23 April 2008

 

Dear Councillor,

In pursuance of the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1993 and the Regulations thereunder, notice is hereby given that a POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE MEETING of Penrith City Council is to be held in the Passadena Room, Civic Centre, 601 High Street, Penrith on Monday 28 April 2008 at 7:30PM.

Attention is directed to the statement accompanying this notice of the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting.

Yours Faithfully

 

 

Barry Husking

Acting General Manager

 

BUSINESS

 

1.           APOLOGIES

 

2.           LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Leave of absence has been granted to:

Councillor Susan Page - 21 April 2008 to 12 May 2008 inclusive.

 

3.           CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES

Policy Review Committee Meeting - 31 March 2008.

 

4.           DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Pecuniary Interest (The Act requires Councillors who declare a pecuniary interest in an item to leave the meeting during discussion of that item)

Non-Pecuniary Interest

 

5.           ADDRESSING THE MEETING

 

6.           MAYORAL MINUTES

 

7.           NOTICES OF MOTION

 

8.           ADOPTION OF REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATION OF COMMITTEES

 

9.           MASTER PROGRAM REPORTS

 

10.         URGENT REPORTS (to be dealt with in the master program to which the item relates)

 

11.         QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

 

12.         COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE


POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE MEETING

 

Monday 28 April 2008

 

table of contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

meeting calendar

 

 

confirmation of minutes

 

 

master program reports

 


 

2008 MEETING CALENDAR

February 2008 - December 2008

 

 

TIME

FEB

MAR

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

 

 

 

 

To be

confirmed.

 

 

Ordinary Meetings

7.30 pm

4

10

7

5v

 

14

4

8ü

25

 

21

19

23* 

 

 

29^

Policy Review Committee

7.30 pm

 

3

 

12#

 

7

 

1

18#+

31@

28

 

16

28

18#+

 

Councillor Briefing / Working Party / Presentation

7.30 pm

11

 

14

 

2Y

 

11

 

 

17

 

26

30

21

25

 

 

#   Meetings at which the Management Plan ¼ly reviews are presented.

^    Election of Mayor/Deputy Mayor

#+ General Manager’s presentation – half year and end of year review

@  Strategic Program progress reports [only business]

v  Meeting at which the Draft Management Plan is adopted for exhibition

ü  Meeting at which the 2007/2008 Annual Statements are presented

*    Meeting at which the Management Plan for 2008/2009 is adopted

Y   Management Plan Councillor Briefings/Public Forum (May)

 

-                 Council’s Ordinary Meetings are held on a three-week cycle where practicable.

-                 Extraordinary Meetings are held as required.

-                 Policy Review Meetings are held on a three-week cycle where practicable.

-                 Members of the public are invited to observe meetings of the Council (Ordinary and Policy Review Committee). Should you wish to address Council, please contact the Public Officer, Glenn McCarthy on 4732 7649.

 

 

 

 

 



UNCONFIRMED MINUTES

 OF THE POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE MEETING OF PENRITH CITY COUNCIL HELD IN THE PASSADENA ROOM, PENRITH

ON MONDAY 31 MARCH 2008 AT 7:41PM

PRESENT

His Worship the Mayor Councillor Greg Davies, Councillors Jim Aitken OAM, Kaylene Allison, David Bradbury, Lexie Cettolin, Kevin Crameri OAM, Ross Fowler OAM, Jackie Greenow, Karen McKeown, Susan Page, Garry Rumble, Pat Sheehy AM, and John Thain.

 

APOLOGIES

PRC 19  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Ross Fowler OAM seconded Councillor Pat Sheehy AM that apologies be received and accepted from Councillor Mark Davies.

 

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Leave of Absence was previously granted to Councillor Steve Simat for the period 11 March 2008 to 1 April 2008 inclusive.

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES - Policy Review Committee Meeting - 3 March 2008

PRC 20  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded Councillor Ross Fowler OAM that the minutes of the Policy Review Committee Meeting of 3 March 2008 be confirmed subject to the Declaration of Interest declared by Councillor Jackie Greenow being amended to read as follows:

 

“Councillor Jackie Greenow declared a Pecuniary Interest in Item 3 – Heritage Incentive Fund as she owns property that has the potential to be Heritage Listed. Councillor Greenow declared her intention to leave the meeting during debate and voting on this matter.”

 

 

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

 

 

WELCOME TO GUESTS

At this stage, His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Greg Davies extended a welcome to Communication students from the University of Western Sydney who were in attendance to observe the meeting.

  

MASTER PROGRAM REPORTS

 

Leadership and Organisation

 

The General Manager, Mr Alan Travers, gave a brief overview of the progress of the 2005-2009 Strategic Program – 30 Month Review, including Key Themes of the Strategy; Progress towards outcomes; Performance of Council’s Program and Summary of Term Achievements.

 

Presentations were then made by Directors and the Chief Financial Officer as follows:

 

Director – City Strategy: Mr Alan Stoneham

Context; Key Challenges Outside Council’s Direct Control; Key Challenges Within Council’s Direct Control;Confirming the Key Challenges; Regional City Recognition; Regional City Infrastructure and Services.

 

Councillor Garry Rumble left the meeting, the time being 8:29 pm.

 

Councillor Garry Rumble returned to the meeting, the time being 8:32 pm.

 

Director – City Planning: Mr Craig Butler

Regional City Transport; Regional City Environment.

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.

 

The meeting resumed at 9:09 pm.

 

Chief Financial Officer: Mr Barry Husking

City Centres; Penrith CBD Improvement Projects.

 

Councillor Lexie Cettolin left the meeting, the time being 9:08 pm.

 

Councillor Lexie Cettolin returned to the meeting, the time being 9:09 pm.

 

Director – City Services: Mr Steve Hackett

Magnetic Places.

 

Councillor Susan Page left the meeting at 9:28 pm and did not return.

 

Director City Operations: Mr David Burns

Recreation and Open Spaces.

 

Director – City Planning: Mr Craig Butler

Rural Lands and Catchment Health; Urban Strategy; Look of the City.

 

Director – City Strategy: Mr Alan Stoneham

Our Staff, Our Community.

 

The General Manager, Mr Alan Travers, gave concluding comments and addressed the question of Where to from Here?

 

1        2005-2009 Strategic Program - Review of Progress to December 2007                         

PRC 21  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded Councillor Ross Fowler OAM

That the information contained in the report on the 2005-2009 Strategic Program - Review of Progress to December 2007 be received.

 

 

2        2005-2009 Strategic Program Progress Review - Key Challenges                                 

PRC 22  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded Councillor Ross Fowler OAM

That the information contained in the report on the 2005-2009 Strategic Program Progress Review - Key Challenges be received.

 

 

There being no further business the Chairperson declared the meeting closed the time being 10:17pm.

    



 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

 

The City in its Broader Context

 

1        Draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008

 

2        Penrith Urban Study and Strategy 

 

3        Riverlink Precinct Plan

 

The City as a Social Place

 

4        Caddens Release Area draft Local Environmental Plan and draft Development Control Plan

 

5        Refugee Welcome Zone

    

Leadership and Organisation

 

6        Planning Online Services

 

 


 

 

 

 

THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT BLANK  INTENTIONALLY


The City in its Broader Context

 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

1        Draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008

 

2        Penrith Urban Study and Strategy 

 

3        Riverlink Precinct Plan

 

 



Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

1

Draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008   

 

Compiled by:                Allegra Zakis, Local Plan Team Leader

Authorised by:             Ruth Goldsmith, Local Planning Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Council's agreed strategies, where they relate to planning provisions, are implemented through the new Citywide Penrith Local Plan and Penrith Development Control Plan.

Critical Action: Develop the Citywide Penrith Local Plan and Development Control Plan by March 2009, as agreed with the Department of Planning.

     

Purpose:

To present to Council the draft Penrith Development Control Plan (DCP) 2008 and provide an update on the status of draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2008 (Stage 1).  The report recommends that Council endorse the draft DCP for exhibition.

 

Background

In 2005, the State Government introduced an amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Act which limited, to one, the number of Development Control Plans that could apply to any single block of land.  This was intended to make it easier for users to determine the controls applying to development on any individual property.  Although there was no limit placed on the overall number of DCPs a council could adopt, it was generally expected that there would be one primary DCP for a local government area, to complement the requirement for a single LEP.

 

Council complied with this requirement in August 2006, when it adopted Penrith DCP 2006.  This plan was essentially a compilation of all of Council’s existing DCPs into a single plan.  DCP 2006 came into effect on 15 December 2006.

 

Council staff have prepared the draft Penrith Development Control Plan (DCP) 2008 to complement draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2008 (Stage 1).  Previous briefing papers have outlined the overall structure and content of the draft DCP, and defined its role in relation to the draft LEP.  The preparation of draft Penrith DCP 2008 provides an opportunity to update the development controls applying in the City, to better reflect the strategic directions Council has taken over recent years, and to ensure that the DCP controls provide the necessary guidance to ensure future development responds to those strategic directions.

Draft Penrith DCP 2008 – principles and directions

Draft Penrith DCP 2008 has been structured to integrate the principles of sustainability into the provisions that guide development across the City.  It includes controls for a range of matters that have not previously been covered by Council policy.  It also includes provisions for Mulgoa Valley and Orchard Hills, which were previously subject to State Government development control codes and design guidelines.  As the single DCP that will apply to the City, the provisions in this document need to cover all development scenarios.  Initially, however, it will apply to just those lands covered by Stage 1 of the draft Penrith LEP 2008.  The plan has been divided into 6 sections – an Introduction, DCP Principles, Citywide controls, Specific landuse controls, Key precincts, and Appendices.

 

The integrated approach to structuring the draft DCP means that users will need to reference several parts of the document to find all the information they will need, however the DCP will be extensively cross referenced, and will include matrices which clearly set out which parts of the draft DCP are relevant for various development types.

 

Ultimately, the DCP will be available electronically, which will allow users to call up only those controls which are relevant to individual sites and specific proposals.  Building the information in the electronic framework will commence when the draft Penrith DCP 2008 has been endorsed following exhibition, but cannot be finalised until the draft Penrith DCP 2008 Stage 2 has been completed, which is anticipated to be in 2009.

Amendments to Penrith DCP 2006

Penrith DCP 2006 currently applies across the City.  When Penrith DCP 2008 comes into force, Penrith DCP 2006 will no longer apply to rural areas, industrial areas, or St Marys Town Centre.  It is therefore necessary to amend Penrith DCP 2006 to remove those controls that are no longer relevant, and ensure that there is consistency in application between the two documents.  A brief summary of the amendments required appears below:

·      The Introduction needs to be changed to make it clear that Penrith DCP 2006 does not apply to any land to which either draft Penrith DCP 2008 or any stand alone release area DCP applies.

·      Citywide and Specific Landuse controls need to continue to apply to the lands which will be included in Stage 2 of the Penrith Local Plan, such as residential development.  Section 3.6 Outdoor Trad ing and Eating Areas have been incorporated in the Penrith City Centre DCP and in draft Penrith DCP 2008 for St Marys, and can be deleted.  Sections 4.1 Industrial Land; 4.9 Rural Development and 4.10 Rural Sheds have also been incorporated in draft Penrith DCP 2008, and can be deleted.

·      Draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1) now includes provisions for Exempt and Complying development, however the provisions within Penrith DCP 2006 need to remain to provide exempt and complying provisions for land in Stage 2.  The introductory section will be amended to clarify when and where the Penrith DCP 2006 provisions will apply.

·      A number of the Key Areas will be included in the draft Penrith DCP 2008, and can be deleted.  These areas are 6.1 Luddenham Equestrian Estate; 6.24 Road Pattern in the vicinity of Hughes Avenue; 6.25 Mt Vernon; and 6.26 Land in the vicinity of Horsley Road / Mt Vernon Road, Kemps Creek.

 

An amended version of Penrith DCP 2006 will need to be exhibited.  If possible, this exhibition should coincide with the exhibition of the draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1) and draft Penrith DCP 2008, however this may depend on resourcing, and on the timing of the Department of Planning issuing the Section 65 certificate.  It is anticipated that the two draft DCPs will be presented together to Council for adoption.

Future Changes to draft Penrith DCP 2008

The draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1) will continue to change as the Department and Parliamentary Counsel considers the draft plan.  The draft Penrith DCP 2008 will therefore continue to be revised until it is formally exhibited, but its policy directions will not change.

 

The draft Penrith DCP 2008 can be finalised only when the certified draft of the LEP has been received, to ensure consistency between the two documents.  Council’s endorsement of the draft plan for exhibition at this stage, however, will ensure that (when the Section 65 certificate is issued) the exhibition of both draft plans can be advanced with minimal delays.

 

The latest version of the draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008 has been forwarded separately to Councillors, and will be tabled at tonight’s meeting.  Councillors will be provided with a copy of the finalised exhibition version of the draft Penrith LEP 2008 and the draft Penrith DCP 2008 prior to the public exhibition commencing.

Status of draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2008 (Stage 1)

Draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2008 (Stage 1) was first submitted to the Department of Planning in October 2007, with a request that a certificate be issued to allow the draft plan to proceed to exhibition.  The Department requested a number of changes, and a revised version of the plan was submitted in December 2007.

 

In late March, the Department subsequently requested that the draft plan be amended in accordance with version 3 of the Standard Template.  The majority of these changes are procedural, and will not affect the operation of the plan.  Two other key changes have been made to draft Penrith LEP 2008, which do not relate to the release of version 3 of the Standard Template, are outlined below.

 

Erskine Business Park

The first is the removal of the Erskine Business Park from the area covered by the draft Penrith LEP 2008.  The Erskine Business Park is now also subject to the draft SEPP for the Western Sydney Employment Hub (WSEH).  This SEPP will override the provisions of the LEP, and to have two draft instruments with conflicting provisions is likely to generate confusion.

 

At this stage, the chapter on Erskine Business Park that relates to part of the area of the proposed draft SEPP has not been removed from draft DCP 2006.  This is because there is some question as to how DCP controls for this land will be prepared.  Council is seeking clarification from the Department of Planning.

 

In the meantime, it is proposed that the Erskine Business Park chapter in Penrith DCP 2006 will be updated to reflect the recently adopted Section 94 Contributions Plan arrangements, the recent outcomes from the biodiversity conservation review, and other changes relating to the advancement in the planning for the road network and water management systems.  The opportunity will also be pursued to contemporise the building design and siting controls.

 

Heritage

The second major change to draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1) is the deletion of the Citywide heritage provisions.  Parliamentary Counsel has now advised that, contrary to the earlier advice from the Department of Planning, the draft Penrith LEP 2008 may only include the existing and proposed heritage items relating to the lands included in Stage 1.

 

This now requires a ‘stand alone’ amendment to Penrith LEP 1991 (Environmental Heritage Conservation) to include and protect proposed heritage items within Stage 2, as the new Heritage Study and Inventory provides detailed information on existing and proposed heritage items across the City.

 

The Department of Planning has indicated that it is likely to grant delegation to Council to issue a section 65 certificate for this plan.  This allows the exhibition to occur in conjunction with draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1).  The exhibition will be conducted in accordance with the Department’s Best Practice Guidelines for proposed heritage items that are owned by Council.

Next steps

The next step is to exhibit draft Penrith DCP 2008, concurrently with draft Penrith LEP 2008.  If possible, the revised draft Penrith DCP 2006 and the amendment to Penrith LEP 1991 (Environmental Heritage Conservation) should also be exhibited at the same time.

 

The exhibition process cannot commence until the Department of Planning has issued a Section 65 certificate to allow exhibition of the draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1).  Indications from the Department suggest that approval for exhibition may be issued in late April or early May 2008.  In the meantime, minor changes to the draft Penrith DCP 2008 will continue.  It is anticipated that the Section 65 certificate will not require further changes to draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1).

 

When the exhibition commences, there will be a range of information available to the community to explain both the draft LEP and draft DCP, their application and how they are best used.  Councillors will be provided with a copy of the final draft plans and explanatory material prior to commencement of the exhibition.

Conclusion

The preparation of draft Penrith DCP 2008 has included an extensive review of the content and structure of Penrith DCP 2006.  There was a strong focus on moving beyond the replication of existing controls, and in drawing on innovative and contemporary planning controls to better reflect Council’s commitment to sustainability.  The result is a document which is relevant to all forms of development covered by draft Penrith LEP 2008, and which provides clearer guidance to the community and developers on the form that the City’s future development should take.

 

Draft Penrith DCP 2008 has been developed as an integrated plan, and exhibition of the draft plan will provide an opportunity for the community, including landowners and developers, to provide comments.  This feedback will be used to further improve the draft DCP, prior to its presentation to Council for endorsement.

 

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008 be received.

2.     Further necessary changes be made to the draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008 prior to exhibition, to ensure consistency with draft Penrith LEP 2008 (Stage 1).

3.     Draft Penrith Development Control Plan 2008 be publicly exhibited, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 and associated Regulations.

4.     Amendments to Penrith Development Control Plan 2006 be publicly exhibited, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 and associated Regulations, as outlined in this report.

5.     An amendment to Penrith Local Environmental Plan 1991 (Environmental Heritage Conservation) be publicly exhibited, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 and associated Regulations, as outlined in this report.

6.     The amendment to Penrith Local Environmental Plan 1991 (Environmental Heritage Conservation) be exhibited in accordance with the Department of Planning document entitled “LEPs and Council Land – Best Practice Guideline for councils using delegated powers to prepare LEPs involving land that is or was previously owned or controlled by Council”, in as far as that plan relates to newly proposed heritage items.

7.     Further reports be presented to Council following the exhibition.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

There are no attachments for this report.


Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

2

Penrith Urban Study and Strategy    

 

Compiled by:                Tanya Jackson, Local Plan Team Leader

Authorised by:             Ruth Goldsmith, Local Planning Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Council's agreed strategies, where they relate to planning provisions, are implemented through the new Citywide Penrith Local Plan and Penrith Development Control Plan.

Critical Action: Develop the Citywide Penrith Local Plan and Development Control Plan by March 2009, as agreed with the Department of Planning.

     

Purpose:

To advise Councillors of the program for undertaking the City's new Urban Study and Urban Strategy, including the proposed communications framework.  The report recommends that the Urban Study and Urban Strategy program is endorsed.

 

Background

Council last undertook a major review of the City’s existing and proposed urban areas in 1997, with the resultant Residential Strategy guiding the preparation of Penrith Local Environmental Plan 1998 (Urban Land).  The key drivers for undertaking the current Urban Study and Strategy are:

·        the need to provide a strategic framework to manage future growth in the City’s existing and proposed urban areas, and meet the needs of a changing and diverse community;

·        to meet the housing targets, policy and planning directions set by the NSW State Government’s Metropolitan Strategy and recently released draft North West Regional Strategy;

·        to guide the preparation of planning controls for Stage 2 of the Penrith Local Plan which will rezone the residential areas and local centres across the City, consistent with the State Government’s Standard Local Environmental Plan (LEP) Template.

 

In December 2007, planning consultants were invited to submit proposals to develop an Urban Study and Urban Strategy for the City.  Council received 13 submissions to the Urban Study and Strategy brief.

 

An internal Project team comprising Managers, or their representatives, from Development Services, Community and Cultural Development, Environmental Planning and Local Planning was established to review the submissions.  HASSELL planning and urban design was selected as the preferred consultant, and was formally engaged to commence preparation of the Urban Study and Strategy in February 2008.

Urban Study and Strategy

The program for preparing the Urban Study and Strategy is in three stages, as follows:

March – May                   research, ground-truthing, community surveys, reference group meetings, website program information

April – August                  preparation of Urban Study and development of draft Urban Strategy

October – November       public exhibition of the Urban Study and draft Urban Strategy, including letters, community workshops, website information.

 

Depending on the extent of matters raised during the public exhibition, a revised draft urban Strategy would be presented to Council for adoption in either December 2008, or early in 2009.  The key objectives and outputs of the process are outlined below.

To prepare an Urban Study that:

·        Recognises past, contemporary and emerging policy influences on local residential urban outcomes, particularly NSW Government Metropolitan Strategy and Sub-regional planning direction;

·        Identifies the range of housing types required to meet the City’s current and projected demographic profile;

·        Identifies centres, suburbs and locations where residential densities could be increased in the future and how these potential areas will integrate with existing neighbourhoods and communities;

·        Identifies the infrastructure, including transport and community facilities, that would be generated by increasing residential densities in specific areas;

·        Describes the current ‘liveability’ and design quality of residential flat buildings and multi-unit housing;

·        Identifies the current and future context for affordable housing in the City;

·        Identifies the current and future context for sustainable housing in the City;

·        Identifies limits to growth such as existing urban character, existing density, access to support services, environmental constraints etc;

·        Identifies other non residential uses in the urban areas and considers how these will integrate with existing neighbourhood and community.

 

To prepare an Urban Strategy that:

·        responds to the five key objectives in the Metropolitan ‘Housing’ chapter, in the context of Penrith as a City, being:

C1 –  supply and sustainability

C2 –  location and diversity

C3 –  local centres

C4 –  affordability

C5 –  design quality;

·        outlines and prioritises strategies and actions for implementation;

·        addresses the issues raised in the Urban Study, including:

~     quantity and mix of housing required to meet the City’s needs until 2031,

~     location for additional dwellings and increased (or decreased) residential densities, including any changes required to the adopted ‘Centres Hierarchy’,

~     infrastructure needs that would be generated by increasing residential densities in specific areas,

~     implementing an affordable housing policy,

~     ensuring housing is sustainable,

~     improvements to current development standards and planning controls,

~     specific planning and management initiatives that may be needed in specific areas, including the designation of specific zones, new development controls and urban infrastructure initiatives,

~     specific planning initiatives that would be needed in local centres;

·        identifies performance indicators and a methodology through which Council may assess the effectiveness of the Strategy in delivering the identified outcomes.

 

The Urban Strategy will provide direction on initiatives beyond those that will be delivered by the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan (Stage 2), such as lobbying Government for legislative changes to support the delivery of affordable housing, accessible and adaptable housing, and seeking commitment for the additional infrastructure generated by increasing densities and population in specific areas.

Communications framework

An important element in the development of Council’s Urban Study and Urban Strategy is an effective framework for communication, consultation and participation.  The communications framework seeks to be comprehensive, and provide a range of opportunities and forums for the participation of residents, landowners, business and community groups throughout the City.  The communications framework includes:

 

Reference groups and internal workshops

Two reference groups have been established to advise the Urban Study and Strategy Project Team of issues, and potential initiatives, relating to future growth, housing and development in the City to the year 2031.  The reference groups are:

External Reference Group –     comprises local community groups who have a key involvement in local housing and service provision within Penrith, namely Great Community Transport; Mission Australia; Wentworth Area Community Housing; Western Sydney Area Health; Thorndale Foundation; Tri Community Exchange; Penrith Women’s Health Centre; SPYNS Inc; and Neighbourhood Renewal Department of Housing.

Internal Reference Group –      comprises staff from relevant Council Departments, to provide comments, information and advice relating to their areas of expertise, and contribute to the preparation of the Urban Study and Strategy.

 

Information will also be drawn from the stakeholder and community consultations carried out as part of the Ageing Strategy, and the Infrastructure Strategy, both of which are currently underway.  There will also be a series of internal workshops held with staff on specific issues, such as development standards and planning controls.

 

 

 

Surveys

Surveys of residents in a number of multi-unit housing areas will be conducted to seek an understanding about the quality of these developments.  The survey will target key areas where medium development has occurred and will investigate older forms of development together with more contemporary approaches.

 

The aim of the survey is to seek feedback from the occupiers of dwellings about whether the development meets their needs from both a useability perspective and whether the local area provides a quality environment in which to reside.  The survey will also seek feedback from residents who placed submissions to Council about specific developments, in an effort to see if their concerns have been adequately dealt with by the consent or if the concerns raised continue to remain unresolved.

 

The findings of the survey will be used in the development of the planning policies that will be formulated to guide and shape development into the future.

 

The two methods proposed are:

1.       A survey of residents living in residential flat buildings and multi-unit housing, and persons who made submissions to the original development application.  The focus of these surveys will be on the urban design, quality and ‘liveability’ of the medium density housing form.  The neighbourhoods to be surveyed include Oxley Park; Barker, Hall and Atchison Streets, St Marys; Werrington; and Mulgoa Road and Jamison Road, Penrith.

A letter will advise residents of the survey and its purpose.  Residents will be invited to post the completed surveys, or to meet with the survey team at identified ‘listening posts’ in nearby shopping centres at specified times.

2.       A general survey will also be placed on Council’s website for interested members of the community to complete.

 

Council’s website

As well as hosting the community survey, Council’s website will provide information on the proposed program and progress of the Urban Study and Urban Strategy.  The website will also provide information regarding the progress of the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan and draft Penrith Development Control Plan (Stage 2), as planning controls are prepared in response to the recommendations of the Urban Strategy.

 

Public exhibition and workshops

The draft Urban Study and Urban Strategy will be publicly exhibited for 4 – 6 weeks.  Advertisements, and information inviting submissions on the draft Urban Study and Strategy will be placed in local newspapers, Council’s website, and in Council offices and libraries (Penrith and St Marys).

 

Letters will be sent to residents, business and community groups within the residential and neighbourhood centres across the City, encouraging feedback on the draft Study and Strategy, and inviting attendance at public forums to be held in each ward during the exhibition period.  Supporting documentation will be provided in a ‘plain English’ format to assist in the understanding of the draft Urban Study and Strategy.

 

Councillor Briefing Sessions

Councillors will be advised of the status of the Urban Study and Strategy program, and issues as they emerge from the consultations on the Study and preparation of the Strategy, in a series of Briefing Sessions (May, June, July, and August 2008).  It is anticipated that, at this stage, an initial draft Strategy will be presented for Councillors’ consideration in July 2008, and finalised for exhibition over the next couple of months.  Public exhibition of the draft Urban Strategy is expected to be in October and November 2008.

Penrith Local Environmental Plan and Penrith Development Control Plan (Stage 2)

There are a number of tasks relating to the preparation of the draft Penrith LEP and DCP (Stage 2) that can be advanced independently of the Urban Strategy process.  Due to the tight timeframes set by the Department of Planning for completion of the Penrith Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Penrith Development Control Plan (DCP), the preparation of the broader urban zones and planning controls will commence over the next few months, and progress concurrently with the preparation of the draft Urban Strategy.

 

Notwithstanding the need to progress the two processes concurrently, provisions or planning controls that respond to the recommendations of the draft Urban Strategy will not be finalised until the Urban Strategy has been adopted by Council.  It is anticipated that the draft Penrith LEP and DCP (Stage 2) will be finalised for exhibition in the first quarter of 2009.

Conclusion

The development of a new Citywide Urban Study and Urban Strategy is a major undertaking that will provide a policy framework and identify initiatives to manage future growth, and respond to housing needs, in the City’s existing and proposed residential areas and neighbourhood centres to the year 2031.

 

The Urban Strategy will provide policy directions to inform the preparation of planning controls for the draft Penrith LEP and DCP (Stage 2), as well as identifying initiatives such as lobbying Government for legislative changes to support the delivery of affordable housing, accessible and adaptable housing, and seeking commitment for the additional infrastructure generated by increasing densities and population in specific areas.

 

Given the Department of Planning’s timeframe requiring a new Citywide LEP and DCP by March 2009, the next 6 months will require an intensive focus on progressing the Urban Study and preparing the draft Urban Strategy.  The proposed communications framework aims to encourage feedback, as part of developing the Urban Study and Strategy and prior to exhibition, from residents, landowners, business and community groups throughout the City.

 

More extensive consultations, focussing on the neighbourhoods identified as having potential for future growth, as well as the City’s broader communities, will be undertaken as part of the exhibition of the Urban Study and draft Urban Strategy later in 2008, and then as part of the subsequent exhibition of the draft Penrith LEP and DCP (Stage 2) in early 2009.

 

Councillors will be provided with regular updates regarding the progress of the Urban Study and Urban Strategy.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Penrith Urban Study and Strategy  be received.

2.     Council endorse the Urban Study and Urban Strategy program, including the proposed communications framework, as outlined in this report.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

There are no attachments for this report.


Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

3

Riverlink Precinct Plan   

 

Compiled by:                Liza Cordoba, Senior Environmental Planner

Rachel Hannan, Environmental Planner

Authorised by:             Ruth Goldsmith, Local Planning Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Penrith City Centre provides a comprehensive range of economic and human and lifestyle services to Outer Western Sydney and Central Western New South Wales.

Critical Action: Facilitate the implementation of the adopted Penrith City Centre Strategy.

     

Purpose:

To summarise the outcomes of the exhibition of the draft Riverlink Precinct Plan.  The report recommends that the attached revised draft Riverlink Precinct Plan be adopted by Council.

 

Background

At Council’s Policy Review Committee meeting of 19 November 2007, Council was advised of the current planning investigations underway for the area known as ‘Riverlink’.

 

The draft Riverlink Precinct Plan, presented at that meeting, sets the framework for future development in the whole precinct, and ensures that elements such as access, traffic, flood impacts and land uses are determined within the context of the broader area.  The Precinct Plan responds to Penrith’s status as a Regional City, by identifying land uses that would contribute to the vitality and viability of the City, and also provide better links to the Nepean River.

 

The detailed identification of appropriate land uses in the area will be guided by the broader Precinct Plan principles, and also defined by the flood hazard risk assessment of each individual land use.  A final determination of the flood impacts relies on the completion of the review of Nepean River flood modelling, however, as the draft Precinct Plan is a broad policy document, it is appropriate to establish policy direction and guidance on possible future uses by progressing the draft Precinct Plan on the basis of the 1 in 100 flood level.

 

The draft Riverlink Precinct Plan was the outcome of an examination of the area’s constraints and opportunities, and was prepared by Council officers, with some input from Cox Richardson and Manidis Roberts (consultants engaged by Panthers/ING Real Estate).  The draft Precinct Plan incorporated the following urban design principles:

·      creating a cohesive and well connected precinct

·      enhancing and activating Mulgoa Road as a significant approach to Penrith City Centre

·      reinforcing key intersections as gateways to the Precinct and the Penrith City Centre

·      creating a clear and legible public domain framework of streets and open space

·      creating a new north-south access link between Jamison Road and the Great Western Highway

·      extending Ransley Street west through the Panthers site to allow access to Peachtree Creek (and through to the Nepean River)

·      creating an exciting core of entertainment, leisure and lifestyle uses around the existing club

·      incorporating sustainability best practice

·      connecting Riverlink pathways with the Great River Walk

·      encouraging views of the Blue Mountains from the public domain

·      encouraging design excellence

·      improving connectivity through the Precinct, and

·      enhancing Peachtree Creek.

 

The draft Precinct Plan proposes activity nodes focused on:

·      Entertainment, tourism, leisure and lifestyle

·      Mixed use

·      Residential

·      Flood compatible uses

·      Employment

·      District community and cultural facilities

·      Open space.

 

There are varying degrees of flood hazard, based on a flood event.  ‘Flood compatible uses’ are uses located on land that is affected by the 1 in 100 flood event, and are typically those that do not unduly compromise human safety or other development because of the use, and other physical constraints such as evacuation.  It is envisaged that the subsequent studies that are required to inform the masterplan process will identify specific land uses that minimise those risks, for example non-residential development.

 

Council’s meeting of 19 November 2007 resolved to consult with land owners in the Riverlink Precinct, and invite comments on the draft Riverlink Precinct Plan.

Exhibition Process

The draft Riverlink Precinct Plan was publicly exhibited from 11 December 2007 to 25 January 2008.  Displays of the draft Precinct Plan were placed in the foyer of Council’s Civic Centre and St Marys Queens Street Office.  The draft Precinct Plan was also displayed in the foyer of the Panthers Leagues Club.  Owners were invited, by letter, to view the display and make a written comment to the draft Precinct Plan.  In addition, advertisements were placed in the newspapers at the beginning of, and later during, the exhibition period.

 

A report accompanied the exhibition of the draft Riverlink Precinct Plan, containing information regarding the site analysis, including zoning, existing development, topography, flooding, existing open space, significant vegetation and landscape corridors, views, major intersections, traffic and access, and a summary of the opportunities and constraints.

 

At the invitation of the Mountainview Retirement Village, Council officers provided a presentation to the Body Corporate on behalf of the residents of the retirement village.  In addition, a meeting was held separately with property owners in Blaikie RoadTench Avenue and Nepean AvenueLadbury Avenue.  The issues raised in the meetings are incorporated in the following section of this report.

 

In response to requests to extend the consultation, the date for receiving submissions was extended until 29 February 2008.  Property owners were advised in writing of the revised closing date.

 

A total of 99 submissions were received to the exhibited draft Riverlink Precinct Plan.  The issues raised in the submissions, which will be discussed in more detail in the following section of this report, include:

·      flooding

·      traffic

·      development opportunities

·      pedestrian / cycle access

·      amenity

·      governance.

 

On 27 March 2008, following the close of the consultation period, an information session was held with property owners.  Council officers identified the issues raised in the 99 submissions, and the proposed response to the issues.  At that meeting, residents were also presented with a revised draft Precinct Plan (as attached to this report).  Residents were invited to comment on the revised draft Precinct Plan.

 

All property owners were also formally advised of the issues arising out of the consultation process, as had been presented at the information session.  The letter included a copy of the revised Precinct Plan, and advised that the revised draft Precinct Plan would be reported to Council’s Policy Review Committee meeting of 28 April 2008.  Landowners were invited to contact Council officers with any further questions or comments regarding the revised draft Precinct Plan.  Two submissions were received following the presentation and distribution of the revised draft Precinct Plan, raising the following issues:

·      Objection to the location of the potential north-south road link to the Great Western Highway (west of the ambulance station) through private property.

·      Concern about the large area of ‘flood compatible uses’, particularly as the future development opportunities were dependant on the findings of the flood study.  An opportunity to consider the flood study, and make further comments on the revised draft Riverlink Precinct Plan, or any development applications associated with the plan, was requested as soon as possible, and before specific proposals were presented to Council for consideration.

 

It was clear, through the exhibition process, that there was some uncertainty about the role of a Precinct Plan.  The information sessions conducted during the consultation period assisted in informing residents of the planning process for the Riverlink Precinct, and that the exhibition of the draft Precinct Plan was:

·      to articulate, through an urban design diagram, a vision for the precinct based on existing constraints and opportunities;

·      the initial step in the planning examination for the precinct; and

·      to be followed by later and more detailed identification of land uses and other planning matters, with further opportunities remaining for consultation with the public.

Issues raised in submissions

1.    Flooding

The main issues centred on the flood modelling, including the use of different ‘base lines’ (eg the 1 in 100 flood level or levels up to the Probable Maximum Flood line).  Questions were also raised whether any future proposals will still need to address flood impacts (as part of a development application).

 

There was some concern that the property owners in the Blaikie Road and Tench Avenue area had been requested to undertake a flood study, which was subsequently not supported by Council’s technical specialists.  In submissions, the landowner group also sought policy direction regarding viable future development options that would better meet the State Emergency Service’s evacuation requirements.  The submissions also requested Council’s assistance in examining possible future development scenarios in the current flood study.

 

An observation was made that it seemed unreasonable that the ‘creek system’, as shown on the exhibited draft Precinct Plan, was wider south of Jamison Road, when compared to the area north of Jamison Road.

 

Comments

A significant area of the land between Peachtree Creek and the eastern bank of the Nepean River lies within the 1 in 100 year flood level, including the existing residential areas in Nepean Avenue and Ladbury Avenue.

 

The NSW Floodplain Manual requires all planning investigations to consider flooding impacts of an area up to the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF).  This is a key requirement for Council when it is examining flood liable land, and especially when it is considering any changes to the development opportunities of that land through a change in zoning.  Critical to the process is addressing the hazard management, including any comments or requirements provided by the State Emergency Services, and other agencies.

 

Any development proposal in the Riverlink Precinct must therefore address the impacts of flooding in the area, which is complicated by the behaviour of floodwaters and local drainage characteristics.  The detailed examination of the flood impacts will determine the potential for specific future developments in the area.

 

In relation to the Blaikie Road and Tench Avenue group’s comments about their flood study, it should be noted that it was not the flood study itself that generated Council staff concerns, but the development scenario for additional rural-residential dwellings which formed the basis for the flood study modelling.  The landowners and their consultant had previously been advised that, due to the particular hazards likely to be experienced in this area, any development that proposed to introduce additional permanent residents would not be supported.  This approach is consistent with the policy directions for this area, which were endorsed by Council on 4 July 2005, following adoption of the broader Rural lands Strategy in September 2003.  The State Emergency Service (SES) was also consulted and advised it was not supportive of a proposal that introduced additional residents. 

 

The exhibited draft Riverlink Precinct Plan was based on the identified constraints within the Precinct.  The area noted as ‘creek system’ generally follows the line of Peachtree Creek but also included some areas that are quickly inundated near the Motorway.  The area identified as ‘creek system’ south of Jamison Road has been reduced in the revised draft Precinct Plan. Once again, the precise bounds of the floodline will become clearer through future modelling.

 

2.    Pedestrian / Cycle Access

There was generally support for the proposed pedestrian and cycle routes through the Riverlink Precinct.  Some questions were raised about the likely levels of future use, given the popularity of the existing route along Nepean Avenue, and concern regarding the route of the proposed pedestrian / cycle link along Peachtree Creek, due to potential conflict with the golf course currently being constructed.

 

It was also noted that the proposed pedestrian / cycle paths did not connect to existing areas within the Precinct, such as the Anakai Drive and McNaughton Street residential area.  It was noted that there is a well used pedestrian laneway connection, from Anakai Drive through to Mulgoa Road (via Stuart Street), and it was suggested that the proposed pedestrian / cycle access should connect to the existing laneway.

 

Comments

The existing pedestrian / cycle paths in the Riverlink Precinct are currently well used by residents of the precinct, and of the broader City area.  Whilst they currently serve this population well, the Penrith City Centre Plan provides for an additional 10,000 residents within the City Centre by 2031, which is part of the 50,000 more people proposed in the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy within that same timeframe.  A broader range of pathways will be required to meet the recreation and leisure needs of the City’s growing population, with many offering a different experience, and providing connections to the City Centre and adjacent areas.

 

The draft Precinct Plan shows only indicative routes for pathways and other links.  The more detailed planning investigations to follow this process will determine appropriate routes for the pedestrian / cycle links, including consideration of any existing development such as the golf course.  The revised draft Riverlink Precinct Plan proposes a link between the proposed pedestrian / cycle link and the laneway at Anakai Drive.

 

3.    Traffic

A considerable number of submissions objected to a road connection between Nepean Avenue and Jamison Rd, and between the Panthers site and Nepean Avenue.  Primarily, the objections related to the likely increase in night-time traffic, and additional noise.

 

Concern was also expressed about the exhibition of the draft Precinct Plan without a traffic impact study, the likely impact of the Jane Street extension on the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Great Western Highway, and access to the Rowing Club and Weir Reserve.

 

Comments

The exhibited draft Precinct Plan incorporated urban design responses such as appropriate future access arrangements, including a potential ‘link’ between Nepean Avenue and Jamison Road.  The draft Precinct Plan has been revised to clarify that the possible future ‘link’ will only be further investigated as a potential emergency evacuation route (restricted access).  The proposed revision was supported at the most recent community information session.

 

The proposed Jane Street extension design, currently being prepared by the Roads and Traffic Authority, will include consideration of the Memorial Avenue and Great Western Highway intersection, access to the Rowing Club and Weir Reserve, and the intersection of Mulgoa Road / Castlereagh Road with the Great Western Highway.

 

4.    Development Opportunities

Some submissions expressed concern about the different opportunities for development across the precinct, as shown on the exhibited draft Riverlink Precinct Plan.  These submissions sought a more ‘uniform’ development pattern across the Precinct, notwithstanding the different patterns of ownership.  There was also concern about the likelihood of future developments occurring where the land ownership was particularly fragmented.

 

Comments

The exhibited draft Precinct Plan was based on an examination of existing opportunities and constraints.  It therefore identified, as most appropriate to support future development, the areas that were unlikely to be affected by flood or local drainage.  Subsequent modelling of development scenarios will test a range of land uses and their distribution across the precinct in light of the flooding patterns.

 

5.    River Access and Amenity

There was general support to improving access to the Nepean River, and that improvements would be required to some sections of the riverbank.  Concern was raised about the impact of future development on existing residents, particularly noise, traffic, potential increase in anti-social behaviour, and the possible impact on property values.

 

Comments

The exhibited draft Precinct Plan indicated areas where future development may occur.  Detailed planning investigations of the precinct, being the next step in the process, will examine the appropriateness and suitability of specific land uses and where they should best be located within the precinct, having regard to likely impacts such as traffic and noise.  Additionally, land required for a community or public benefit will be considered at the more detailed planning level for likely inclusion in a contributions plan or acquisition under a voluntary planning agreement.

 

6.    Governance

Concerns were raised regarding the involvement of Panthers/ING in the development of the exhibited draft Precinct Plan in contrast to other landowners in the precinct.  It was suggested that the draft Precinct Plan review should be undertaken by an independent body.

 

Questions were raised regarding the previous filling works that had occurred on Council’s land, known as the Carpenter site, and whether there was flood modelling carried out prior to the filling.

 

Comments

The draft Precinct Plan was developed by Council officers with some input from Cox Richardson and Manidis Roberts (consultants engaged by Panthers/ING).  It is based on existing constraints and opportunities.  The exhibition of the draft Precinct Plan provided a basis on which Council could consult with landowners in the Precinct, to ascertain views on their vision for the future of the Riverlink Precinct.

 

The revised draft Precinct Plan, as attached, was prepared and revised by Council officers following consideration of the issues raised in submissions.  This revised draft Precinct Plan was presented to the March meeting with landowners.  No objections were raised to the revised draft Precinct Plan in the meeting.

 

The filling of the Carpenter site was subject to a Development Application process, including a consideration of likely flood impacts.  The development assessment, as is the case with all Council Development applications, was independently assessed and audited.

 

7.    Other Matters

A number of the submissions sought clarity regarding the activity areas shown on the exhibited draft Precinct Plan, questioning detail on land uses and viability of the activities, and enquired whether land was being rezoned by the draft Precinct Plan.

 

There was support that the views of the Nepean River and Blue Mountains are ‘pastoral’ and unique, and should be protected.  It was also suggested that Council should also make Mulgoa Road more efficient.

 

Comments

As already mentioned, some of the submissions indicated uncertainty regarding the role of a Precinct Plan.  Whilst the Precinct Plan will not rezone land, it will assist Council in its future preparation of planning controls for the Precinct.  Questions relating to land uses, including the intended amount of floorspace and building height, are part of the more detailed planning examination that will be undertaken in the next stage.

 

The comments relating to improving Mulgoa Road emanated from concerns in submissions that a second, similar road was required to connect Jamison Road and the Great Western Highway.  Mulgoa Road is an essential north-south arterial road for the City, whereas any future roads within the Riverlink Precinct would be only to serve local traffic.  The Roads and Traffic Authority is responsible for any required improvements, including the future replacement of the roundabout with traffic signals at the intersection of Mulgoa Road and Jamison Road.

 

8.    Existing Concerns

Existing issues were also raised, including:

·      noise from Panthers Pavilion and Stadium,

·      traffic and parking during events, particularly on the private road to the Mountainview Retirement Village (north of the Ransley Street roundabout), especially impacts on pedestrian safety,

·      maintenance of Peachtree Creek and stormwater drains, and

·      no footpath on McNaughton Street.

 

 

Comments

Noise from the Pavilion and Stadium and traffic management during events are issues that Panthers continue to monitor and address.  Council’s Environmental Health section has not received any formal complaints in recent years regarding noise from the Pavilion or Stadium.  The subjective nature of noise concerns means that Council staff need specific details about the time, date and nature of the noise disturbance in order to respond.  Panthers has advised that traffic management during events will, in future, include the areas adjacent to and north of the Ransley Street roundabout.

 

Concerns about the maintenance of Peachtree Creek and the stormwater drain have been referred to the Environmental Health Department.  Council’s Stormwater Officer has inspected the creek with residents, and a specialised ‘spider’ excavator was recently deployed to clear weeds and debris from the creek without major disturbance to the native vegetation.  Council has engaged consultants to undertake a detailed assessment of the creek system to prioritise long term options for managing Peachtree Creek as a natural creek system, and will be contacting residents regarding this process.

 

Council has adopted a Footpath Construction Program for the existing residential areas in the City.  Whilst McNaughton Street is not currently on this program, this matter has been referred to Council’s City Works Department for consideration for future footpath construction programs.

Revised draft Riverlink Precinct Plan

On 27 March 2008, residents and landowners were invited to attend a meeting where Council staff identified the issues raised in the 99 submissions, and the proposed response to each.  The Precinct Plan was revised to respond to the key concerns of the potential ‘link’ between Nepean Avenue and Jamison Road, and the land-take up of the ‘creek system’.  Other issues, relating to flooding, the purpose of exhibiting a draft Precinct Plan, and details on land uses, likely form and scale of developments including links and connections, were explained by Council officers at each meeting, and discussed with residents and landowners.

 

At the meeting, and in a subsequent letter, residents and landowners were presented with the revised draft Precinct Plan (as attached to this report) and were invited to comment on the proposed changes.  Two submissions were subsequently received, in regard to the revised draft Precinct Plan.  The issues were:

·      an objection to the location of the potential north-south road link to the Great Western Highway (west of the ambulance station), as it is through private property.

·      a request for an opportunity to consider the flood study, and then make further comments on the revised draft Riverlink Precinct Plan.  An opportunity to comment on any development applications within the Precinct prior to them being presented to Council for consideration.

 

Comments

The revised draft Precinct Plan provides an indication of the areas considered appropriate for various types of land uses throughout the Riverlink Precinct.  It is based on an analysis of existing constraints and opportunities.  Details on the precise location, form and scale of roads and pathways will be carried out in the next stage of detailed planning for the Precinct.

 

The future development opportunities in the Precinct will be guided by the outcomes of the current flood modelling study.  More detailed analysis of each area within the Precinct will clarify suitable land uses, and their appropriate locations.  Both the broader principles of the Riverlink Precinct Plan, and the more detailed analysis will inform the preparation of planning controls for the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan (Stage 2).  Landowners and residents will also be invited to comment on the proposed draft planning controls for the Riverlink Precinct.

 

The draft Riverlink Precinct Plan provides policy direction not only for intending developers, but also for Council staff who are required to assess development applications within the Precinct.  The EP&A Act allows proponents to submit a development application for a land use that is permitted under the current zoning controls.

 

Under the provisions of the EP&A Act, Council is required to determine such applications in a timely manner, notwithstanding the status of draft policy documents, such as the draft Riverlink Precinct Plan.  Adjoining landowners would generally be notified of a development application (depending on the scale of the proposal) and invited to comment on the proposal.

Next Steps

The draft Riverlink Precinct Plan process was not sufficiently advanced to enable it to be included in the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2008 (Stage 1).  Subject to Council’s endorsement of the draft Precinct Plan, it will therefore be incorporated in the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan (Stage 2).  By that time, the current flood study will have been completed, and a more detailed understanding of suitable locations for land uses developed.  Other studies, for matters such as traffic and access, and economic viability, will be required to support future masterplans or development proposals.

 

In the meantime, to provide guidance for the preparation of any masterplans or development proposals within the Precinct, it is recommended that Council endorse the draft Riverlink Precinct Plan (as revised and attached to this report) as an Interim Policy.  This is an approach that was used during the preparation of the draft Penrith City Centre plans, where emerging development proposals and concepts generated the need for specific policy guidance ahead of finalising the relevant planning controls, and exhibition of the draft Penrith City Centre LEP.

 

The landowners and residents of the Riverlink Precinct will be invited to comment on the draft planning controls for the Precinct when they are developed.

Conclusion

The preparation of the draft Riverlink Precinct Plan is a key step in providing clarity and policy direction for the development opportunities that may occur in future in the Precinct.

 

It is recommended that the revised draft Riverlink Precinct Plan (as attached) is endorsed as an Interim Policy.  This enables the adopted Precinct Plan to guide the preparation of more detailed masterplans or development proposals for properties in the area, and ensure recognition of the context and significant role of the Riverlink Precinct in connecting a Regional City Centre and its River.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Riverlink Precinct Plan be received

2.     The revised Riverlink Precinct Plan, as attached to this report, be adopted by Council as an Interim Policy

3.     The policy directions outlined in the adopted Riverlink Precinct Plan be used to guide the preparation of planning controls in the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan and Penrith Development Control Plan (Stage 2)

4.     The landowners and residents of the Riverlink Precinct be invited to comment on the draft planning controls for the Precinct when they are developed.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

1. View

Riverlink Precinct Plan

1 Page

Appendix

2. View

Revised Draft Riverlink Precinct Plan map

1 Page

Appendix

  


Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

Appendix 1 - Riverlink Precinct Plan

 

 

 

Riverlink Precinct Plan Elements

 

The Precinct is based on a mix of activity nodes, whereby a diverse range of land uses and services are provided throughout the Precinct.  A substantial entertainment and leisure-based focus will be prevalent in identified areas in the Precinct.  A range of entertainment activities will be provided. These will attract visitors from an extensive catchment in addition to servicing the local community. The Precinct will be a living and working hub. It will include a diversity of residential and employment activities.

A key focus in the Riverlink Precinct will be on providing for the community and cultural needs, including additional cultural facilities.

The public domain throughout the precinct will be ‘state of the art’ and feature design excellence and practicality through connectivity.  A series of open space linkages will preserve areas for active and passive recreation and ensure land remains for natural habitats.  A series of linkages will encourage walkability and easy access to activity nodes in the Precinct. Gateways for entering the sites will be strengthened and reinforced from major roads and thoroughfares.

The heritage significance of all heritage items in the Precinct (Madang Park, the pumping station and the ambulance station) will be recognised and valued.  View corridors offering vantage to the Blue Mountains will be reinforced.

 

Precinct Urban Design Principles

 

The planning of the Riverlink Precinct presents an excellent opportunity to employ precinct-wide design principles. The key principles are:

     Creating a cohesive and well connected precinct.

     Enhancing and activating Mulgoa Road as a significant approach to Penrith City Centre.

     Reinforcing key intersections as gateways to the Precinct and the Penrith City Centre.

     Creating a clear and legible public domain framework of streets and open space.

     Creating a new local north-south access link between Jamison Road and the Great Western Highway.

     Extending Ransley Street west through the Panthers site, connecting to the open space corridor.

     Creating an exciting core of entertainment, leisure and lifestyle uses around the existing club.

     Incorporating sustainability best practice.

     Connecting Riverlink pathways with the Great River Walk.

     Encouraging views of the Blue Mountains from the public domain.

     Encouraging design excellence.

     Improving connectivity through the Precinct.

     Enhancing Peach Tree Creek.

 

 


Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

Appendix 2 - Revised Draft Riverlink Precinct Plan map

 

 

 

  


 

 

 

 

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The City as a Social Place

 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

4        Caddens Release Area draft Local Environmental Plan and draft Development Control Plan

 

5        Refugee Welcome Zone

 

 



Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

The City as a Social Place

 

 

The City as a Social Place

 

 

4

Caddens Release Area draft Local Environmental Plan and draft Development Control Plan   

 

Compiled by:                Anthony Milanoli, Senior Environmental Planner

Authorised by:             Roger Nethercote, Environmental Planning Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Cohesive communities are formed based on sustainable, safe and satisfying living and working environments.

Critical Action: Prepare and implement plans (based on Council's Sustainability Blueprint for new Release Areas) for each new release area that deliver quality, sustainable living and working environments..

 

Presenters:                   Camille Abbott, Project Director - Landcom - Caddens Draft Plans    

Purpose:

To present a report on the draft Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and draft Development Control Plan (DCP) for the Caddens Release Area, which rezones the land for a mix of residential, employment, recreation and environmental conservation purposes and provides controls for the development of the precinct.  The report recommends that Council adopt the draft LEP and draft DCP for Caddens Release Area and seek Department of Planning authorisation to exhibit the draft LEP

 

Introduction

This report examines the merit of proceeding with a draft Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and draft Development Control Plan (DCP) for the Caddens Release Area.  The report:

·    Outlines the history of planning for Caddens;

·    Describes the precinct’s relationship with its wider setting;

·    Assesses the draft plans’ compliance with relevant rezoning/plan making criteria for urban release areas; and

·    Details future actions required to progress the draft plan if adopted by Council.

Background

The Werrington Enterprise Living and Learning (WELL) Precinct, which includes the Caddens Release Area, comprises the area generally bounded by the western rail line, Kingswood residential area, Caddens Road and the M4 motorway and Gipps Street.  A map of the WELL Precinct is appended to this report. 

 

The evolution of planning for the Caddens Release Area is allied with progressing development of the WELL Precinct.  Council’s formal endorsement of its preferred direction for the WELL Precinct commenced with its adoption of the WELL Precinct Strategy in November 2004.  The WELL Precinct Strategy outlines a framework within which the area’s potential can evolve into realisable, quality, urban outcomes for the City and greater metropolitan region.  It aims to provide guidance for land owners in the Precinct in the advancement of specific development proposals and establishes the principal land use arrangements upon which future plans should be based.  Importantly, it seeks to provide a blueprint for the future of the area which is understood and endorsed by land owners, the local community and government. 

 

The following key objectives for the planning of the WELL Precinct have been identified:

 

·        Seeking the creation of quality working, living and learning environments, delivering a viable, vital community, energised by the interactions and synergies of adjacent education, living and employment opportunities.

·        Incorporating principles of sustainability in to the Precinct Strategy, and incorporating principles of sustainability in to the planning and design of the Precinct’s built elements.

·        Encouraging the development of innovative housing to support the needs of the local community, add to the viability of public transport systems, and contribute to the vibrancy and safety of the area.

·        Ensuring high quality public transport access to these facilities and the surrounding areas, aimed at reducing growth in car use.

·        Identification and establishment of a Precinct Centre conveniently located to optimise synergies between existing and proposed communities, education and enterprise activities.  The Centre will provide shopping, entertainment and social services to the surrounding community.

 

Extensive planning has since been undertaken to progress development of the WELL Precinct generally and the Caddens Release Area more specifically.  Following completion of the WELL Precinct Strategy in 2004, a range of studies was undertaken, including:

·    The Hydrology and Catchment Study;

·    Transport Management and Accessibility Plan (TMAP);

·    Economic Analysis (including assessment of the Precinct Centre viability); and

·    Greenways Network and Viewscape Study.

 

Synthesis of these studies resulted in a refined WELL Concept Plan which was adopted by Council in October 2006. Also endorsed at this meeting was a resolution that “Further reports be submitted to Council for considering advancement of the public exhibition of the draft Local Environmental Plans, Development Control Plans and Contribution Plans for Caddens Release Area.”

 

The Caddens-specific development scenarios arrived at in the WELL Precinct Refined Concept Plan included:

·    Mainly residential land use (comprising approximately 1,300 dwellings with a range of housing types); 

·    A precinct centre (approximately 10,000 m2  in scale)  located at the corner of Second Avenue and O’Connell Street (comprising retail, commercial and residential uses)

·    Active open space; and

·    A vegetated corridor running north-south along the principal creek line adjacent O’Connell Street. 

 

Since adoption and exhibition of the refined Concept Plan in October 2006, Landcom, which owns around half of the residential component of the release area and are playing a coordination role for other land owners, has undertaken numerous Caddens-specific studies (including those relating to ecology, employment, traffic and transport, public domain, demographics, housing, heritage and water management).  The completion of these studies led to revised development intentions for the precinct and, as a consequence, the need to amend the boundaries of the Caddens Release area. 

 

Arising from consideration of a report regarding the conclusion of these Caddens-specific studies, Council, on 3 December 2007 resolved to amend the Caddens draft LEP boundaries. The amendment of the draft LEP boundaries:

·    Permitted relocation of the Precinct Centre to the old drive-in site in O’Connell Street to conserve the habitat of threatened species on the previously nominated site;

·    Enabled the creation of a safer traffic alternative to the existing Caddens Road in the south-western corner of the estate and a related buffer to the existing Kingswood residential area;

·    Excised TAFE-owned land (as it will be addressed in the city-wide LEP); and

·    Accommodated a multi unit housing sector next to the Precinct Centre.

 

The combined effect of these amendments is a more holistically planned Caddens estate that better responds to its topography and ecology.

 

In response to Council’s resolution, the Department of Planning (DoP) was notified of the proposed amended boundaries.  The DoP advised it had no objection to the amended boundaries. The Department confirmed that Local Environmental Studies were not necessary as part of the plan making process, but that various Precinct wide investigations and sub precinct studies will be required to inform the plan making process. As outlined above, these studies were carried out by Landcom and submitted to Council for consideration.

 

Consultation with government agencies regarding the draft LEP including the revised boundaries has also been undertaken and no objection to the plan intentions has been received.

 

As adopted by Council on 3 December 2007, a draft Development Contributions Plan for the WELL Precinct (including Caddens) was completed and exhibited between 11 December 2007 and 8 February 2008. A further report regarding matters arising from exhibition of the draft Contributions Plan will be presented to Council shortly.

 

History of Consultation and Communication regarding the WELL Precinct and Caddens

Council’s commitment to community consultation regarding planning for Caddens and the WELL Precinct is demonstrated in its adopted WELL Precinct Strategy section 7.2.1, which requires that :“Future planning is to include comprehensive and inclusive community consultation and participation in development of future land use and development outcomes”. Consistent with this requirement, consultation for the WELL Precinct (including Caddens) to date has been extensive and can be summarised as follows:

 

·           Developing a WELL Communications Strategy in March – June 2003, which outlined a wide range of measures (including the initiatives discussed below) to keep the community informed and provide opportunities for feedback; 

·           Holding an Enquiry by Design Workshop in July 2003, to which nearly 5,000 residents were invited and which subsequently involved 250 residents, along with developers, architects and landowners;

·           Conducting a WELL Information Day, held in November 2006;

·           Issuing 4 WELL Precinct newsletters to around 6,000 households in and around the WELL Precinct;

·           Issuing WELL-related media releases and newspaper notices between November 2004 and November 2006;

·           Presenting six WELL-wide-related reports to Council (between September 2003 and October 2006) and additional reports on sub-precincts such as South Werrington Urban Village, UWS Masterplan and Werrington Mixed Use Area;

·           Providing updates on the progress of the WELL planning in Council’s City-wide Community Newsletter;

·           Encouraging Caddens Release Area landowner consultation by a Landcom-engaged liaison officer (involving regular updating of landowners regarding progress of masterplanning and background studies for Caddens);

·           Maintaining a WELL Precinct website, which is regularly updated to keep the community informed of progress on the project.

 

In the past six months further community awareness of Council’s intentions for the WELL Precinct has been achieved via:

 

·           Presenting the WELL Precinct Concept Plan at the UWS/Anglican Retirement Village Proposal-related Information Day held at the subject site (within UWS) on Saturday 25 August 2007;

·           Presenting the Refined Concept Plan at the Claremont Meadows Community Open Day on 2 November 2007 and discussing its implications with a significant number of local residents;

·           Exhibiting a WELL Precinct Development Contributions Plan (which also applies to Caddens) between December 2007 and February 2008.

 

In addition to community consultation conducted by Council, Landcom advises it has been undertaking regular information sessions with private landowners within Caddens to inform them of progress on their rezoning proposal.

 

Caddens Characteristics

The Caddens Release Area (Caddens) is a sub precinct of the WELL Precinct. Caddens is located in the south western corner of the WELL Precinct and is approximately 128 hectares in area.  Caddens is generally bounded by the suburb of Kingswood to the west, Caddens Road to the south, Claremont Meadows to the east and the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE/University of Western Sydney to the north.

 

Caddens Release Area is characterised by largely undeveloped, cleared land with undulating topography and incorporates creeks, dams and ponds, sporadically located vegetation (including a riparian corridor) and a small number of dwellings and other buildings.

 

The Caddens Release Area has been identified for urban purposes (ie a residential release area) by the State Government since the early 1980s, and more recently listed on the Metropolitan Development Program.

 

Approximately 75% of land within Caddens is owned by 3 large institutions/government agencies, being Landcom, the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and the State Records Authority of NSW. The remaining land within Caddens is held by seven private individuals or companies.

 

Land within Caddens is currently zoned a mix of “1(d) Rural – Future Urban” under Interim Development Order No.93 (applies to all non-UWS land) and  - 5(a) Special Uses (Tertiary Education) under Penrith LEP 1998 (Urban Land) for UWS-owned sites. These zones permit a relatively narrow range of land uses such as agriculture, education, infrastructure and very limited numbers of dwellings. Under IDO 93, dwelling houses are only permissible in 1(d) zones on allotments with a minimum area of 2 hectares, in sharp contrast with the 15 dwellings per hectare the DoP seeks to achieve in new urban release areas.

 

Landcom is pursuing rezoning of the Caddens Precinct (including those sites it does not own), and has carried out the various background studies/reports and analysis which have led to the current rezoning application. Landcom advises it has sought to keep other landowners informed of their progress.

 

Current Situation

On 6 February 2008, a draft Local Environmental Plan and supporting report were lodged for the Caddens Release Area by Landcom. A draft Development Control Plan was lodged on 28 March 2008.  These draft plans provide a clear expression of the proponent’s intention for the precinct, and reflect ongoing negotiation with Council staff as to appropriate zonings and associated development controls. Since lodgement of the draft plans, amendments have been made by staff to ensure consistency with Council policy and precedents set by other recent draft plans for urban release areas and intended directions for the Penrith city-wide LEP and DCP.

 

The draft Plans are now appropriate for consideration by Council for public exhibition.

Draft Caddens Local Environmental Plan

The Draft Local Environmental Plan (draft LEP) submitted by Landcom, and subsequently assessed by staff, proposes rezoning the current rural and special uses (Tertiary Education) zone to an urban precinct which includes:

·    Housing areas accommodating a variety of dwelling types, including large and small lots, secondary dwellings (such as studio apartments and dual occupancies), attached dwellings and medium density housing;

·    A Precinct Centre which will incorporate retail, commercial, professional services and community facilities, thereby providing employment opportunities;

·    Recreation areas (for both active and passive open space), providing leisure opportunities for residents, employees, students and visitors;

·    An environmental conservation corridor to protect the vegetation and creekline which runs north-south through the precinct, approximately parallel to O’Connell Lane/O’Connell Street;

·    Infrastructure assets, being the water management facilities, roads, paths and cycleways;

·    Special Activities, relating to the NSW State Archives facility.

 

This land use arrangement is consistent with the adopted WELL Concept Plan.

 

The draft LEP outlines principal development standards (such as building height) and provides for a range of miscellaneous provisions which are required by the Department of Planning (DoP) in its new Standard Planning Instrument.

 

The draft LEP is designed as a stand-alone planning instrument, which includes some broader local provisions, with the intention that it can be readily integrated into the City-wide Local Plan in the future when the relevant residential chapter of that Plan is concluded. The draft Caddens LEP is also accompanied by relevant maps relating to zoning, acquisition, building height and minimum lot sizes. 

 

A copy of the draft LEP has been separately forwarded to Councillors.  A copy is also tabled at tonight’s meeting.

 

To enable development for the future land uses proposed for Caddens described above, the draft LEP comprises a number of zones proposed to delineate specific landuse boundaries.  The zones contained in the draft LEP are as follows:

 

·        R1 General Residential – this zone provides for a variety of housing needs and densities including single dwellings, dual occupancies, multi-unit housing and residential flat buildings, along with other land uses that support daily needs of residents such as child care centres. This zone applies to approximately 90% of the area zoned residential within the draft LEP. The DCP which accompanies the LEP restricts the location of multi unit dwellings and residential flat buildings to areas around the precinct centre and the environmental conservation area.

·        R3 – Medium Density Residential – this zone aims to maximise housing densities in proximity to the WELL Precinct Centre, open space, and the public school as well as providing conveniently located accommodation for University staff and students.  This zone permits a range of land uses compatible with a medium density residential nature and also permits a variety of housing types including multi-unit and residential flat buildings.

·        B2 – Local Centre – this zone will apply to the proposed Precinct Centre and is intended to provide for a range of retail, business, entertainment and community uses to serve the needs of people living, visiting and working in Caddens as well as addressing the retail/commercial needs of UWS students and staff. Shop top housing will also be permitted within the zone.

·        RE1 – Public Recreation - sets aside land for public open space and recreational purposes. In the draft Caddens LEP, the zone applies to proposed local active and passive open space (being the two hilltop parks, the linear parkway adjoining Kingswood and the playing fields along Caddens Road). These sites will be acquired by Council through the WELL Development Contributions Plan to manage and maintain.

·        E2 – Environmental Conservation – this zone is intended to protect, manage and restore areas of high ecological value and prevent future damage. In the case of the Caddens LEP, the zone applies to the vegetated corridor and Werrington Creek land which runs approximately parallel to O’Connell Lane and O’Connell Street. This corridor contains threatened species. The northernmost portion will continue to be owned and maintained by the University of Western Sydney and the southern-most section is likely to be subject to a planning agreement with Landcom for transfer to Council.

·        SP1 - Special Activities  – This zoning applies to special land uses that are not provided for in other zones. Within Caddens, this zoning will apply to the NSW State Archive site, the operation of which is not readily comparable to other activities/land uses and which serves a distinct role for the State Government in ensuring security of key physical data records.

·        SP2 – Special Infrastructure - applies to land proposed for future water management infrastructure and takes the form of vegetated detention basins. These facilities are dotted throughout Caddens, primarily in proximity to the Environmental Conservation area and close to O’Connell Street east. Sites affected by this zone will be acquired by Council through the WELL Development Contributions Plan and maintained and managed by Council into the future.

 

The draft LEP provides guidance for urban development to enable a diverse range of residential development, employment uses (primarily within the Precinct Centre), community and recreational facilities, along with environmental conservation areas and infrastructure assets that underpin the estate.

 

Caddens draft Development Control Plan

The draft DCP seeks to provide a framework for achieving a cohesive, attractive and practical new neighbourhood for the community that will live in, work in and visit Caddens and a means of assessing the suitability of responses by eventual developers. The draft DCP details specific controls on matters such as building heights, road patterns, dwelling and building design, Precinct Centre scale, open space design and water management treatments. This section of the report outlines the most relevant controls contained in the draft DCP in order to provide a description of the likely development outcomes for Caddens.

 

A copy of the draft DCP has been separately forwarded to Councillors.  A copy is also tabled at tonight’s meeting.

 

Vision

The Vision for Caddens draws upon the Council adopted WELL-wide vision, being “…a model for sustainable urban development, that captures its potential arising from proximity to transport linkages and tertiary educational facilities, the WELL Precinct will an internationally renowned destination of choice for business, residents and students.”  The precinct will seek to attract a diverse range of land uses and seamlessly integrate the variety of people and activities arising and provide cosmopolitan lifestyle choices.

 

Urban Structure

The structure of the Caddens estate can be described as predominantly residential, divided into eastern and western halves by an environmental conservation corridor which follows Werrington Creek.  The Precinct centre located north of O’Connell Street and south of Western Sydney Institute of TAFE will be the focal point of the estate and will adjoin the multi unit housing area to the east.  Active open space is located on the south eastern corner and passive open space is located on the hilltops and bordering Kingswood in the form of a linear parkway.  The road pattern is a modified grid form, adjusted to respond to topographic constraints.  To reduce traffic on Caddens Road adjoining the estate, a new east-west collector road bisects the proposed development.  Traffic travelling north-south (generally to and from the Precinct Centre, the UWS and TAFE will be accommodated on an upgraded O’Connell Street (diverting through the Precinct Centre).  Visual focal points, in the form of hilltop parks, will be retained and enhanced through embellishment.

 

Dwelling yield and diversity

The DCP requires that an average dwelling density of 15 dwellings per hectare is achieved.  This will generate approximately 1,247 new dwellings.  A diversity of dwelling types is proposed including detached dwellings on separate lots, around 134 shop-top dwellings (within the Precinct Centre), 102 apartments in the multi unit housing zone and a variety of other dwelling forms such as studio apartments, secondary dwellings (such as dual occupancies) and built to side boundary attached dwellings.  The DCP seeks to locate the attached and multi unit dwellings within or close to the Precinct Centre, and near the Environmental Conservation corridor.

 

Lot and dwelling design

This section comprises controls to ensure the orientation of lots achieves appropriate solar access, specifies minimum lot sizes to accommodate not only dwellings but also sufficient space for landscaping, services, vehicle access and privacy between dwellings.  The provisions of the draft DCP relating to dwelling design address matters such as setbacks, appearance, private open space and relationship between interiors and exteriors.

 

Street network and access

Other than the east-west and north south collector roads described above, the street network is a hierarchy of routes reflecting accessibility and topographic constraints.  Most roads will be local roads feeding into collector routes.  Caddens Road, which currently acts as an east-west collector road, will continue to fulfil a local road function for existing Orchard Hills residents to the south.  However, to alleviate through traffic impacts, it is proposed to close Caddens Road at the creekline adjacent to O’Connell Lane and at a point east of Ulm Road to achieve safer access arrangements.  The new internal collector road will provide alternative access arrangements to address this road closure.  Most new roads will be through roads, with the exception of several north-south streets terminating at Caddens Road due to limitations with sight distances.  A network of bike paths/pedestrian-ways will traverse the estate, primarily along the collector road, through the environmental conservation corridor and the western linear park.  Footpaths will be required on every street.

 

The Precinct Centre

The draft DCP describes a precinct centre that fits within Council’s adopted retail hierarchy as a local centre with a maximum floorspace of 10,000m2 and  a maximum single shop (such as for a supermarket) of 4,000m2 floor space.  An indicative Concept Plan for the Precinct Centre outlines a grid pattern road arrangement and connections between the centre’s elements (including retailing, offices and shop-top housing) and its surrounds (such as the UWS, TAFE and residences).  The Precinct Centre is intended to address the street in a “Main Street” approach and achieve a lively and inviting environment for visitors/shoppers.

 

Public transport

Whilst the Ministry of Transport has yet to finalise its review of the regional bus routes, the draft DCP makes provision for extra street width along the north-south and east-west collector roads to accommodate bus movement.  The Precinct Centre is an obvious focus of these routes. Indicative bus stops are also identified in the draft plan.  Bus stops and bus shelters will be funded through the WELL Contributions Plan.

 

Open Space treatment

The three passive open space parks and the active open space playing field are required to be high quality, robust, low maintenance facilities that address the typical recreational needs of future residents. Concept plans contained in the draft DCP demonstrate potential means of addressing park design requirements including primary function, flexibility, access landscaping (type and scope) and embellishment likely to be required.

 

Environmental Conservation Area

This Conservation corridor, following Werrington Creek, is identified for retention (and enhancement south of UWS land), with an associated function being managing stormwater flow and the incidental recreation function relating to a cycleway/pedestrian path.

 

Water Cycle Management – Detention Basins

These water management basins serve to collect stormwater from residential development, detaining flow to a rate manageable by infrastructure and cleaning the water for its release into waterways. The draft DCP details indicative concept plans and guidelines for the development of these basins so that they are natural elements that serve to enhance their settings.

 

Amenity

Achieving satisfactory levels of amenity for proposed future residents (and neighbouring existing residents) is sought in the draft DCP through controls regarding visual and acoustic impact, safety and surveillance and sustainable building design.

                                                                    

Commentary on Key Issues

The draft LEP for Caddens satisfies the overarching and generic DoP guidelines that shape the content of all LEPs (such as the objects of the EP&A Act, Ministerial Directions and DoP plan-making Practice Notes). 

 

Council has adopted its Sustainability Blueprint for Urban Release Areas (2005) to act as a clear set of guidelines in relation to rezoning land for urban release areas. The Blueprint provides greater certainty for the community and development proponents in assessing the merit of urban release area rezoning proposals. To achieve this function, the Sustainability Blueprint outlines ten principles against which new release areas (such as Caddens) are assessed. The principles are:

 

1.   Value the site attributes

2.   Create localised landscapes and quality public domains

3.   Create communities not just housing estates

4.   Create employment

5.   Save water – water sensitive urban design

6.   Save energy and greenhouse gases – smart lot design

7.   Maximise liveability and longevity – design for durability and adaptability

8.   Reduce resource consumption – energy, land, water and material

9.   Minimise waste

10. Build-in community safety and crime prevention measures

 

The proponent has provided satisfactory justification in response to the Sustainability Blueprint criteria, a summary of which is outlined below.

 

Value the site attributes

The indicative concept for Caddens detailed in the DCP and site-specific provisions has taken into consideration the special characteristics of the site including proximity to existing residential development, flood affectation, riparian corridors and values, noise sources and acoustic protection, landscape and visual character, access and the existing road network.

 

The proposed Environmental Conservation zone seeks to conserve and enhance significant vegetation and potential areas of habitat.

 

The cultural heritage values of the site have been assessed.  There is some Aboriginal archaeological potential within the Werrington Creekline and test excavations are recommended as part of future applications for development. The proposed Conservation zone along the creekline will serve as a mechanism to manage any archaeological deposit potential.

 

Create localised landscapes and quality public domains

The requirements of a Public Domain Strategy are also absorbed into detailed controls within the draft Caddens DCP.  Key controls for the public domain, including landscaping and open space are addressed in this site specific section.  A Landscape Masterplan demonstrates how the mix of land uses on the site (and associated landscaping) will enhance the sense of place within the site and appropriately interact with adjacent residential uses and the surrounding areas.

 

Create communities not just housing estates

A detailed Community Facilities report and Open Space needs assessment for social infrastructure provision has been prepared. In general, the studies conclude that there is an appropriate level of community services and open space provided relative to the new demand resulting from the proposal.

 

In addition to the general provision of social services and infrastructure, a Caddens community development worker is also proposed to assist with community building during the initial phase of development and creation of the neighbourhood.  This contribution is also reflected in and provided for by the (draft) WELL Precinct s94 plan. A detailed Transport Management Access Plan (TMAP) has also been prepared addressing the accessibility requirements of the Blueprint, including proposals for a comprehensive pedestrian and cycle network through the estate.

 

Council’s current Strategic Program for new release areas seeks to provide for a diversity of housing opportunities, including affordable housing, consistent with emerging community needs and which facilitates the development of diverse neighbourhoods.  The Caddens draft LEP proposes a diverse mix of housing types (including multi-unit housing), providing for approximately 1,247 dwellings.

 

Council’s current Strategic Program seeks new release areas to provide for a diversity of housing opportunities, including affordable housing.  This facilitates the development of diverse neighbourhoods and better matches housing types with future community needs.  By increasing access to affordable housing, Council seeks to contribute to sustainable communities that function in a way that benefits the whole community.  It is particularly important that outcomes are sought which deliver affordable housing over time, not just for a limited period. 

 

Council’s Sustainability Blueprint requires 3% of housing in new housing estates to be provided as affordable housing.  It is expected that this target include both rental and owner-occupied housing products.  This may be achieved through dedicated housing, providing a range of dwelling types including apartments, partnerships with the state government, or non profit housing providers and financial institutions to deliver affordable housing outcomes.

 

In the case of the rezoning proposal for Caddens, Landcom has indicated an ability to provide the required 3% of affordable housing for that part of the estate within its ownership.  In this regard, Landcom advises 2% of the affordable housing proposed will be via the delivery of a diverse range of housing types into the market.  In our view, given the background research which was undertaken in relation to this issue for the Glenmore Park Stage 2 release, this provides an appropriate response for people on low to moderate incomes.  For the remaining 1%, Landcom has offered to make a monetary contribution of $337,000 (by way of a Voluntary Planning Agreement) in order to provide funding for the establishment of long-term rental accommodation which would benefit people on very low incomes.  This funding would be passed onto an appropriate community housing provider.  This approach is also consistent with the agreement negotiated for Glenmore Park Stage 2. 

 

The Landcom offer relates only to its landholding which will deliver approximately 44% of total new dwelling stock in the release.  Landcom proposes that the remaining contribution for affordable housing should be sought from other landowners within Caddens, being UWS and seven private landowners.

 

Whilst Landcom’s offer is welcome, it does however, leave a shortfall for the remainder of the estate and Council is keen to ensure adequate affordable housing for the whole of the Caddens estate.  We have held positive discussions with UWS, which has indicated a preparedness to similarly provide a monetary contribution towards affordable housing for their residential development within the South Werrington Urban Village release. 

 

As Landcom is the principal proponent for the rezoning of the Caddens Release Area, it was expected that Landcom would facilitate an appropriate response to affordable housing delivery to the whole of the estate.  It was expected this would entail Landcom holding a series of discussions with the other land owners in the estate to inform them of the planning and rezoning process at key points and to engage them on issues requiring commitments, such as affordable housing contributions.  Whilst this has occurred, unfortunately, it would appear that dialogue has not occurred with the other land owners to any degree on the issue of affordable housing.  This matter will need to be further advanced with Landcom and the other landowners, including UWS, prior to Council’s formal consideration of adopting the draft LEP for gazettal and the draft DCP post exhibition.

 

Create employment

Council’s strategic position on managing urban growth includes requiring new job creation to match incoming workforce participant numbers.  The ultimate development of the site and proposed range of uses will have the potential to create approximately 1,600 jobs on-site and off-site.  This level of job creation compares to an estimated incoming working-age population of 2,478.  Additionally, new residents within Caddens will be able to access up to a further 6,000 future jobs identified to be established elsewhere within the WELL Precinct, including in the tertiary institutions and the proposed business enterprise park.

 

Caddens, through its incorporation of the Precinct Centre (which accommodates retail and commercial opportunities), home-based businesses and drawing on Employment through the wider WELL Precinct will therefore deliver employment opportunities to satisfy Council’s policy requirement within this release area. 

 

Save water – water sensitive urban design

A water management strategy has been developed for the release area in accordance with Blueprint requirements.  Water Sensitive Urban Design is a core principle of the overall development.  Residential development will be subject to BASIX (sustainability) legislation and requirements, which features other water-saving initiatives, objectives, and outcomes.

 

Save energy and greenhouse gases – smart lot design

The objectives of the provision are to be met through a combination of the rezoning proposal, its accompanying DCP provisions, and future applications for development.  BASIX is applicable to the residential development on the site and the sustainability principles and requirements of BASIX are to be met.  The rezoning proposal seeks to improve liveability and greenhouse emissions through high urban design standards.

 

Maximise liveability and longevity – design for durability and adaptability

The land uses proposed (and controls within the draft DCP) demonstrates that superior design merit future development is capable of being achieved on the site.  There are no urban design issues that preclude the achievement of high quality standards in housing, commercial and other uses in the estate.  Landcom, as principal landowner and proponent has a strong track record in the delivery of sustainable and high quality housing outcomes.

 

Reduce resource consumption – energy, land, water and material

Development facilitated by the proposed rezoning will be capable of demonstrating quality development, whilst minimising resource use.  Solar access, building placement and design have been considered in the development of the Master Plan and the draft Caddens DCP controls.

 

Minimise waste

An appropriate Waste Management Plan will be provided at the DA stage. Development on the site will comply with the waste management planning provisions within the Penrith DCP.

 

Build-in community safety and crime prevention measures

The rezoning will provide greater opportunities for day and night time activation of the site, thereby encouraging casual surveillance of the public domain. The proposal for the site demonstrates and appropriate integration of built form, with services, infrastructure and the public domain and has been designed in accordance with criteria contained in the Blueprint.  The draft Caddens DCP incorporates appropriate controls addressing safety (eg lighting controls), whilst development on the site will comply with the CPTED provisions within Penrith DCP 2006.

Local Infrastructure Contributions

The development of the WELL Precinct (including Caddens) will generate demand for the provision of additional local infrastructure, facilities and services.  In order to address this new demand, a Development Contributions Plan has been prepared and exhibited (adopted for exhibition by Council on 3 December 2007).  The draft Contributions Plan was exhibited between 11 December 2007 and 8 February 2008. A report on the outcome of the exhibition will be presented to Council shortly.

 

Key infrastructure and services incorporated in the draft WELL Precinct Contributions Plan includes:

·        Open Space/recreation facilities - both active playing opportunities (sports fields and courts) as well as passive recreation areas such as hilltop parks and natural areas;

·        Traffic and transport measures such as new roads, footpaths and cycleways;

·        Community facilities, such as a neighbourhood centre and informal meeting opportunities amongst the passive open space and precinct centre;

·        Water management infrastructure such as stormwater detention basins intended to achieve both functional and aesthetic outcomes.

·        A community Centre, located in the Precinct Centre.

 

As part of its rezoning submission, the proponent, Landcom, has offered to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) regarding elements of the estate’s development that arise from the draft LEP, draft DCP or the WELL Precinct Contributions Plan.  Matters covered in the VPA are:

·    An offer to make a financial contribution for that 1% of housing need that relates to those on very low incomes that will be generated by development within Landcom-owned sites (which represents approximately 44% of the total housing stock to be generated); and

·    An offer to transfer to Council, ownership of Landcom land proposed to be zoned “Environmental Conservation” under the Caddens draft LEP.

 

The proposed Planning Agreement will be subject to a separate report to Council.

 

The DoP has flagged that a Regional Infrastructure Levy for the WELL Precinct will be required, however the level of contribution to be paid has not yet been advised.  It is expected this requirement will be finalised prior to DoP gazetting any LEP for the Caddens Release or the South Werrington Urban Village Release.

 

Next Steps

The community consultation process for the public exhibition of the Caddens draft LEP and draft DCP will comprise the following elements:

 

·    Advisory letters to all adjoining and surrounding landowners, community groups, businesses and landowners;

·    Public display of draft LEP and draft DCP material including maps, draft plans/ instruments and background studies at Council’s Penrith and St Marys offices;

·    Notification of the public exhibition in local newspapers; and

·    Presentation of all exhibition material on Council’s website, which can also be accessed in the library free of charge.

 

The remaining key steps in the planning and rezoning of the Caddens Release Area are:

·        Following Council support for the exhibition of the Caddens draft LEP, seek a Section 65 Certificate from the Department of Planning to enable the formal exhibition of the draft LEP;

·        Undertake the concurrent exhibition of the draft LEP and DCP.  The Caddens Release Area DCP controls will form an amendment to Penrith Development Control Plan 2006;

·        Following the exhibition process and resolution of affordable housing delivery, Council consideration of the adoption of the exhibited LEP for referral to the Department of Planning for endorsement and gazettal;

·        The adoption of the DCP and its implementation upon gazettal of the LEP.

Conclusion

The draft LEP and DCP for Caddens are the result of an extensive planning process that has identified this area as suitable for further urban development incorporating residential, commercial, recreation, infrastructure and special use development.

 

The draft plans have been prepared for public exhibition and reflects Council’s broader policy position for urban release areas, the adopted WELL Precinct Strategy (2004) and the adopted WELL Concept Plan 2006.  Accordingly, it is recommended that the draft LEP and DCP be publicly exhibited.

 

In Council’s advice to Landcom and the land owners within Caddens, it will need to be pointed out that an acceptable affordable housing delivery outcome will need to be resolved, prior to Council being in a position to adopt the final LEP for submission to the DoP and the Minister for gazettal.

 

A further report will be brought back to Council following the exhibition process, outlining an assessment of the submissions received and relevant recommendations relating to the adoption of the final plans.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Caddens Release Area draft Local Environmental Plan and draft Development Control Plan be received.

2.     In accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and associated Regulations, Council submit the draft Caddens Release Area Local Environmental Plan to the Director-General of the Department of Planning seeking the issue of a Section 65 certificate to enable the draft Plan to be publicly exhibited. 

3.     In accordance with the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, 1979 and associated Regulations, a draft amendment to Penrith Development Control Plan 2006 to incorporate the development controls relating to Caddens Release Area be publicly exhibited.

4.     Landcom and the other landowners within the Caddens Release Area be advised of Council’s decision and of the importance of achieving a suitable outcome for delivery of affordable housing across the whole of the release area.

 

5.     A further report be presented to Council following the exhibition.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

1. View

Map of Caddens Release Area

1 Page

Appendix

  


Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

Appendix 1 - Map of Caddens Release Area

 

 

 

 

 


Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

The City as a Social Place

 

 

The City as a Social Place

 

 

5

Refugee Welcome Zone   

 

Compiled by:                Rosie Smith, Multicultural Access Officer

Authorised by:             Erich Weller, Community and Cultural Development Manager 

Requested By:             Councillor Greg Davies

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Strategies are in place to respond to the social and health needs of the community.

Critical Action: Support community organisations to address the differing needs and issues of the various age groups through Council's policy responses, program initiatives and advocacy.

     

Purpose:

To seek Council's endorsement to make a Declaration to the Refugee Council of Australia to become a Refugee Welcome Zone.  The report recommends that Council endorse this Declaration.

 

Background

A delegation of representatives from local community organisations that work with refugees met with the Mayor in January 2008 to request that Council sign a declaration with the Refugee Council of Australia to become a Refugee Welcome Zone. The organisations represented included the Penrith Women’s Health Centre, Angels of Mercy, Nepean Migrant Access and Mission Australia, all of whom are part of the Penrith Refugee Coalition, providing services to the Sudanese community at Mamre Homestead.

 

The Mayor requested a report detailing what it would mean for Council to be declared a Refugee Welcome Zone.

 

This report gives a background on the diversity of refugees settling in the Penrith LGA and a brief overview of Council’s current support for the refugee community. In addition, the report includes information on what it means to declare Penrith City Council a Refugee Welcome Zone. For a more complete picture on the settlement of the largest emerging community, the Southern Sudanese, a detailed report was tabled at an Ordinary Council meeting on 7 April (attached).

 

Defining a Refugee

The key international instruments pertaining to refugees are the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.  The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to which Australia is a signatory, defines a refugee as:

 

Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.”

 

The important parts of this definition are:

 

that the person has to be outside their country of origin

the reason for their flight has to be a fear of persecution

this fear of persecution has to be well founded (i.e. they have to have experienced it or be likely to experience it if they return)

the persecution has to result from one or more of the 5 grounds listed in the definition

they have to be unwilling or unable to seek the protection of their country

Source: Refugee Council of Australia Website – www.refugeecouncil.org.au

 

For the purposes of this report, the terms humanitarian entrant and refugee are used interchangeably.

 

Humanitarian Entrants in Penrith

Many refugees, including the Sudanese community, form part of what are described as new and emerging communities. These communities are usually smaller, newly arrived and will in many instances lack established family networks, support systems, community structures and resources, relative to the more established communities.  Individuals from these communities therefore also tend to be less aware of mainstream government services available in Australia.

 

Table 1 below provides the total number of humanitarian entrants (including refugees) by visa sub-class and whose first place of settlement was the Penrith LGA between 2002 and 2007. Please note that, in the different settlement planning data tabulations provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the totals will not always be equivalent (eg in Table 2 there are 364 humanitarian entrants, and in Table 1 below there are 355).

 

Table 1 - Settlers by Visa Sub-Class Humanitarian Migration Stream - Penrith LGA 2002-2007

 

Calendar Year of Arrival

Visa Sub-Class (Name)

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total

Global Special Humanitarian

22

57

49

61

45

24

258

Protection Visa-Permanent Residence

8

2

15

19

9

6

59

Refugee

0

12

1

1

7

5

26

Women at Risk

6

5

1

0

0

0

12

Total

36

76

66

81

61

35

355

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship - Settlement Planning

 

As noted in Table 1, 355 humanitarian entrants had their first point of settlement in the Penrith LGA between 2002 and 2007.

 

Table 2 below provides the countries of origin of the humanitarian entrants summarised in Table 1.

 

Table 2- Humanitarian Entrants by Country of Origin - Penrith LGA – 2002 - 2007

Original Table

 

Calendar Year of Arrival

Country of Birth

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total

Sudan

6

38

43

50

23

14

174

Afghanistan

12

10

0

0

7

0

29

Egypt Arab Rep of

2

5

7

7

2

0

23

Iraq

0

7

4

0

6

6

23

Pakistan

6

0

8

4

4

0

22

Sri Lanka

0

0

0

13

4

3

20

Iran

0

7

2

0

6

3

18

Lebanon

6

1

0

0

0

0

7

Sierra Leone

0

0

0

0

7

0

7

Kenya

0

0

0

1

0

5

6

Others

6

8

4

6

5

6

35

Total

38

76

68

81

64

37

364

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship – Settlement planning

 

Refugee Welcome Zones

Launched on World Refugee Day 2002, the Refugee Welcome Zone initiative has grown substantially over the last few years. There are now 64 Local Government Areas throughout Australia who have declared themselves Refugee Welcome Zones. Twenty-six councils in New South Wales – including neighbouring councils Blue Mountains City Council, Fairfield, Blacktown, Liverpool, Bathurst and many more, both metropolitan and rural councils, are Refugee Welcome Zones.

 

In signing the Refugee Welcome Zone declaration, councils make a public commitment to:

 

“Welcome refugees into the community, upholding their human rights, demonstrating compassion for Refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community.”

 

The Refugee Welcome Zone initiative is more than just a public declaration; it is an initiative that stimulates much needed practical support at a local community level. In some areas, there has been the development of a variety of volunteer and community based support programs for refugee and asylum seekers. The Refugee Welcome Zone program is under the auspice of the Refugee Council of Australia, and works collaboratively with local groups to develop ongoing partnerships, building support for refugees and asylum seekers at the local government level.

 

The purpose of the Refugee Welcome Zones is to enable councils to declare that they welcome refugees into their area, to celebrate the diversity of refugees and cultures in their midst and to acknowledge the importance of upholding the rights of human refugees who have escaped persecution. This public commitment is also an acknowledgment of the tremendous contributions refugees have made to Australian society in the fields of medicine, science, engineering, sport, education and the arts.

 

Councils are required to make a public statement reinforcing their commitment, and to sign a declaration of their intent to implement the principles it contains.

What does the Refugee Welcome Zone mean for Penrith?

Penrith City Council declaring itself a Refugee Welcome Zone would be a commitment to social justice for refugees and recognition of the contribution that refugees make to the Penrith Local Government Area. Resources are already allocated in Council’s budget to initiatives such as Refugee Week and participation in the Refugee Coalition by the Multicultural Access Officer. However, community views suggest that it would be beneficial for the area if Penrith City Council was to follow up this declaration with actions and strategies that target refugee communities.

 

Penrith as an area of Welcome – What is currently happening?

Council plays an important role in assisting with the coordination and planning of services and facilities targeting refugee residents. Council currently supports and resources a range of activities in partnership with other organisations such as celebrating Refugee Week.

 

Refugee Week is held each year as a national celebration which highlights the needs of refugees both here and around the world and how Australia and Australians can contribute to ensuring their protection. Penrith Council works in partnership with government and non government organisations each year to acknowledge Refugee Week within the local community. Council also has regular citizenship ceremonies for our residents.

 

Council is already actively seeking to engage with refuge communities and has over a number of years, provided support to emerging and refugee communities residing in Penrith City. Examples of this support are provided below, with more detail in the previously mentioned report on Southern Sudanese Settlement:

 

·    African Communities meet Local Government – held on 3 November 2007

·    Participation in monthly Refugee Coalition meetings

·    Support for Refugee Week activities each year

·    Community Assistance Program grant to Young Sudanese Writers Group

·    Community Assistance Program grant to Sudanese Youth Group for Leadership Conference

·    Youth Week funding for establishment of a website for Young Sudanese

·    Support for Sudanese Community Awareness Night –  March 2008 in Blacktown

·    Community Assistance Program to Mamre Project for a pathway to the playground area.

 

Benefits of Declaration as a Refugee Welcome Zone

Penrith becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone is a positive step in acknowledging the human rights of refugees within our community and demonstrating the compassion of the residents of Penrith to people who have arrived in our communities through an often difficult journey to find a place of safety.  

 

The benefits of the Declaration include:

 

·    Refugees benefit as they know they are welcome in the LGA and supported by local services;

·    Greater community awareness of the contribution of refugees to the local community;

·    Council is assisted in meeting statutory reporting requirements according to the Social Planning Guidelines as well as social justice obligations under the Community Relations Commission Principles of Multiculturalism;

·    The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) will add Penrith City Council to the list of 64 other councils on their website.

 

Actions undertaken by other councils

A number of other councils have promoted their Declaration as a Refuge Welcome Zone and followed up with a range of initiatives. Following are some examples of activities or initiatives undertaken in other areas that Council may wish to further investigate to implement within the local area. These include:

 

·    Promoting the Council area as a Refugee Welcome Zone and promoting actions and activities that increase community harmony and understanding as well as dispelling myths about refugees. This includes having translated information on Council’s website that is relevant for all communities;

·    Launching the Declaration at a public event (Refugee Week) along with media coverage of this event and the declaration;

·    Developing an Emerging Community Action Plan;

·    Adopting a standard speech to be announced at major events, such as launches, that state that Penrith is a Refugee Welcome Zone;

·    Developing a banner that identifies Council as a Refugee Welcome Zone and using this during major events such as Australia Day, Council Open Day, International Women’s Day, Refugee Week, Harmony Day or other community and cultural events.

 

Council’s Legislative Requirements

The Community Relations Commission and Principles of Multiculturalism Act 2000 states that all NSW public agencies, including local government, have a commitment to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. It is required that councils incorporate the needs of CALD communities into their planning and report on any activities undertaken that target CALD communities. Council is required to implement and report on three key result areas including social justice, community harmony and economic and cultural opportunities within its work with CALD communities. Penrith Council becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone can be considered as an activity that Council implements in order to become a more accessible and responsive organisation to its community, in line with reporting requirements in social justice and community harmony.

 

Conclusion

The Penrith LGA has, over recent years, experienced an increasing number of refugees residing in Penrith LGA, and Council declaring itself a Refugee Welcome Zone demonstrates a commitment to and willingness to support the community, and in particular refugees. Penrith becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone can be considered as an activity that Council implements in order to become a more accessible and responsive organisation to its community. In addition, it would mean that Council is recognised nationally as a Refugee Welcome Zone.

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Refugee Welcome Zone be received.

2.     Council endorse the declaration of Penrith City Council as a Refugee Welcome Zone at a Public event such as Refugee Week in June 2008.

3.     Penrith City Council further explore actions in this report to promote the City as a Refugee Welcome Zone.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

1.  

Southern Sudanese Settlement in Penrith LGA report from Ordinary Meeting 7 April 2008

12 Pages

Attachment

   


 

 

The City In Its Environment

 

 

There were no reports under this Master Program when the Business Paper was compiled


 

 

 

 

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The City as an Economy

 

 

There were no reports under this Master Program when the Business Paper was compiled


 

 

 

 

THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT BLANK  INTENTIONALLY


 

 

The City Supported by Infrastructure

 

 

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THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT BLANK  INTENTIONALLY


Leadership and Organisation

 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

6        Planning Online Services

 

 



Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

Leadership and Organisation

 

 

Leadership and Organisation

 

 

6

Planning Online Services   

 

Compiled by:                Christine Caburian, Business Applications Support Officer

Shari Hussein, Strategic Planning Coordinator

Authorised by:             Paul Lemm, Development Services Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Services and programs that Council provides are determined based on equity, customer requirements, community benefits and best value.

Critical Action: Improve community access to Council services and facilities.

 

Presenters:                   Christine Caburian - Penrith City Council - DA tracker    

Purpose:

To provide an overview of the proposed electronic development application (DA) tracker and DA register system and to seek endorsement for public access to data.  The report recommends that the information displayed in the public view of the DA tracker and register be approved.

 

Introduction

This report focuses on delivering services for the first phase of the planning online project. The services in this phase of the project include the DA tracker and DA register, online maps and DA statistical reports.

 

Two views of Council’s tracking system are being established. The internal view will be accessible by Council staff members to assist them in responding to customers regarding property or DA inquiries. The external view will allow the community to see selected information regarding development applications.

 

Background

The task of managing information systems relating to the development industry is vast and also includes construction certificates, licences, planning certificates (s149s), developer contributions (under S94), rates notices (s.603 certificates) and so on.  There are other components of these systems that also need standardisation such as application forms, statistical reporting, fees and charges, estimations of value of work and access to documents lodged with Council for information requests (under FOI and s12).

 

Project reports and software solutions to deliver these outcomes were presented to the Procedures and Systems Team (PST) meeting on 14 August 2007, 20 November 2007 and 19 February 2008. It was agreed that the project be divided into three phases. Phase 1 will deliver the electronic DA tracker and register, online mapping and basic DA statistical reports. Phase 2 will deliver electronic lodgements, while Phase 3 will deliver online and interactive LEPs and DCPs.

 

Phase 1 - DA Tracker and DA Register

The internal and external DA tracker will be an online system (available 24/7).  The DA register will provide a listing of applications lodged in Council within a specific time period. Basic information about each DA can be viewed such as a description of the DA, the DA number and the date it has been lodged with Council.

 

The first phase of the DA tracker will allow tracking of development applications and construction certificates and will show the key steps in the application process (eg. date received, referrals to other agencies, notification, date determined). Other types of applications (eg building certificates, planning certificates etc) can be added to the tracker in the future (subject to approval). Enhancements will be introduced in time to provide access to selected documents (eg consents and plans) and these will also be considered in the implementation of the development application phase of Council’s Information Management System (IMS).

 

The internal view of the tracker was implemented on 5 December 2007. This has enabled Council staff to view information regarding a property or development application via Council’s intranet web page.

 

The next step is to implement the external (public view) of the DA tracker and DA register.  The table below shows the proposed implementation strategy for the remainder of Phase 1:

 

Activity

Remarks

1.   Software contract review / signoff (Masterview/Masterplan)

PST approved on 19 February  2007

2.   Public information signoff from relevant departments (Legal, Records, Rates, GIS, CRU, Development Services, Risk Coordinator)

Completed on 25 February 2008

3.   CMT  signoff for public view of DA tracker/register

Completed on 28 February 2008

4.   External user group trial (2 weeks)

Commenced 3 April 2008

5.   System enhancements based on external user group trial period (1-2 weeks)

Following external user group trial

6.   Policy and Review Committee signoff for public view of DA tracker/register

28 April 2008

7.   DA Tracker/Register “GO LIVE”

May 2008

 

Public access to the DA tracker will be available via a link from Council’s website. The information shown on the DA tracker and register is mainly driven by the statutory requirements under Section 12 of the Local Government Act. Section 12 requires a minimum level of access be provided free of charge to the public.  Development applications received from January 2007 will be shown on the online DA tracker.  Applications made prior to that date will still be accessed via a S12 request through existing manual processes.  This approach is consistent with other Council DA trackers and to the management of risk in relation to data management of pre-electronic data for development applications.

 

An external reference group is currently trialling the DA tracker and DA register to get feedback from them prior to launching the system to the public. The external user group includes 6 local representatives from the development industry as listed below:

 

1.   solicitor

Heath Adams - Adams & Partners Penrith

2.   accountant

Lloyd Sullivan - Pinnacle Taxation

3.   real estate agent

Tracey Sheils -Raine and Horne Commercial

4.   development consultant

Adam Beckingham  -HiCraft Home Improvements

5.   building designer

David Walker -David Walker Pty Ltd

6.   planning consultant

John Mullane -Mullane Planning Consultants

 

 

Phase 2 - Electronic Lodgement of Development Applications

Whilst a lot of work is being done for the DA tracker and register, some steps are also being undertaken at this stage for Phase 2 of the project which is electronic lodgements. These steps are being made to achieve a Phase 2 completion by the end of 2008.

 

There are different components that need to be ready for electronic lodgements to go live. These include the following:

1.   Online application forms using Smart Forms

·    Smart Forms are interactive Adobe forms that guide an applicant to fill out an online application form. Only sections relevant to the type of application being made will be made available to the applicant.

·    Penrith City Council has been invited by the Department of Lands to participate in a trial of Council Electronic Certificates (CEC) to enable electronic lodgement and issue of planning and rates certificates.  Smart Forms will also facilitate the CEC trial.

2.   An internet merchant account has been setup for Council to enable secure online payments

·    PST (and the Financial Services Manager) has endorsed the concept of online payments. Smart Forms was configured to accept online payments using the internet merchant account that Council provided to the software vendor but still requires further testing.

3.   Integration of documents to Dataworks

·    Plans and documents received online will have to be registered in Dataworks. Currently, assessing officers are using Proclaim to hold data related to certificate requests and development applications. Dataworks integration with Proclaim will help assessing officers in their jobs because they will be using a single application for their work.

4.   Electronic means of reviewing plans and putting annotations on them (including using Trapeze)

·    Trapeze is an electronic reader and viewer that reads files in different formats (eg Autocad), enables plans to be stamped and annotated electronically and do plan measurements on-screen.

·    Licenses were purchased on 29 February. Software installation requirements have been reviewed and will be set up in the server for centralised access. Power users of the application from the Development Services Department have been identified and training is underway.

5.   Automating the data input from applications lodged over the Internet to Proclaim

·    Some research and analysis is being done to have a fully automated electronic lodgement in place.  This will integrate with Proclaim.  A further report to PST will be provided on this aspect.

 

6.   Project Costs – The initial project estimated cost (and bid) was for a total of $138,000.  Now that firm quotes have been received, and the project outcomes partially determined, the revised bid is approximately $300,000.

 

Department of Planning ePlanning Requirements

In 2007, the NSW State Government released its discussion paper “Improving the NSW Planning System” and sought the following ePlanning outcomes in local councils:

 

·    Within two years 80 per cent of councils are to provide online DA tracking.

·    Within two years 100 per cent of exempt and complying codes will be available online (State provided) and 50 per cent of Council codes (as accredited by the State).

·    Within three years 50 per cent to provide online Section 149 planning certificates.

·    Within three years 50 per cent are to have LEP tracking systems.

 

Penrith Council’s planning online project will exceed the timelines set by the State:

 

·    The DA tracker will be live in May 2008;

·    Existing exempt and complying codes are already on Council’s website;

·    Online planning certificates are expected to be available in July 2008;

·    An LEP tracking system is anticipated to be operational in 2009.

Conclusion

This is a planning reform project of great benefit to assist in the administration of a highly complex and diverse planning regime and delivers a seamless online interface to customers.  The DA tracker and DA register will also provide a major enhancement to the level of service provided to planning, building and development customers. There will be savings in the volume of phone calls and other administrative tasks currently required in providing DA-related information.

 

The DA tracker will provide customers with:

 

·    on-line access to development application information at any time of the day or night;

·    easy to use searches (eg by street name, application number), ready-made searches (eg applications on exhibition) and a location map to identify the site;

·    the name and contact details of the assessing officer;

·    the date that an application is referred (if required) to external authorities and the date a response is received (eg Department of Planning, RTA, RFS);

·    the key steps in the application process (eg public exhibition, determination date).

 

In future stages of the planning online project, Council will be using ePlanning technology to enable electronic lodgement of applications, enhance assessment processes, streamline minor application processing and ultimately enable an integrated electronic Local Plan.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Planning Online Services be received.

2.     The information displayed on the public view of the DA tracker and register be approved.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

There are no attachments for this report.  



 

ATTACHMENTS   

 

 

Date of Meeting:          Monday 28 April 2008

Master Program:          The City as a Social Place

Issue:                            Community Well Being and Social Justice

Report Title:                Refugee Welcome Zone

Attachments:                Southern Sudanese Settlement in Penrith LGA report from Ordinary Meeting 7 April 2008



Policy Review Committee Meeting

28 April 2008

Attachment 1 - Southern Sudanese Settlement in Penrith LGA report from Ordinary Meeting 7 April 2008

 

 

 

 

The City as a Social Place

 

 

2

Southern Sudanese Settlement in the Penrith LGA   

 

Compiled by:                Rosie Smith, Multicultural Access Officer

Authorised by:             Erich Weller, Community and Cultural Development Manager  

Requested By:             Councillor Greg Davies

Strategic Program Term Achievement: Access has increased for communities that face barriers to using social services and facilities.

Critical Action:  Support and encourage fairness of access to Council and other social facilities and services.

     

Purpose:

To provide information to Council on the settlement of Southern Sudanese people in the Penrith Local Government Area.  The report also provides some comparative information from other Western Sydney LGAs.  This information will assist Council to understand the settlement needs of this community and further develop targeted responses.  The report recommends the information be received.

 

Introduction

A group of young Sudanese people from the TWICH EAST Youth Association for Development (TEYAD) met with the Mayor in November 2007 to speak to Council on how Council can assist young Southern Sudanese settling in the Penrith area.  The Association is enthusiastic about building networks and capacity within the Southern Sudanese Community in the Penrith LGA and integrating into the Australian way of life.

 

The Mayor requested a report detailing the settlement patterns of the Sudanese Community in the Penrith LGA and their priorities in resettlement.

 

This report first gives some background information on the situation in Sudan, the length of time people spend in refugee camps and the conditions in these camps.  To gain the full picture it is important to explain the circumstances in which people leave Sudan and arrive in Australia.  The report then summarises the current issues facing the community.  The support provided by Council and other community partners to the Sudanese Community has also been included in the report.

Background on Southern Sudan

Sudan is located in North Africa and is geographically the largest country in Africa.  Sudan shares borders with eight countries, namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya and Egypt.

Sudan is the largest and one of the most diverse countries in Africa, home to deserts, mountain ranges, swamps and rain forests.  It has emerged from a 21-year civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the Animist and Christian south which is said to have cost the lives of 1.5 million people. Southern rebels said they were battling oppression and marginalisation. After two years of bargaining the government and rebels signed a comprehensive peace deal in January 2005. Sudan is a country in extreme refugee and humanitarian need, as reflected in the population of concern to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in June 2007 was 2,124,513.

 

The UN says more than two million people have fled their homes and more than 200,000 have been killed. Pro-government Arab militias are accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arab groups in the region.

 

Sudan's name comes from the Arabic "bilad al-sudan", or land of the blacks.

 

Arabic is the official language and Islam is the religion of the state, but the country has a large non-Arabic speaking and non-Muslim population which has rejected attempts by the government in Khartoum to impose Islamic Sharia law on the country as a whole.’

Source:  Wishes to Wisdom Report SWAHS Multicultural Health 2007

 

The vast majority of Sudanese humanitarian entrants to Australia come from the country’s southern and predominantly Christian region.  The situation in Darfur in Sudan is a current humanitarian crisis.  The map below illustrates the Sudan with its capital, Khartoum, the Darfur region is to the west and south with a common border with Chad.

 

Map of Sudan

 

 

Almost all Sudanese people that come to Australia are from the south and west of the country.  They enter Australia under the humanitarian component of Australia’s migration program.  They are also predominantly from village communities, and from the Dinka tribe.

 

The Humanitarian Program in Australia includes people who have been granted residency in the following categories or visa subclasses.

·    Refugees

·    Special Humanitarian

·    Women at risk

·    Special assistance

·    Onshore

·    Other visa subclasses

 

Table 1 below indicates the numbers of all migrants by migration stream who settled in the Penrith LGA as their first place of settlement in Australia between 2002 and 2007.  The table illustrates the numbers of humanitarian entrants compared to family and skilled migrants who settle in the Penrith LGA.

 

Table 1  Settlers by Migration Stream - Penrith LGA 2002-2007

 

Calendar Year of Arrival

Migration Stream

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total

Family

220

211

253

217

223

193

1317

Humanitarian

38

77

67

80

61

41

364

Other

8

1

0

0

0

0

9

Skilled

234

243

257

249

192

160

1335

Unknown

0

0

0

1

3

0

4

Total

500

532

577

547

479

394

3029

Source – Department of Immigration and Citizenship 

 

The 364 humanitarian entrants who settled in Penrith between 2002 and 2007 come from a number of different countries. Table 4 on page 6 of this report provides further information on the country of origins of these humanitarian entrants.

 

For the purposes of this report the terms humanitarian entrant and refugee are used interchangeably.

 

Defining a Refugee

The key international instruments pertaining to refugees are the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.  The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to which Australia is a signatory, defines a refugee as:

 

“Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.”

 

The important parts of this definition are:

 

that the person has to be outside their country of origin

the reason for their flight has to be a fear of persecution

this fear of persecution has to be well founded (i.e. they have to have experienced it or be likely to experience it if they return)

the persecution has to result from one or more of the 5 grounds listed in the definition

they have to be unwilling or unable to seek the protection of their country

Source: Refugee Council of Australia Website – www.refugeecouncil.org.au

 

Refugees and Displaced People

The displaced people of Sudan moved to refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda and Zaire, to cities in neighbouring countries such as Cairo in Egypt, or became displaced within Sudan itself. According to the Centre for Refugee Research at the University of NSW, refugee camps themselves are places of danger rather than protection.  Refugees are often in camps for many years.  Refugees in camps often experience extreme hardship.  This includes:

·    Poor physical security and lack of privacy

·    Armed attacks, which often involved rape and sexual violence against women and children

·    Physical hardship

·    Physical illness and psychological stress

·    Lack of food and medical treatment

·    Scarcity of water, particularly clean water, which is difficult to obtain

·    Lack of secure shelter

·    Abuse by officials and members of the local population.

Source:  Centre for Refugee Research – E. Pittaway 2005.

 

Settlement in Australia

Between 2004 and 2006, a significant percentage of Australia’s refugee intake was from African countries. Refugees from African countries tend to have large families, many of which are headed by women.  Refugees may have spent long periods (over five years) in refugee camps and as summarised above have often experienced significant hardship.  It is not unusual for refugees to have lost many family members and to have only the few possessions they fled their homes with.

 

Women who have lived in refugee camps for many years may have limited knowledge and experience of nutrition and food preparation, particularly in the Australian context.  This includes the purchase, preparation and storage of food.

 

Newly arrived refugees will need assistance to access services, manage torture and trauma issues, finding appropriate accommodation, parenting in the Australian context, and budgeting and money management skills.  Becoming familiar with the Australian education system is also important.

 

Meeting the needs of refugees can be resource intensive for services due to complex needs, large numbers of children requiring childcare, and interpreter costs.  According to the Refugee Report completed by the University of NSW in 2001 refugee populations demonstrate a unique set of health needs that arise from their previous experiences of prolonged deprivation, torture and trauma, sexual violence and reduced access to health care. Once resettled in their new countries they continue to carry this unique set of health needs. Added to those are the stresses and strains of resettlement in a new country and culture and it is often at this point that post-traumatic stress disorders will arise.

 

There is also a great deal of pressure on refugee communities in Australia to sponsor friends and family members that are still overseas as soon as possible.  Those migrating as humanitarian entrants are often dependent on their families in Australia for airfares, pre-departure medical examination costs and housing and other settlement assistance once they reach Australia.  In addition to this, money is often sent to family members in the Sudan and in refugee camps.  These factors place significant stress on limited finances, housing and family life for the newly settled refugee community.

It is vital that services have a good understanding of the needs, culture and experiences of people from refugee backgrounds in order to enable a resettlement that supports the well-being of the Sudanese community.

 

Profile of Humanitarian Settlement in NSW

Australia has an intake of 13,000 refugees per year.  In 2006, the African component of this was 50%. In 2005, it was 75% African. In 2007, it was reduced to 30%.  NSW continues to be the major settlement destination point for new humanitarian arrivals, currently receiving 35% of all humanitarian entrants to Australia.

 

Table 2 below shows the African born humanitarian arrivals in NSW by LGA of Settlement between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2006 – a five year period.

 

Table 2 – African Born Humanitarian Arrivals in NSW by Select LGA – 2001-2006

 

Local Government  Area

Number of Settlers

% of Total

Blacktown

1526

25.1%

 

Auburn

969

16.0%

 

Holroyd

586

9.4%

 

Parramatta

 

466

7.7%

Canterbury

 

436

7.2%

Newcastle

 

388

6.4%

Fairfield

 

378

6.2%

Liverpool

 

261

4.3%

Bankstown

 

188

3.1%

Penrith

 

154

2.5%

Others

 

725

11.9%

Total

 

6077

100%

Source: DIAC Settlement Database

 

 

 

Humanitarian Entrants in Penrith

Many refugees, including the Sudanese community, form part of what are described as new and emerging communities.  They are usually smaller communities and newly arrived.  They often lack established family networks, support systems, community structures and resources, relative to the more established communities.  Individuals from these communities therefore also tend to be more unaware of mainstream government services available in Australia.

 

Table 3 below provides the total number of humanitarian entrants (including refugees) by visa sub-class and whose first place of settlement was the Penrith LGA between 2002 and 2007. Please note that in the different settlement planning data tabulations provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship the totals will not always be equivalent (eg in Table 1 there are 364 humanitarian entrants, in Table 3 below there are 355).

 

Table 3 - Settlers by Visa Sub-Class Humanitarian Migration Stream - Penrith LGA 2002-2007

 

Calendar Year of Arrival

Visa Sub-Class (Name)

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total

Global Special Humanitarian

22

57

49

61

45

24

258

Protection Visa-Permanent Residence

8

2

15

19

9

6

59

Refugee

0

12

1

1

7

5

26

Women at Risk

6

5

1

0

0

0

12

Total

36

76

66

81

61

35

355

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship - Settlement Planning

 

Humanitarian entrants from other parts of Sydney or NSW may also settle in Penrith.  At the same time, some humanitarian entrants who first settle in Penrith may move to another part of Sydney or further afield.  Thus the numbers provided are a guide until they can be cross-referenced with Census data.

 

As noted in Table 3, 355 humanitarian entrants had their first point of settlement in the Penrith LGA between 2002 and 2007.

 

Table 4 below provides the countries of origin of the humanitarian entrants summarised in Table 3.

 

Table 4 - Humanitarian Entrants by Country of Origin - Penrith LGA – 2002 - 2007

Original Table

 

Calendar Year of Arrival

Country of Birth

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total

Sudan

6

38

43

50

23

14

174

Afghanistan

12

10

0

0

7

0

29

Egypt Arabi Rep of

2

5

7

7

2

0

23

Iraq

0

7

4

0

6

6

23

Pakistan

6

0

8

4

4

0

22

Sri Lanka

0

0

0

13

4

3

20

Iran

0

7

2

0

6

3

18

Lebanon

6

1

0

0

0

0

7

Sierra Leone

0

0

0

0

7

0

7

Kenya

0

0

0

1

0

5

6

Others

6

8

4

6

5

6

35

Total

38

76

68

81

64

37

364

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship – Settlement planning

 

Sudanese Humanitarian Entrants Settling in Penrith

As can be seen from Table 4 above, the largest number of humanitarian entrants settling in the Penrith LGA are from the Sudan, in particular the Southern Sudan.  The Southern Sudanese refugee community within this area is relatively small in numbers, dispersed and generally isolated.  Women may be particularly isolated.  The community is isolated due to lack of transport, geographical distance and lack of bilingual services.  They are further isolated by their lack of English language, and by the many barriers they experience in obtaining employment.

 

Southern Sudanese refugees from the Dinka tribe began settling in the Penrith area in about 2002, and now this group is the largest emerging community in the Penrith LGA. Initially, most of the Southern Sudanese community members that were accessing the support services of the Mamre project (services located in the grounds of Mamre House) were married and both partners were in Australia.  There is, however, a growing group of single mothers that are settling in Penrith. 

 

As with all groups of refugees, the Southern Sudanese face numerous challenges as they settle into Australian society.  Most refugees from Africa have experienced a high degree of trauma and many years in refugee camps.  They may experience delayed successful settlement while they recover, but this does not mean the refugee will not have a successful settlement outcome.  The Sudanese have lower levels of education than some other refugee groups – typically year 3 or 4 at Primary Level with some also having no written literacy in their own language (Dinka).  Women in particular, because of childrearing and the overall responsibility for the family’s health, tend to experience greater isolation and find it difficult to access necessary services in education and health.

 

Newly arrived refugees will require assistance to learn about services, finding appropriate accommodation, information and support around parenting in the Australian context, budgeting and money management skills and support with torture and trauma issues.  It is important to also be aware of the significant life and role changes that new migrants experience by becoming part of a new society.  Information and support need to be provided to assist the community in this adjustment.

 

A more detailed overview of the issues facing the Southern Sudanese Refugee community in Penrith is provided in the next sections of this report.

 

Settlement Issues

 

A number of research projects have been completed on identifying the particular issues facing refugees from the Sudan in NSW, including in the Nepean region.  The overview of issues provided below is taken from some of this research, the experience of Council’s Multicultural Access Officer in working with agencies providing direct services to the Sudanese community, and this Officer’s ongoing liaison with this community.

 

Education/English

 

Educational opportunities available in the Southern Sudan were minimal and many refugees lack English language skills.  For some refugees, English acquisition is taking considerably longer due to having little written literacy in their own language prior to arrival in Australia. 

 

Transport

 

Many of the community are dependent on public transport, yet are not close to train stations. The Mamre project provides four vehicles (three mini buses and a 4WD) twice a day, four days per week to collect and drop off the community for English classes.  The Mamre project requires volunteer drivers to provide this support.  Mamre is pursuing ongoing funding to continue to provide this level of service as the cost is prohibitive.

 

Childcare

 

Affordable and accessible childcare is needed for Sudanese families to attend English classes. This need will continue as families pursue work opportunities.  Families have more children than the Australian average with four to six children being the norm in Southern Sudanese families.  Child care services need to be aware of the trauma and torture experiences many of the parents will have suffered, including long periods in refugee camps.

 

Currently, around thirty 0-5 years old children spend over 20 hours per week in a crèche at the Mamre Project.  This crèche is staffed mainly by volunteers with a trained supervisor.  Parents are also on site.  The Mamre project is not funded for running this child care support.

 

Mental Health

 

Mental health and suicide risk is an issue for concern as there have been a number of attempted suicides by African women and men in the area.  Nepean Migrant Access has requested that the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) have a female counsellor provide a sessional support service for the African community settling in the area.

 

Health

 

The number of Africans identified as HIV positive is high.  There are concerns regarding how best to educate the community about the seriousness of HIV and AIDS.  Addressing this matter requires a focussed partnership between Sydney West Area Health Service, other service providers and the Sudanese community.

 

 

Young Women’s Health

 

A small number of young Sudanese women are currently pregnant and are facing challenges being accepted by their family and community.  Currently, there is a sub-committee of the local Refugee Coalition investigating this issue and developing support options.

 

Men’s Health

 

In Sudanese culture, men are usually the bread winners and therefore a lack of employment can lead to reduced confidence and wellbeing.  Many men are unemployed while some are attending computer courses to become familiar with contemporary information technology. As a consequence of the war in Sudan, some men experience Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) which can effect concentration, ability to maintain employment, alcohol usage and unhealthy family dynamics.

 

Family Structure and Size

 

Families in Southern Sudan are traditionally large.  Children are seen as a sign of wealth.  The family structure in Sudan is traditionally patriarchal with the men having the ultimate say in family decisions.  Conflict in families may arise between the traditional Sudanese gender based roles and new roles in Australia.  There is a need for sensitive education strategies to familiarise Sudanese families with the potentially very high costs of raising children in Australia.

 

Domestic Violence

 

There is some domestic violence in the community.  There is a need for more community education on this issue and how it is dealt with in Australia. Culturally, the women are not allowed to talk about this issue as they believe it is a family issue and others cannot interfere unless they are invited.  Services are raising awareness of this issue and the avenues available to the community by including women in relevant Health Information sessions.

 

Racism and Discrimination

 

Some Sudanese community members have experienced racism and discrimination.  Many of the initiatives developed by local services aim to support and emphasise community inclusion and understanding.

 

Employment

 

As many of the community are still in the settlement stages and attending English language classes they are not in a position to be seeking employment.  Some who have been in Australia longer are looking for employment with limited English.  Any opportunities for work experience are worthwhile. TAFE is providing some training and skill development courses on an outreach basis from Mamre.

 

Funding

 

There is no dedicated funding for the work of the Mamre project or the Refugee Coalition.  (See later section of this report headed Penrith Refugee Coalition for details on this Coalition).

 

 

 

Research

The Penrith Emerging Refugee Community Report (PERC 2004) highlighted the need for effective community and health service planning to provide short and long term programs, including educational and recreational activities.  The Southern Sudanese Women’s Group at the Mamre Project was developed as a direct result of that report.  From this, the Refugee Coalition was later formed which supports women, men and children at the Mamre Project through a variety of initiatives.

 

Capacity Building in the Southern Sudanese Community

The Sudanese, like many other refugee communities, face many challenges in regard to settling in Australia.  The community is taking proactive steps to build community capacity.  The recent development of the Southern Sudanese Strategic Plan by the NSW Southern Sudanese and other Marginalised Areas group is an example of this.

 

One of the strengths of this community, particularly the young people, is that they have taken the initiative of making contact with the Mayor around the issues facing their own community.  They have also met with Council officers who have provided advice and support with their applications for Community Assistance Program funding and Youth Week Funding.  These young people have organised two community activities in December 2007 and January 2008.  The Mayor and Council officers have attended these activities.

 

Current Council Support for the Southern Sudanese Community

Over a number of years, Council has provided support to the Sudanese and other refugee communities residing in Penrith City.  Examples of this support are provided below:

 

·    African Communities meet Local Government Forum – held on 3 November 2007

·    Participation in monthly Penrith Refugee Coalition meetings

·    Support Refugee Week activities each year that contribute to building broader community understanding of the needs of refugees

·    Tour of Penrith Library  – information for Sudanese women re use of Library cards

·    Community Assistance Program grant to Young Sudanese Writers Group

·    Community Assistance Program grant to Sudanese Youth Group for Leadership Conference

·    Youth Week funding for establishment of a Website for Young Sudanese

·    In-kind support for Sudanese Community Awareness Night – 10 March 2008 in Blacktown

·    Community Assistance Program grant to Mamre project for Pathway to playground

·    Community Assistance Program grant to Angels of Mercy Welfare Services, a voluntary mobile service, to assist with purchase of a data projector to provide information sessions for Sudanese women

 

Further details on some of the major activities listed above are provided in the next sub-sections of this report.

 

 

 

 

African Communities meet Local Government Forum November 2007

Through a partnership between Blacktown City Council, Penrith City Council, community members on the Blacktown-Nepean Regional Advisory Council, and the Community Relations Commission, a forum on local government was held for African communities living in the Nepean-Blacktown region.  Approximately 100 people from six different African communities (Sudanese, Congolese, Ghanaian, Sierra Leonean, Burundian, Liberian) living in the Nepean region attended the Forum.

 

Councillor Jackie Greenow represented the Mayor, Councillor Greg Davies, at this forum.

Councillor Jackie Greenow is also a community member of the Community Relations Commission Blacktown-Nepean Regional Advisory Council.

 

Feedback from participants was that the forum was informative and contributed to a better understanding of the role of local government and the support it can provide African residents in the two LGAs.

 

Penrith Refugee Coalition

The aim of the Penrith Refugee Coalition is to support the harmonious resettlement of refugee communities in the Penrith LGA by:

 

·    Providing  English classes and a crèche for childcare

·    Parenting skills, health, fitness and settlement support

·    Vocational training and employment related skills

·    Computer classes

·    Transport to and from Mamre

·    Transition to school

·    Referral for casework to Nepean Migrant Access

 

Organisations participating in the Coalition include:

 

·    Nepean Migrant Access

·    Sydney West Area Health Service

·    Penrith Women's Health Centre

·    Nepean Community College

·    Penrith City Council

·    TAFE 

·    Mission Australia – Families NSW

·    Anglicare

·    Mamre Project 

·    NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma (STARTTS)

·    Global Skills – Job network provider

·    Centrelink

 

The pooling of skills and resources in the Coalition to implement the various programs has maintained three years of service without receiving consistent dedicated funding from any one source.  Regular meetings are held to maintain a planned approach with open communication channels between all the organisations involved.

 

Summary

There has been significant growth in the number of Southern Sudanese refugees resident in the Penrith LGA since 2002.  This growth is expected to continue.

 

The Sudanese, like many other small refugee communities, face many challenges in regard to settling in Australia including obtaining secure housing, learning English, undertaking education and obtaining employment.  Importantly, the community is taking proactive steps to build capacity and support structures.

 

The successful settlement of migrants and refugees is dependant on the quality and level of support they receive as they begin their new life as Australians.

 

The Refugee Coalition, which includes Council, a number of agency partners and based at the Mamre project, provides a co-ordinated service planning and delivery framework to continue to respond to the priority concerns and needs of the Sudanese refugee community.

 

Council will also continue to work closely with the Sudanese community associations and groups to identify constructive ways to contribute to community cohesion and inclusion.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That the information contained in the report on Southern Sudanese Settlement in the Penrith LGA be received.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

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