Red Hill Preservation Society
by Michael Paine
Warringah is a local government area on Sydney's Northern Beaches
The Red Hill Preservation Society is active in the protection of
bushland and water catchments - particularly the Narrabeen Lagoon
catchment. Some of our current projects are:
- Assisting the National Parks Association of NSW with biodiversity surveys in the area.
- Preparing an interactive map of environmental hotspots throughout Warringah. A draft is on the Internet at http://www1.tpgi.com.au/users/mpaine/rhps/warr_hot.html
- In conjunction with the Narrabeen Lagoon Committee, proposing the creation of a nature reserve in the Wheeler Creek Valley, between Red Hill and Cromer Heights. This is the last pristine tributary of South Creek.
- Monitoring of the introduction of Warringah's new LEP via representation on the LEP Community Advisory Committee. One of the major concerns is ensuring that Councillors "stick to the rules" when considering develoments applications. Press release of 30 August 2000.
- Comments on SEPP5 - metropolitan bushland bulldozed for questionable retirement villages.
- May 04: More threats from SEPP5 (Mark 2)
- Sep 04: National Parks Association campaign to protect the catchment of Narrabeen Lagoon.
In addition Michael Paine prepared a feature article on urban villages
for the Manly Daily (Saturday 26 June). A copy is available at
Urban villages are an important component of the residential strategy
which enabled Warringah to be exempted from dual occupancy laws. Michael
argues that urban villages are the least painfall way of achieving the
targets for more dwellings that all Sydney local governments are
required to meet. They enable suburban areas to absorb their share of
these extra dwellings in a controlled and well-planned manner - unlike
the notorious dual occupancy provisions. Much misinformation has
circulated about urban villages and the article attempts to address some
concerns expressed by residents (a job that should have been done by
Background on the Red Hill Preservation SocietyIn the late 1980s the NSW Government imposed Regional Environment Plan 21 on Warringah. REP21 rezoned bushland at Red Hill, Cromer and Oxford Heights to "residential" in the hope that the government would make a hansom profit.
A huge area of pristine bushland at Red Hill was under threat. The Red Hill Preservation Society was formed by local residents to fight the development. Two decades before these same residents had fought the destruction of Governor Phillip Lookout at Beacon Hill to make way for the multi-lane Warringah Road (notice how the road now weaves around the Lookout). Unfortunately the bureaucracy prevailed in the case of Red Hill. The development went ahead with larger blocks. A subsequent push by the state government for dual occupancy throughout Sydney meant that much of Red Hill now has huge duplex houses filling each block. There is little scope for substantial trees to grow and cover the unsightly development from surrounding suburbs (the older suburbs are hidden behind established trees).
It turned out the the debarcle over Red Hill was a factor in the downfall of the Greiner Government (Red Hill supporter Terry Metherill became an Independent and unpopular Local Government Minister David Hay lost the "safe" seat of Manly to Independent Peter MacDonald). The legacy of this folly can be seen in the unsightly developments on these prominent hillsides.
- 25 Feb 03 SMH: Chainsaws ready for demolition.