COMMUNITY group “No W in Bermagui” has outlined what it says are potential undesirable outcomes of the proposal to build a Woolworths development in the town.
In a media statement ahead of Wednesday’s Bega Valley Shire Council meeting to discuss the development application, No W in Bermagui highlighted what it said are areas of concern in a “flawed process”.
“Many visitors, as well as new and long-standing community members, agree that the commercial viability and character of Bermagui are under threat by this DA,” group spokesman Paul Payten said.
“The ongoing impact of this would mainly be on families who are existing business owners, some with primary school children.
“If they have to move away from the community after their businesses close, the viability of the local primary school is also threatened – it is already close to the lowest level of accepted attendance, it has been observed,” he said.
“In two years’ time, this development would likely bring Bermagui to look more like just another suburb… no longer a village loved and cherished by the people of the South Coast, as well as many visitors for being unspoiled.”
Mr Payten said there are details in the DA that No W in Bermagui feels need to be clarified or corrected.
These include “misleading” declarations of the building’s set-backs from surrounding residential streets; potential traffic congestion and noise pollution on Young St due to a shopper drop-off area; and questions over on-site water storage (a complete list of the concerns submitted to the BDN is available at the end of this article).
“There is a lot of emphasis on the Hill PDA and Location IQ reports. These reports have been demonstrated as inconsistent with Wakefield Planning Report,” Mr Payten said.
“There is a need for an independent report on the economic viability of Bermagui if this project were to proceed.
“Though the council make commentary on the view impact and the erection of poles, unfortunately the community was not invited to view the poles and therefore have little appreciation of the proposed impact on the amenity.
“It need also be noted that the time allowed for public to prepare to speak at this council meeting is merely eight days.
“All in all, there are inconsistencies and lack of detail in planning documents, legal requirements and advertising practices.
“Add to this, an unreasonably short time for anyone to prepare a presentation and justify an alternative case to council.
“It appears that the process is flawed.
“With all respect, this is not on BVSC councillors!
“We question the inclusion of the ‘silent majority’ as a measurement in this equation, given the visibility and commitment of such a large number in disagreement with this DA.
“Refer to signatures collected and attendance at meetings to date. You were elected to serve the community and it has actually spoken.
“Lastly, how is it that councillors accepted the case of tourism being threatened by the recent Eden development as valid and ignore a similar if not stronger case in Bermagui?
“A complete reversal of perspective and decision-making - please reconsider.”
According to No W in Bermagui, the following are details that need to be clarified or corrected:
* In the business paper under set-backs, and in the advertising, this building is declared as having a three-metre set-back in Young St. Yet, on drawings included in the business papers (page 96), this set-back is now only two metres. It is misleading, especially with Woolworths stating that this change is improving public safety. This is highly suspect.
* There is a drop-off area for shoppers in Young St and waiting chairs. Young St and those residents will be deeply impacted by the proposed traffic congestion around this area, not to mention the great increase in noise and night lighting, to the point of pollution. Has this been considered?
* Also, the drawing shows steep stairs which will not serve the elderly people in the village. This is a significant change in the DA. These changes indicated surely require the development be re-advertised.
* Additionally, the council business paper states under the heading "Water Pressure" that there be adequate water supply for fire fighting requirements to existing commercial development. However, due to these particular fire fighting requirements, the applicant is required to provide on-site storage. The case being that some 120,000–288,000 litres of water storage and pumps shall be provided, if no inflow is available. These enormous tanks would be above ground and required a 10 metre exclusion zone around them. These tanks would be unsightly and take up many car spaces. Has this been declared?
* Furthermore two 4000-litre rainwater storage tanks are proposed, without any detail given (see Rainwater Harvesting in plan).
* There is a lot of emphasis on the Hill PDA and Location IQ reports. These reports have been demonstrated as inconsistent with Wakefield Planning Report. There is a need for an independent report on the economic viability of Bermagui, if this project were to proceed. Has the ration of the limit of square metre of retail per capita been addressed?
* Though Council make commentary on the view impact and the erection of poles, unfortunately the community was not invited to view the poles and therefore have little appreciation of the proposed impact on the amenity.
* It need also be noted that the time allowed for public to prepare to speak at this council meeting is merely eight days. Added to this, the council web page has been inaccessible for periods thus limiting access for detailed consideration.
* Others that include landscaping choices, traffic management and waste storage and disposal which each have details to be challenged, clarified or rectified.