Sunday, January 4, 2009

Honeysuckle should revise its irrelevant 1993 Scheme

Why has the Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) been allowed to operate for over ten years without a relevant Scheme for its Growth Centre as constituted?

Hunter Development Corporation General Manager Craig Norman explains some of the proposals for the New Year (HDC manages to keep all the gloom at bay The Herald 31.12.08) but we are left in the dark about the Corporation’s relationship with its “Scheme”.

The HDC formerly Honeysuckle Development Corporation is a ministerial corporation constituted under the Growth Centres Act and is required under Sections 14 and 15 to prepare a Scheme and Section 17 to implement an Approved Scheme within the framework of the law. Its scheme was prepared in 1993 and is irrelevant to the currently proclaimed Hunter Growth Centre. HDC has done good work but has been shackled to a non-conforming 1993 Scheme & Masterplan at Central Honeysuckle.

HDC began with a $100 Million dollar windfall from the Commonwealth’s “Building Better Cities” program but we believe it blundered at Central Honeysuckle by disregarding the 1981 winning design from the Newcastle Harbour Foreshore and Urban Design Competition with its landscaped foreshore and rail corridor entrance into the city. HDC failed to integrate the new Honeysuckle with the existing city structure:

  • The Masterplan was approved without the planning research and the geotechnical investigation needed.
  • The wharf fender line is the cadastral boundary and the HDC acquired the longshore wharves from the port authority and demolished them leaving much of the planned foreshore and openspace under water!
  • The Masterplan proposed a cove and bridge at Civic that had no relationship to the original Honeysuckle Point foreshore or the historic railway buildings and built out the whole area anyway.
  • The sensible wharf road was ripped up and a contorted road layout constructed and reconstructed.
  • HDC advertised for a hotel before the planing framework was in place. The Minister blamed the Council and used the excuse to gazette his Hunter Regional Environmental Plan REP Central Honeysuckle and remove the Council’s consent powers.
  • .The HDC failed to vary their Scheme to conform to the Minister’s REP 1997 for Central Honeysuckle.

The HDC is required by statute to prepare a “Scheme” and should start by deleting the irrelevant 1993 honeysuckle master plan and establishing clear transparent parameters to guide the HDC in its widened Growth Centre role for the Hunter Region.

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