Around 1500 Ku-ring-gai residents were drawn together on November 17 to stand against inappropriate over-development of their municipality, particularly the increasing density of housing. The rally, promoted by Friends of Lindfield, kicked off with folk songs before a variety of speakers took the podium.
Speakers highlighted the inadequate representation that they felt local council members are providing, and voiced their concerns about corruption in the council.
Circulating among rally attendees was a sheet soliciting volunteers to campaign in nearby, marginal seats (Kur-ring-gai is within two safe Liberal seats) on the state election day in March next year. A petition being signed at the rally aimed to provide 10,000 names to the local council, expressing dissatisfaction with its current development policies and procedures.
In a letter of support read out at the rally, Australian Conservation Foundation President Peter Garrett said: "As a former resident of Ku-ring-gai I can vouch for the strong natural and heritage qualities of the shire. Whilst we must be mindful of the equitable provision of housing in Sydney, the current proposals are not about equity at all. This is imposing inappropriate high rise development where the developers' dreams become the residents' nightmare. This move must be resisted, your voices clearly heard, and Ku-ring-gai as you know it and love it must be preserved."
Another statement read out was from Australian National University Professor Patrick Troy, author of The Perils of Urban Consolidation. He argued that "there is no empirical evidence that supports the proposition that increasing density [of housing] will reduce energy consumption — particularly that associated with transport ... I wish you every success in your campaign."
"Developers give huge amounts of money to both the Labour and Liberal parties", former Builders Labourers Federation leader Jack Mundey said in another statement read to the crowd. "Therefore, it is essential for genuine community consultation before any changes to housing densities which will change the character of Ku-ring-gai. I support your stand for such consultation and wish your campaign well."
For more information on the event and the ongoing struggle to save Ku-ring-gai from recurring over-development, contact either Friends of Lindfield <http://www.kuringgai.net/fol/>, or the Ku-ring-gai Preservation Trust <http://www.kpt.asn.au/>.
From Green Left Weekly, November 27, 2002.
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