Hornsby Rural Area – Where To From Here?

Well over 50 years ago the current zonings were established, villages were recognised, working farms existed and a lovely, beautiful area evolved.

50 years on and nothing has changed regarding zonings, whilst everything else has changed dramatically. There are now virtually no working farms or orchards in existence; the residents of the village areas have been allowed to subdivide their land (sometimes with one block becoming three); multiple SEPP 5 aged care/residential facilities have been approved on the village boundaries; all with no thought to our roadways which are already clogged badly.

For 15 years now the warning bells have been sounding – medium density housing encroaching on our fringes – South Dural – developers won’t stop – and the State Government is pushing hard to satisfy a relentless demand for more housing in Sydney.

Three years ago Hornsby Council surveyed its’ rural area asking if the residents wanted change – change in a good way that allowed growth, gave population to schools, local businesses and facilities, but vitally preserved the rural ambience for at least another one or two generations. Reducing village surrounds from 5 acre lots to 1 acre, extending the 5 acre zoning into what is now 25 acre areas and allowing the potential for the creation of new Villages – all designed to make SEPP5 much more difficult to achieve adjoining the village areas, whilst promoting affordability and growth and allowing the current owners of this land to retain as is if they so want.

This survey response resoundingly supported change in the rural area – it empowered Council to act on these results.

Three years on and Council has only acted on part of the responses. We now face another Council election (having gone through an almost farcical amalgamation process). Our State Government’s actions have impacted the financial viability of our Council – less area, less rates – NO Compensation! And to top it off – now no amalgamation. Who will have to foot the bill? Us, obviously.

On top of this, the Liberal Party has seen fit to dump Steve Russell as Mayor (the man who has stood up fiercely for the rights of our shire and embarrassed the Government about the inequity of the non-amalgamation debacle – rightly so) and “replaced” him with the candidate they wouldn’t pre-select again after 43 years for his Federal Government seat.

The Liberal Party are playing a power and control game that ignores the wishes of the residents and will, in all probability, result in a lack lustre Council, which will be indecisive and unfocussed. We desperately need strength, focus and determination to structure this shire, and our rural area in particular, in a way that will protect it for future generations whilst accommodating reasonable growth and ensuring its financial viability.

We have reviewed the Candidates for the Hornsby Shire Council Mayoral Role (the guiding force of the Council) and the Councillors and it is our strong feeling that , for the first time, we need to seriously consider voting below the line rather than just accepting what any particular party encompasses with its’ above the line grouping.

We hope you agree and vote carefully to ensure the best outcome for the residents of Hornsby Shire. Select those candidates that you know will do the best for our area.

This is the only way to get responsible people with focus, energy and integrity onto our Council to carry us forward for the next term.

Have your say – give our area a chance on September 9th.
Vote for people you can believe in – not political puppets!