Author Archives: garyspeechley

Ashmore Estate Development – ARAG’s Talking Points for Objections to the DA

ARAG has prepared a list of items that residents might like to consider when preparing their objection to the Ashmore Estate development proposal.

Briefly, the proposal is for 1,400 – 1,600 units and an increase in population of around 6,300. That effectively DOUBLES the population of BOTH Alexandria and Erskineville.

Download this PDF ARAG Ashmore Estate Objection Template to assess the issues.

Download this version in WORD format: ARAG Ashmore Estate Objection Template.

AGM Results

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of ARAG was held on Wednesday 9th July 2014 prior to our regular monthly meeting.

The result of the elections to the Executive Committee is: Continue reading

ARAG’s Annual General Meeting

No – don’t run away!!!

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of ARAG will be held on Wednesday 9th July 2014 prior to our regular monthly meeting. The AGM will commence at 7:00 pm.

The current Executive Committee is:

 Convenor Ben Aveling
 Co-Convenor Vanessa Knight
Secretary  Yvonne Cowell
Treasurer Gary Speechley
Working Groups Vanessa Knight

Additionally, Gary Speechley is the Public Officer, the person responsible for liaison between ARAG and Fair Trading NSW.

We are seeking new members to join the committee and would welcome your consideration of offering your experience and enthusiasm.

Financial and other reports also will be presented at the AGM.

Better Planning Network – Petition to the Premier, Barry O’Farrell

BPN have their petition up and running at

To sign the petition, follow this link: The Premier of NSW – the Hon. Barry O’Farrell, MP: Withdraw the NSW Government’s Planning Bills!

The Planning Department is being caught out on the new draft legislation

Two articles in today’s press highlight what ARAG and other community groups as affiliates of the Better Planning Network have been saying for some time: the proposed new planning legislation is rubbish – broken before it starts.

See and for more information.

What’s the problem? “The director general of planning Sam Haddad has admitted the way departmental staff sold the new planning reforms to the public could have been “inaccurate or misleading”.”

Expect a petition on behalf of the Better Planning Network (BPN) to be live in the next day or so, and PLEASE act on it so that this bad, developer-focussed legislation can be directed to the rubbish bin of history.

The BPN website is located at and can also be accessed via e-mail at, and on Facebook and Twitter at and respectively.

Better Planning Network (BPN) Questionnaire

On the reverse side of this month’s ARAG Meeting flier is a questionnaire on behalf of the Better Planning Network.

Established in August 2012, the Better Planning Network Inc. (the BPN) is an affiliation of more than 420 community groups across NSW working together to achieve a NSW planning system that is driven by Ecologically Sustainable Development principles; has community wellbeing at its heart; respects the right of communities to shape local planning and development decisions; protects our environment and heritage; and minimises the risks of corruption associated with planning and development decisions.  The BPN is a volunteer-based, incorporated organisation and is not affiliated with any political party. (This paragraph is from the BPN.)

ARAG, along with other community groups, has been asked to distribute the BPN questionnaire throughout our communities to assist with the fight against the proposed NSW Planning Legislation.

ARAG does not push a view or opinion on the issues that arise – be it in relation to development applications, parking, etc. We aim to provide information and access to information and views through this blog, and through invited speakers at our monthly meetings, so that you, the resident, can make an informed decision that best represents your views and your desired outcomes.

The BPN questionnaire contains a number of questions in relation to the performance of local (state) members of parliament in relation to the proposed NSW Planning legislation, and whether their support or otherwise of this legislation would affect your vote.

As you can see, the questionnaire specifically mentions our state electoral seat of Heffron, and the name of the local member.

This is not a request or solicitation of your voting intentions by ARAG.

It is a request by BPN that will assist them in targeting government members of parliament and members of minor parties in their effort to achieve a better planning outcome for NSW.

ARAG apologises if this questionnaire has caused offence or confusion.

Proposed NSW Planning Laws – be afraid, very, very afraid!!!

The White Paper for the proposed changes to NSW planning legislation has been released.

After consulting independently some time ago, the NSW government ignored recommendations within that original report and produced their own “Green Paper”.

Following the Green Paper, the “White Paper” now has been released for public comment.

And although the document is open for comment until 28th June, the legislation already has beed drafted. So much for consultation!!!

Everything in this White Paper emphasises “economic” aspects of the proposed plan. Environment, heritage and social aspects are either non-existent, or very much regarded as third-order priorities.

And once initial public consultation is over (if you don’t get involved, you’ll regret it), no further public consultation or engagement occurs. Within 5 years, the NSW government expects that 80% of all development applications will be regarded as “compliant” and so no further consideration or discussion will be held – decisions will be taken away from Councils, and the community.

Multi-storey developments may be planned on your street and you won’t know until building starts!!
If a developer wishes to change a zoning, they will have up to four separate opportunities to apply and appeal, at different levels of the planning process. Finally, a developer can apply to the Minister for approval. During all these stages, you, as residents, have no right of appeal, review or comment. 
Residents need to be concerned, need to be informed, and need to be involved. Take action NOW to have your view heard.
Tell your friends and family – this will affect them too. This has state-wide implications – not just inner-city areas such as Alexandria.
The Better Planning Network has prepared an assessment of the proposals, and a guide to help you frame your objections to the NSW government.

The BPN Facebook link is here at BPN Facebook

Gadens Solicitors also have made a review document available. Read it here: Gadens – The cards are on the table – Gadens’ Analysis – 30Apr13

The Better Planning Network is an affiliation of some 380 community groups across NSW, and is a great source of information. Please visit to inform yourselves.

The NSW Planning Department website is at Take time to read and inform yourselves of the content of this document. It WILL affect you, and potentially, quite adversely.

Parking – Stage 1

Stage 1 of the Resident Parking Scheme came into effect on 30th July.

The effect was immediate, and dramatic.

However, in what appears to be a loophole in the Parking Plan, a couple of lane-ways including Mitchell Lane and Dibbs Lane remain unrestricted parking.

This has resulted in some residents being parked in and unable to utilise the rear-lane access they have had during the day.

Mark Hannan from the City of Sydney Council is preparing a brief for the August Traffic Management Committee which, if approved, will be submitted to residents for their approval.

Please contact Mark Hannan, Parking Project Manager, with your views – preferably via e-mail – at

Additionally, if you are encountering problems accessing your properties from these lane-ways, call the Council switchboard on (02) 9265 9333 and Council Rangers will be asked to investigate further.

For information on Alexandria Parking, visit Traffic and Parking in Alexandria on the City of Sydney website.

August Meeting – Council Candidates’ Forum – Special Date: 15 August 2012

ARAG, in association with Friends of Erskineville, FLAG Harold Park and Hands Off Glebe , will be hosting a public forum at which a number of Council Candidates, including the Lord Mayor, have agreed to attend.

This Special Meeting will be at:

Wednesday 15th August 2012, commencing at 7 pm
Alexandria Town Hall, 73 Garden Street, Alexandria.

It is important that you arrive well before 7pm to secure your seat and allow us to start promptly at 7pm.

The following Council Candidates will attend:

  • Clover Moore (Clover Moore Independent Team)
  • Irene Doutney (Greens)
  • Linda Scott (Labor)
  • Edward Mandla (Liberal)
  • Angela Vithoulkas (Living Sydney Independent Team)
  • Denis Doherty (Housing Action)

The meeting will begin with all candidates presenting their vision for Sydney, including development and infrastructure, precinct committees and parking.

Questions from the floor will then be taken.

Please join us to be a part of this important community event.

July Meeting

The election of Office Bearers and the Adoption of the Constitution, items carried over from the June Annual General Meeting, were ratified by the general meeting.