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Development in Cromer Heights / Red Hill / Oxford Falls

edmond's picture

By edmond - Posted on 02 October 2008

Hi everyone,

I know I am very new here, but I wanted to spread the word about something which may effect you guys along with the residents of Cromer Heights and Red Hill.

Some of you may have biked from the Cromer Connector up through to red hill, however what you may not know is part of that land is crown and part of it is owned by Cromer Golf course. Anyway Cromer golf course has decided to flog the land for development which will pritty much put an end to some of the great mountain biking in the area plus throw a ton of car's into the mix.

The bigger fear is they will build two access roads between Wakehurt parkway and Cromer Heights which would kill of some many of our trails.

An anonymous resident has put together a flyer, which I have scanned and OCR'd (I cant attach the PDF here) for you guys to read.

It would be great to get the communitys help to write a few letters and spread the word on this further destruction of natural habitat.



You may be aware of Cromer Golf Club's decision to develop a significantly large parcel of land on the North/North western edge of Cromer Heights.

If you are not concerned by this then read no further, if you are, then the time to act is NOW.


Your council is on record as opposing this development, but the Golf Club is bypassing council & going direct to the Minister for Planning Kristina Keneally for approval! You should be outraged at this affront but it is typical of how "concerned" the golf club is about Cromer residents.

The proposed development is currently 45 housing blocks.

The average Sydney car does 3.78 trips per day (SM Herald 30-5-05) If only two of these trips are to/from home & with (minimal) two cars per house (+ visitors & service vehicles) these 45 blocks can put an extra 400+ cars per day onto Toronto Ave. This extra traffic may well be the last straw to initiate the long mooted western access to Cromer Heights (ie Cromer to Wakehurst Parkway & it's associated mass bush destruction). We will then loose the unique cul-de-sac nature of our suburb. Look at your street directory - Maybrook Ave is already shown as continuing westward to Wakehurst Parkway! Toronto Ave will then become the new Willandra Rd (only worse) - then watch your property values tumble!

(*** golf club members refer to footnotes).

Toronto residents: In peak hours how hard is it to exit your drive now? Blighs / Woodward & Cromer Rd residents: Your streets are the targeted main accesses to this development - you will have these vehicles passing by your homes!

Do you remember the bushfires of 1994? Toronto Ave was a log jam with evacuees & sightseers, it was stated then by the authorities that for safety reasons Cromer Heights needs a further access road. The population has increased greatly since then (eg: Fairway Views Estate, Pinduro Place, Maybrook Manor expansion etc). The proposed release is 13 hectares and to seek approval the golf course is presently (coyly?) saying only 45 blocks of 600 sq metres each - as is often the case(after initial approval is granted) the final development application could well expand on this. (ie When the Land & Environment Court can be appealed) - what is to stop the final development application being larger? (given it's track record the Land & Environment Court would no doubt give it's approval). 13 hectares equates to 216 blocks of 600 sq metres! (1600+ extra cars on Toronto Ave I!!!!) - be warned.

This extra traffic flies in the face of Councils "Living Warringah - In Focus" draft plan with supposedly fewer cars on our roads. Also, this land is the last tract of virgin bush catchment feeding directly into Narrabeen Lake (& includes a creek in an ecologically vulnerable location - i.e. between the proposed two housing groups). The flora (including one species of protected tree already identified) & the wildlife (which have already retreated to this area from the Fairway Views development) should not be lost forever. Why? : just so a few wealthy golfers (the majority of which neither reside in, nor care about, Cromer) can enjoy "better" golf facilities.

The Golf Club presentations to residents stated how concerned/caring they are of Cromer residents, but at the Golf Club General meeting (16 Feb 05) for members to debate and decide whether to proceed on this proposal there were caring calls of "let's just vote so we can get to the bar!" (this is fact - very caring!).

It is known that gum trees are very susceptible once their underground water flow is altered. Unlike Fairway Views Estate which slopes to Cromer Rd, this development is on the slopes directly above thousands of such trees - a huge proportion of which could be lost (not to mention those that will be bulldozed).

Numerous studies by bird watching groups have identified 153+ species within 1kM of the entry point to this proposed development - what happens to these & their nesting sites etc?

Numerous of these are endangered or supposedly protected (eg Powerful Owl, Glossy Black. Cockatoo, Kookaburra, Tawny Frogmouth, King Parrot, Peregrine Falcon etc) The first two are in fact classified "vulnerable" under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

At a Warringah council meeting March 2005 the administrator Mr Dick Persson said: "the population of the Northern beaches is expected to fall and therefore further residential zoning is not appropriate" (surely this must especially apply if virgin bush is to be lost forever & the lake compromised - just to cater for a reducing population).. Council recently spent over $3M of Section 92 funds just to convert ONE housing block on Collaroy beachfront into a park - just shows how priceless open space really is in Warringah! Why not buy this land from the golf club and preserve it for parkland? - this would probably only cost about $2M and seems much better value!

The hypocrisy is staggering, the golf club sees this land as "surplus" - and at only 45 blocks intend reaping huge profits: probably $13M+ from this development, whilst a portion of their golf course sit on taxpayer owned land! (ie land that belongs to you, the taxpayer) They utilise YOUR land under a, "permissive occupancy" agreement with the government. How can land be "surplus" whilst they are utilising public land? This land being utilised by the Golf Club is approx 1.2 km (almost 11 acres) of prime waterfrontage (lake & creek) for which they pay a pittance in rent (the last known figure being less than $110 per week!)

If you refer the National Parks websites (browse Narrabeen Lake/Catchment etc) you will see that Dept of Lands & Dept of Fisheries both acknowledge the importance of Crown Land catchment areas (even as far away as Belrose) feeding into Narrabeen Lake - let's see how serious the authorities are with this land virtually at the lakes edge. Council recently held a summit to discuss problems with the lake re the overdevelopment of catchment areas (one outcome being they agreed to dredge, which no doubt will be a cost to you the ratepayer), you should not bear this cost whilst the golf club reaps millions by adding to the problem (and your cost). Government should not even contemplate approving this development!

The golf club will attempt to argue that a team of expert consultants have reported on proposed impacts to lake/environment/infrastructure/roads etc. Do not be swayed as these experts are paid for by the golf club, they will not bite the hand that employs them. Any adverse findings can easily be 'glossed over' or even omitted. They have already spoken about nature compatible
developments, covenants that building' heights will not exceed tree line etc - do not be swayed, developers do not create covenants which limit their own profits. These blocks will have bushland setting + lake and/or ocean views & will sell in region of $800,000+ each - no one will pay those sums if they can only build a two/three bedroom bungalow! Besides, covenants are not worth the.
paper they are printed on : eg 1) Fairway Views Estate (Cromer's last development) had a covenant whereby if a block had more than 60% non permeable coverage then a stormwater detention tank must be provided - one of the latter built homes thereon has a house covering more
than 90% of the block and NO detention tank (a simple appeal to Land & Environment Court passed both!) With that precedent now set can you imagine 45+ blocks with more than 90% site coverage? eg 2) Manly Daily 11-6-05 The Land & Environment court overruled Pittwater
Councils approval conditions for a house to be 60% concealed by trees and of a 'natural blending' colour - When it comes to the crunch do not believe these pro environment statements will actually be carried out!

Furthermore this development will be on the skyline (as viewed from northern side of lake) - isn't there is supposed to be a covenant preventing skyline construction? (so much for covenants!)The existing Fairway Views Estate development (generally on land sloping away from the lake)was actually refused by Council 29 Aug 1995 for reasons "centred on water quality impacts on Narrabeen Lake" (fact!) - unfortunately this reason has become prophetic with the lake now suffering & Council acknowledging same by a summit to discuss these problems & best remedies.

Back then the developer was the Crown (Landcom), and council's refusal was able to be overridden by the State Minister for Urban Affairs & Planning (Craig Knowles) on 5 Feb 1996. What with the lakes problems since that development (maybe because of ???), then logic would
suggest government must also reject this application for land generally sloping toward the lake. If not then compelling explanations must be given.

The Golf clubs solution to water quality of the lake? : from their community info session (25 June 05) they propose detention tanks on the lower side of this development as their means of protecting the lake. We were told when these tanks become full of sediment/rubbish etc the
development residents are responsible & they will ensure these are emptied & contents removed to suitable waste collection!!!! (and pigs may fly!)

Please take 10/15 minutes, write to Kristina Keneally (address below) and/or Local Member Brad Hazzard (who happens to be Shadow Minister for Planning) to secure the magic area in which we reside for yourselves & future generations.

Please do not merely send a copy of this document show you care enough & take time to write personally (by all means use any or all of above arguments and preferably any of your own).

Do not merely use the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) argument - this holds no sway, argue on grounds of environment / traffic / lake catchment / visual pollution / waste of ratepayer funds to dredge etc.

But please do not delay, I believe the application has already gone in (hard to know as it is being
snuck through)


A Concerned Resident

**** footnote for Golf Club Members who reside in Cromer: any perceived benefit you may
receive from this proposal will be peanuts compared to the reduction in your property value!'
If the development proceeds - take special note of how the money is actually utilised. Maybe more
"improvements" to your course? (I note the club trialled yellow tee competitions - because since
the last "improvements" the course is now too difficult for 99% of the members).
Or maybe once the club is flushed with funds the government may insist on "market rate" rent for
the public land being utilised? - the public will insist on this & then see how quickly your "profits"
are eroded!

Addresses for reference:
The Honorable Kristina Keneally
Minister for Planning
Governor Macquarie Tower
Level 36 1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000
Fax 02 9228-3369

The Honourable Brad Hazzard
Shadow minister for Planning
Shop 3 637-641 Pittwater Rd
(PO Box 405)
Dee Why NSW 2099
Ph 9981 5059 Fax 9981 1111

We are fortunate that Frank Sartor (Minister for Rubber Stamping) was removed from the planning
portfolio - please do not waste this windfall & lobby Kristina Keneally heavily (as you can be sure
the golf club will !)

Due to logistics this leaflet will only be distributed to every 2nd house - please pass it on to your next door neighbour.

Wattsontour's picture

I hear this DA is back on the agenda and open for submissions.

obmal's picture

If I read it correctly, figure 11, figure 13 is what they are asking.

It would be a shame to lose that Strava segment Sad I think that's a good basis to build on for my objection to these plans?

hawkeye's picture

Can't hurt to point out the community use this land gets, and which will be lost if its concreted.

it stinks they're bypassing Council. If it's big enough to fit the rules for going around Council then traffic is likely to be a problem.

M Cat's picture

To give some context to the letter above, it was a response in 2006 to one of many attempts by the golf club (CGC) to rezone bush land. At that time they were bypassing local council as Warringah (& the majority of the public) had opposed it. However, they were unsuccessful and now are back, trying again, with a NEW Warringah Council. Their recent application is here:

If anyone wishes to oppose the rezoning, they have only until Jan 24 when submissions close (2 weeks)! Currently there are only 8 submissions from 'the public', 2 against and 6 supporting. Of the 6 'supporters', only one confirms their self-interest by declaring they are a CGC member. All 5 of the remain supporters are CGC members but fail to mention it, instead preferring to represent themselves as concerned 'rate-payers'.

If Warringah council doesn't receive enough objections from the public they will approve the request to rezone so the golf club can merrily sell off, bit by bit, this remnant of bushland.

The club has argued they purchased the land many years ago as "an investment" (to sustain their elitist and otherwise unsustainable Private Recreation). They made this investment despite that the land is zoned B2 (1 dwelling/20 ha). Warringah Local Environment Plan wants to zone the land E3 Environmental Management. CGC petitioned heavily to block this resulting in council 'deferring' the E3 zoning. CGC claim that "the land proposed for housing does not exhibit any special ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic value or significant natural landscape value to warrant an environmental zone".

The golf club will be relying on peoples either weariness or lethargy in needing to object yet again to their master plan. They put their application in at the start of December, with the apparent strategy to sneak under the radar and not attract too much attention during the busy holiday period. Indeed a select few residents were notified of the application at the beginning of Dec and were given until 24 Dec to make a submission! A subsequent letter was rushed out a week before Christmas amending the date until 24 Jan. Council must have figured this was more acceptable timeline that wouldn't attract as much criticism for being an unrealistic period for 'Community Consultation'. This sneakiness is characteristic of CGC's previous attempts to 'realise their investment'.

obmal's picture

indeed.. its easy to make a submission, if you believe that its not in the communities interest to develop this site it will take you less time than it does to wash your bike and may help save yet another small parcel of local bushland from development?

PKRipper's picture

I've actually had a good read through the proposal and it looks to me that 8.5Ha of bush will be given back to Council as part of the proposal and the Club is developing 4.5Ha. Figure 11 shows what is developed and what is given back to Council.

Once Council owns this 8.5Ha of bushland there will be no question of any further developments ever again. It also looks like the area for development we do not use and the fire trails that we do use are already Council owned.

obmal's picture

What about that area west of the fire trail through to the Cromer connector? I read that this was to be developed and that would be my main objection.
The lower eastern part doesn't worry me, it's just the upper part is such a nice (and visually exposed) piece of bush and it would be a shame to have houses take over there.

Perhaps I simply misread it?

danielschipper's picture

I don't ride Red Hill and don't have a good understanding of this area.

What would the reason be for opposing the development? Is it simply an anti-development reason. is it a "tip of the iceberg" scenario where this will result in more development, will the development be visible from other areas, are there well used walking / riding trails in this area etc etc?

I'm all for raising an issue for bad development... but we have to accept some development and I'd rather the acceptable go through than have Warringah seen as blocking any development and then having planning powers bypassed.

obmal's picture

There's a few different blocks parcels of land proposed for development here, the area that concerns me is any development of 2/0 cromer road.
The rest of the application.. I don't have any particular issue with.
My basis for objection is that the rock escarpment that borders the north western boundary of 2/0 cromer road should be preserved as its not just any old piece of scrub, there's some substantial rock formations and prominent platforms with impressive views and I would suggest they are best preserved as a shared resource, too valuable just to be "someones backyard or cleared as a fire break"
I'm also concerned for any loss of land in the immediate catchment area of Narrabeen lakes or any further development of the bushland that can be seen directly from the back of the lakes.
Yes I agree that we have to accept development, but you also have to draw a line at some place.
There's also lots of room for compromise here.

M Cat's picture

Here's the submission made by Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment:

If you want your opinion to count then make a submission before the 5pm deadline on Thu!

M Cat's picture

The Golf Club's Proposal will necessitate the destruction of 4.5 hectares of pristine native bushland directly abutting the Narrabeen catchment area.

This target land forms part of the original parcel of land purchased by Cromer Gold Club with the sole purpose of “an investment for its future”. A significant proportion of the original parcel was rezoned and developed into the “existing residential area”, all the over-sized expensive McMansion style houses on the right-hand side as you head up the hill on of Cromer Rd. This “existing residential area” now forms part of the Club's argument for rezoning adjacent land for development.

The Golf Club purports that a further 8.5ha. of “surplus” land" will be ‘retained’ as parkland (not “donated to council” as per the hyperbole in a number of Gold Club members’ submissions). There is no onus on Cromer Gold Club to fulfil this claim into the future.

obmal's picture

application withdrawn..?
Wallabies, Birdies, Goannas and Frogs celebrate... Strava segment saved!

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