An INCREASE in number of boats and in water area covered up in Woodleys Cove

The Meridien Marinas’ subsidiary Berrys Bay Marina Company, after losing its case before the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), has come back with another overdevelopment proposal. The new plan appears to accept the ruling and exclude the dolphin wharf, but now plans to cram 79 vessels up to 30m (100ft) in length into the western arm (Woodleys Cove) covering up an even  larger water area.

The JRPP unanimously rejected DA 260/2015 earlier this year, deciding that:

  • The principal reason for refusal was “the high intensity of the proposed use”, with the amount of marina proposed “too much for the character of the Bay”.
  • The dolphin wharf section should be excluded (13 superyacht berths to 45m long).
  • In the western arm of the Bay (Woodleys Cove) the marina water area and size of boats should be reduced (from the proposed 74 berths 15-30m long).

The developer could have appealed to the Land & Environment Court against that unanimous rejection. Instead it has requested the Department of Planning’s requirements for preparation of its detailed DA for a new project. North Sydney Council has summarised the new plan as including:-

  • construction of a 79 berth marina for vessels up to 30m (100ft) in length;
  • retention and refurbishment of existing boating and administration facilities;
  • two new two storey buildings with a combined gross floor area of approximately 1,900m² for a yacht club, ancillary commercial and retail maritime uses;
  • retain the significant part (approximately 85%) of the existing quay line;
  • provision of a large landscaped area (approximately 6,000m²) for passive and active recreation;
  • children’s play area (approximately 300m²);
  • kayak and small boat storage facility; and
  • parking for approximately 70 vehicles.

While the dolphin wharf appears to have been deleted from the marina proposal in line with the JRPP decision, the burden on Woodleys Cove has been increased, not reduced as sought by the JRPP, with 8 additional berths, taking total berths from 71 to 79, on three arms, the eastern-most being significantly increased in length.   The proposed boat lengths range from 12-30m – note that boats 25m> are defined as superyachts. The net result of removing the dolphin wharf is therefore a reduction of only 5 on-water berths in Berrys Bay as a whole, from 84 to 79, which falls well short of the reduction in marina size sought by the JRPP.  Nor do we yet know whether the dolphin wharf is to be removed from the developer’s agreement for lease for the future or perhaps turned into another project, to be leased out to another over-developer.

Waverton Precinct has decided to remain pro-active in relation to the project with the intention of finally achieving the right re-development of our long contested Bay. We have therefore reviewed and simplified our requirements for any proposal.

Guiding principles adopted by Precinct

Waverton Precinct Committee at its 6 September 2016 monthly public meeting adopted the following in principle requirements to guide its response to any new DA:

  1. Any development to be appropriate in character and scale to the special values of this iconic Bay on Sydney Harbour foreshore with its beautiful surrounding  bushland and public open space setting and rich maritime industrial heritage.
  2. Development to meet the letter and spirit of the principles of Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005:
    i.  Sydney Harbour is to be recognised as a public resource, owned by the public, to be protected for the public good,
    ii. the public good has precedence over the private good whenever and whatever change is proposed for Sydney Harbour or its foreshores,
    iii. protection of the natural assets of Sydney Harbour has precedence over all other interests.
  3. In accordance with the decision of the JRPP that the main section of the marina should be reduced and the size of boats further limited, the Water Area of the marina not to exceed the previous combined operational area of Woodleys and BP in the western bay, with all of the marina berthed vessels, moored vessels and on-water operations contained within that Water Area. Number, length and height conditions to be determined for vessels consistent with the amenity of the bay.
  4. The former BP land now proposed for public recreation to become part of Carradah Park within the Waverton Peninsula Reserve Trust under care and control of Council together with the access road and bushland west of the Woodleys site to preserve and optimise the foreshore walkway and connectivity.
  5. Marina operations not to impact on that public recreation land or inhibit establishment of public access to and from that land, including foreshore access and access to the water. Accordingly no access to marina pontoons from, and no vehicular access along, that public land.
  6. The marina design to leave an adequate access channel to the Quarantine Depot including for the possibility of future ferry services, weekend, hop-on/hop-off, or regular.
  7. No reduction in the number of private swing moorings in the Bay.
  8. The Woodleys Main Shed to remain as a heritage item, refurbished, and continue to be fully visible from land and water. No dry boat storage racks to be located outside the existing Woodleys boat shed.
  9. Car parking to be contained within the bund wall and preferably to be a public carpark operated by Council. No commercial uses over the bund wall-enclosed car park roof. Car park roof to be landscaped and be accessible to the public.
  10. Public kayak/dinghy launching facilities to be provided at no charge, and kayak/dinghy storage facilities to be provided at the same charges as currently applied by North Sydney Council elsewhere.
  11. Public café/restaurant to be provided on the site, with operating hours to be in accordance with Council zoning.

This list of in principle requirements has been sent to all Ministers, local members, public agencies, Council and Councillors and community groups with a role in the proper development of Berrys Bay. Precinct will continue to call for a round table meeting of all those parties to determine the appropriate criteria to be provided to any developer before a new DA is presented. This way we seek to avoid the years of expensive and time-consuming adversarial confrontation that has achieved nothing in the decade since the first tender was released.

The Bay is too important for the government yet again to allow the developer to drive the process and we will seek the intervention of the Premier if our proposed consultative approach is not immediately pursued.

When a DA is ultimately produced it will be assessed again by Council but determined now by the new Greater Sydney Commission (replacing the JRPP). With the introduction of this new authority, Precinct recently made a submission on the crucial importance of our Peninsula.

Submission to the Greater Sydney Commission on “A vision for Waverton Peninsula: A natural and historic Sydney Harbour icon

Precinct’s submission to the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) presents a vision of Waverton Peninsula as a unique natural and historic icon on the shores of Sydney Harbour for consideration by the GSC as it drafts the Sydney North District Plan.  This submission argues the case for Government to adopt a whole-of-peninsula approach to planning to address issues including the Berrys Bay marina, the dolphin wharf, the former quarantine depot, the coal loader wharf and foreshore access.  You can view Precinct’s submission at:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw-xgN7fmX0nLS11dDFBWmR2LVE/view?usp=sharing

We will keep you informed on developments.