More than 40 people attended an information session at Moona Moona Creek, Huskisson on Sunday 21st June to find out more about the ‘mixed-use motel and residential apartment building’ development proposed for 3 Moona Street, opposite Moona Moona Creek Reserve.
Our Future Shoalhaven - a new ‘support network and advocacy group’ held the event for residents and visitors to highlight many issues around the development and encourage the community to have their say by submitting a submission to council.
The one-hectare proposal is for 40 ‘boutique’ hotel rooms and 39 units with a pool, restaurant, day spa and gym, as well as parking for more than 100 cars on-site, some underground.
The development is currently expected to cost just under $30 million (excluding GST) which means it narrowly misses out on being assessed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel at NSW State level as a ‘regionally significant development.’
Moona Moona Creek is a precious lagoon, beach and creek area – popular with families and visitors for swimming and picnicking. Many attendees at the meeting were concerned that these buildings are not in tune with the region’s unique natural assets or village atmosphere.
The group flew coloured balloons to show the height of the 4-storey buildings – more than 15m in some sections. The development exceeds overall height limits by 12 per cent and the floor space ratios are also well over the limits. Other concerns about the ‘built form’ discussed included the bulk and suitability of the buildings – many believing they don’t sit well in Huskisson or more specifically the natural bush site.
Dr Evan Christen, one of the co-founders of the group, said the development site is mostly Bangalay sand forest which is already an endangered ecological community – the result of ongoing past clearings for development.
The attendees expressed deep concern about the impact of this development on the look and feel of the Moona Moona Creek reserve and the impacts on the bushland, mangroves and water quality.
Local Aboriginal land councils are concerned about the impact on Indigenous culture as the area is an important place for indigenous history and continues to be an important ceremonial ground where traditional Jerrinja and Wreck Bay communities gather and meet. In January 2020 hundreds of First Nations’ people came together for a healing corroboree and bushfire fundraising at Moona Moona Creek Reserve.
Many at the meeting raised the issues around bushfire, as the development will be surrounded on two sides by the Bangalay forest. The residential units will require an asset protection zone without any trees for 25 metres. The area is also considered to be one of the most flood-prone areas in the Jervis Bay region and the buildings will need special approval from Council.
The larger section of the land is given over to residential units, so the NSW State Governments ‘Apartment Design Guide’ kicks in. This set of guidelines were created to ‘provide consistent planning and design standards for apartments across the State.’
The sad result is that many developers tend to go for the easiest (and cheapest) design option that fits the criteria. So many NSW apartment buildings now have a similar boxy look across all regions, from inland cities to coastal villages, Ballina to North Shore Sydney and Huskisson to Eden.
Huskisson has been a development hotspot for a couple of decades with many in the community objecting to the big apartment blocks and developments which are considered to be too bulky and too high. The Shoalhaven is famous for its unspoilt seaside villages and undeveloped shorelines, which the community would like to see retained.
Tourism groups are keen to see a growth in the number of hotel rooms in the area, which is often overbooked in summer months, but most operators recognise the danger of dismantling the very thing people come for – the laid back, low-key atmosphere. Visitors want to escape their city apartment blocks, not come to the south coast to stay in one, so finding the balance is crucial.
For community consultation to have the most impact, Council advises individual submissions to be ‘on point’. Explain specific reasons for opinions and comments – don’t just say what you think, back it up with facts, details and arguments if you can.
Community sentiment, either for or against the development, is an important factor in making planning decisions, so anyone who wants to put in a submission must do so as soon as possible. Your submission will be public.
The decision will come before the Shoalhaven City Council Development Committee and submissions should be in before July 3rd 2020.
To read the planning submissions and application documents go to:
Then press agree, and type in DA20 /1453 which is the development number for 3 Moona Street.
The Shoalhaven Local Environment Plan link is https://slep2014.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/ click on the words: NSW legislation website to go to the document. Scroll down the sections.
NSW Planning Apartment Design Guide is at https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Housing/Apartment-Design-Guide