2022 candidate for City of Mitcham.
Heritage survey responses.
Do you think that Councils and community members need to have a greater voice in planning and development decisions affecting their local area?
I definitely support this position. Having been a NSW Councillor (City of Shoalhaven1999 - 2004), I saw the State Government introduce legislation to sideline councils' involvement in determining planning issues (eg private certifiers, calling in developments over a certain dollar value, introducing performance-based criteria which often watered down planning rules about suitable scale, height, density and setbacks). This has been happening for some years now in SA. Certainly, there can be unhealthy connections between some Elected Mbets and developers but at least residents can take note of how their Councillor(s) voted and not vote for them.bext time. I believe Councils need to be reinstated as the principle determiner for contentious developments.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Councils are crucial. We have a duty to protect our sense of place and this means safeguarding aspects such as heritage, culture and environmental features of an area.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
I would like the register of heritage items to have more teeth. It was shocking to me that a State Government could legally be able to demolish a building listed on the state register (ie Waite Gatehouse). I would like to see stea- based heritage documents that have legal standing. The garden suburb of Colonel Light Gardens (im.my Council area) has achieved this - it is possible - so why can't this legal framework be extended to other historically- significant places?
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
Unfortunately, I think developers have long cultivated a mindset that heritage listing blocks their ability to develop. This needn't be - just look at how many European countries manage to successfully balance development with safeguarding their historical buildings. The main benefit is holding on to the small stock of historic buildings that still remains. Australia is a young country in regards its built history. Heritage listings also clearly signal that our community respects our history.
How has the Planning and Design Code impacted on the heritage, amenity, and environment of your area? What changes would you seek to the Code?
Infill housing can be done successfully but too often, it is unimaginative and too high adensity for the land size. This can lead to loss of privacy and overshadowing for existing residents, more traffic volumes, more parked cars on suburban streets, loss of street trees to provide driveway access with no suitable space to plant replacement trees, reduced canopy and more bland built form in our streetscapes.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
See answer above for impacts. I would like developers to be offered incentives if they retain existing trees. Also an assessment of appropriate density, not just on what generates maximum profit. Setbacks that allow for the planting of a small tree and not just enough space for lomandras. More consideration be given to the effects of overshadowing and loss of privacy upon neighbouring property. I also object to the domination of streetscapes by massive lockup garages. Carports are much less visually intrusive
Construction of new housing typically uses 30% labour and 70% materials. Renovation of existing housing stock typically uses 70% labour and 30% materials. What policy changes would you like to see made to encourage people to renovate, rather than demolish and build anew?
There could be financial incentives such as a higher envelope towards the back of the development, away from the street front, providing it doesn't impact adversely upon neighbours. This could be combined with higher landfill charges for those demolishing rather than renovating. More education of residents and developers in regards the true costs of demolition versus renovation.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
Wider notification, larger signs placed prominently on the affected land, appeals rights for residents reinstated.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
Mitcham is more fortunate than most urban Council but we are still experiencing a nett canopy loss and running out of suitable public area upon which to plant. The problem is largely the extent of loss of trees on private land.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
Stronger tree protection legislation in line with other states or, ideally, better. Council staff be given authority to stop work if a tree is about to come down to check if it is authorised. Tree removalists to have to sight written legal approval for tree removal and, if they don't, they are also heavily fined for acting without viewing legal permission. Currently, only the landowner isfined for illegally removing protected trees and vegetation. Fines need to be much higher. A stop to being able to pay in leiu to remove significant trees.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
They should have authority, under the Native Vegetation Act, to enter the property and issue a stop work.orfer until legal approval is sighted.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
We have declared a climate emergency and have stated goals such as a sustainable procurement policy, fleet electrification, increased tree canopy and reduced landfill. We are building a virtual powerplant through our Community Renewables Program which enables residents access to solar batteries at no upfront costs and we are considering community street batteries that can be shared by residents.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
Cut-throughs ('rat-running'), excessive speed, unsafe road crossings, residents using their garages for storage and so parking on the street.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
Coordinated transport plans with a focus on improved public transport options, alongside installing traffic-calming measures and lower speed limits.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
More creative design in higher density proposals (such as happens in many European countries. eg The Netherlands)
Working with existing buildings, not automatically clearfelling a block
Considering the impacts of proposed development on the street,not just immediate neighbours.