I have received a letter from the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, the Hon Brad Hazzard, concerning the proposed redevelopment of the Eastlakes Shopping Centre at Eastlakes. Residents will be aware of the long and chequered history of this redevelopment proposal. We have a tired shopping centre that all acknowledge needs redevelopment but we and the proponent are at odds on how it should be done.
It is Council’s unreserved view that the proponent must acquire adjoining residential flat buildings – at 14 and 16 Evans Avenue – in order to produce an acceptable development. The proponent resisted this contention and we have had numerous discussions with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to resolve the issue.
A redevelopment without the adjoining residential flat is a missed opportunity and one which we, as a Council, oppose. We have made this view abundantly clear to both the proponent and the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. In his letter to me, the Minister acknowledges Council’s views and the concerns we have raised in the past about the potential isolation of adjoining sites and the best way to achieve an integrated development.
The Minister advised that the Department has required the proponent to consider the potential isolation of adjoining sites and the need for a holistic approach in the Director General’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (DGRs) that have been issued for the project. He adds: “I have asked the department to further explore with the Proponent and Council the option of acquiring the adjoining flat buildings so as to integrate them into the development proposal. Failing this, it will be necessary for the Proponent to show how redevelopment of the site can occur without isolating or compromising the ability to redevelop adjacent sites.”
This project will be assessed by the Department as it was not one of the developments that were returned to local government following the repeal of Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. Once the Environmental Assessment has been received by the Department it will go on public display for a minimum of 30 days, during which we will closely examine it to ascertain if the DGRs have been addressed adequately and that our concerns have been allayed.
This project, as I’ve said, has had a chequered history but Council will remain firm in its view that the right redevelopment must include the adjoining properties.