The Community is attempting to hold Northern Beaches Council to account for its approach to the proposed sell-off of land within riparian land at 2 Bangaroo Street, North Balgowlah. This section of the site contains source documents, correspondence, and summaries to provide you with known facts about what is going on.

DateLink and DescriptionSummary
3-JUN-22Request for a professional valuation of the land if sold for housing development” … the current DA is going to expire Jun 2023, likely before we get to sell the property, and if not then definitely with a very tight timeframe that may not allow a purchaser to act on the DA. I do not see any possibility of the DA lapse date being extended.

Would the value of the land as one parcel drop with no valid DA?”
28-JUL-22Property Steering Committee Agenda (redacted by Council).Agenda Item 4.4 “Proposed Sale of Council Land – Lot 1 DP 130467 and Lot 2 DP873792 Bangaroo Street North Balgowlah.

Read this item to understand more about Council’s race against time!

Council estimates the land is worth up to 20% less without a current Development Application
28-JUL-22Property Steering Committee Minutes (redacted by Council)Actions:
2 options for feasibility assessment;
a) Sell as one lot for seniors living
b) Sell as 3 lots for single dwellings

Also, conduct a review of trees on site.
8-AUG-22eMail Request for desk review of sale options“Council are looking to get the highest and best use / feasibility study done.’

“…. the turnaround time on this is pretty tight ….”
8-AUG-22Formal quotation request for desktop feasibility study – potential uses for land – Lot1 DP 130467, Lot 2 DP 873792“Analysis of 2 options only;
a) Sell as one lot
b) Sell as 3 lots for single dwellings

Feasibility of best use does not contemplate anything beyond a sale for development.
9-SEP-22Desktop Feasibility Study (redacted by Council)“Council have advised consideration should be given to the size, location and zoning …. For example, could the land be divided into a greater number of residential plots?”
14-SEP-22Requests for amendments and notification of Council staff amendments to the feasibility report
21-SEP-22Property Steering Committee Agenda (redacted by Council)Agenda Item 4.1 recommends that Council undertake the subdivision work and prepare 3 plots for private housing construction.

“Council needs to progress the matter in the immediate future … to ensure the Development Application does not lapse.
21-SEP-22Property Steering Committee Minutes (redacted by Council)Actions
a) Council Staff initiate an EOI for the sales of the entire site
b) concurrently initiate a procurement process for works to subdivide the site into 3 residential lots

Report back out of session and as soon as possible
21-OCT-22Request for Quote – Real Estate Services to Market
Council is seeking a suitably qualified agent to run an EOI campaign for the freehold sale of the above lots in one line (excluding the creekline corridor).

Council has high pricing expectations that will be discussed with the appointed agent, however, it should be known that if expectations are not met, the site will not transact.

Respondents should
factor this into their fee proposal.
26-OCT-22Response to RFQ – Upstate
28-OCT-22Response to RFQ – Red
28-OCT-22Agency Evaluation memo
8-NOV-22Instruction to prepare contract for sale“I have today received urgent instructions for a contract of sale to be drawn up for 2 Bangaroo St, North Balgowlah.

Whilst a contract for sale has been requested by 11 November 2022, I’m not clear on the reason for the urgency …..”
9-NOV-22RFP and quote for preparation of plan for subdivision“If you could also give an idea of timeframes, both your and the LPI’s it would be greatly appreciated as this one has suddenly turned rather urgent and we need the plan sooner rather than later …”
25-NOV-22Internal memo’s arising from Councillor Grattan seeking clarification of what’s going on.
memo 1
memo 2
memo 3
memo 4
“I’ve emailed Ray (Brownlee) today about this (and he did reassure everyone yesterday that this was the beginning of a long
process ‐ no sale was in train) ‐ but the actions on the ground are in conflict with what was said yesterday and there
are very high levels of anxiety in the community as a result.”
28-NOV-22Buyer Memo and Information Pack from RED“Please note: due to Covid the DA was extended by two years past its expiry date to June 2023 ….. ….Expressions of interest are invited and closed on 2nd December for consideration by the vendor’s, on the 5th
December. Buyers that submitted an Expression of Interest, will be notified as to their offers, and negotiations will be
entered into with the successful parties.”
28-NOV-22Draft Contract For Sale from Information Pack
28-NOV-22Stamped Plans from Information Pack
29-NOV-22Councillor Briefing Presentation
2-DEC-22Application to consolidate the 2 lots into one

Consolidation Form
“On 21 September 2022, Council’s Property Steering Committee voted to endorse
the initiation of an EOI for the sale of the entire site, which is currently underway.
However, as a portion of land along Burnt Bridge Creek is zoned RE1 and is due
to remain in Council ownership, it was determined that this land should not be
sold but should be subdivided off as “public reserve” prior to any sale taking place.
In order to do this, it is first necessary to consolidate the two lots.”
5-DEC-22EOI submission memo and details from RED“Please find the updated sheet attatched and the new offer in the file.”

“We will continue to work with potential buyers, however, we believe the most solid developer is the [redacted] at this stage which also seems to be the highest offer which is always better. Good local developer, Solid offer.:”
6-DEC-22Outcome of EOI Process
8-DEC-22Response to James Griffin’s Office regarding a constituents concerns“Council is obviously receiving a number of similar representations on this matter (including directly from [redacted]).

The land that has been put up for EOI for sale is zoned R2 residential. The riparian zone has been subdivided and is
zoned RE1 and will be retained by Council should this land be sold.

No decision on the sale has been made ‐ it is a matter for the full elected Council to consider.

With regards to community consultation, the land has a Council resolution to subdivide and sell and a subdivision DA
was completed in 2015 (and publicly notified to such effect).”
12-DEC-22Memo from Councillor Bingham clarifying conservation zoning
memo 1
memo 2
We understand many submissions to “Have your Say” pointed out the anomoly of these 2 plots being excluded from proposed conservation.
13-DEC-22Council Meeting AgendaPage 103 motion requests that Council:

Pauses the Expression of Interest process for Council-owned lands Lot 1 DP 130467 and Lot
873792, also known as 2 Bangaroo Street, North Balgowlah, to allow for further assessment
and consultation.

Reassesses any future subdivision or sale of this public land against current environmental
standards including the proposed riparian corridor and riparian buffer zones identified in the
Watercourse, Wetlands and Riparian Lands (Technical) Study, commissioned by Council as
part of the Draft Local Environment Plan process.

Undertakes community-wide consultation in recognition of the value of the Burnt Bridge
Creek to the wider community
13-DEC-22Council Meeting MinutesThe motion is modified to request only community consultation and review – why?

Extensive Notes are added to protect the actions of Council and Committee members to-date.

See more in the misinformation section below.
15-DEC-22Notification from RED that potential sale will be voted on in early 2023“Public opinion and consensus will be sought early next year and then will go to another meeting for the vote to sell this parcel of land or not.”
Documenting the story as it unfolds

Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories?

Many of you received an email from Councillor Walton very quickly following (or during) the 13th December Council meeting. If you (like us) were excluded from the circulation, this is what Councillor Walton had to say about the concerns raised ….

Councillor Waltons email reflects how the motion before Council was re-engineered after first being tabled by Councillors Bingham and Grattan, and prior to debate.

Councillor Walton is a voting member of the Property Steering Committee that is driving the preparation for sale of 2 Bangaroo Street.

A few alternative facts in reply:

Councillor Waltons email says …. “There was never a proposal to destroy or sell a riparian zone in North Balgowlah.”

This is a stretch. Council is being cute with their wording and definitions.

Since 2010 Warringah Council has been bound by PL740 Waterways Protection of Waterways and Riparian Land Policy.

The riparian boundaries in this policy applied when the 2015 DA for development was approved. These boundaries prescribe a 30m protection zone for a permanently flowing watercourse.

The riparian zone removed from the land for sale is much less than 30m from the creek line.

It gets worse …..

The riparian protected zones are due to be widened in 2023 when Northern Beaches Council implement a new Local Environment Plan (LEP)

This diagram shows how riparian land is defined in this council document. It’s a 40m zone from the water, made up of 2 sections; the riparian corridor and the riparian buffer.

The riparian zone AND the buffer zone are excluded from development
No new development in Riparian Land

The purple line shows the proposed buffer zone superimposed on the land that is being prepared for sale.

The blocks for sale are majoritavely inside the riparian zone
Council’s planning department publicly state that ‘normally’ the riparian buffer zone should not be built upon

Louise Kerr, Northern Beaches Council Director of Planning & Place says development in the riparian buffer zone is ‘not ordinarily’ allowed, BUT Councils’ proposed stricter controls have not been implemented yet.

However, the more broadly defined riparian land (including the buffer) has been protected from development since at least 2010, as this Warringah Council policy describes.

Councillor Waltons email says…. “Any construction of a dwelling house would always be subject to Council development application processes and approvals and be open and transparent.”

This is not correct. Complying development would not be subject to an additional development application process nor would there need to be any transparency around it.

Noting that the active DA contains proposed envelopes for dwellings, it is quite conceivable that a private certifier could approve compliant development without any further involvement of Council.

The Property Steering Committee is on the record for rushing this ‘proposed’ sale through before this DA lapses in June 2023. Council knows that without that (and especially if the new LEP controls for buffer zones are in place), a new Development Application for this site would become very difficult to approve with transparency.

Councillor Waltons email says …. “Council has no report stating that new development should not occur on these sites.”

The Property Steering Committee has determined that the active DA is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in value to Council. So long as building work starts before it lapses in June 2023 Council expects a 10-20% premium on the price paid for the land.

It would appear that the Property Steering Committee including David Walton has been advised there is risk that a new DA to develop this site would not be approved today if the original one does lapse.

Refer again to Louise Kerr on new development in buffer zones. ‘Ordinarily not’ BUT whilst there is a DA based on old controls, we can.

However, this document, active since 2010 is quite clear about controls and riparian zones. A wider zone than has been excluded from the sale was subject to protection in 2015 when the DA was assessed.

As the Director of Planning & Place Louise Kerr is the executive responsible for the recent Conservation Review. This review excluded 2 Bangaroo Street and the parcel of land on the other side of Bangaroo Street such that these plots are still available for sale and residential development.

Councillor Waltons email says …. “Development Application approval is current to subdivide the land to enable the construction of dwellings on each new allotment. The impacts of the riparian zone are a matter for consideration in the design and assessment of any future DA ….”

The DA expiry was extended by 2 years from expiration in 2021 to 2023 because of COVID, so it is valid until June 2023.

The “impacts of the riparian zone being a matter for consideration in the design and assessment of any future DA” is precisely why the Property Steering Committee is trying to beat the clock and sell or develop this land whilst they still can, before the current DA lapses.