As the process for evaluating whether land in Iluka Reserve should be sold off continues, nearby residents have expressed concern over the lack of communication and consultation so far.
“The silence from Council has been deafening,” says David Connelly, whose property adjoins the part of the reserve being assessed for sell-off.
“The only correspondence we have had is a request from the consultant asking us to make written submissions about what sort of activities should be catered for on the remaining land.”
Having appealed to councillors both before and during a public access meeting, residents have now been given a masterplan that has done nothing to quell their concerns.
In September last year, Council resolved to proceed with a preparing a planning proposal to create up to nine residential lots on the upper, northern side of Iluka Reserve (on North Kiama Drive) and ‘embellish’ the remaining land for recreational activities.
The masterplan, prepared by Siteplus and dated Feb-ruary this year, has been endorsed by Council’s Long Term Financial and Revenue sub-committee and will accompany the planning proposal eventually put before Council for consideration.
It shows nine residential blocks and an access road, with suggestions for a number of improvements to the reserve, including a playground, communal garden, a hard court area, a kick about area, walk ways and a possible location for a men’s shed. The existing tennis courts would go.
Mayor Brian Petschler says that if the masterplan, which he regards as still preliminary, is eventually adopted by Council, the community will have plenty of opportunity to have their say.
“There will be no decision until the matter has been properly aired by the Council first and then the public.
“Anyone in the public can make comment because it is their reserve – not just the residents that immediately adjoin,” he says.
Amongst other things, David Connelly says residents are concerned about the danger of disturbing a contaminated site (it was a dump), issues with flooding and drainage, and confusion over the zoning.
“We have maps that say it is designated as Parks & Gardens, but now they are saying the bit they want to sell off is zoned residential,” he says. “When did this happen? Why the secrecy?”
He has put in GIPA (freedom of information) requests to find out more about the 2013 testing of the part of the site to be retained and one to find out when the zoning was changed.
“There are older people here upset because the lifestyle they thought they would have is going to be affected,” he says. “They resent not being spoken to by this stage.”
Councillor Andrew Sloan, who attended a meeting of residents with three other councillors, says he is confident that all the concerns of the residents will be thoroughly investigated once the proposal comes before Council.