This was one of our quicker meetings, with a few deferrals and a run of reports moving things along quickly.
There was a reasonably large crowd tonight with more than 30 people in the audience. We also had two apologies with Cr Paul Farrow and Cr Eva Campbell not being present tonight.
Before the meeting started the mayor requested a minute's silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing.
Cr Michael Morrison also declared an insignificant non-pecuniary interest in the first item as he had a friendship with somebody who lived close to the proposed chicken farm.
We had five public speakers tonight, so let's start things and see what they had to say.
The first public address was Mr Phil Mallam from Boral Concrete speaking in support of the proposed concrete batching plant at Bringelly (Item 05). Mr Mallam said he was the Asset Manager at Boral Concrete and he was there representing the company.
He noted that this was a ready mix plant, which means the concrete becomes perishable from the moment it is loaded and mixed in a truck. This gives them just 90 minutes to deliver the concrete before it starts to set.
The aim of the new plant is to be close to the critical infrastructure that will be brought into this area with the development of Badgerys Creek precinct and the south west growth area.
The site will store various stone aggregates and sand. Cement material will be stored at overhead silos. There will also be recycled water pits on-site. The company expects to have 10 concrete trucks and three permanent operations staff operating from the site. In total the plants expected to employ around 30 people.
He noted that Boral had been operating for 70 years and were considered industry leaders in concrete. He said the company had submitted an environmental action plan and that its intention was to fulfil all the recommendations in that plan. He noted that all elements of the concrete process were fully recyclable and that there would be "noise attenuation measures" on site. He said the company would like to be in the area to be part of the Western Sydney infrastructure plan projects. Boral sees this as an opportunity to support critical infrastructure; the local community via jobs and the availability of concrete; and its investors.
The next speaker was Lorraine Iddon in relation to Item 06, the construction of a small industrial building at 18a Little Street, Camden. She opened by thanking Cr Ashleigh Cagney for previously bringing up the issue of Currans Hill and Smeaton Grange.
Ms Iddon said that Little Street was one of the more difficult environments to live in for residents because of trucks that were getting bigger and louder. She also said residents had to be prepared all of the time for DA's and stress was not just when the applications came in but also the period of waiting to see what would be next. She said it was unfortunate that residents who didn't have a lot of resources were the ones who worked through DA's. She noted that the work that is currently going on in Little Street has created a chaotic situation.
Miss Iddon said the residents had made an appointment to see the Camden General Manager had ended up speaking to staff. They felt that safety was becoming a very important aspect of the developments and changes to Little Street with the number of cars parked reducing the roads down to a single lane. She noted the ambulance station in the street had become the headquarters for the Southwest and Illawarra region and that there was no parking provided for staff at this location. This combined with Meals on Wheels functions at the community centre meant that at times there were a significant number of vehicle movements all happening at once on the street. Leaving driveways and even exiting the street was not just difficult it was also dangerous.
Turning to the issue of the DA, Miss Iddon felt that the industrial site did not fit with the zoning. She told the councillors that the residents needed their help because of safety concerns. She said the stresses of all these things were starting to wear residents down and talk amongst the community was constantly about trucks and traffic.
She asked that the DA be deferred so that councillors, residents and businesses could get together to talk about how to resolve these issues.
In regards to the DA, she noted there were no other tall buildings in that area. The land was originally part of the yard of one of the cottages and Broughton Street, which is in the Heritage conservation area. At 9.5m, and backing onto this cottage, she said it would present a vast concrete wall.
She said the building did not meet the guidelines of the Heritage conservation area. The Heritage restrictions said people must have their views and this building clearly blocked those views.
The next speaker was Miss Glenda Davis who was speaking against the extension for Upstairs at Fred's (Item 04). Miss Davis spoke on behalf of Camden Residents Action Group. She said the group did not oppose the development and that most people would welcome the additional venue and employment opportunities. The concerns they had were around noise control and the exemptions for Section 94 parking contributions.
She noted that the noise from the back deck would be in addition to the noise that already exists from the front balcony, which she said had already led to complaints to the Council. The Action Group also felt it would be impractical to move people from the back deck at 11pm and into the restaurant, which closed at 12:30am. She also noted that Council staff were not usually available at night to measure and control noise levels. Therefore they felt as part of the DA it was important for the council to deal with the practicalities of monitoring and enforcing noise levels.
In regards to the Section 94 payments for parking, she noted that exemptions from these payments were unusual and that other businesses in Camden should expect a level playing field in terms of parking contributions. She said that communities should expect full transparency in regards to these exemptions. Miss Davis said the waiver not only set a precedent but it also created a possible perception of bias. She noted that the only way that other businesses could see the reasons was through rigorous and transparent explanations in the business papers or via live streaming.
(The mayor interrupts interrupted Miss Davis at this point. Cr Symkowiak warned Ms Davis about her comments on matters of transparency. She noted the report did state that traffic studies showed the availability of parking. Therefore the reasons for the recommendation had been clearly stated and were made public, " ...so please be careful with those words", she said.
Ms Davis said she was aware of the recommendation by Council officers and the reason given was that sufficient parking was available during the operating hours. But she noted that the council had decided to build a decked car park in the Heritage Conservation Area despite community opposition. She noted that the DA for Upstairs at Fred's corroborated that there was already sufficient parking from 9am-11pm on Saturday in Camden and that significant Section 94 payments by other businesses had still been committed to its construction.
Ms Davis then requested that the Council defer the development application until issues around noise and the Section 94 payments had been addressed.
Miss Dianne Newell was the next speaker who spoke on behalf of a number of residents against the concrete batching plant planned for Bringelly (Item 05). The reasons for her opposition were the incompatibility of the zoning; the excessive building height, which was 21m; excessive truck movements; visual impact; increased tonnage on the road; excessive operating hours totalling 104 hours every week; constant noise levels; and the approval recommendation with very little variation in the final development application.
The residents questioned the suitability of the site. There were questions around whether an extraction licence could be transferred to the concrete company that would allow it to work. She said the acoustic report presented by the developer failed to identify a house directly opposite the site where it was likely that the noise exceeded acceptable levels.
Based on the documents the residents were presented with, she said it appeared the Environmental Protection Agency had not been presented with documents from residents opposing the development. They called for these submissions to be given to the EPA.
Miss Newell sad the residents felt the operating hours were based on the proposition that the surrounding area would eventually be zoned industrial. The current zoning is rural and she said this zoning that should have been taken into account. The current zoning for the brickworks beside the batching plant is much less and operating hours only total 60 hours per week. The residents also felt that the full traffic movements on the road had not been taken into account in the traffic report from the applicant.
The residents asked for the batching plant application to be deferred until the councillors had the opportunity to meet and talk to them about the proposal. They asked counsellors to visit the property is to appreciate the likely impact.
Mr Steve Wisbey decided not to make a public address about the extension for Upstairs at Fred's (Item 04).
A mayoral minute was read out regarding the high commendation announced during Parks and Leisure Australia’s awards for excellence for the development of Birriwa Reserve outdoor play space in the category of play spaces above $500,000.
Order of business
ORD01: Application for a poultry farm at 440 Cawdor Rd, Cawdor.
This poultry farm application is in Wollondilly but it borders on Camden Council area. The owner also has a poultry farm nearby on the Camden side of the border, which holds 81,000 birds that has led to some complaints. Camden Council officers have put together a submission opposing this new development, which will create housing for 360,000 birds, when it comes before Wollondilly Council.
Cr Cindy Cagney spoke in support of the submission. She thanked Council staff and noted it was important to work across council boundaries and maintain good relationships with our neighbours.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves also spoke in support of the submission. He also thanked the staff and said it was a strong submission. He said it would not hurt Wollondilly Council — particularly in relation to the air quality — to get a further study done.
The submission by Council officers opposing the poultry farm was passed unanimously.
ORD02: Erection of a single-storey shed at 280 Old Hume Highway, Camden South.
A memo from the director of environmental planning and services asked for this item to be withdrawn.
ORD03: Modifications of a two-story dwelling at 37 Forrest Crescent, Camden.
This item revisits a development from last year that was passed at the final council meeting for 2016. It relates to changes that were not part of the original development application but which had been made anyway. Council officers recommended to accept the modifications.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves supported the submission. He reminded councillors that this DA had been before them recently and that it was compliant and therefore he was happy to approve this.
Cr Cindy Cagney spoke against the recommendation. She noted that with the original development application one of the neighbours opposed to the development had stated at the time that work was going on that was not part of the plans before the Council. She said this modification indicates that is exactly what had happened. While she felt the modifications were acceptable Cr Cagney said she would vote against it because in her mind the process was not acceptable.
The motion to accept the modifications was carried with only Councillor Cindy Cagney voting against it.
ORD04: Extension of Upstairs at Fred's, 76-100 Argyle St, Camden, taking in an outside area at the rear of the building with seating for 100 people.
There has been some opposition to this extension and the mayor noted that there were two memos pertaining to this development before the council. The two key points of opposition were potential noise and the fact that Upstairs at Fred's would not have to pay the extra Section 94 parking contributions as other businesses in Camden would if they increased their floor size.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves spoke in support of the submission. He noted the opposition to the development due to noise and parking but he felt they had been appropriately responded to in the report and had been dealt with.
In regards to parking, he noted two studies had been done at different seasons and they found up to 25 spaces available on Saturdays in the car park behind the building and up to 40 from Friday 5:30pm onwards. For this reason he didn't believe there was a need for additional parking with the extension. He noted that the decked car park being put up by the Council was primarily for use during the day at peak times. He said this businesses peak times were completely different.
From a noise perspective, he felt the issues had been addressed with a 1.8 m high acoustic fence and barrier. He noted the audio speakers would be pointed inwards and that the business would have to abide by the Council’s noise policy.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney spoke against the recommendation. She was clearly unhappy to be put in a position where she opposed the extension for reasons to do with parking but she believed that all businesses should contribute to parking in Camden and this was not the case with the application before them. Cr Cagney agreed the extension would be "fantastic" for Camden but the parking issue was an obstacle that prevented her supporting it.
Cr Theresa Fedeli supported the submission. While she recognised that parking was an issue she asked rhetorically, "what do we do?" She asked what were small businesses supposed to do to bring people to Camden by asking these businesses to pay more when there was available parking. She said it was important to bring people to Camden in the evenings rather than having them go to Sydney or Surry Hills. Cr Fedeli noted councillors should support businesses and that at the time this extension would go into operation the parking was available. She said it was important to keep Camden businesses viable and to help them.
Cr Cindy Cagney asked a question. She asked if this item could be set aside for a study of the parking in this area. She noted that every other business contributed Section 94 payments for parking and it was appropriate that with this extension Upstairs at Fred's should as well.
Miss Magurran replied, saying in relation to the development application, all applications were considered on merit and Section 94 payments would depend on the nature of the business and its hours. Miss Magurrin said the councillors could call for a report on parking and parking rates in Camden and how Section 94 contributions were applied.
Cr Cagney then asked how many parking spaces a DA of this nature would normally need and what the cost would be.
Miss Magurran said based on the floor area it would require another 14 car spaces. At the moment, the annual contribution for car parking spaces was $40,000 per park.
Cr Cindy Cagney agreed that Upstairs at Fred's was a great business and that she supported its presence. However, she would also oppose it because of the parking contribution issue. She said she did not agree with having to pay $40,000 per car park but by allowing a business to not make these payments it set a precedent that other businesses working outside normal business hours may follow. Cr Cagney said the Council "would not have a leg to stand on" if other businesses proposed the same approach to Section 94 payments for parking.
She said she would like to see the council come up with something that would fit all types of businesses because in the future as the township changes it was likely there would be a need for more parking. Cr Cagney said it would be important for the Council to come up with a strategy that does bring in revenue but which was more fair to all businesses, so there was an equitable distribution of the cost of parking across all businesses in the township.
Cr Cagney reiterated that she would be voting against it not because of the DA itself but because of the issue around parking contributions.
Cr Lara Symkowiak spoke in favour of the extension. She said there was a difference between other applications the council had received in regards to parking and this one. The proposal she said was for a very specific set of business hours that were outside the norm and only started after 5:30pm and on weekends. Studies show that parking was available during this time.
Cr Symkowiak reiterated the point that each DA was assessed on its merits. She also noted that the two traffic studies had shown parking vacancies at the time the business was open.
In regards to noise she noted the very specific conditions that would limit the amount of noise coming from this outside area. She said there would be no live music in this area.
Cr Symkowiak said the council had a compliance ranger should there be noise issues and that this ranger could be reached on and after-hours number if there were complaints. She noted that to date Upstairs at Fred's had not received any noise complaints.
In regards to the decked car park being built by the Council she said this was in a different part of town and served entirely different needs during different hours. A large part of the parking in this deck car park was to serve the Civic Centre and businesses during the day. She supported the development application and wished the business every success.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves then proceeded with his right of reply. In response to some of the comments made he said that he did not believe that any of the decisions made around this development application or on any other matter set a precedent. He said traffic and parking studies are done for every business and the counsellors and evaluate them based on those studies. He noted that the Council should be planning parking for peak times and not just be aiming to raise revenue. He said that as long as there was a capacity for parking with new businesses then he was happy with that (I assume that means where there is parking capacity available, if businesses open outside normal hours then they should not have to make section 94 parking contributions — that sounds to me like a precedent. Ed.)
The submission was put to the vote and accepted with Cr Ashley Cagney and Cr Cindy Cagney voting against it.
ORD05: Construction and operation of a concrete batching plant at 60 Greendale Road, Bringelly.
This is a large plant in an area that is currently zoned rural. There has been quite a lot of opposition from local residents.
Cr Cindy Cagney immediately moved an alternative recommendation. She asked for this item to be deferred for a site inspection and also so that the councillors could meet with the residents.
She said she was concerned by the proximity to the residents, the hours of operation, the location of the batching plant on the block and the likely traffic conflicts. Cr Cagney asked that it not be approved tonight as it was a huge development with significant impacts. She understood that it would be difficult for councillors to all come together at the same time for a site inspection but she thought it would be very important at least for them all to meet the residents together.
Cr Michael Morrison spoke in support of the amended recommendation. He had a question in regards to Aboriginal heritage. He noted there were two areas in the plan that suggested there were aboriginal artefacts. He wanted to know what would happen if more were discovered in the course of the construction.
Miss Magurran noted that there were recommendations in the very large report if this was to occur and these would be automatically implemented.
Cr Morrison said he would support the amended recommendation, so he could look at the site in more detail. However he was alarmed that in his short experience that every time there was a major development that would bring jobs to the community that some councillors seem to want to push these developments out of the area. He said the councillors would have to remember that we can't just keep building houses and not consider industries that would bring in jobs.
Cr Ashleigh Cagney spoke in support of the amended recommendation. She said that while she didn't oppose major developments she did feel that they owed it to residents to have a look at the area where these developments would go. She noted this site was in an area that she didn't frequent and so she thought it was important to get the perspective of residents and see the area in more detail.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves spoke in support of the amendment. He said that considering this was likely to be a "contentious matter" and that two councillors were missing from the meeting, he felt it was important that all the councillors be available when this was debated. However, he didn't feel that Council organised site visits needed to be arranged every time. He said he went past the site before the Council meeting and in his opinion it was the responsibility of every councillor to do the same to make sure they were prepared for meetings. He asked for a further amendment that the item be brought back before the Council at the next meeting.
Cr Cagney asked if that could be extended to the next two meetings to ensure that residents and councillors would have the best opportunity to meet.
Cr Sidgreaves agreed.
Cr Lara Symkowiak had a question, asking when this development application was exhibited.
Miss Magurren noticed it was exhibited for 30 days through June and July 2016 and then again in January and February of this year.
Cr Symkowiak referred to a comment by a resident that claimed their submissions had not been put to the environmental protection agency. She asked if Council officers could liaise with the EPA to determine if the submissions had been received and whether there would be sufficient time to do that within the next two Council meetings.
Miss Magurren said Council officers definitely could endeavour to do that.
Cr Cindy Cagney then had the right of reply. She thanked her fellow councillors for the support for the amendment. She clarified for Cr Morrison that she did not oppose developments that brought in jobs but she did remain concerned about the interface between heavy industrial and residential and rural areas. She noted there was still a lot of land available in the area for these kinds of developments, she said, it was the suitability of the site that was most important.
The amendment to defer the item was carried unanimously.
ORD06: Construction of an industrial building at 18a Little Street, Camden.
This is a small industrial building proposed and an industrial area that borders residential and heritage areas.
Cr Cindy Cagney asked for an amendment. She asked that this item also be deferred for an opportunity to complete a site inspection.
Cr Theresa Fedeli asked the reason for the deferral.
Cr Cagney noted that Cr Farrow had specifically requested a deferral on this item as he was unable to attend the meeting and there had been significant concerns expressed by the residents. Cr Fedelli agreed.
Cr Cagney noted the residents weren't opposed the block being used but there was a mismatch between the old industrial zoning and residential neighbours and this was one area of conflict that needed to be addressed. She also felt that Cr Eva Campbell should be part of the discussion because of her understanding of the historical nature of the area and the local streetscapes.
Cr Symkowiak supported the amendment. She said she didn't normally like supporting delays for site inspections, particularly in reference to Cr Sidgreave’s earlier comments, but given the email from Cr Farrow specifically requesting the deferral — and his role as a South Ward councillor — she was happy to support the deferral. Cr Symkowiak said she would like to see the item come back at the next council meeting.
Amendment carried unanimously.
ORD07: Draft Camden Rural Lands Strategy and Study.
A draft report on the future use and protection of rural lands around Camden to go on public exhibition.
Cr Theresa Fedelli spoke in support of the recommendation to accept the study. She noted how important it was to maintain population growth while protecting the rural areas within the local government area. She said it was important there was a way to protect these areas at a time of significant growth.
Cr Peter Sidgreaves also supported the recommendation. He said the report was important for the future and to protect Camden's rural heritage. He encouraged residents to get out and have a look at the study while it was on exhibition. He asked residents to put in a submission confirming their support or with any other ideas they may have.
Recommendation carried unanimously.
ORD08: Determination of councillor fees.
This is the annual review and vote to determine what our councillors will be paid.
There was a little bit of silence before a motion was put to raise the payments for councillors.
Cr Morrison eventually spoke up, moving that the council accepts a 2.5% increase in fees as recommended by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal. He noted that this was the first time that an increase had been accepted by the Council since 2010/11 when a 3% increase was taken. He considered it to be fair increase considering the large amount of growth in the region. He noted that Wollondilly councillors were paid 21% higher then Camden councillors.
The motion was passed with Cr Ashleigh Cagney and Cr Cindy Cagney opposing it.
ORD09: investment monies — March 2017.
The latest report on council investments for the month of March.
Cr Theresa Fedeli said she was quite happy for the report to be noted.
ORD10: Banking Tender.
Previously the Commonwealth Bank looked after all of the Council’s banking. That contract has come to an end and a tender was put out to put in place the next contract. After comparing tenders, the Commonwealth Bank was again selected by Council officers to look after the Council’s banking.
Cr Theresa Fedeli said she was happy to have the Commonwealth Bank continue to look after the banking services of the Council for the next five years. She said it again produced the best value for money tender.