study fails to recognise that the Department of Planning Industry and Environment identified over 200 species of native animals in the foreshore protection area, 25 of which are threatened," he said.

"Put simply, the green, leafy surrounds of these areas will be under threat of increased development."

Mr Mahoney is also very concerned that at the June Council meeting, 10 of the 15 councillors declared pecuniary interests in the matter, meaning that the study was not discussed by councillors.

"However, the general manager advised that the study will form part of Council's strategic studies for the purpose of informing future planning instruments such as the local environmental and development control plans," he said.

The study can be found on the council's Your Say page.

A webinar to inform residents of the contents of the study will be held on Tuesday, August 3 from 6pm to 8pm.

The webinar will include two presentations by the council's technical consultants (Ethos Urban and Total Earth Care) and there will be an opportunity for residents to ask questions of the project team and presenters.

Georges River Residents and Ratepayers outline their concerns on the potential impacts of the Georges River Foreshore Scenic Character Study at: https://www.teamgrrrp.com.au/news/say-no-to-high-density