Linda Bergin address to Manly Council on aged care proposal for Middle Head

Linda Bergin address to Manly Council on aged care proposal for Middle Head

Address to Manly Council, March 10, 2014

Good evening my name is Linda Bergin and I am President of the Headland Preservation Group.

I have come to inform Council of a still-active1 proposal to build an aged care home on Middle Head. The development is called The Cove at Middle Head.

HPG was formed in 1996 by local Mosman residents to oppose the sell-off of Defence lands on Sydney Harbour.
All those years ago it was hard to imagine the amazing transformation that has now occurred on the former Defence sites.

The Trust has successfully created what the community always wanted, which is “a world class national park for all Australians”. We have stunning heritage parkland which is open to the public.

However, on October 31, the Trust accepted a development application for an aged care home on its very last un-rehabilitated site, which is a heritage site on the ridgeline of Middle Head and surrounded by bushland with stunning views. The site is called 10 Terminal.2

The still-active proposal is for a $33m purpose-built aged care facility, apparently funded by the developer, on a 25 year ground lease. We think it is likely to be extended past 25 years and so is akin to a sale.

This proposal is against the original vision of John Howard, Tony Abbott, the Trust’s vision and the Objects of its Act. The Howard Government said it would return foreshore Defence sites to the PEOPLE of Australia. An aged care home is a private facility which would be closed to the public and would benefit only a few.

The proposal has been rejected by the National Trust3 and also unanimously by Mosman Council last week.4

Now, due to strong community opposition, the Trust has flagged but not yet received a scaled-down version.5 HPG will oppose this for the same reasons – namely it is a private use on public parkland which would exclude the public.
Governments should fund their significant public parklands, not hand them over to commercial operators for private uses. This is very short-sighted and betrays future generations.

We are not opposed to some low-impact commercial activity in national parks to help pay for upkeep, as long as they are public uses and the activity contributes to park purposes.

Manly and Mosman have been increasingly linked by walks which are of considerable significance to tourism, heritage and health, including the Manly Scenic Walkway. Middle Head will become an increasingly vital part of these important networks of walks.

And beware this precedent Manly Council! You have significant Trust land at North Head.
The provision of aged care facilities is one that is rightly important for policy and decisions makers, but building one on Middle Head is not appropriate.

Linda Bergin

Keep public land for the public!

Footnotes:

1 Executive Director Geoff Bailey says that the present proposal is still active. However as of today all documents have been removed from the Trust’s site.

2 10 Terminal is an intact collection of heritage buildings from WW2. It is also a site of great importance to Aboriginal people, being one of the first encounter sites.

3 http://www.heritagespace.com.au/news/501-sydney-harbour-federation-trust-aged-care-development

4 http://portal.mosman.nsw.gov.au/temp/ViewedDocs/10032014-3245669-145034-1.pdf

5 http://www.headlandpreservationgroup.org/2014/mosman-council-unanimous/

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1 Comment on "Linda Bergin address to Manly Council on aged care proposal for Middle Head"

  • Brian Wilder says

    I was delighted to read this in Linda’s speech to Manly Council ;

    ‘Governments should fund their significant public parklands, not hand them over to commercial operators for private uses. This is very short-sighted and betrays future generations.’

    This should have been obvious to everyone involved right from the beginning. The idea that the SHFT could, or should be, self funding was always an illusion and an absurd goal and it remains a mystery to me why the Trust board supported this unrealistic objective.

    Australia is not the USA and NSW is certainly not California.

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