Mayor's Column 20 February 2019
Sometimes Councils and Mayors just can't win. No matter what they do, there will always be some members of the community who are unhappy.
Years ago when Southlakes Estate was being designed, the
original owners left four blocks on the edge of the park for themselves to
develop later on. We all know that the original front part of Southlakes,
is one of the most picturesque estates in Dubbo. It has beautiful parks,
small lakes and ponds. Many people even choose to have their wedding
photography there because of the ideal parkland settings.
No wonder the developers left a proportion of the area for their
As the years go by, new homes have been constructed around the
park and people have come to enjoy the open space of the parkland. In
recent months, Council has completed the first stage of the Boundary Road
extension, where those blocks owned by the original owners have newly
constructed direct street frontage to the new part of Boundary Road.
Now the problem. The original owners have decided to build on
their blocks – blocks that they legally own.
Residents are upset that their parkland will be reduced in size
to accommodate the four blocks of land. Despite the blocks always being on
the plans, some residents insist that they were never told the said portion of
open space would be developed later on.
Residents have raised the issue with Council, and some have gone
as far as asking Council to refuse the development application.
However, Councils simply cannot refuse development applications
if the proposed development is within the permitted local planning
A refusal of a legal DA by council inevitably ends up in the
Land and Environmental Court, where the court simply overrules the Council,
despite Council spending huge sums of ratepayers funds defending the decision
to refuse the application.
Other residents have asked what else can be done if it’s
impossible to refuse the DA. My initial reaction was that Council could
investigate the possibility of purchasing the land. However the estimates
proved too high for it to be a realistic proposition.
Would ratepayers in the other parts of the city be happy for
Council to spend $1.5 million purchasing land to increase the parkland in
All this has caused a number of Southlakes residents to be very
annoyed with Council. I understand their concern but it is simply
impossible to keep all parties happy with the outcome.
There is no legal way to stop the development and it is
certainly financially unviable to buy the blocks. The good thing for
residents is that even without those blocks, Southlakes still has a higher
amount of parklands than most developments.
another note, Council will be holding an informal
Community Forum Wellington which will give the public the opportunity to
personally meet with Councillors and Senior Staff to raise matters to be
considered by Council. Residents can come anytime during the two-hour window
and have one-on-one discussions with your elected representatives or senior
staff of Council.
The forum is on Monday, 4 March 2019 commencing at
5.30pm and finishing at 7.30pm at the Wellington Bowling Club Function Room,
Marsh Street Wellington.
Last Edited: 20 Feb 2019