On Tuesday 28 August 56 people attended an information session organised by the Forum to address the Huntingdale Park development plans. Matt Somers, the project manager representing the developers Pindan, gave a presentation explaining the background to the development and the plans for Stages 8 & 9 – see Pindan Presentation
An extensive Q&A session followed, where residents were able to obtain information on various aspects of the development and associated impacts.
Key points from the presentation were –
- Since the original plans were approved in 2003 there have been many changes to fire regulations
- Many of the changes proposed by Pindan are to comply with the changed regulations
- Council “identified that ‘pocket parks’ were undesirable from a maintenance and cost perspective”, so Pindan propose to add the forest area in the NW corner of the site to the two adjoining Lots when they are offered for sale.
- The forest area has a restriction as to user which prohibits clearing or development
- A number of Lots have been extended into the riparian zone around the creek to reduce bush fire threat – again because of “Council concerns for maintenance”. There is a positive covenant regarding the APZ areas and vegetation management.
- Pindan have increased the amount of public space in the overall development from 9.6ha in the original plan to 11.4ha. Admittedly, there is a significant area under the power lines, adjacent to the fenced storm water drainage within the riparian area
Key points from the Q&A session that had support from residents were –
- A perception that Council was obtaining significant S94 contributions from Pindan (in addition to large increases in future rates revenue), but appeared reluctant to allocate funds from its S94 Plan for public amenities or the ongoing maintenance of public reserves in Huntingdale Park.
- Matt identified an area in the plan which was allocated for a playground area, but said Council was not intending to fund any play equipment. He added that Pindan were offering to purchase the equipment.
- There was frustration with the lack of open space for kids to play or kick a ball around. It was suggested that the demographics had changed since the original plan and there were now likely to be many more younger residents with children.
- There were concerns that there is no connectivity planned for fauna between the forest area and the riparian area around the creek, i.e. a designated wildlife pipe or tunnel. A culvert pipe 750mm in diameter was thought to be ineffective for the quantity of rainwater that flows through the forest.
- Some residents thought the established forest area only needed low maintenance and should remain as a public space maintained by Council
- Concerns were expressed about the fire risk associated with only one exit road for 270 homes.
Overall, the session was very successful and residents expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to obtain information and ask questions in a structured, but informal environment. The Forum Committee is grateful for Matt’s offer to present to the community and the attendance of SET consultants to answer questions. Council were invited to attend the session, but sent apologies as it clashed with a full Council meeting.