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Changes to Murdoch Street DA Risk Moona Moona Creek - Have Your Say 

March 21, 2022

By Sue Tolley

The controversial new design and construction changes for 4 Murdoch Street Huskisson has community members shocked – and for good reason. The local community group, Keep Jervis Bay Unspoilt (KJBU) have fully examined the details of the proposed changes and urge the community to seriously consider making a submission. Comments close on 31st March so hurry.

Everyone is entitled to express their opinion and obviously the more people who do this the better. What the owner and their planners regard as suiting the location and contributing to the area, may not be the same as what local people think.

The proposal must meet strict planning policies. Some rules are subjective for example Objective 3C-2 of the Apartment Design Guidelines (SEPP65) states: "Amenity of the public domain is retained and enhanced." KJBU argues that the modification does not meet this objective. The Council’s development team has the job of weighing up the different perspectives regarding this point. KJBU is hoping that over the next few days many people will send in their views.

The historic rezoning to Mixed Use (B4) seems ridiculous being so close to the Marine Park, a National Park and in a flood-prone area. The modification has been proposed on a 10-year-old DA that the council refused to review. This resulted in a campaign by locals wanting to somehow get a better result. Unfortunately now we can only comment on the proposed modification, not previous decisions made by Council.

Moona Moona Creek at sunset, stunning, too precious for inappropriate development
Moona Moona Creek at sunset, stunning and way too precious for inappropriate development.
Photo copyright of Andy Hutchinson Photography

What was wanted was a downsizing of the project that reduced the impact and threat to the environment, and for a while, there was hope that the new owner would listen to the community's concerns. However when we saw the new design it became clear this was not the case. This is your last chance to speak your mind about this development.

The Developer is asking to modify the original DA in the following ways:

  1. Increase the number of units from 32 to 38 by reducing apartment size.
  2. Reduce number of three bedroom units from 22 to 8
  3. Increase the number of smaller two bedroom units from 10 to 30
  4. Reduce car parking from 64 to 45 (suggesting one per unit and seven visitor spaces) add 36 bike and two motorbike parking spaces (no boat, trailer, large vehicle spaces). Planners have made a special request for less car parking spaces than guidelines specify.
  5. Change underground parking design ‘land intrusive basement’ to ‘graded parking’ requiring a one metre excavation.
  6. Remove the children’s playground equipment.
  7. Change in ground swimming pool to above ground.
  8. Improve sustainability design and construction methods including passive solar, solar panel energy, disuse of gas, rainwater harvesting for irrigation usage.

To view the application documents accompanying the application or make a submission, visit the Council website using the Council DA Tracking tool (here) and enter the DA code DS22/1032  

Submissions must be received by COB 31st March 2022. 
Alternatively you can send an email to council@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au, with Attn Development DS22/1032 in the subject. You can also copy the email to the Mayor and Councillors.

The cross marks the development site at 4 Murdoch Street Huskisson, right next to Moona Moona Creek and behind existing apartment block Aquamist
The cross marks the development site at 4 Murdoch Street Huskisson, right next to Moona Moona Creek. Photo credit: Keep Jervis Bay Unspoilt/Facebook

Keep Jervis Bay Unspoilt have read the plans and reports in detail. They have sought opinions from supporters and done the necessary fact-checking. KJBU is opposing the modification on a number of grounds and urge Council to challenge a number of suppositions made in the application.

Here is a list of the concerns KJBU have based their submission on:

  • The scale, bulk and aesthetics of the construction do not suit the site location. This relates to the State Environmental Planning Policy 65 and the Development Control Plan. The proposal ignores Objective 3C-2 of the ADG which states “Amenity of the public domain is retained and enhanced”. The public amenity, including character of area is predominantly defined by the natural features, namely the creek and the national park. While the site is located next to the natural features, their importance is ignored in the design. KJBU argues that the design does not retain or enhance the existing amenity of the public domain.
  • The complexity of constructing in a flood prone area, where ground water levels are low and where dewatering will be required and acid sulphate soil will very likely need to be safely removed. Construction is dangerously close to Moona Moona Creek and key fish habitat sanctuary and could destabilise the banks and affect water quality.  
  • We challenge whether Council flood mapping can be relied upon, given predictions of higher intensity rainfall, who will pay the price if it is wrong?
  • Coastal vulnerability does not appear to be considered at all. Other coastal protection regulations have been inadequately considered. It is time this was mapped and it would be prudent not to make further development decisions until the mapping is complete.
  • The premise that the development is a medium density residential and NOT tourism, makes a huge difference to the impact of the development on the local amenities, Moona Moona Creek and reserve, traffic, the culture of the area, and most importantly the environment impact.  
  • Decreasing car park spaces is specifically opposed due to the increase in street parking it will create, there is no space for trailers, boat or  large vehicles. Local transport is not adequate to argue a case for less parking. We acknowledge this will likely mean a greater area given to car spaces on the site itself but this is a lesser harm than encroaching on the creak bank vegetation.
  • Some ADG objectives appear not to have been met. Issues of concern are, over shadowing, internal cross ventilation, overly narrow living rooms and inadequate storage.

KJBU urges readers to have their say, whether it is a couple of sentences or longer, please get it in by 31st March.

This development raises bigger issues for the Shoalhaven Council to consider. KJBU believes the flood mapping needs to be urgently reviewed. Coastal Vulnerability mapping is needed for the whole of the Shoalhaven area, not just Jervis Bay. Waterways and coastal protection often clash with tourism and development. Regardless of decisions made about this development, KJBU will endeavour to lobby Council to prioritise these two issues.

If readers would like more information, they can email ourfutureshoalhaven@gmail.com

Feature image: The yellow rectangle shows where the  the apartment block at 4 Murdoch Street, Moona Moona Creek, Huskisson, will be build. Photo credit: Facebook/Keep Jervis Bay Unspoilt

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