While waiting for the latest revised plans for the Akuna St/Mitre 10 development to be submitted to the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), Tamara Campbell is concerned that people don’t yet appreciate the scale of the development planned for the site.
“People are just coming to terms with how big the Bathers’ development is, and this is bigger than Bathers,” she says. “When Council consolidated the site and put it out for tender, they thought there would be around 30 apartments built.
“The current plan has 94 apartments, along with the traffic and parking congestion which goes with it.
“This is going to change Kiama forever, and not for the better.
“People want a second supermarket, but at what cost?
“I don’t mind what people’s opinions are, as long as they are informed.”
The fate of the development lies in the hands of the JRPP, because of its value and Council’s role as the owner of the land (the sale is conditional on an approved DA).
An on-site meeting of the Panel was held in mid-December.
In its Record of Deferral, the Panel noted concern about the relationship of the building to Akuna St. Amongst other things, an assessment by BHI Architects for Council notes that shops meant to ‘activate’ Akuna St, as specified in the Kiama LEP, are greater than three metres below street level in places and set back six metres from the road.
The Panel also said that significant trees on Akuna St should be preserved through design change.
As someone who put a submission in on the original proposal, which was for 91 apartments built over a level of shops and parking, Ms Campbell has kept a close eye on the proposal, including addressing the on-site meeting.
“I am concerned the current plans have all of the trees bordering Akuna St being removed, as the site goes right up to the road. These trees are important assets for our community, providing shade and a habitat for birds and pygmy possums.
“At the very least they should be saved to soften the impact of the development.”
The Bugle attended a meeting of a group of residents at the site, and heard of their concerns about traffic, parking (both during and after construction), the loss of the trees and the overall impact of the size of the development.
“It is clear the community has to get together and decide what we want,” said Florence Rankin. “What are we prepared to trade off to get an Aldi?
“The real issue is parking, and that isn’t going to be solved by this development.”
Council’s General Manager Michael Forsyth says, “I understand the amended plans will show the retention of significant trees and a footpath along Akuna St. People who made submissions will be notified of the amended plans when they become available.”
With regard to extra parking being needed, Mr Forsyth says that Council is considering a number of options for the land it owns on the other side of Akuna St, including selling it off with the stipulation of providing a multi-level carpark.
Peter O’Neil, chair of the Central Kiama Precinct, which has made submissions on the proposal, is keen to make sure the community knows what it is getting.
“It is alarming that the State Government legislation is overriding councils to allow developers to make maximum profit, while leaving communities to cope with the problems of lack of infrastructure to cope with the increased residents.”
He encourages people to come along to the Precinct’s first meeting for 2018, which is being held at the Joyce Wheatley Centre in Hindmarsh Park on 27 February.
“The new plans should be available by then, and Central Precinct will be putting in another submission to give feedback from the community,” he says.
“We are the ones that will have to live with the impact of the final design.”
Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Mr Daoud has until 8 June to have his DA approved, which is necessary for the sale of the land to go through. He has exercised all of his extension of time options for this to occur.
Developer’s holdings extend to Collins St
At the on-site meeting with the Panel, developer Nick Daoud revealed he has also bought the three properties at the Collins St end of the Akuna St site, including RMB Lawyers, and a portion of the Centrepoint carpark to enable the widening of the existing lane.
He told The Bugle he is working on plans to cater for short term accommodation on the site.