- MEDIA RELEASE -
Northern Beaches Council and Crown Lands NSW have failed in their duties to protect planning laws in Pittwater with a series of irregularities by both
authorities in the management of the Pasadena development at Church Point.
The comment by Church Point Community Projects Association Inc (CPCP) follows the decision by CPCP, Altius Pty Ltd (the Pasadena developer) and the Minister
Administering Crown Lands to settle a case currently before the courts.
Nicholas Cowdery AM QC said there had been official inaction by both Northern Beaches Council and Crown Lands NSW in the current Pasadena development.
He said the recent retrospective approval of certain activities on Crown lands leased by Altius, was “a questionable action”.
“There has been a lack of transparency and continuing legal uncertainty over the Pasadena site, and the development and use of the adjacent Crown land
foreshore. Altius has been able to carry out building works for a year unhindered since the Northern Beaches Council resolution to acquire the Pasadena
in August 2017. Since then the Northern Beaches Council and Crown Lands NSW have sat and watched this development unfold without taking any action.
Why?” Cowdery asked.
Mr Cowdery said that to allow the issue of an Occupation Certificate based on a contested 1963 Building Approval, without question, set a dangerous precedent.
He said this effectively awarded development consent and reinstated expired existing use rights. He said it also empowered the private certifier to
dictate local planning and redefine Church Point’s future without due process. “If Altius gets away with this, similar things could happen anywhere
in NSW,” he said.
In December 2016 the Pasadena proposal was submitted as a development application (DA), reviewed by an Independent Review Panel, and refused. The 1963
assertion was denied on grounds of public interest and lack of parking. Following the announcement of that decision and Council’s resolution in August
2017 to acquire the site, Altius began renovating the Pasadena in preparation for the opening of a 160-seat restaurant and upstairs motel. A 25-year
Crown Land lease was then awarded without any public notice, tender or public consultation, and without a
valid DA or “existing use” rights to support the required business case.
Cowdery said against that background it was inconceivable that works on the site should be allowed to continue under private certification and as a complying
development, particularly as the development and intended use will have such a defining and detrimental impact on the character, environment and residents
of Church Point and surrounding areas. That was the subject of CPCP’s court challenge.
“The Northern Beaches Council and Crown Lands NSW have failed in their duty to the local community and failed to protect Pittwater planning laws and due
process of land management. Altius now has a 25-year lease for prime Crown land and is paying a meagre $16,200 pa, or $312 a week, the cost of three
reserved car spaces in the new Church Point carpark. How did these authorities allow this to happen? They must be held accountable, but CPCP does not
have the resources to continue to a final determination,” Cowdery said.