LEP should be rational, consistent and reliable in future
Now that we have the results of the public inquiry into Central Coast Council, what is striking are the Commissioner's comments about the behaviour of the councillors, when they were dealing with Council business.
Rather than seeking collegiate consensus, they seemed to be focussed on factional conflict and disagreement.
Rather than dealing with the substance of issues before them, they were more concerned with personal grandstanding and political point-scoring.
They seemed more interested in raising points of order and lodging Code of Conduct complaints than doing their job of running the city.
Is it any wonder that so many bad decisions were made, not only on financial matters but on technical matters where some concentration is required, in order to understand the implications of what is being decided?
A case in point is the consolidated Local Environment Plan that had to be drawn up to reconcile the differences between the old Gosford and Wyong regulations that applied to the separate municipalities.
Since the format of these documents is largely laid down by the State Government, this isn't as onerous a task as it might seem to a layman, but there are always some variations that have to be brought into alignment.
There are examples in the draft Local Environment Plan where this has been done so badly that even our councillors should have been able to see the inconsistencies and contradictions, if they had been giving the matter any proper consideration at all.
Instead, with its flaws intact, the draft document has gone to the Minister for approval, although it is not clear when the Minister will actually pass judgement on it, so that it can come into effect.
In my view, this document should be withdrawn from the Minister and held in abeyance until a newly-elected Council of competent individuals can reconsider it.
The present document re-incorporates all the shortcomings that lead to the constant breaches of standards by developers that so many residents are incensed about.
So all we are going to see is a continuation of the ongoing litany of community complaints, if this draft is approved.
The opportunity of rewriting the Local Environment Plan should have been an occasion for introducing logic and consistency into the process, but, instead, we have a lazy and thoughtless rehashing of the same old errors that have led to the development mess that we see around us.
If we care as much about the environment that we are going to live in for the rest of our lives as we do about our rates and charges, we should be demanding that proper standards be observed in the development-control document that will decide the form of our city in our lifetimes.
We should require that the provisions be rational and consistent, and that we can rely on them for the foreseeable future.
Squabbling over whether a particular building should be a high-rise or not is fatuous and self-defeating: If you have no defensible standard to start with, you have no basis for argument, so, of course, expediency will always prevail.
Does anybody care about our neighbourhoods enough to make an issue of this?
Email, 29 Mar 2022
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy