I recently attended a public briefing held in Iluka re the proposed Hickey Street development on the northern fringes of the town.
There was a good crowd in attendance and about ten speakers in all. They were speaking to the Northern Joint Regional Planning committee, which included our mayor. Each of the speakers were appreciative of the opportunity to state their case and what I noticed was that all those who attended gave respect to those speaking whether they agreed with them or not. There may have been some shaking of heads but no interruptions. It was a shame though that as a planning committee no one thought to plan ahead and provide a microphone.
I chose not to speak because I haven’t got sufficient passion for one side or the other. I spent the last ten years of my life working as a mediator and maybe I am simply tuned in to seeing the ‘other side’ of the views expressed.
It would be wonderful if the application can go ahead and still take in all the concerns expressed. As I said to the major at the end of the meeting “You may need the wisdom of Solomon to sort this out”.
However, thinking positively, there is the opportunity for the planning council to say to the Stevens group who is behind this proposal that we want you to go away and make a special effort to accommodate these particular concerns. They could end up making it a showpiece for future NSW developers as in a ‘best practice’ model.
It is rather selfish I think of Iluka residents to say we do not want the town to grow any more. The area in question is one of the only parcels of land available. However there are some very emotive issues surrounding the koalas for instance (and maybe some trees). As was pointed out though, the decline in numbers is state-wide and often the result of increased vehicular traffic. One has to respect the work already done by people in Landcare for instance but current streets in Iluka were probably situated in similar country to start with.
I attend both the Association of Iluka Residents (Greenies) and Iluka Ratepayers Association (Brownies). Both groups love their town and have best interests at heart. However as Chris Richards pointed out when he spoke, most of us who chose to live here came for the natural beauty of the place and every effort must be made to maintain that, even if it means fewer than the proposed 160 blocks. I for one don’t want to drive out of the Iluka Bluff road and be confronted by metal fences and sheds in my face so to speak.
Most town businesses will probably welcome a slightly larger population but it needs to happen in such a way that does not compromise what we all love about our town and its surrounds.